Me as a snarky Prison Guard.
Leaning against a tree in the only shade of a hot, dusty day, my prison guard uniform itches me—making me into a sort of prisoner, myself. The guy next to me actually sports a bright orange prison jumpsuit…and he sits in a deserted child’s swing tied to the tree. It’s a surreal image—a juxtaposition, a mash-up. But that’s the order of the day, here, on the set of “Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf”, a comedic sushi/western/horror hybrid about a blind samurai avenging the death of his family…
…in the old American west…
The other exceptionally ironic element is the lovely conversation I’m having with the prisoner I’m guarding. Sure, he’s an incarcerated, deranged killer. But he’s also being played by horror film actor/producer Domiziano Arcangeli who is just about the sweetest, most soft spoken, gentle man I’ve met in years. You’d think he couldn’t bear to slip a knife into a butter stick, let alone into people. But then we’re called for our scene and he proceeds to go psycho-ballistic and mercilessly beat the shit out of me.
Director Kurando Mitsutaki and his crew are rockstar professionals, able to tweak on the fly to make each moment be the best it can be. I am in two short, but surprisingly complicated scenes that included some FX and some fighting—and we are done by lunch. (Lunch, by the way, is excellent. You never know what you’re gonna get, food-wise: offerings vary from passable to “Can I make a reservation for tomorrow evening?” The Avenger spread has us all happy campers on the food front.)
Despite the dust, the heat and the dirt, my day on the set is likely the cleanest of the entire production. Partly because my death is bloodless; most other days, actors are dripping with blood or oozing with gore. “Avenger” is not a movie for the faint of heart. But if you can stomach it, you will be rewarded with some wonderful surprises: like Amanda Plummer’s near dues-ex-machina cameo, the spilt bullet that does double kill duty, the assassin who hypnotizes with her boobs…and the flying zombie baby.
Yeah: a flying zombie baby. Ain’t no other movie got that.