Making Going Undercover
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Everybody involved in this film was a pleasure to work with. My character was a Russian KGB assassin named "Gary".
The legendary iconic British star Jean Simmons played Lea Thompson's on-screen stepmother.
Chris Lemon is one of the nicest people you could be and is extremely talented, but he lived in the shadow of his famous father Jack Lemmon "and was always being compared to his father" unfairly.
As to Lea, everybody knows her and loves, loves, loves her. While we were on location in Denmark, Lea was notified by her agent that when she returned to Hollywood she was going to start in the next George Lucas blockbuster (not) "Howard the Duck." And her focus was on that -- except when she was shooting. Then, she gave her performance her all.
I enjoyed working with the people and owe a huge debt to Lea and Chris, plus to the Director, James Kenelm Clarke, producer/financier: Jefferson Colegate-Stone, the nicest and most competent line producer, I ever met: John D. Schofield, and so many others.
It is unfortunate that while filming "Going Undercover" Billy Myatt, the special effects supervisor designed a stunt that litterally blew up in my face, searing my eyebrows, and temporarily blinding me. I had to be taken to a Danish hospital emergency room. The bit was on a yacht that we were holding Lea Thompson kidnapped on. Chris rescues her and leaves a present behind for me -- her kidnapper -- a smoldering cigarette near a leaking propane tank that explodes when I open the hatch. When we shot it on the set, I was supposed to lean forward, listen at the door, and then step back (to the side of the door that was going to be blown open) and then the audience would see me, the door being blown open, and a gaseous fireball. In reality, when the door blew open, the flames curled out and plumed into the area I was supposed to be safe in. My injuries were minor -- and I was taken back to the Royal Copenhagen Hotel the same night. I wanted to see the dailies, to see what happened, but the producers were afraid that I would sue the production. So the shot of me being killed was kept out of the film that was released.
Looking back, I regret that I became paranoid and delusional after that. And only now do I realize how bad I got. It turns out that I am suffer from a mild schizo-affective disorder that ultimately required medication and therapy. And if you talk to the people I worked with, I was out-of-control, crazy... And when I got back to America, the producers denied I was hurt on the set. They told SAG that I lied about being taken to the hospital and I "forged" a Danish hospital report (written in Danish). It took SAG a year to confirm that I was injured on the set, but the damage was done... I left acting, became a screenwriter, worked in development, produced some small films independently, and ended up with a development deal at Warner Bros. as the President of the then 50 year old Production Company Hammer Films.
But the pressure of working in Development with A-list talent took it's tole on my untreated schizo-affective condition. I wound up living on the streets of L.A., homeless, on drugs, and delusional. Thankfully, I did find help, got treatment, and have been stable for a long, long time. I live in West Hollywood, continue to write, have been an Aids Patient activist and have been the Secretary of the Board of Directors in the condominium complex I live in.
The future is unwritten. The past is hard to look back on. Mental illness, untreated, is a horrible, horrible thing... and it gets worse when you get the medication you need, because with clarity you can look back and you get to "see" how much you hurt the ones you loved, how much you hurt those that believed in you, how much you could have had -- but couldn't. Didn't. Remember Equus? The psychiatrist believes he can make the boy who blinds the horses be "normal," but he is conflicted over doing it -- the reason is, the boy would lose his "passions" and his connection to a powerful, rich imaginary life -- and, on meds, the boy would settle into a world where he, like most other people, would experience the full weight and horror of being "separate and alone." The boy would be absent what "drove" him. And the boy would look back (on his blinding the horses) and he would be horrified at what he had factually done. He would be embarrassed, withdrawn, and AFRAID to interact with others.
My point is, if you know someone who is showing signs of mental illness, help them get the help they need... but know and understand that they will need your help and support even more when they "normalize." For them, they will be stepping into a world filled with rules and obligations that they will have trouble adapting to and understanding... IT IS WORTH IT THOUGH -- to life "normal." To "know" being "separate and alone and undriven by external forces that only you can see or hear." Thank you for listening. Joe-Michael Terry
Next Section: Deleted Scenes
There are often scenes cut from the final version of a movie. Sometimes these will have been seen by preview audiences, or be included in Blu-ray or DVD extras etc.
Sometimes, there will be several versions of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may release a special cut of the movie on Blu-ray or DVD.
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