The Guest List
By: Steven Eramo
Date: October 2004
Source: Cult Times #109
AARON DOUGLAS was just 11 years old when he saw the feature film … And Justice For All on TV. It was Al Pacino’s performance in it that convinced him that he wanted to become a lawyer. “In high school I was focused on getting into university to achieve that very goal.” says the actor. “However, at one point I realized ‘Hey, I don’t want to be a lawyer, I want to play one on TV or in the movies and jump up and down, scream and argue my case’. About a year ago, my mom told me that when I was really young I used to tell her that I wanted to be an actor. So things worked out for the best.” This month, Douglas plays the morally ambiguous Rob Coulter in The Dead Zone episode Total Awareness.
What was you audition like for The Dead Zone?
It was weird. I was having an off day. I can’t remember exactly why, but I think I’d had some bad news about a family member. So I was walking around in a bit of a daze and went into the audition room not entirely focused on what I was doing. Normally, my take on acting is to do it as simply as possible, and on this particular day I think I was even simpler in my approach. I more or less said the words, the casting people said. ‘Thank you,’ and about a day later my agent got a call from them saying, ‘We love Aaron, we want him,’ Honestly, I was a bit shocked, but also thrilled.
What were some of the challenges playing Rob Coulter?
The writing for this story wasn’t really conductive to my acting style in that there was a little more technobabble than what I’m used to dealing with. It can be hard to find a way to make those words sound natural and that you speak them all the time. So that took a bit of getting used to. Also, in my mind, this character was absolutely driven and completely ruthless. Coulter wasn’t necessarily evil but he didn’t allow his emotions to get in the way of the job at hand. It’s sometimes fun to play the bad guy because you’re not bound by the morals of society, so you can be a bit more ‘creative’ with your performance.
Do you have a favourite scene from the episodes?
Probably getting to ride with the stunt drivers. Those guys are just amazing. They can ride the other guy’s bumper by six or seven inches while doing 70 or 80 miles an hour. Initially, my heart was in my throat because I’m not used to that stuff. After a couple of takes, though, it’s obvious that these drivers are total pros and aren’t going to hit anything or wipe out. So that was fun. I also got to go up in a helicopter, which was really cool too.
What was The Dead Zone cast like to work with?
They’re all extremely personable. Anthony Michael Hall [Johnny Smith] is a great guy. It’s really apparent that he’s very interested in making a quality series and it shows on the screen. You come away from working with him thinking ‘Nice person, good experience’.
How about the episode’s director, Kevin Speckmaier?
He’s a pleasure to work with as well. Kevin knows how to speak to actors and understands very clearly what he wants in a scene. he’s the first assistant director on The Dead Zone and this was his first time directing an entire episode. I though he did a terrific job.
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