From time to time I snag a few moments onscreen, for one reason or another. The other day I found myself at a Van Sant shoot with a line to say. I had spent a night in jail in place of the producer’s son, and he gave me the bit, which paid scale, as a thank you.
I was to look down into some steampunk gearworks and say, “There’s a hand down there.’
We were outdoors. I took up my position.
“Scene twenty-one, Hand, take one.”
“Aaaand, action,” Van Sant said.
I looked down into the gears.
“There’s a hand down there,” I said in horror.
“No,” said Van Sant. “Not like that. Do it again.”
The crew ran through the setup again. I looked down into the gears.
“There’s a hand down there?” I said in disbelief.
“No,” said Van Sant. “You see it, you’re not horrified, you don’t doubt your eyes.”
“There’s a hand down there,” with a hint of a chuckle.
“Are you trying to annoy me?” Van Sant said.
“There’s a hand down there.” Flat. A statement.
“Do you know what I can do to you if you make me mad enough?” Van Sant said.
Next to me, the slate girl had fear in her eyes.
“Don’t make him mad,” she said to me in a whisper.
“THERE’S A HAND DOWN THERE!”
“DO THAT AGAIN AND I’LL BREAK YOUR F**KING FACE!”
“There’s a hand down there,” with a sort of a sob.
Van Sant sighed. He came around behind me and knelt down, out of the shot. He reached between my legs and grabbed my testicles in an iron grip. Began to squeeze.
“There’s… nnngggh… a hand… nnnngggghh… down… there… nnnggghheeek.”
“Cut,” Van Sant said, standing up. “Print it. Next setup.”