The homeowner left us with clear instructions: "If my friend Sam shows up at the house and I'm not home - no matter how much he begs you - do NOT let him inside."
"Because he will steal all my alcohol."
The past few days, Sam never showed up and I didn't think much of it. We found it odd when producer Peter found an empty bottle of Tequila and a 12 inch chef's knife hidden behind the set porto-potty. But none of us put two and two together.
Today during rehearsal, Sam showed up. I was outside on this nice patio with six of our actresses...
The department heads, hard at work...
Sam lumbered up to the house like a bear that had been hibernating for the winter. He was filthy - covered in leaves and mud. His hair stood on end and his eyes were heavy-lidded and unfocused. He wandered past the actresses and into the house.
I waited a few Mississippis, excused myself, and called producer Richie. "Code blue! Sam's in the house!"
Producer Richie and his trusty cell phone
Richie arrived a few minutes later. I told the actors to keep running lines. Richie and I crept into the house, softly calling Sam's name. No response. We couldn't find him!
Finally, we discovered him in one of our shooting locations, passed out, and - get ready - covered in his own excrement. Poor Richie had been through so much by this point, we just looked at each other and started laughing. Exhausted, desperate laughing.
Back outside I resumed rehearsal. The actresses kept suggesting we rehearse inside, in the actual location. "But," I'd rejoin, "the weather is so nice out here."
Inside, Richie and Lisa carried Sam out to Richie's car, laid down newspapers, and drove Sam back to his house. Richie tells me the smell was unbearable. The next 45 minutes Richie and Lisa ran fans inside what we now call the hobo room. It's the room where Jason and Melissa have to kiss...
The "Hobo Room"
Finally, as night fell and the smell dissipated, I casually suggested to the actresses that we rehearse inside. Now I know why large budget sets are always guarded by police officers. Because of guys like Sam. With any luck our actors will have no idea the degree to which we are running this set by the skin of our teeth.