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 I'm really good at auditioning if the
character I'm playing is supposed
to be a NERVOUS guy
   
 
There's an element of RISK being an actor.  You're EXPOSING yourself to some degree with a good chance of looking like a total fool.

In fact, it has been suggested that people become actors for the same reason they like extreme sports.  Both have similar challenges that test one's vulnerability. 

It took several years of jumping out of airplanes before I discovered an adrenaline rush can also be found being an actor ... with less chance of being KILLED.

The ACTING challenge for me is getting out of my own way ... giving up control to the CHARACTER so he can jump inside my body and become alive.  It feels uncomfortable when he does things I wouldn't do ... or uses secret fears & emotions deep inside my personal space to express himself. 
 
It's fun, though, when he CUSSES a lot.  I don't know why, but for some strange reason it feels good to say "#>%!" and "≠?¤#$" in front of a lot of people and not get in trouble for it.
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So far I've been everything from a mathematical genius in a stage production of PROOF, to a judge who likes wearing women's clothes in the movie comedy SCAMELOT.

In FRANKLIN WUNDER I was a widower who has a major heart attack while swimming and later escapes from intensive care wearing only a hospital gown.  (During filming in downtown Portland I held the back of the gown tightly CLOSED when people drove by laughing & pointing at me.)  

It's a beautiful story of a dying man who questions whether he has ever done anything "good" for the world.  Without his realizing it, everything he does on the last day of his life starts a chain reaction that benefits the lives of strangers who happen to cross his path.

The film ends when Franklin decides to go swimming again in a lake where he had fun as a teenager.  There he has another heart attack and dies.  This required
stripping down to my underwear and jumping from a dock into cold water about 8-feet deep ... then swimming to the middle of Cullaby Lake near Astoria, Oregon (pictured here).  


When this scene was filmed it was cloudy with a slight wind and temperatures somewhere in the 50's.   The water was FREEZING cold!  As my "dead" body was pulled to shore and the cameras started rolling again my first thought was about how underwear often becomes "transparent" when it's wet.  

And, yeah, the thought ALSO crossed my mind about how cold water sometimes SHRINKS certain things (if you know what I mean) and that people may not see me at my best.
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Between camera takes several members of the crew poured warm water all over me to calm down the shivering ... then, to appear dead, I held my breath as long as I could before starting to shake again.  Playing a wet DEAD guy in a movie isn't easy when you're shivering uncontrollably. 

There ought to be an Academy Award for that.


My wife and me at the Portland premier
I've been cast as characters who DIE in several films (probably because I look good DEAD)

        ... 
and it always seems strange to hear the director say, "action" after I've already kicked the bucket.

Shouldn't it be "inaction"?

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