As some readers may know, I occasionally dabble in acting and film-making, though I've only been paid for acting once, playing an evil American druglord in a Chinese movie called A Date in Paradise that, from what I understand, will likely never see the light of day.
Last week, I got to show my stuff again, as my half-French sister Nicole “Nini” Ayach and her boyfriend Andrew Shemin came through town as part of their ongoing cross-country shoot for their independent feature Walkin' My Baby Back Home. Nini stars as a young pregnant woman traveling the country in search of the gambler who knocked her up, encountering strange people in her quest.
The character I play is a perv with a toy collection, which most folks would say is not a big stretch. But the dialogue delivery style Andrew favored was interesting, full of deliberately awkward pauses and non-sequiturs, inspired by David Lynch. My character felt like the type of role that would normally be played by Crispin Glover.
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Nini's character knocks on the door, asks me about her beau, and I invite her in, where a cage full of wrestling figures and some giant Spawn toys freak her out a bit. I give her a juice box, and tell her she should take the Greyhound, which I'll show her in the morning. In the meantime, she can sleep at my place.
In real life, I can't imagine the woman who would say yes to that deal in the home of a rainbow-headed stranger...but she does. Bad move. First I give her a creepy baby doll to sleep with, then I end up caressing her legs, and, uh, pleasuring myself (thankfully for all you viewers, no actual nudity is involved...but I would have done it for the sake of art, had I been asked). The final scene will, of course, be additionally uncomfortable for those who know of our real-life connection. Though I think that connection also made it a lot easier to play the scene – it's easy to rub your sister's leg and not have any dirty thoughts at all, rather one thinks along the lines of giving her an Indian burn or something. With a totally unknown actress it would have been more awkward and /or threatening to play.
Anyway, her character leaves the apartment quite quickly after that. It was fun – Andrew's direction was clear and easy, and I offered my technical assistance when asked. I did insist on watching the dailies immediately, something my friend Lucky McKee always does, and it works out well for him. I liked them – I've had good dailies before that ultimately got cut completely, but Andrew assures me that this scene is essential and will not be removed.
Stills will be posted when I get some, and I promise not to show the self-lovin' shots. The movie itself, with a bit of luck, will play some festivals next year. Coleman Hough, screenwriter of Full Frontal and Bubble, will also be appearing in the film.