>Tonight was the final “black jack warehouse” rehearsal on-location. Rusty (who plays Will in this flick) loaned us his hot tub business warehouse in Belton. We first walked in and saw a rat the size of a golf cart run across the floor. Ben said, “Ah, this will be perfect.”

Nathan and I brought along some dress shirts so Ben could find the right ones for the scenes we’re shooting Saturday. Nathan (Sam) and I drilled our lines while Rusty was shooting some stills of the set. Ben was figuring out the lighting. It took us awhile to put together our make-shift card table and chairs from the scraps of things around the warehouse.

Once Ben figured out his lighting and places, we started a few dry runs. I have some short lines that are variations on a theme, so I kept getting them out of sequence, but Sam was a trooper and made it work. I’m assuming (based on past experiences) that once camera is rolling, costumes are on, makeup, lighting, a crew are present… my Joe character will come to performance level. Oh, I don’t know if I got my card toss down or not, but NO ONE said anything about it, and I wasn’t about to ask.

We ran the scene about 5 or 6 times, 8pm came fast. Ben’s doing backstage stuff for the Temple Civic Theatre run, “Marvin’s Room”, so he had to scoot. We made a tentative shooting schedule:

12noon: Car scene at the burger stand
10pm: Warehouse/blackjack scene

I’m praying that I can get through the car scene tomorrow. At rehearsal on Wednesday night, Ben added a new line and action that just cracked me up. Near the end of our scene, before I grab Sam’s wallet, I am to give him a “are you out of your freakin‘ mind, you son-of-a-b-tch” look, to which Sam gives back to me a “oh, my God, am I a dead man, what in the hell did I just do?” Nathan nailed the look first time and I lost it. It looked like a gag reel from one of the RUSH HOUR movies… when the actors are trying to be serious and just a look throws throws the other guy out of the scene. We all laughed for a good minute or two. We tried about three times to rehearse the new lines and action, but we couldn’t get our characters back. Ben had to say, “that’s enough for tonight”.

We shoot THAT scene late Saturday night. Nathan and Ben have moved on but I can’t get Sam’s look out of my mind, it makes me laugh now thinking about it. I wish I could describe it here. It will be interesting to see how it plays out on film.

This is a new challenge for me. I’ve done too many comedies lately and I am looking for my dramatic side again. Ben called me on my way home from tonight’s rehearsal and said, “Hey, I have to tell you, YOU were really good in that scene tonight. I’m very happy with your work and the chemistry between you and Nathan (Sam).”

I replied with a sigh and said, “No offense, but what the hell do YOU know?!” Ben laughed with, “You sorry son-of-a-b-tch.”

I am assuming that any actor worth his/her salt is never totally happy with their performance. At least, I’m not there yet.