Thursday, October 8, 2015
Bleeder & Bates: The medical examiner
Early in the investigation, Detective Bates has a conversation with the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Jimmy Beacon. She is played by Stephanie Burnham who was a member of my repertory company for film and television. Stephanie also wrote and directed for the group and joined a few of us in judging for the CableACE Awards in the 90s before they folded into the Emmys.
In this scene, I wanted a serious tone but felt the need to inject a bit of gallows humor and convey a slightly unexpected aspect of the medical examiner's character. It was my practice to create roles based on the actor's 'signature' or brand that could serve as the basis for leads in their own features as opposed to being peripheral characters to advance the story; each with an undercurrent of emotion and agenda and backstory implied by emotional reactions not entirely explained by the action and dialogue.
The quick tag line for my films would be ‘Thinking man’s cop dramas’ along the lines of the French films Shoot the Piano Player or Without Apparent Motive and Du rififi chez les hommes. I am greatly influenced by film noir.