Monday, January 10, 2011

Been There, Done That: Hilary Swank

Back in the day before Hilary Swank was an Academy Award-winning actress, she was just a young girl, trying to make her mark in the world of televison and eventually finding her way into Movies-of-the-Week.

That’s where I had my opportunity to see Hilary in person, although not nearly as close of an encounter as my husband had, with her DOG!

Mike, who worked as a set medic/craft service on many of those MOWs, had been on the set for a show called It Was Him or Us, a typical convoluted plot that had to be worked out in less that two hours of screen-time.

Fifteen-year-old Deena Marten wants the same freedom every teenager craves. But when she can't have her way, her rebellious temperament erupts in violence. Her parents, Stephanie and Todd, fear her new boyfriend, Garret, 17, is the cause. Distraught, Stephanie turns to alcohol, and Todd escapes in his work. They're unaware their Boy Scout son Adam, 13, sips from a vodka bottle hidden in his bedroom. And the problems in this dysfunctional family continue to worsen.

Hilary Swank played the role of Deena.

I was on set one night when they were filming a big, dramatic scene in which Hilary storms off with her boyfriend, and I’ll admit, it was too dark to see much of anything from where I was stationed. She paraded back and forth in from of me several times, passing a group of cars and trailers being used as props, but I don’t recall being especially impressed by her performance.

Okay, I’ll give her this—she was still fairly young in the business. A few featured roles on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Growing Pains, and Evening Shade, and the starring role in The Next Karate Kid, which honestly didn’t do much to establish her as a quality actress, was all the credit she had to her name.

This MOW, eventually known as Terror in the Family, was supposed to be her big break, even if it did take her three more years and a jump to the big screen to become recognized.

So, it may not have done much for Hilary at the time, but this little show did bring us one of our favorite stories about Mike and the strangest things that have ever happened when he was on set.

This is a story, about a DOG! Hilary’s dog, to be exact.

And a sort of stupid mutt it was. One day, while Mike was on set but I was not visiting, the entire set was drenched in a down-pouring of rain. Production was put on hold until the rain stopped and the crew could start to dry things off.

But a dog who wants outside stops for no one, especially not a little rain. Hilary opened her trailer door, the dog ran out to do his business, then immediately decided he needed something to chew.

Ah, this huge electrical cable looks like the right thing. A gnawing bite, a flash of light, and Hilary’s dog most closely resembled the poor Grisley’s cat in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

“My dog! My dog!” Hilary cried.

And here came Mike Medic to the rescue. A quick assessment of the situation told him the dog had electrocuted himself, his heart beat stopped and Hilary almost in hysterics.

What was a good medic supposed to do? Save the dog’s life, no matter what. And in this case, that meant giving that stupid mutt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!

And Hilary was extremely grateful.

I don’t think I would have done it, and I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on giving a big kiss to my husband for a couple of days afterward---Yuck! Dog germs!!—but save the dog’s life, he did, so I guess you could say my husband was a hero.

And do you know, not once has Hilary thought to tell him thank you from the podium as she accepted yet another big award. It’s the least she could do for the guy who saved the life of her stupid dog!

1 comment:

Annette Lyon said...

I love that he did mouth-to-mouth on a dog! How awesome!

I can't imagine any actor or actress thanking every person who did a kind deed for them in an award acceptance speech. It's not like saving her dog got her an Oscar! :D