I just added notes to TV.com about an un-aired episode of RESCUE 911, shot many years ago, and it brought back memories in a flood, memories of how we shot the reenactment of this incident.
I was an actor hired to play Nancy, the neighbor who calls 911. In the audition, they asked me to have a fight with another actor. Thinking I was auditioning for the victim (who is stabbed by her husband), rather than the neighbor, I let the other actor fight with me, but I didn’t fight back: I let myself be intimidated. I got the role of the neighbor, not of the victim. The actor with whom I was auditioning did not get cast. I thanked him for yelling at me convincingly enough for me to be cast.
As Nancy the neighbor, I was not to meet the actor who was to play my own husband till i got to the set. I did, however, listen to audio tapes from the real Nancy and look at photos of her.
The whole cast, other than the paramedics, were actors from San Francisco who traveled to Redding for the shoot. I drove up from Santa Cruz with Paul Henri, a hard-working, busy stage actor. Paul was to play the man who commits the crime. A change from his last role as a philosophical, gentle priest. After the 4-hour drive, Paul & I met the actress who would be playing the victim. I remember her strange face, with one blue eye and one green. In a few years, I was to have a dog who looked like that.
In this Rescue 911 incident, a man had stabbed his wife over 40 times in the face and body while their little daughter watched. It took hours for the makeup artist to do all the blood and stab wounds.
On our first shoot day, the little actress they hired to play the daughter was not a very good actor–she had been a print model, not an actor. Instead of crying, she laughed when she saw her “mom” with all the stab wounds. The director had to work with the little brat to get her to at least pretend to cry.
The actual victim and her daughter came to the set to watch us shoot. She came to the makeup trailer and talked about how long her husband spent in prison. We asked if she would be uncomfortable watching us reenact the crime and she said she was enthusiastic to have the show aired: she wanted to help other women leave abusive relationships and set good examples for their daughters. I got a chance to see her face: several years after the incident, it was a mass of scars & disfigurement. Her daughter wouldn’t talk about the incident at all.
This episode never aired. The producers told us that it was the bloodiest & most violent show they’d ever shot.
On the second shoot day, the actual victim returned to the set. She confessed to us that had gone back to her husband after he was released from prison.