That one time when I exploded.
It was back in 2008 that I played French soldier Marcel in the Word War II Drama: Everyman’s War.
It was being shot right here in Oregon and only a couple miles from where I lived at the time. I remember stepping onto the private property which I believe belonged to the director. It was a large, farm-like area with tons of space and several buildings, including a nice big house.
They were shooting a scene of a soldier lying down in the snow. Perhaps he got shot? I don’t quite remember, but since there was no snow at the time, he was lying down in fake snow, enough to fill the shot, everything else around him was green grass. It was kind of surreal. That Nazi soldier on a patch of fake gelatin-like snow in the middle of a green field as the camera shoots him down.
My character Marcel was a member of the french resistance. On the first day of shooting, I waited until about one in the morning before we got to my scene. I remember being asked to use a thicker french accent. It went fast. There was no notes or feedback so I assumed I did good but I always felt I could have done better.
The second day went fast too. That’s the day Marcel died, pulverized to pieces as a German bomb fell on him. The explosives were already in place but I was told it was not wired yet. I stepped into Marcel’s home, a small hole in the ground, and waved goodbye to my American friend as he walked away after a mutually beneficial transaction, the scene from the night before. We shot it only two or three times but I was sweating. One foot on each side of the explosives and the smell of gasoline. It was a bit scary to be standing in a hole with a bomb.
I got out of the hole. The camera was on a tripod, not to be moved or tempered with so that they could cut the footage from my waving goodbye to the explosion without a hitch.
They wired it up and boom. It was impressive. The loudness of the bang, the rise of the flames. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would have been like to be in that hole with the big boom. Thankfully, only Marcel died that day.
Everyman’s war is available on DVD and online.
I think I explode at about 25 minutes in or just about.