Well this is my fourth try at this file so let's see if I can finally get it started. To be honest, I haven't been inspired much to write after the show got canned, so this has been a difficult task indeed.
It's been two months since the last episode and about 6 since we wrapped production. All in all, a pretty sucky 6 months from my vantage point. But let us put that aside for a moment and jump into yet another 'Eberts' files' to be transported back to happier times.
I have to say that in my opinion, "Possessed" was simply not one of our strongest outings. I know that a lot of you may disagree (and I welcome dissent!), but to me, this seemed and amalgamation of previous episodes (Ralph, MFN, Germ Theory) with poorer writing. Now don't get me wrong, many of the individual parts were wonderful, it's just the sum product that had more than a few of us shaking our heads. Credit an amazing cast and crew to turn into good television.
But enough of my criticism, let's move on to some 'bits'
Many of you will recognize the priest as Joe Spano, from the hit television series "Hill Street Blues". His presence in this role really lent a degree of authority and believability that was sorely needed. I only learned that he was cast in this role after it was shot. A pity, because I would have loved to meet him.
The Football game announcer and music was added later on to spice up that scene.
Originally, The script called for hot guys and girl at the barbecue like a beer commercial. Unfortunately, models who can act are hard to come by (sorry of the generalization!) in this town so the role became 'speedo guy', an actor with a great body in a speedo. Obviously that proved challenging and so the scene was changed.
Those scenes were filmed at Balboa park. Unless I forgot, I believe that is the last episode we used that location. The park truly served us well and you could almost consider it a member of the cast. Almost, but not really.
Originally, my scene called for me to actually feed The Official the Chinese food. It seemed a little too much so a later draft had this re-written.
When sizing up my bosses chopsticks, I originally did a bit of business where I crossed the sticks. 'Josh Props' informed me that was considered bad luck in China. I stopped it but will forever wonder the impact it had...
The contact lenses were quite painful to Paul. Having never used them before, they took quite some time to insert and then provided only a limited window to shoot before he needed to take them out due to excessive tearing of the eyes. Paul was a real trooper, and managed to get every single shot needed.
My stuntman, Carol Shuman was present during the fight sequence, but ultimately was never used (more on that next file!). I have to say that after being smashed into the wall for about the tenth time, I was wondering the actual lure of being able to say 'I did my own stunts'. I did wear a flack jacket underneath my suit to absorb the shock.
A stand-in was used for the Officials push-up sequence. Although Eddie could easily do the push-ups, another man was brought in for shots not showing his face. A great idea as Eddie would have needed to do quite a few push-ups to get all the camera angles.
Here is something that's a little touchy, but I think now is a good time to address it. After I had jumped on Paul's back for about the 5th time, a weary, silver-lensed Paul turned to me and asked how much I weighed. At the time I was about 218 which was normal for me, but also about 13 pounds heavier than when I shot the pilot.
Weight is a very serious issue in Hollywood and for the first time in my career, I began to be ruled by it. When I first shot the pilot I weight in at a low 205. By the time we were midway through I had shot up to 212. After the hiatus, I went back down to 208 for the rest of the season. From then on, however, my weight slowly crept up. Diets worked occasionally, and I worked out for an hour every day, but I still continued to gain weight.
Part of the problem was the pressure in itself to keep the same body type. Women suffer more from the pressures (Shannon would often speak about this), but men do too. For the first time in my life I became extremely self-conscious of my appearance. I checked myself in mirrors, worried about camera angles and asked for better fitting clothes. All the while gaining weight. The combination of stress and success contributed and by the end of the run it was difficult to look at myself without shame. I remember always laughing at Jonathan Frakes and Avery Brooks when they gained weight in later seasons. It wasn't so funny anymore.
I mention this because part of me still feels shame at they way I looked later in the show. I feel like I let people watching the show down in some way; I also feel I let myself down. I shouldn't have to feel like that and neither should anybody else, ever. I have been on a program for the past 12 weeks and according to my wife, I look better. While the benefits of this latest weight change is wonderful, I know that this is a life-long struggle for me and others elsewhere. I work in a business where looks often over-shadow talent. I hope that some day changes.
Well, that was a little 'downy-clowny' wasn't it? Sorry about that, but you have to have a little low energy before you finish up strong. I'll see you next file.