|Marty Lindsey is The Zodiac|
|Lindsey's exclusive comments about a film that's coming soon to a
theater near you from ShadowMachine Films
|Okay, here we go: This might be a stream of consciousness, so bare with me.
I have to start with a life-changing event that happened one day before I was supposed to report to The Zodiac film set in Vallejo, Calif.:
On June 6, 2003 a single-engine Beachcraft Bonanza airplane flew into the middle of my apartment building in the Fairfax district of Hollywood. Five persons died and seven were seriously injured--including a very close friend who lived above me. The apartment building was fairly small (12 units) so everyone knew each other. Fortunately I was not in the building when the plane hit,. I had just stepped out to e-mail my mother at the local coffee shop, I didn't have personal computer access so I used the pay-to-email at the Daily Grind on Melrose Avenue. Anyway, I have to mention a snippet of what was swirling around in my mind during the shooting of this movie--particularly one that revolves around so much death. My personal story is ripe for a screenplay and I've started writing bits and pieces about it. But reflecting on such a horrific tragedy seems to hinder my creative juices--perhaps because it was so real, too real. I think time will prove to help manifest an honest/balanced screenplay.
Okay, enough of that. On to the ZODIAC shoot:
I originally was asked to do a table read for the part of Detective Martinez, now played by Rex Lynn. I actually wanted the part so badly that I put some gray in my hair and bought a salt-and-pepper mustache, then had my friend photographer Casey Cunningham (the one who was burned by the airplane fuel) take some pictures of me with a shoulder-holstered gun and fake badge. I thought it looked pretty good, although Alex Bulkley and Corey Campodonico probably thought differently. I didn't hear from anyone about the movie after the table read so I thought I wasn't going to be a part of it. I knew ShadowMachine Films was going after some pretty heavy hitters and even though Alex and Corey are long-time friends of mine, I thought my chances were slim. So when Corey called and said they don't have a Zodiac and asked if I wanted to play him, I freaked. I was also very confused.
After the first time I read the script, I wondered what big name they were going to get to play the Zodiac. I believe at one point Mickey Rourke was interested in playing the Zodiac. None the less, here I go to play one of the most ruthless serial killers ever to walk the earth. I had only about ten days to prepare and read everything I could get my hands on including what was on Zodiackiller.com. I could be mistaken but I think they were going to hire a local guy in San Francisco to do the Zodiac stuff. It wasn't until Denis Maloney said at one of the pre-production meetings, "Who is playing the Zodiac?" and they said "We don't know yet" that Denis expressed his apprehension about hiring someone with less- than-adequate skills.
During the shooting of the movie much of the time spent/shot with the Zodiac was in direct relation to the camera, so I was in close proximity to directors of photography i.e, Maloney and Aaron White. The shooting of the movie was a very interesting experience in that the Zodiac obviously was never caught and the intention of the film makers was to present him in a very ghost-like way--sort of in the shadows, if you will. I read a Zodiac book and pulled from some of the text, but I was told by Alex that the book was just one person's interpretation of this man. Other than the hard facts, the book is the author's theory and there are many other theories out there. What I'm trying to say is I learned more about this man while shooting this movie--from the people in Vallejo and surrounding areas--than I did from any one publication.
About a week into the shooting I was in my hotel sleeping at about 3 a.m. and got a call on the telephone. I don't know why I answered it. Probably because I was so jolted by the volume of the ring (those hotel room phones are always loud). Anyway, It was one of the night clerks asking me if I was the one playing the Zodiac killer? I responded,"Yes, who the hell is this?" It was a woman who proceeded to tell me that her aunt was one of the victims and that her mother or father (I cant remember specifics) had seen the Zodiac right before one of the murders. She continued with this story (names wouldn't be appropriate for this interview. I'm sure you understand) and theorized about who her family and friends believed the Zodiac was. All I can say is they believed very strongly that he lived in their neighborhood in Vallejo--and most of the detectives on the case felt the same way.
There was a lot of gun play for me in this movie and I wasn't used to working with firearms. We had a very professional props master who made me feel immediately comfortable with the gunplay, at one point I was firing directly into the camera for one of the takes and the only thing that was separating myself and Denis was a clear piece of Plexiglas. I thought to myself, "Please God, let nothing go wrong" Oh and "This boy aint in Colorado no more!" One night I found myself walking down this dirt road near one of the lake's we were shooting at and I just kept walking away from the set--trying to get into the Zodiac mind space. I then realized I was about a half mile from the set, it is pitch black and I'm in the Zodiac garb. I freaked myself out at that point. Needless to say I walked very swiftly back to set. Even though my character had mostly inner-monologue throughout and my interaction with the other actors was minimal, I went there--meaning I did everything in my power to harness this character from movement to posture to even how he took each breath. I was very committed to every second inside the skin of this man.
As far as antics on the set:
All can say is that there was one actor (I can't name names) who was, shall I say, "eccentric?" At one point this actor said to me, "Do you want to grab a drink after we're done today?" I agreed, not realizing we shot throughout the night and it was 5:45 a.m.-- not p.m. I said to my cohort, "Dude, it's a quarter till six in the morning; where are we going to have a drink?" He replied, "It's okay; I know a place around the corner; it opens at 6 a.m." I was, like, "Damn, all right"
At any rate, the cast was phenomenal... I got to meet and work on the same set as Philip Baker Hall, Robin Tunney, Justin Chambers, Rex Lynn and William Mapother--all consummate pros. I felt very lucky to be there and work with such a bad-ass visionary as Alex Bulkley. I hope to work with him again and have tremendous respect for him and his producing partner, Corey Campodonico. Also being able to meet/work and spend time with Denis Maloney was a privilege. He is truly one of the best.