Getting dirty for Bite Marks
by Windham Beacham ["Cary"]
No, Iím not talking about doing full frontal nudity like so many desperate-for-attention gay actors. Iím referring to (thus far) the most fun Iíve ever had on a film set. Obviously, I read the script. Actors should do that in most cases. I knew that my character would fight a vampire in the junkyard where most of the movie takes place. The scene was vividly painted in my damaged brain, and it was already the one that I most looked forward to shooting. Finally! Some action! This would be no weepy relationship drama. I grew up watching horror movies. That genre is and always will be my favorite. Reading this passage in the script, I knew this would be my first (and possibly last) chance to emulate Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2. Thatís all I ever really wanted as an actor Ė to get bloodied, bruised, and tormented by my directors. Of course, this would be one scene and not an entire movie, so I figured that Mark Bessenger would put me through a lot less than what Sam Raimi did to Bruce Campbell. Still, you have to grab life by the balls, right? I assumed it would be memorable even if it was just one scene. I had no idea. I would end the night covered in blood, dirt, and vomit (the blood and vomit were fake so I was told). In fact, I was so filthy, I had to be stripped and put into a towel to get back to our hotel. Iím pretty sure there are pictures of this floating around. I was exhausted (and injured). And I wouldnít trade that night for anything.
I must have known the scene was coming up. The actor playing my vampire attacker was on set. Knowing this would be my time to shine, I quickly became excited and ran out to the spot chosen for the scene. We shot some stuff leading up to the fight and then prepared to get down. I was shown the area where I would be tussling with my assailant. This was a real junkyard, so it was a patch of oil-soaked ground littered with broken glass and jagged pieces of metal. As I have the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old and no sense of self-preservation, I was overjoyed. Though I will admit to tossing a few of the larger pieces of glass and metal aside. I'm not stupid. Then I looked at the vampire. He was literally covered in fake blood. It wasn't until this moment that I realized how filthy I was about to get. And since the movie takes place over one day and night, I would have to remain in this state for every scene that takes place after the fight. I was thrilled. But then I became nervous. The throwdown begins with the vampire tackling me. I only had two sets of wardrobe on the set that night, so we only had one chance to fuck up. And we did. A mat was placed onto the ground for the big tackle, and we went for it. I'm not entirely sure what was wrong, but the shot didn't go as planned. One of our makeup artists, Carolina Lee, and one of our production assistants, Brandon Story, ran over to help me. I had to get back into "clean" mode, and I couldn't really touch anything without spreading the sticky movie blood. The blood was wiped away, and my shirt was snatched off and replaced with the final clean one. We got back into position, and I was terrified that this take would also go awry. I looked at the other actor and told him to hit me as hard as he could. He did. And it was apparently perfect.
Now we needed to move on to the actual brawl. The mat was removed (otherwise, the camera would see it), and we were basically told to wrestle on the ground while the camera moved around us. Simply put, that's what we did. Admittedly, I'm used to rolling around with grown men. But this was different. It seemed to go on forever, and I was worried that we weren't giving the director what he wanted. By the end, I was out of breath and caked in filth. My clothes were stretched out, and I had oily dirt in my mouth and eyes. It was great. But it wasn't over. The scene also called for the vampire to vomit maggots onto me after I hit him in the stomach with a pipe. A vomit concoction was made (I won't reveal the family recipe here), and the director stood behind the camera with the bucket waiting to launch the puke. He appeared more excited than he should be. During rehearsals for Bite Marks, I had stupidly convinced the director to have the barf hit me in the face. I thought it would funny. On cue, he tossed the chunky liquid at me. It hit my body but missed my face. One more attempt was made with the same results. I was initially disappointed but later realized that getting hit in the face would have created a continuity nightmare since the makeup artists would have to glue pieces of vomit to my face for the remainder of the shoot. The Movie Gods were looking out for us. As previously mentioned, I was stripped and wrapped in a towel so as not to soil the vehicle driving me back to the hotel. The clothes found a home in a trash bag and waited for the next time I had to be the "dirty version" of Cary. Once in my hotel room, I looked at my (suspiciously burning) back in the mirror and saw that it was gloriously lacerated and bruised. I was still showing off those battle scars weeks after filming ended. Man, I hope I get to do this again.
Epilogue: In case anyone is wondering what happened to my bloody, dirty wardrobe, those clothes were sacrificed to the Movie Gods on the last day of filming. Near the end of the shoot, we were threatened with rain on a night that we couldn't afford losing. I promised to burn my outfit to the Gods if they would prevent rain. The weather remained clear, so the clothes were soaked in gasoline and set on fire. I always keep my promises...