Action Heroes And Their Choreographers


elisabeth_icon.gif maxwell_icon.gif

Scene Title Action Heroes and Their Choreographers
Synopsis Following up on the HF attack — such as the follow-up is — and Liz gets to meet Max Quinn again.
Date Aug 11, 2009

Sound Stage

It's always an exercise in frustration to talk to the director and producer in this site, from what Elisabeth can tell. But she managed to get them to send the five or six people she needed to talk to one at a time into a trailer so that Liz could ask a few pertinent questions. After excusing the last one, the blonde officer steps out onto the ground and just watches the filming for a few minutes. Frankly, the dialogue in the scene she's watching sucks just a little bit. Not horrifically so far — it's an action flick, what do you want? — but enough so that Liz rolls her eyes when a cop in three-inch heels strikes a sexy pose with her play gun and yells, "Hold it, buster! You're under arrest!" while flashing both badge and cleavage. Amused, Liz turns to go while shaking her head and nearly bumps into Max. Behind her the director calls a scene wrap and she looks up at the 'star' of the piece. "Didn't they bother with consultants? You know… like actual cops?" she asks mildly.

The whole movie will look a lot cooler once there's a dramatic score, tons of CG and lots of explosions. But if it looks cheesy now, it's still gong to look cheesy on the big screen. But hey, that's kind of the point. It's a totally crazy action-romp. Really, it's not a bad foray for Hollywood into the controversial world of Evolved heroes. Just wait until there's the equivalent of Philadelphia for Evolved rights. They're trailblazers…in a way.

Max is on his way towards the craft tent when he almost literally runs into Liz. He's wearing a dark blue t-shirt that's pretty damn tight and a pair of blue jeans. Well, at least the sexing-up goes both ways? No heels, though. There's artful wounds applied in badass places like his cheek and arm. The bottom of the shirt is ripped. The wounds look pretty darn real, actually.

"Yeah, we have a consultant. But no one listens to him. I think he stopped trying on the second day of filming. Now he just sits in his chair, drinks coffee and collects his paycheque." He lifts a shoulder in a 'what-are-you-gonna-do?' sort of gesture. "How goes your investigation?"

Elisabeth snorts mildly. "Not exactly a shocker," she comments. Whether it's commentary on the 'they don't listen' or the consultant's actions, well…. yes! She studies him, her eyes narrowing slightly. "Makeup, right?" she verifies with him, blue eyes skimming over the injuries. "Pretty much like I expected," she replies to his question. "Pretty much nowhere. Not like someone's going to just up and confess and at this point… it's doubtful we're ever going to find anything. Mostly all we're trying to do right now is make sure it doesn't happen again, that's all."

"No, actually. I got jumped on the way to work. This neighborhood is terrible. Six big guys with knives…" Then Max flashes a smile and scratches just below the makeup on his cheek. "I almost think the real stuff'd be less annoying. This stuff's itchy as shit, and I get a bit of a reaction to the makeup." Then a heavy, dramatic sigh. "My life is so hard. This is why they pay us the big bucks."

He timed that just as a production assistant walks up and hands him a rather large Starbucks coffee. Eyebrows raise, he grins, and lifts the coffee in a salute. So hard indeed.

"Well, I know the fact that you're even here is making people feel better. We do some dangerous stunts. We don't need people freaking out that the explosions aren't supposed to be happening."

"Mmmmm," Elisabeth retorts with a small smile, though her blue eyes are sharp on him when he recounts being jumped. "It looks like a hard life," she agrees, tongue firmly lodged in cheek. "What'd they want?" Because you know… it's not like people in this neighborhood usually just jump a guy and let him go.

"Oh, well, they wanted an autograph. You know, because I'm so famous for all my Oscar-caliber work." Max is apparently not that bad an actor. He manages to say that with a straight face. "But you know. I managed to ninja all six of them at once. You should see the other guys. Messy. Take weeks to get all the blood off the sidewalk."

She gives him The Look. The one a woman gives a man who is blatantly lying through his teeth to impress her. "Oh, really," Elisabeth drawls easily. "You're a better actor than I thought — I got suckered into believing you for half a minute there." She looks thoroughly amused.

Well, to be fair, Max didn't expect Liz to believe any of that. He's just trying to be cute. "A half a minute? Man, that beat out all my previous records. I guess that acting coach is earning his keep after all." He quirks a grin and sips from his coffee. "Have you gotten to watch any of the filming at all? Some of it's less boring than others."

Elisabeth rolls her eyes at him, chuckling now. "Yeah, well — the 'got jumped in the street' part actually caught my attention, being as it wouldn't shock me a bit," she tells him. "You still alive AFTER is the part that gave it away." And she offers a cheeky grin. "I've see a bit. And I hope you won't take it wrong, but no matter how cute you are in your tight little jeans, m'dear, the movie's just…. gonna be fun. There's not much to it, that's for sure."

Maxwell chuckles. "Yeah, I guess I shouldn't joke about being jumped, huh? The studio actually made me get a bodyguard. Shit. I never thought I'd need one." Cause he's not really the type of guy people usually mess with.

He glances over to the other end of the sound stage where they're setting up for the next scene. Her comment about tight jeans brings a wider smile to his lips. "Oh, jesus. I'll be happy with fun. Hell, I'll be happy if no one walks out of the theatre."

"Well, I promise that I'll at least go see it," Liz offers with a smile. "And I won't walk out no matter how bad it turns out, okay? That's just kinda rude. Besides, I gotta pay $10 to get in!" She eyes him and grins. "Do you actually like this work? Really?"

"Oh, you haven't seen the fun stuff. I'm a stuntman first, actor second. Which is why I'm starring in this. This thing isn't about the dialogue. Here, I'll show you. Jim!" Max waves down a bald, well-muscled guy who is talking to someone with a headset. He trots over towards them. "Jimmy, this is Detective Elisabeth Harrison. She hasn't seen any of the good stuff yet. Just Angela's scenes."

The bald guy eyerolls at Angela's name, then offers a calloused, big hand to Liz to shake. "Nice ta meet you."

"Jimmy's our stunt coordinator." Max finds a place to set his coffee down, then bends over to tie his shoes tighter. "Let's do the bit from uh…scene 82, on the docks? You do Pauly's part?"

Jim nods and shrugs out of a hoodie he was wearing and stretches a bit. Max does the same, and moves a few things into the immediate area. A folding chair, a crate, a riser. No one else seems to be paying them much attention. This is a fairly usual sight around the set.

"Right, and…" Jimmy claps once and starts towards Max. What follows is a highly choreographed, extremely fluid fight sequence. It's like a violent dance. Both men are in tight control of their movements, to the point where they can come at each other with what looks like a full forced blow, but things are so greatly timed that the other man is prepared for it. If the spectators didn't know for a fact that it was all choreographed, it would look like both were in the middle of a real fight.

But rather than just being a brawl, there is something almost…elegant about it. Not to the extent of martial arts movies in the Crouching Tiger vein, but it's a lot more graceful than Stallone. It's somewhere in between the All-American action star and something imported from Japan or China.

Elisabeth takes Jim's hand and grins at him. "Nice to meet you," she replies. The fact that Max is showing off for her actually amuses the hell out of Elisabeth, and she moves to stand back as the men warm up and get ready. As they begin, though, her respect for the men goes up several notches. Considering what she knows about rehearsed movements from taking ballroom dancing classes as a teen and self-defense classes as an adult, she has an inkling of how much time it takes to make that look good. She remains quietly on the sidelines, her blue eyes intent on the movements of the fight. When they're done, she applauds quietly, sincerely entertained. "I'm thoroughly impressed," she admits to the men when they come over.

Not only do the men fight with each other, but at carefully planned and timed moments, they interact with the props Max laid out. They jump up onto the riser, use the folding chair as a weapon, dodge obstacles and the occasional person that gets too close all without missing a beat. By the time they're done, some of Max's artful wounds are starting to run a bit. Both men have worked up a good sweat.

Max takes a deep breath and leans over a bit. He grins at Liz. "That is what I enjoy. Not shooting the scenes and running lines. Thanks, Jim." He pats the other stuntman on the shoulder.

Jim gives Liz a grin and a head-tip, then moves off to do whatever it was he was doing before Max called him over.

There's a nod to Jim, and she looks back at Max. "Now that… that right there was worth the cost of admission," Elisabeth grins. "I can see how that might actually make you enjoy your work. I used to do a little performing — that's a ton of practice time, what you just showed me right there."

"Yeah. The thing is? We rehearsed that bit for a week. Jim spent weeks before that choreographing it. It might not even make it into the final cut of the movie." Max shrugs and picks up his coffee again. "This has been a cool movie to work on. At one point my character gets flight powers. I'm up on a wire beating the crap out of people while I fly," a slow, boyish smile spreads. "It's awesome." He's like a big kid.

Tilting her head, Liz looks intrigued. "A week? Really?" She makes an impressed face. "All I can say is that if *all* of my rehearsing for something like that didn't make it into the final cut, I'd be annoyed. But then again… " She shrugs. "That's probably why I can't figure out if acting's a job worth having," she admits with a smile. "It's good that you enjoy your work. I'd suggest you talk to Bax about the flying and beating on people thing, but…. not so sure any of his advice would even be worth it to you."

"Eh, you learn to let stuff go pretty fast in this business. A lot of movies would really suck if they kept scenes in just because they took a lot of effort. Sometimes a piece just isn't worth it for the good of the film." Max shrugs and swallows a mouthful of coffee.

Then, "Hey uh, I'd love to actually talk to you sometime when I'm not covered in fake gore. You want to have dinner sometime?" Never mind the part where he's supposed to be dating his co-star.

Being as she doesn't read the tabloids, and wouldn't believe it even if she did, Elisabeth tilts her head and grins. "If I go out to dinner with you, are we going to get mobbed by reporters or anything?" she asks.

"Look, I'm not really a celebrity," Max runs his hands back through his hair and grins a bit sheepishly. That's not an act. He actually sounds embarrassed by that. "People only know who I am because of the controversy around the movie." Or if they watch a lot of Spike TV. "One or two people might come up, but I'm no Tom Cruise."

Actually, that expression right there is what wins him the date — he's too bloody cute for words with that expression on his face. Elisabeth offers him a smile that's sincere 'like' as opposed to 'major flirt.' "Then yes…. I would absolutely love to have dinner with you, Max," she replies. "As long as you're okay with the possibility that I could get called away with no notice — I don't exactly have banker's hours when a case runs hot."

"I, ah, was just about to give you the same caveat," says Max, sheepish grin still lingering. "Sometimes they call me in because they forgot they needed me for something and it'll cost two grand to shoot it later. It's a major pain." He glances over his shoulder. "I kinda miss just being the stunt guy. Thug number six. Character names like Crash and Bongo, names no one ever actually says on screen. Fewer five ay-em calls, that's for sure." An eyerolls. "So, uh, when's good for you?"

Elisabeth laughs quietly. "Hey, at least it's a two-way street — I sort of miss being a beat cop for the same reason. SCOUT's a whole different ballgame." She reaches into the pocket of her blazer and brings out a card and a pen, and she scribbles her cell phone number on the back of the card before she hands it to him. "I've got a thing tonight and I'm out of town tomorrow … not sure I'll be back in time for dinner. But… if you're okay with short notice, you could give me a call tomorrow when you get done shooting and we'll see if I'm back in town," she offers with an almost-shy grin. "Otherwise… Thursday? Pending your shooting schedule, of course."

Maxwell takes the card, looks down at it, then grins up at her. He shifts and slides the card into his back pocket. "Do you have another one of those? Sorry, I don't have anything on me that doesn't belong to wardrobe." He pats his hips and lifts his shoulders. No cell phone, no pen, no cards. "Thursday should be all right. Might have to be a late one, if that's okay? I don't think I get off til eight thirty or so. And usually I have six inches of makeup and fake injuries to wipe off."

Elisabeth pulls out her cell phone and hands it to him. "Here…. put it in there," she offers. "And late's fine." She laughs. "At least you won't have trouble with curfew. Bona fide cop credentials get you out of trouble."

"Well, I'll leave my fake badge at home then," says Max with a sly, teasing look. He takes the phone and navigates it with a little effort. When he hands it back to her, the entry is 'Max (stunt guy)' with his number. "Right, Thursday then. I should probably go get this mess straightened up or they're going to yell at me and won't let me wander after I get my makeup on."

Elisabeth slants him a look now that's all flirt with a bite of her lower lip as she takes the phone back. "That'd be an outright shame. How would I get your attention if we weren't always bumping into each other?" She grins at him, clearly teasing. "I'll call you tomorrow if I'm back in town early enough." And then she jerks her chin toward the set. "Go on with ya, stunt guy."

"You wouldn't have to try very hard. My eyes always go to the blondes in the room," says Max with a wink. The look slides into something sheepish a moment later, like he knows that's a cheezy line. "I'll see you soon. Keep those streets safe." He turns and walks off, but before he gets too farm he runs up, hops and does a wall-walk with a spin at the end, then salutes back at her. Show off.

Elisabeth does in fact chuckle at him again at the cheezy line. Her eyes follow him back to the set thoughtfully, and when he shows off, she throws her head back and laughs. Then she waves one of those 'go on with ya' kinds of waves at him as she heads off the set to handle the rest of her day.

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