The Lowest Rung On the Hollywood Ladder, Part 2
Sammo Hung! You kick friend in head! We not ok with this!
Oh, Martial Law! How we adored thee! You were so cool and action-y and had Lewis Mandelor as your eye candy!
Then Rush Hour came out and you just had to follow the path of least resistance, didn't you? Only instead of Jackie Chan, you had Sammo Hung. Who is, let's face it, never late to the buffet table. And instead of the genuine frenetic talent that is Chris Tucker, you had to go and get Arsinio "I'm Eddie Murphy's little bitch" Hall.
Still, it was a great show to work on. The craft service table was one greatly sought after by the more discerning background actor. Sammo was adamant about this. It wasn't done in Hong Kong, you see, to exclude the extras from the craft services. What he hadn't counted on was, as opposed to the Asian model of politeness and moderate eating habits, he was faced with a locust like swarm of greedy American slobs.
And, believe me, most extras were stone-cold, just-rolled-outta-the-trailer slobs. I mentioned that I would keep an eye on my things while in holding. That's an understatement. Most of the time I wouldn't let my purse off my shoulder, and even when we got called onto set, I smuggled it in with me. There's a list of jobs you get given when you're released from prison, or so I've been told. Jobs that require no background check. Being an extra with Central Casting is right at the top of this list. It's like that line in "Alice's Restaurant." "I'm sittin' there on the Group W bench with mother stabbers and father rapers!" I'd heard stories about people getting their entire wardrobes stolen. Most of the time, an extra is told to "Wear 1 bring 4 (or 5 or 6 or whatever many choices were needed)" for costume changes. And these all had to be your own clothes. And sometimes you'd come back from shooting into holding and you'd find that your carefully put together garment bag was wide open and the bastards had stolen everything. And there wasn't a goddamn thing that could be done about it.
Anyway. That's not important to the story. It's just additional gravy. The scene where Sammo Kick Friend in Head is what you're here for.
For the first and what would be the last time, I was cast as a cop. I'm always passed over for uniform parts because I'm too short. But today's scene was a different story. You see, I wasn't just any cop. I was a DEAD cop.
And so was my friend, Wakai.
So we were both laying on the ground on set, with fake blood all over. They'd even gone so far as to put a fake bullet hole right spang in the middle of Wakai's forehead. We'd spent some good time giggling over that, telling bad jokes and the like. ("Ted! We're dead, dude!")
They start rehearsal, with Sammo and the Bad Guy of the Week duking it out, surrounded by "dead" cops. We're all where we're supposed to be, so Sammo can choreograph the fight while prancing around all the possible things he could trip over.
Now Sammo in action is a sight to behold. This fat little guy moves so quick he's a blur. And he's extremely precise. He'll work out the moves slowly, well in advance, then pick up the speed when he and the other stunt man have got them down.
Today, however, he wasn't as precise as he should have been.
I hear, "Ok, we're rolling! Background..." I turn my face away from the camera, I don't want to be seen dead in this town... "Aaaaaaand... ACTION!"
"ooof" bof swish whomp crack "hiiiii-yah!"
"OW SON OF A BITCH MOTHER FUCKER!"
Uh oh. The one cursing like a sailor was my friend, Wakai.
I roll back over to a very hilarious scene. Wakai is clutching his forehead, and has gone slightly cross-eyed. Sammo is bent down over him, arm around his shoulder, and saying, "Oh my God I'm so sorry I kick you in head!"
What had happened, it turns out, was that when Sammo reared back to deliver a kick, he'd misjudged Wakai's spot on the floor, and swung his foot back too far. And nailed him right where his bullet prosthetic was.
They called for the medic, and Sammo was very, VERY apologetic. Wakai was cool with it, amazingly. He just said, "That's ok. You're Sammo Hung. Getting kicked in the head by you is an honor."
So we really were ok with it after all. But my sister, who was dating Wakai at the time, was not quite ok with it. She was so mad that, when they broke up, she started dating Lewis Mandelor for a while.
Uh. Yeah. That makes sense, sister dear.