The glamorous stars of Bitch Slap:
Erin Cummings, Michael Hurst, Julia Voth, America Olivo
The table read.
Interview: Michael explains how he knows Eric Gruendemann. It takes him a moment to remember
that the name of the show was Hercules: The *Legendary* Journeys ("The Incredible Journeys?
The Amazing Journeys?" [rising bemusement and embarrassment; finally . . . ] )- "The LEGENDARY
Journeys! Anyway, he produced that. Which I was in. One of the stars of. Holy shit!"
He's then asked whether it's different working in the US from working in New Zealand.
"Working on this production, there ain't no difference at all as far as I'm concerned.
What's great is a hands-on approach, everybody in it together. Nobody is less important than
anybody else. And I mean that - no one in front of the camera, no one behind the camera".
"The process, the friendliness, exactly the same".
Green-screen land: It's a tough job . . .
Green-screen land: She really wants me to drink this!
Green-screen land: Michael, with arms tied, is helped from the trunk.
("Got a little rust in there . . . ")
Not sure who this beauty is, she doesn't seem to be credited.
But she uses her considerable assets to charm the producer; hmm . . .
The grips decide the production needs a pull-up bar, and a goal.
"10,000 sounds absurd. Let's do it" (Erin Weller, best boy grip)
Looks like everybody's getting in on the action. Check out those lats!
Wait a minute, Michael, those are chin-ups. The pink lady was doing actual pull-ups!
"That's another 10 . . . "
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Michael (Iolaus) reunited.
Kevin talks about last seeing Michael 2-1/2 years earlier when he saw
him performing in the Edward Albee play The Goat in New Zealand.
Michael, Eric Gruendemann, and Kevin
The first day of shooting on location in the desert. All of the vehicles are stuck in
the sand, and Gage's compound has been set up in the wrong location. Oops. Michael
mugs for the camera while decisions are being made. What to do, what to do.
While Gage's compound is being laboriously transported across the sand, preparations are
made to shoot the first desert scenes. Michael works with America Olivo on their fight.
"When you punch, you've got to not be shy about it".
"The thing about making punches look strong - if you do this, eh, but if you come back - BAM. Really sell it"
Time for a bit of road-dancing while the scene is being readied.
Shooting the first scene. Not nice, Camero. Not nice at all.
A "strong punch" being filmed.
Dancing again: Julia joins Michael for some dancing between scenes.
Then when the cameras roll, Camero goes back to torturing Gage.
Interview: "I love being out here. I think the direction we're shooting
just beautiful. And I think it's quite close to LA so it's the illusion of emptiness".
(Michael's on-set reading: The Shakespeare Wars).
Sharing a laugh before Camero does the deed.
Eric Gruendemann: "Watching (Michael) play Gage was just music to our eyes. He's so funny".
Rick Jacobson: "He just brought so much weight to Gage that
what I had pictured with the role. Just incredible to work with".
Eric Gruendemann: "He taught the rest of our cast a lot of lessons
about being there for the film - the work is the work, and this is what
we all dream of, of actually
making a movie - and embracing that.
"Even at its toughest points, when . . . it's incredibly cold, you've
got sand blowing on you, you're
in very little clothing, you're shooting a very long take or you're doing multiple takes or
very, very cold and miserable. - he's always the guy down there with his face
in the mud or the sand. . . . Because he knows it's gonna make the film great".
(Note that all but the actors are bundled against the sun, sand, and cold).
"Ok, ladies and gentlemen, that would be a picture-rap on Michael Hurst".
"It's been great. I'm sad. Sad to be going. But I've got a dvd,
first little piece on it, no one else is gonna see it!"