"My work as an actor on location/set
is to have the Producer's and Director's visions
up on the screen...!"

- - Badger

Badger in G-Men from Hell:

I got a call from Christopher Grey Casting for me to spend a day on the Just Begun Production of G-Men from Hell, in which I was to be featured as the "seedy neighbour" in a run-down apartment house. The shoot was Friday October 22nd, 1999 with an 11:00am calltime. This caused a problem as I had a 1:50pm commercial audition scheduled. Thankfully the audition was able to be moved to earlier and I arrived there at 9:30am, did it when they started at 10:00am, and got to the G-Men shoot with time to spare.

Once signed in I learned the low-budget feature (based on a comic book or graphic novel) was starring Gary Busey, Zach Galligan and directed by newcomer director Christopher Coppola. It turned out this was the feature's second day of principal photography. I was told to bring "seedy" type clothing, so I wore a camoflauge t-shirt, shorts and sandals (which was chosen for me to wear out of the selections of clothing I'd brought). Waiting to go up to set, the large smiling actor Busey reached out and shook my hand strongly and pleasantly, introducing himself, "Hi, I'm Gary." Also using only his given name when introducting himself, director Chris Coppola did the same.

According to a copy of the script I found and at which I glanced, this sequence is a few scenes into the feature. A murder has taken place (or may have taken place) and Gary Busey is one of the lead detectives (Galligan plays his new partner). Busey walks slowly but purposefully down the delapidated hallway, smiling as he passes me (at his left) as I stand holding a beer in my apartment's open door and look back at him curiously. Gary next passes a young woman to his right; she blows a mouthful of cigarette smoke at him. Chris Coppola wanted another person in that doorway, preferably a female, but somehow no such background person had been obtained. It was the set painter who was recuited (at no pay) to just stand there for the cigarette shot. She didn't mind (not being paid to be in the film); for her it was a lark.

They did several takes, including but not limited to, [the camera] passing me facing Gary, an over-Gary's-shoulder shot, a POV shot (so the camera looks right at me as it passes), etc. I stood there for later shots being done in which I'm not even 100% sure I could even be seen.

Just as we were going to lunch, Gary and Christopher gladly allowed me to have a photograph of them with me taken. Just so you know (regarding scale), I am five foot seven

After lunch, it was clear they really would not be using me on camera again, but the ADs were being too cagey about wrapping me. My only problem was that my car was in the shop that day and I had my then-roommate Angel's car. I actually wanted to be wrapped (if indeed I was no longer needed) so I could get to her work in downtown LA and pick her up.

Director Christopher Coppola and Gary Busey with Badger
W/director Christopher Coppola and Gary Busey

I began to suspect the ADs didn't want the same sort of problem about which TV movie Inherit the Wind director Dan Petrie told me on that set: wrapping someone who would indeed be needed later. However, hours had gone by, and while it did gave me some time to chat with Zach Galligan about his work on the Joe Dante movie Gremlins, I was well enough into overtime it really didn't matter to me how much longer I was there. I would gently and politely inquire as to the status, and while I was usually "assured" that "they'd check," it became clear they never asked if those in the earlier shots were able to be wrapped.

I began watching the scene being filmed in such a fashion that I was not in the way, but also that I would soon be noticed. Finally as the director was walking by, I asked casually, "Chris, are you going to shoot a shot of Gary returning back down the hallway?"
Chris considered this for a moment and, referring to me and the two other background actors, "No, you guys are all done."
"Well," I said simply. "The ADs aren't wrapping us"
"Hey!" Chris shouted brusquely into the room at his crew. "Why are these guys still here?"
Very carefully (and slightly patronizingly) one of the ADs replied flatly, "The scene isn't finished."
"It is for these guys: we're not goin' back down the hall. Let 'em go home!"
Now normally I'd stay until Whenever, and rack up the overtime, but as I was using my roommate's car, it became more imperative to leave when I could. I was able to pick up Angel, and still have some good overtime pay.

Friday, June 28, 2002:

For no good reason I happened to wonder if someone might Have Something on this film on ebay.
To my astonishment, there it was! A promo DVD of G-Men From Hell!
Now while I was unable to acquire it (this particular copy), the listing did say that the title would be available on DVD July 2002!

I did a quick search (suddenly references and links to the film are all over the place online), its DVD release date is set for July 9, 2002.

'G-Men From Hell' DVD cover

Sunday, July 07, 2002:

Keeping tabs, if only to keep up to date my DVD and Video Wish List page, I found that the G-Men From Hell DVD is scheduled currently for a "street date" of July 23, 2002, currently the least expensive at which to get it is at Video Universe.

Video Universe

Update: Tuesday, November 19, 2002:

Finally received a DVD copy of G-Men From Hell I'd ordered.
The hallway scene with me was not included in the final version.
"At least" the film as a whole in its satirical film noir send up was still entertaining.

The Film Reviewed at Comics2Film.com

G-Men From Hell cast/crew list and article at Comics2Film.com
(Wish I'd known about the summer of 1999 Comic Book Conventions
during which there were free screenings of the feature)

Christopher Coppola's production company PlasterCity
Chris Coppola's production company site: plastercity.com

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