Prof. Arturo's Shadow or How I learned to Slide
By Anthony Genovese ('99 copyrights; all rights reserved)
Last updated : 05/06/2000
Checking the Gate : A. Genovese' show business newletter column
II am one of those actors in Hollywood who haven't quite became a recognizable "name". I am working hard to do that. But on the way, I have had many wonderful varied acting jobs through the years here. I am going to tell you about my acting with a wonderful man and actor named John Rhys-Davies.
I was his photodouble and stand-in for a few projects. Before going on, I need to establish what a stand-in and photodouble does on the set. This is because the public thinks there is very little "acting" talent to this important job. A photodouble portrays a double of the "star" in the scenes where the director calls for it. A photodouble will be seen on camera during the movie. Some of these "double" scenes can be long wide 'establishing' shots, complicated 'over-the-shoulder' dialogue sequences, or in quick 'insert' shots. This way the "star" does not need to work these scenes and they can be virtually filming in two scenes at once! The photodouble must deliver dialogue and exact actions with the other principle "star" actors to make the scene 'real' since it will be seen in the final cut.
On the other hand, stand-ins are usually never seen on camera except when they do photodouble responsibilities. They have the same body size and hair/skin color of the principle actor cast in the role. This is to aid the D.P.(Director of Photography) and his camera department to light and focus movie scenes in advance of the lead actors and director coming into set for a scene rehearsal. Stand-ins can help in the initial rehearsal process. The film's director will ask stand-ins to deliver dialogue(lines) and walk through the scenes to be photographed. In this way, a good stand-in and/or photodouble can help speed up the day's production. One of my favorite acting jobs was working with a hero of mine, John Rhys-Davies.
Who is the right Arturo ?!
Anthony's Arturo says the famous "Mr. Mallory !"
His most publicly recognizable role was of 'Salla', in the Indiana Jones movies. I first met him by working as his stand-in and photodouble on the successful CD-ROM game called "Wing Commander IV". In Wing Commander, John played the Confederation council leader and retired general called "Paladin." The process of working on a CD-ROM is quite different from working on a movie. Every scene is shot 3 different ways because the game player makes various choices on how each scene should end. Photodoubling John, I got a chance to act in 'over-the-shoulder' dialogue scenes with the other cast members, Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell. This was a highlight for my career and great money, too!
A few months later, my agent asked me to work again in the same capacity on the Fox network TV show "Sliders" when this show came back to Los Angeles from shooting in Vancouver, Canada. This is what the fans are now calling the "original" series. The original cast members included Wade, Quinn, Rembrandt, Prof. Arturo and much later Maggie. Working on the show then was very enjoyable because of the cast and crew. We had a family atmosphere. Lot's of fun....Life was great!
Anthony's Arturo says the great "Blistering Idiot !"
Fast forward to Spring '99... I was cast in two fifth season episodes of Sliders. I was looking forward to seeing the friendly cast and crew after some years. Unfortunately, I saw that major changes had been made with cast, crew, story and production values. I was very disappointed. The only person I knew was Cleavant. He welcomed me on board for my work days. IMHO The crew was more aggressive and production values had been compromised. I worked as a 'day player'. The episode was called "A Current Affair". The story line revolved around a high level White House scandal alla 'Monica Gate'. The plot was further complicated by the fact that Slider 'Maggie' coincidentally was a dead ringer for this Lewinsky-like gal at the center of the presidential controversy.
My first fifth season episode was as "Jim", the hot dog vendor. I have fun doing this alla 'improv'. During the plot, I supplied the cast with some story points from my job as a humble street vendor. Some plot ! Haven't you had enough of this in the news? Enjoy, and you draw your own conclusions....
The next episode, "The Seer" was a bit more interesting and challenging as an actor. It co-stars Roy Dotrice, 'Father' of the old TV series "Beauty and The Beast" and Jennifer Hetrich, 'Fash' of the TV series "Star Trek, TNG". I was to play an 'alternative' Professor Arturo. The episode's plot was very ingenious. The current Slider cast slides into a world where 'The Sliders' are a hit TV show. Sounds pretty far fetched. huh? 'The Sliders' show and their cast has their own sci-fi fan conventions on this world.
We worked on a GREAT scene where the current Sliders arrive on this world right in the midst of 'The Sliders' fan sci-fi convention. The crowd's reaction to this sliding appearance is priceless! Also, it creates some puzzlement to our fifth season heroes. You can appreciate that this episode becomes a multilayered plot with many wonderful ironic possibilities and comedic situations. Myself and my Slider photo double castmates become the cast of "The Sliders" TV show. Professor Arturo, Quinn, Rembrandt, and Wade and we become TV celebrities. We became the cast and participated in shooting of that "The Sliders" TV show. There is one very dramatic sequence shot with us running down a burning ruined city street, shooting automatic weapons at the bad alien guys. To end the scene, myself(Prof. Arturo) meets up with the whole "The Sliders" cast members and a new fifth season cast member, Tembi Locke. I use the handtimer to open the vortex and we all slide out of that temporal reality. Tembi was wonderful and laughed along with Cleavant at my Prof. Arturo impression when I bellowed in a loud voice, "Mr. Mallory!"
The 'behind the scenes' explaination that I was told as to why the production company wrote this show was equally unique. The company was constantly getting mailed requests for a 'reunion' show with the original cast and the current cast. And as such, the show's writers went to work with this episode's plot. This was their answer to those requests. I thought it was a wonderful and creative solution for the fans requests. I can tell you I enjoyed playing my part in a story within a story. Not many people can say they have had a chance to temporally 'slide' on a major sci-fi production.
SEE BELOW.. P. S. In my humble opinion, after seeing the aired "Seer" episode, these TV gigs can be alittle disappointing. Unfortunately, the episode's director/ producer's editorial views were quite different from mine. The scenes of our TV show, "The Sliders", were drastically editted. I was the only alternate "The Sliders" member to have a nice close-up scene with a cast member, Tembi Lock. It occured when I used the timer to open a sliding gate. One of our 'connecting' scene was not shown. The missing scene was to set up our TV show group "slide out" scene previously mentioned. I have since found out more back story about the filming of this episode. Cie La Vie, Hollywood style! I still enjoyed working on "Sliders" and I will hope to work on any future Slider's feature film.
(Feb. 2000; for reader's sole use only; it MAY NOT be SOLD or DISTRIBUTED without prior permission; any other uses prohibited, 2000 copyrights by A.Genovese/Cine Productions)
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Thanks a lot to Anthony Genovese for this great article !
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