Production is under way for Jekyll and Hyde, the film adaptation of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s novella. Although there have been many incarnations of the allegoric tale, ours will prove to be unique simply because we are telling the story exactly how it was written by Stevenson. With complicated plot twists and a detective esque story, my character, Gabriel John Utterson slowly reveals the haunting tale of his close friend Dr. Henry Jekyll. This is a movie that has the potential to change the way future film makers re-create classic literature. It also has the potential to be an accompanying teaching tool in classrooms. Furthermore it’s the kind of movie that will make those who see it want to run out and read the original novella.
Our production cast includes Academy Award recipients Mickey Rooney and Margaret O’Brien. I am thrilled to be working along side these two extremely talented and legendary screen actors. On the fist day of filming, I played opposite Mickey and Margaret. Margaret is so enthralled with acting and playing her character, she insisted we rehearse and ‘get the scene right’. I am inspired by her tenacious appetite for acting. I truly felt we had a bond and we shared a moment where two actors, who love their craft, came together to create something real and something true.
Mickey Rooney is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. I went to his IMDB page and found only one year in his career where there was not a film listed. Basically every single year since his career began, Mickey has worked. Over 340 films to his credit and still counting. The man is relentless in his pursuit of work, knowledge and desire to entertain. There was a moment when I was speaking directly to Mickey and thinking to myself ‘David, you lucky SOB… you are acting with Mickey Rooney!” Some of my childhood inspirations to some of my favorite films he has been a part of… From Pete’s Dragon, The Black Stallion, National Velvet, Boys Town, Night at the Museum… and the list goes on. I am truly blessed to have been able to share our mutual love of acting with this man. In a private moment over lunch, I was able to tell Mickey how much I admire him and his inspiration over the years. He responded by saying ‘We are all just human beings. I’m a man, just like you. I love this work because I am still learning about what it means to be a human being. To be present right here, right now. And that’s what acting is all about”
Right after he said that, I wrote it down because I knew I would write about it someday.
Then, of course, there is the dynamic and multitalented actor… the awesome… Vernon Wells. I mean just look at his resume… The Road Warrior, Commando, Innerspace, Weird Science, The Lackey and the list goes on and on… Quite honestly, Vernon is an icon… really talented and I’m lucky as hell to be working with him.
In addition the rest of the cast includes Shaun Paul Piccinino, Jed Rowen, Zan Alda all of whom have made this an incredible film making experience. Many thanks to all of you, your talent and work inspires me.
And, of course… Brian Barsuglia our director. Many thanks for hiring me to play this role. It’s truly a dream come true.