Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'm Not a University President, But I Play One on TV

"Oh, don't lick my hair. It's been on the floor of a parking garage," is not a sentence I thought I'd ever say to my husband.

Sometimes life surprises you.
So does Drooly McGrossmeout, but he has redeeming qualities.

Why would I have spent a morning lying face-down in a parking garage? The same reason I spent much of that time screaming at a very nice French fellow with a rubber knife.

I don't understand enough Japanese to get the whole story, but here's my approximation.

If you don't understand Japanese, consider having this and the video open in separate windows side by side so you can read along with what's happening.

Trivia: the cast is incredibly diverse, from the US, Australia, Poland, France, Iran, Russia, Brazil, and the UK. I consider myself lucky to be able to meet and talk to people from such a variety of places and backgrounds.

Dramatic opening: the news reports the tragic murder of Carmen, a newly elected University president.

How did this come about?

Carmen, aged 34, is a beloved University professor.
Trivia: the lovely handwriting on the board is the handwriting of the only genuine Russian woman in this cast. She was also one of my friends in the liposuction story. Since I can't actually read what's on the board, I'm talking about the number of sentences and how long the underlined words are.

She is also a wife and mother of two, with another on the way. Her career reaches the next level when she is elected University President.

She goes over the financial records and discovers a fortune is unaccounted for. She demands to know where that money went, and she finds out the VP is the one that has those records.
Trivia: all the handwriting you see is by the same person.

She confronts the VP about the money and he blows her off, not wanting to talk about it. In his office, he barely contains his anxiety. When she was elected, he thought she wouldn't be a problem, but she's turning out to be a real obstacle to his continued embezzling. He calls in his driver and asks him to hire a hit man.
Trivia: the actor playing the VP is probably the least villainous person I have ever met. He's a sweet Australian fellow that loves his cockatoo more than anything else in the world.

One evening after work, as she walks to her car in the parking garage, she is brutally stabbed! The parking garage attendant hears her scream and comes to investigate. Another man runs up a few seconds later and asks him what happened, but the attendant doesn't know! The man says he'll take her to the hospital, the attendant should call the police.
Trivia: that floor is really cold, and we filmed this in January over probably 3 hours, but the production provided all the clothing and packed me full of hand warmers. No complaints here!

The news reports this tragedy, as we saw in the beginning of the segment.

But then, a shocking turn of events! The news reports that Carmen is actually alive!  How can she be murdered in September and alive in November?

Carmen (the real one, not an actress) gives a press conference.

Here's what really happened.

When the hit man was hired, he saw that she was pregnant. He couldn't bring himself to kill a pregnant woman, so he went to the police with this information.

The lead detective comes up with a plan, and calls Carmen in.

He reveals that someone wants her killed, and she is understandably surprised.
What does he want her to do?
He wants her to die.

The detective coaches Carmen and the hit man on how to make this a believable murder. Stab like this, now fall on the ground. Remember to scream. That's not a scream. That wasn't, either. The point is to get someone's attention so we have a witness. Again!

In the parking garage, the hit man doesn't really stab her, and he pours some blood on the ground. The parking attendant runs up, followed by the second man. The attendant runs off to call the police and it's revealed that the second man is her husband! Remember him from the family photo in the beginning?

Red labels on people indicate they aren't in on the plan. Blue labels mean they know what's going on.

When the VP's driver meets with the hit man to pay him, the driver is arrested. Shortly after that, they arrest the VP.

The segment concludes with some footage of the real Carmen giving an interview, then the panelists on the Japanese show talk amongst themselves.

Trivia: I didn't catch the director's name, but I was really impressed at how he ran the set. He had a very clear vision of how everything should look, from my hairstyle and wardrobe to the very specific timing of lines delivered. That isn't a negative, he was efficient and organized. He sat with whichever actors would be speaking lines in the next scene to rehearse, fine tune reactions, and make sure the lines we said were the same length as the Japanese voiceover. Having that little bit of rehearsal made the shoot go more smoothly, and there was a notable lack of confusion about who should be where and what was happening. I hope I get to work with him again someday, and I hope I lived up to his expectations.

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