Saturday, October 15, 2011

I was in HELL

Me & Brent Spiner on the FRESH HELL set

I was in Hell.  

It’s true.  And it was a blast.

For those of you unfamiliar with the actor Brent Spiner, rather than admonish you, I will simply state that he’s a multi-talented actor who has brought many memorable characters to life.  Besides originating the role of Franz/Dennis in the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George”, he also made impressions on television (“Night Court”, “Friends” “Frazier”, etc.) and in film (“Independence Day”, “I Am Sam”, etc.).  But he is probably best known for his role as Lt. Commander Data on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

Mr. Spiner had begun a new web series called “Fresh Hell” in which, due to a mysterious incident, a version of himself is trapped at the bottom rung of a crazy showbiz world.  His manager reads tarot cards, his agent often wears no pants, and his neighbor (adorably played by Kat Steel) is a kooky porn “actress”, trying to hone her craft.

Loaded with referential humor, insider jokes, stinging satire and belly laughs, “Fresh Hell” is a fun ride.  And I got the honor of taking part in an episode for season two. 

The shoot is a breeze:  the crew is an exceptionally congenial and efficient group, which makes the logistics of the shoot trouble-free.  It's also a bucket of fun because Brent and Kat are about as down-to-earth and charming as you could wish--as are the writer, Harry Hannigan, and director, Christopher Ellis.  Then there's the script; it's so screamingly funny that we all lost the fight at times to refrain from bursting out laughing during the first rehearsals of each take.  So much talent and good energy; it couldn’t have been a better experience.  In fact, it was the best day in Hell I've ever had.

I recommend everyone watch season one, if you haven’t.  And then watch for me in season two as a Guido in Brent’s acting class. 

Me & Kat Steel on the FRESH HELL set

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