Killing Time

by Christopher T. Wood on October 20, 2013

in COLUMNS, FILM

chris wood retouchA friend of mine had a thought the other day. Just the one. It’s the kind of thing that often happens when men sit around with other men, grilling meat and drinking whiskey. Such activities are known to inspire thoughts. Word is God had just flipped the tri tip when he concluded, “Shit, fool. You could knock that out in a week. Earn your name.” And here we are.

My friend’s thought was a tad less ambitious. He asked, “What does a hit man do while he waits for his mark to get home?” Wow. Yeah. I mean, I kind of got it. Every movie around shows that moment. A guy, cool as a cucumber, sitting in a chair, room dark, gun pointed at the door at some perennial ne’er-do-well, we’ll call him Shekky, who’s stammering out excuses in a desperate effort to prolong the last few seconds of his forgot-to-pay-someone-he-never-should-have-borrowed-from’s life. But what about before that? How does a Hit-Man fill up the pre-Shekky period? Hmm. That was a good thought.

The script flew off my fingertips. Then it got chewed up, spit out and generally revised by smarter folks than me and flew off my fingertips again! A director (who actually gave witness to the original thought) was brought on board. A DP (Director of Photography) was gained and lost and morphed into a Gaffer. A set dresser/art person/genius was acquired through a chance conversation on the Santa Monica steps. Money was found!! Holy Hollywood, Batman, this was gonna happen!!

One problem. I was the actor. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m good. I’ve been hitting it out of the park, playing that quizzical black man in film, television and commercials for years, but my god! A Hit Man?? That’s the cultural Hercules of our time. What the hell was I getting myself into? Hit men were cool. I made my daily bread being a fool (a quizzical one, but a fool nonetheless). Give me a potato chip, I’ll sell it. Give me a dry moment in a movie, I’ll fill it with awkward ethnic realism. But kill someone? Who did I think I was?

A week later, I’m at a production meeting for the film. Everyone was talking. Everyone knew what everyone else was talking about. I wasn’t talking. I was waiting for someone to ask about our “re-casting needs”. I wanted to add to the artistic potpourri with witty anecdotes, but all I could think of were boring stories from boarding school. And I hated boarding school. Hit Men don’t go to boarding school! So I shut up.

Why couldn’t I have come up with a funny story about a corporate lawyer who hated his job because all he did was spend time in his office all alone waiting for… Wait a minute. Long hours in the dark of night? Check. Faceless bosses you only talk to on the phone? Check. A strong predilection for dark suits? Check Plus! Now I never shot anyone who came through the door… BUT THAT WAS ONLY BECAUSE WE WEREN’T ALLOWED TO HAVE A GUN!

I’m ready for my close up Mr. Demille. “Time To Kill” A short movie. Coming soon. Starring me.

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Christopher T. Wood

Christopher T. Wood has been an actor in Hollywood since the tender young age of 36.  He has appeared in numerous commercials, television shows and films and has been loving every minute of it.  He has been known to spontaneously break out into uncontrollable laughter while sitting at what others might describe as a boring audition.  The prevailing theory as to why this occurs is that he has just remembered he used to be a corporate lawyer on Wall Street for eight years and has now been retired for ten.  He thinks that's very funny.

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