Monday, May 3, 2010

Dale Reynolds Remembers Zelda

I had known Zelda for about three years when she got the role in POLTERGEIST. Of course we were all thrilled for her good fortune and I awaited stories on the filming, personalities, etc. So to my surprise, one day, I get a panicked call from ZR so full of fear that I barely recognized her voice. "Dale," she said, "I'm going to shoot tomorrow and I can't memorize my speech; I'm going to fail." "Whoa," sayeth I, "let me come over right now and work on this with you." So I dropped everything, drove over and spent two hours working with her. The first hour was just undoing the damage Steven Spielberg had done to her by a lovely conversation he had after casting her. "I wanted a Little Person in this role because I think there are too many talented folk out there not being given a fair chance. And this role will make you the most famous Little Person in America and will make you a star and give you a chance at an Academy Award," etc. The kind of bullshit that interferes with an actors' process. It's the work that counts, not the rewards. So we cleared up that bit of nonsense and then worked on her monologue, which she had down perfectly. She was just hung up on that Hollywood crap that drives careers, but interferes with the work. The next day she rang me in the afternoon to say she'd done her whole speech in one take and that they asked her if she could do another "for coverage." When I finally saw POLTERGEIST, a film I love for reasons far removed from our darling Zelda, I cried when that scene came up. Zelda was a talent and a gem and I was so proud of our work together.

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