Baywatch Diary – Day 22

Last night I had a call from the 1st Unit AD (assistant director) saying they were moving my call time from 10:45am to 11am, and a second call from the Polly, the 2nd Unit director, needing me at 6am. I didnt mind the earlier call, as this is the last day, and I want to work as much as I can! I am also glad to be first up for 2nd Unit, because that means that they will definitely get my shots in and I wont have to work on Friday, although apparently we have to be done today, the higher ups (Fox TV) mandates it. There are three units filming today, to get everything done. All our shots today are outdoors daylight shots, so I know we cant go until 2:30am like they did last Friday with Yasmine and Billy (that 22 hour workday added over $40,000 to the budget. A big rescue scene the following Monday was changed to save $20,000, to make up in part for the overage). But we do have alot of work to do…

It is a beautiful, sunny morning and the ocean is calm for the first time in a week. I work with our water director, Greg Barnett, who is the Baywatch stunt coordinator, but who also has done stunts on Waterworld, Blue Crush, Mel Gibson movies, you name it. He is the most energetic, positive man you could ever meet. He looks exactly the same as he did ten years ago, and I attribute it to his wonderful attitude, a loving family, a job he loves and excels at that also keeps him in phenomenal shape, and a deep faith in a god. Brian Kealanu is also working on the water stuff – he is the son of Buffalo Kealanu (famous surfer and lifeguard) – and is a pioneering lifeguard in his own right. We shoot more swimming shots, which of course I love doing, and a shot where I am attacked, and then I am done for that unit. I get to go home to rinse off, and they call me back in at 2pm for my scenes with 1st Unit. Yikes – we are a little behind and there are only 4 1/2 more hours of light left…

The scene is one of the last in the movie- and the last one on our filming schedule: a fight scene with David, Jeremy, Nicole, Gena and me. The fight is choreographed by Barnett, and is mostly David, but Gena has to punch me out and I get to handle a gun. Guys are used to fight scenes, but we women dont get them nearly as much, so I need some tips on how to carry the gun in a real manner and how to take a screen punch. I have played several law enforcement people in my career, but it has been a while. My last roles were lovers, not fighters! Gena is worried she is going to hit me for real, as I guess on her series, “Sheena”, she by mistake connected her fist with many a costar. I am having trouble remembering to drop the gun, react properly to the punch and fall to the ground in camera range. Sigh. This is no time to need extra takes, as the sun is setting, but I screw up two takes. We get it on the third one, thank goodness.

It is getting dark, so they need to light our part of the beach a bit. While they are doing that, I go to 3rd Unit and see if I can slip in a title shot. Title shots are the shots each actor gets under their credit in the opening of the show. Slow-mo, heroic, sexy etc. They are shooting Brande’s title shot when I get to that set (just 100 yards away from 1st Unit). She was Playmate of the Year recently, I think, but she doesnt want to wear a bikini, so she is wearing a rash guard (a skin tight long sleeve turtle neck for surfing). I am not clear if this is because she doesnt feel comfortable with how she looks to wear a suit, or if she wants to shed the Bikini Babe image and that is why she is wearing something more modest. I reassure her that she looks great, and she agrees tie up the rash guard to show a bit more skin. Believe me, beautiful women focus on and worry about their body flaws as much as any other American woman, and I know that because I see it every day on this set. Brande is very beautiful, and I cant see a flaw on her, but she does.

David shoots his title shots and he looks fabulous, too. The best he has ever looked, I think. David just turned 50, and that sober living has obviously contributed to his fine form. I want a title shot, but because of the complexity of my character (I cant reveal the plot, but you’ll see…), the general feeling among the muckety mucks is that, even though I have a large part in the movie, a title shot for me doesnt totally fit. My credit will be there’ “and Alexandra Paul as…”, but they want generic rescue footage under it. I understand their point of view, but I looooove title shots – they make you look cool, which I love being! The director, David Hagar (who has edited every Baywatch montage), wants to shoot me, and we figure they dont have to use it if they dont want to. It is dark out now, but we shoot me running out of the ocean towards camera anyway. As David says, it works with my character. We will see if they use it…

Back at 1st Unit, it is totally dark. The lights have been set up to look like day, and Frank, the Production Manager, says that Fox called and we can shoot until 9pm and then we have to be done. So we film “night for day”, where we light the heck out of the beach and hope that it looks like day. I suspect it will – only once on Baywatch have I shot night for day, and the end result looked totally like 3 in the afternoon. Amazing.

We continue to film this climactic scene until 9:30 pm and then we are done. I dont feel particularly melancholy, as we all are tired and I am mostly focused on getting all the dirt and sand off me with a hot shower. There is no cast party, but most people are going to the hotel club to celebrate. As I am leaving for LA on a morning Aloha airlines flight, I dont stay long. The people from the Big Bounce production have asked Gena and I if we want to fly back on the producer’s private plane, which sounds like a ton of fun, but I decline as they are leaving 12 hours later than my commercial flight, and that means 12 more hours to wait until I am with my beloved Ian. I pack, collect my recyclables to drop off at the hotel manager’s office, and go to bed around 1:30 am.

I have had an incredible time here in Hawaii, shooting this reunion movie, and I am soooo glad that I finally decided to do it. Perhaps the Baywatch yoke will get a little heavier this next year because of it, but perhaps also the Baywatch blessing will also be there, and I will continue to work steadily through 2003. I already have a job offer for November… No matter what, however, this “Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding” experience will make any side effects worth it. Thank you, Daniel, for pushing me so hard to change my mind when I didnt want to do this television movie, and my friend Maria who told me I would be foolish to turn it down, and to my new agents at Progressive Artists who said, “Yes, do it!”, when I had serious doubts.

Working with so many actors and crew that I knew from my 4 1/2 years on Baywatch, on a reunion movie of a show that I loved being a part of, on the beaches of the North Shore in Hawaii – who could ask for more?

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