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Your experience with famous actors


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#1 David Calson

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:22 PM

Hi, who are some favorite famous actors you've worked with and what was your experience like with them?
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#2 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 03:05 PM

Hi, who are some favorite famous actors you've worked with and what was your experience like with them?


Renee Zellweger presented my Academy Technical Achievement Award for the Laboratory Aim Density (LAD) System. She was charming (but not very technical) :) Here's the video of the presentation:

http://www.film-tech...1262&category=3
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 04:10 PM

Tom Hanks in 'That Thing You Do' and Emilio Estaves in 'The Mighty Ducks (1)'. I had no direct contact with them (I was still in elementary school and was an extra in the scene shot outdoors in Orange County, where I lived at the time. It was earlier in the film, when they played outdoors on a stage modeled to look like a record of their single. The Mighty Ducks was at the final game scene, which interestingly enough was the first event (that I know of) to take place at the anaheim pond. I doubt it was built exclusivley for the film, I think the film was built to provide marketing for their new team.

Anyway the experience of seeing the stars really didnt strike me that much. It was the cameras. By that point I had made 2 or 3 shorts on my RCA moviecam VHS camcorder. I was enamored by how the crews worked. everytime they would cut and I would see all the different people chatting, I tried to figure out what they were talking about, in a failed attempt to reverse engeneer the film for my own understanding. I watched as closely as I could, but that young it was hard to understand a lot of what was happening. It was a great experience though. That solidified for me where I wanted to be.
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#4 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 04:26 PM

I heard a funny story from a friend who just came back from a shoot in Mumbai.

Anyway one of the super famous Bollywood actors (who shall remain nameless) is in the middle of a very VERY expensive scene, buildings exploding etc, when the FAMOUS ACTOR shouts "Cut!"

The director comes over (apologetically!) and asks what is wrong

The Famous Actor says "I do not feel confident enough"

This is a cue for about 11 guys to jump out and surround the FAMOUS ACTOR and say things like "you talent is not only amazingly deep but so wide... - and it is like Gladiator but better... - I have never had the privelege to stand so close to such a god!... How can someone so good looking also act like Olivier..." etc etc etc

This goes on for about 2 min until the Famous Actor clicks his fingers and the "confidence men" run off

The scene restarts

Anyway my buddy starts laughing so hard that they were fired and sent back to UK

Not sure how true it is but my buddy is usually straight down the line and it made me laugh

Anyone else heard of this kind of thing going on?

I need "confidence men" to follow me around all day :)

thanks

Rolfe
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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 04:52 PM

I think the most star-studded project I worked on was The LA Riot Spectacular with Snoop Dogg, George Hamilton, Charles Dutton, Charles Durning, Ronny Cox, William Forsythe, Emilio Estevez, Christopher McDonald, and many others. Every single cast member on the show was top notch, professional, and personable. I was gaffer and second unit DP, and it was actually the second movie I'd worked with Snoop. He's very laid back but professional and camera savvy, and a sharp sense of humor. I think I was most nervous lighting George Hamilton's closeup!

I don't do many big features but end up working with celebrities all the time (everyone in the biz does). You realize that they expect a certain amount of professionalism on a set, and you respect that. There are of course the primadonnas, but I'd say 90% of the time they're decent people who are just as creative and professional as you are.

On my fifteenth birthday I remember going to the beach near my house where they were filming a movie. From next to the camera I watched these two guys arguing in a scene, while extras in 1920's period costume celebrated the repeal of Prohibition in the background. Later I found out the movie was Once Upon a Time in America, and those two guys were Robert Deniro and James Woods...
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:20 PM

I've worked with some well-known actors, some of them considered "stars", some just famous character actors. I haven't worked with a superstar with an entourage, not that I can remember.

Sometimes the bigger-named actors I have worked with played smaller parts and therefore did not have the burden of the whole movie's success on their shoulders, nor had to work a long number of days and weeks. So those short-time actors tend to be a lot more relaxed on the set.

I can tell you that two of my favorite actresses to work with EVER were Emily Mortimer and Helen Mirren. Probably not a coincidence, but also they are probably the two brightest actresses I have ever worked with. I wouldn't be surprised if Emily wrote and directed her own feature someday (she is, afterall, the daughter of writer John Mortimer...)

For the most part, what I discovered about many of the famous actors that I have worked with is that they are total pros; they show up on time, know their lines, can hit their marks, deliver a great performance in a few takes. Haven't dealt with too many problematic actors, but it helps that the shoots I do tend to be controlled, not disorganized. Actors can misbehave when they lack respect for the production, because the production team appears incompetent.
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 06:51 PM

Renee Zellweger presented my Academy Technical Achievement Award for the Laboratory Aim Density (LAD) System. She was charming (but not very technical) :) Here's the video of the presentation:

http://www.film-tech...1262&category=3

Congratulations on your award, John. Very cool...and most appreciated. You've made a major contribution to the quality of prints that the rest of us get to enjoy (as well as count on from the filmmaking standpoint).
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#8 Michael Most

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 07:16 PM

Actors are generally an interesting bunch. There is always a bit of a line between the cast/director and "everyone else," but that's not to say that all of them are stand=offish. In fact, it's often the opposite, I've worked with a lot of actors whom I appreciate both for their talent and friendliness. Some of the ones I've found the most memorable:

Friendliest - Lucy Liu. She's generally a really warm, fun person, but she really went out of her way to make everyone on the crew feel appreciated when she left "Ally McBeal" during season 5. Truly one of my favorite people.

Funniest: (tie) Peter MacNicol and Bill Shatner. Peter is just naturally hilarious, and a really great guy. He's also a very talented and creative director, and I wish he'd do more of that. Shatner is, well, Shatner. Knows exactly how people see him, knows exactly who he is, and is totally in on the joke.

Looniest: Kate Jackson. If you've ever been around her in the last 10 years, you know why.

Most Talented: Without question, Robert Downey Jr. Just an astonishing actor.

Biggest Pain In the Neck: ...........

Now, you didn't really expect me to answer that one, did you?
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#9 Tim Carroll

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 08:27 PM

Haven't shot a film with anyone famous, but in my years as an actor I was fortunate enough to work in theater on shows with Howard Hesseman, Pat Carroll, George Grizzard, William Katt, Bob Dishy, Harley Jane Kozak, David Schramm, and in my time with Jim Henson Productions, I got to work briefly with Frank Oz and the rest of the fabulous Muppet performers and while shooting the short lived TV show "Aliens in the Family" upstairs at Kaufman Astoria Studios, Ron Howard was directing "Ransom" downstairs and I used to run into him coming and going. To the person, every single one of these folks was wonderful to be around and wonderful to work with.

I think the business weeds out the jerks as folks move up in the ranks. All the people listed above had been in the business for decades by the time I worked with them, and I really could not have been more impressed.

As an asside, Bob Dishy is the funniest human being I have ever met. During rehearsals, when we would grab a bite to eat in the break room of the theater, he would have us in stitches. Made it pretty hard to eat anything because we were laughing so hard. Incredibly talented human being. They all are.

-Tim
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#10 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 08:43 PM

Nicest actor in the world = Katherine Helmond. I have never seen another actor go out of their way to make a connection with everyone on the set, from the P.A. to the D.P. -

I also got yelled at by Pearl Bailey, the "Ambassador of Love" - turns out "gal" used to be a derogatory term for black domestics in the South - I had no idea until that moment -
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#11 Cole Webley

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 08:57 PM

I was shooting something for a doc in a park in New York when i came across Uma Thurman who suspected me and my camerman to be paparazzi. She was with her young child so we didn't blame her for being concerned. After we informed her that we were filmmakers shooting our own project she was perfectly cordial. She was just protecting her child - having just become a father for the first time, I would have done the same.

Clint Howard was a lot of fun to work with - and interesting to listen to his stories at lunch about films he has worked on with his brother. Fred Willard was really nice and worked well under difficult conditions.

-Cole
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 10:28 PM

Friendliest - Lucy Liu. She's generally a really warm, fun person, but she really went out of her way to make everyone on the crew feel appreciated when she left "Ally McBeal" during season 5. Funniest: (tie) Peter MacNicol and Bill Shatner. Peter is just naturally hilarious, and a really great guy. He's also a very talented and creative director, and I wish he'd do more of that.


Speaking of Ally, I worked with Greg Germann last year and he was just as funny off camera as on. Funnier actually, since the character he was playing was supposed to be a little subdued.
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#13 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:48 PM

My two favorite actors that I've worked with are Cuba Gooding Jr. and Angie Harmon.
Cuba is a total pro and after doing two movies with him I can't remember him ever complaining, even when he cut his foot badly during a take and got eight stitches. He was back doing stunts TWO days later, stitches and all!
Angie is just a wonderful person. Not only is she beautiful, but she's humble and very personable. I worked with her on a movie with Cuba, and it was a tough shoot, but it would have been a heck of a lot tougher if she wasn't such a sweethart. She's married, so my crush will have to go unrequited. :P
For technical savvy James Woods is the best I've worked with. He's just so smart! He knows all the in's and out's of lenses and knows how to make the opertor's, 1st's, and DP's job easier. He'll rehearse a scene for camera 100 times if you ask him to. He's a really nice guy too, and a heck of a poker player!
All three of these actors were always completely prepared. They always knew their lines and hit there marks. Most of the actors that I've seen who had a little too much ego were the ones that were often unprepared and didn't understand the technical aspects of filmmaking. It seems that the less self confidence and experience they have, the more of a pain in the butt they are.
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#14 Yardsale

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 04:02 PM

My roommate is dating the star in Final Destination 3. The film looks like rubbish so I haven't bothered to see it, but she's very nice and down to earth in person :P
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 05:53 PM

Cuba Gooding Jr. was great to work with on "Shadowboxer". He injured his hand badly during a boxing scene but kept on working without complaint. Smart guy and a real pro.
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#16 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 04:32 AM

Cuba Gooding Jr. was great to work with on "Shadowboxer". He injured his hand badly during a boxing scene but kept on working without complaint. Smart guy and a real pro.

I'm sure he has plenty of boxing injuries all the time. He boxed almost everyday with a trainer on both of the movies I did with him. I wouldn't want to mess with him! :unsure:
I asked him about you once or twice David, and he always had very nice things to say about you as well.
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#17 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 08:24 AM

Let me tell you about the time I worked on a gig in NYC with Allen Ginsberg and afterwards shared a cab to a cast party in the West Village. I spent the entire ride fighting him off - it was like a scene out of a bad 1960's beach movie. I was very young, very innocent, and then, as now, very straight. :D
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#18 Mitch Gross

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:57 PM

I've worked with a bunch and the real stars have always been great professional people. Three off the top of my head:

Max von Sydow. He did a STUDENT short because he thought it was a nice story. At the end of the day he starting picking up lightstands to help pack up (the guy must have been in his sixties)!

Fredrick Forrest. He showed up for a 2-day featured role in an indie feature with more than 30 pages of notes to discuss with the director about his character. Anything that she wasn't into he didn't use with no problem, but he fleshed out the world of that character immensely and with no grandstanding. He has a great sense of humor too. I have this running joke of suggesting a Danny Thomas-style "sit take" as a reaction to any given dramatic moment. I shared this over lunch one day and sure enough he blasted a great one at just the right time to really deflate some awful tension on set that day. Had us on the floor laughing.

Christy Turlington. Not really an actress, but I can't imagine anyone who has worked with her who didn't fall at least a little in love with her. Not only a true beauty, but also a very sweet, genuine and caring person. For one leg of a doc. about her charity work, a crew (that I wasn't on at that point) followed her down to El Salvador. There was a horrible car accident with a vehicle flipping over a cliff and she personally took it upon herself to arrange and pay for medical expenses and airlifting the crew back to the States. She's also the only model I ever had a conversation with who didn't come off as either a self-loving bitch or an uneducated child.

Enough gushing. The people fresh out of acting classes think they are the cat's meow and have tons of obnoxious attitude. And there's a certain actor/director with his own cable talkshow who is one monumental dick. But perhaps I say too much... ;-)
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#19 Ricardo Diaz

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 12:48 AM

Recently got a chance to work on a film with both Mary Steenburgen and Joe Mantenga. They were fantastic. Mary was a sweetheart and a very hard worker along with Mantegna. Also, worked with the David and Keith Carradine and boy is David a pro. He is so social and funny when the cameras are away but when they face him he hits his marks and rarely complained. Got to work with Gary Busey on two films as well and he is just a riot. Some of the things that come out of his mouth just make your side split. Wasnt a problem like some people said he would be but he can say some inappropriate things. I also got to meet Ben Stiller. He wasnt working that day on set he was visiting his wife Christine Taylor who was. Very funny guy in real life and is so much shorter than he looks on screen. He was a very geniune person along with his gorgeous wife. No primamadonnas yet thank goodness.
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#20 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 05:09 AM

Got to work with Gary Busey on two films as well and he is just a riot. Some of the things that come out of his mouth just make your side split. Wasnt a problem like some people said he would be but he can say some inappropriate things.

You must have caught him on a good day. I'll keep my mouth shut about the specifics from when I worked with him.
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