The blog of author Dennis Cooper


2009’s Iron Cross utilized CGI and a latex mask to recreate Roy Scheider, who died during production. Director Joshua Newton and his team employed an old-fashioned technique to resurrect Scheider on screen. Their first port of call was to create a prosthetic latex mask of the actor’s very distinctive features which was then worn by a stand-in. The family of the late actor gave the director permission to recreate Scheider using CGI while the film was in production.


The first 30 minutes of Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible has a background noise with a frequency of 28 Hz (low frequency, almost inaudible), similar to the noise produced by an earthquake. In humans, it causes nausea, sickness and vertigo. It was a cause of people walking out of the theaters during the first part of the film. In fact, it was added with the purpose of getting this reaction. The “Rectum”, where these first 30 minutes take place, is in fact a genuine gay S&M club in Paris, called Club Banque (“Club Bank”) and located in a former bank. The crew changed the name, redressed the set and added red lighting. The club was spread across the basements of three separate buildings and was so cavernous and confusing that many of the crew members became claustrophobic in it. The man whose face is bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher was a mix of an actor in the first few stages which was then substituted with a latex head. Digital effects were added to make the transition more convincing.


That’s a real puppet they tested out to play Renesmee, Bella’s wildly powerful vampire/human hybrid child in Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part Two.


Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow began life as a teaser trailer produced by a guy in his living room, which impressed movie producers so much they gave him a giant stack of money to make a feature length film that ended up looking like a blurry $80 million Xbox game. After over 90 minutes of build-up we finally come face to face with Dr. Totenkopf, played by … a long-dead Laurence Olivier. The conversation they have with him is bizarre and stilted, which is to be expected when you try to write dialogue for an actor that matches old archival footage they had laying around. They just manipulated old BBC footage of Olivier when he was young, then used a lot of glitches in the “hologram” to cover the rough spots.


Nancy Marchand, who played Tony Soprano’s angry, ancient badger of a mother Livia, died from lung cancer in 2000. Livia was still a major character in the Sopranos universe, though, so creator David Chase was tasked what with to do with her, both in terms of her relationship with Tony and the possibility of her speaking to the FBI. Chase killed Livia, but not before she shared one final scene with her son. Well, “she.” The Livia that appears in “Proshai, Livushka” was created using CGI and previous sound clips of Marchand speaking. It cost $250,000, but looked like $25.


Tyrone Power had over half of the movie Solomon and Sheba shot when he collapsed and died of a heart attack on set during a fight scene. The Studio started over by having Yul Brynner replace Tyrone Power and reshoot all of his scenes. As tribute to the actor though, the director left him visible in some long shot scenes in memory of Power.


The blog avrilestamorta.blogspot.com.br, as you might have guessed by the title, purports that at some point between 2002 and now, Avril Lavigne killed herself and was replaced by a doppleganger actress. It’s a long rambling Blogspot page, comparing old photos of Avril Lavigne with new photos of Avril Lavigne. It also purports that the new actress Avril Lavigne might be trying to tell people about the secret switch in her lyrics.


“We went through and we put a kind of catalogue together of Robert Downey Jr.’s earlier films. Part of the process was deciding what Robert should look like, as this younger version of himself. And we settled on kind of a mix between a couple films. It became more of a young Tony Stark, than a young Robert, in a way. You actually take Robert’s face and warp it. You’ll go into your computer and you’ll take his face and basically massage it so areas as you age, that we’ve all experienced, you know, that kind of distort from when you were young—then kind of distort those back to when you were young, at an earlier age.”


The digital artists working Steven Spielberg’s first Jurassic Park film took video of themselves acting like the Gallimimus herd for reference before they animated the stampede scene; it helped them create more realistic instinctive behavior. Meanwhile, Stan Winston’s crew built raptor suits … and got into them.


For a 2014 Galaxy chocolate commercial, Audrey Hepburn was digitally recreated thanks to advanced VFX techniques some 21 years after her death. A production company called Framestore created the effect by building a 3-D model of Hepburn using her films, images, and other footage as a basis.


Film legend Oliver Reed died of a heart attack during a break from shooting on Gladiator, leaving several important scenes unfinished. Using CGI, Reed’s face was mapped onto a double’s head in the editing process.


Because of budgetary limitations and the pressure to create television animation within a tight time frame, the children’s show Clutch Cargo was the first to use the “Syncro-Vox” optical printing system. Syncro-Vox was invented by Edwin Gillette, television cameraman and partner in Cambria Studios, as a means of superimposing real human mouths on the faces of animals for the popular “talking animal” commercials of the 1950s. Clutch Cargo employed the Syncro-Vox technique by superimposing live-action human lips over limited-motion animation or even motionless animation cels.


The Billboard Music Awards promised fans ‘Michael Jackson: As You’ve Never Seen Him Before’, but most were left wishing they hadn’t seen him at all last night following a much-criticised performance by a hologram.

Initially the decision of what age Jackson should be in the performance was wide open. The performer could have been almost any age, as his career spanned decades. In reality, an actual ‘plaster’ life cast of the singer’s face made in 1997 meant that this would be the age of the Jackson the world would see: 39. It was at this age that the veteran special effects expert Stan Winston made a life cast of the singer for the project Ghosts. The team got access to that original life cast and had the mold scanned. As great as Stan Winston’s work always was, the very weight of the material and the agents used to avoid it sticking to a subject’s face can fill in skin pores. So while the life cast was a great measure of the performer’s dimensions it was not as accurate as today’s techniques for accurate skin pore texture.

The life cast got the effects team only about 75% of the way there. The pressure from the alginate (plaster) not only pushed out some of the pore features but some of the facial features, chin, general skin. Jackson had a very unique face, and part of his face was softer (thus it was more affected), so the team had a bit of a challenge, they also had a physiological challenge of what we think Michael Jackson looked like at age 39, what they perceived he looked like, but from the hundreds of images they got from the Estate, they arrived at what he should actually look like.


Had Bela Lugosi not expired shortly after Ed Wood filmed what might otherwise have been an innocuous bit of footage of the horror icon sniffing a rose outside his house, his contribution to one of the much-beloved bad films of all time could surely have been eclipsed by yet more baffling forays into B-movie legend. Instead, Wood finished the rest of his 1959 film using his wife’s chiropractor impersonating Lugosi – badly, holding his cape up to his face for the entire film.


‘Well, it’s an extraordinary technology that we’ve been looking at. You don’t use prosthetics, make-up, they have acting and the technology is able to have them go through different time ages without the prosthetics. So we’ve seen some tests and it looks extraordinary. We were able to film Robert De Niro and just do a scene, and we saw it come down to when he was like 20, 40, 60, so we’re looking forward to that, from that point of view, for my next film The Irishman … Imagine seeing what De Niro looked like in the Godfather 2 days, that’s pretty much how you’re going to see him again.’ — Martin Scorsese


Peter Sellers has an impressive filmography, but arguably, his most famous character is Chief Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther series. Sellers passed away before production on the seventh film in the franchise, but the director decided a body double would take Sellers’ place, using heavy bandages to obscure his face, until Clouseau presumably dies mid-film.


For Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, CGI animators painstakingly brought an iconic character into the movie. Grand Moff Tarkin, who was played by the late actor Peter Cushing. Cushing died from prostate cancer more than 20 years ago at the age of 81. One of the most difficult tasks was recreating Cushing’s legs and feet. While filming the Star Wars movies, the Death Star employees all wore tight leather boots, but Cushing complained to George Lucas and got out of having to wear the uncomfortable costume piece. However, in order to maintain the aesthetic of the film, Cushing always had his legs and feet hidden from the camera. For the CGI team, this proved to be a difficult aspect to recreate for Rogue One. The team went through Cushing’s other films in order to accurately recreate his legs to create natural and realistic movements.


I have written several papers critiquing Stephen Hawking, including a long one on his Brave New World series for the BBC. But this is my first paper really linking my science research with my faked events research. I will use simple photo analysis and facial analysis to quickly show you the current Stephen Hawking is not the same person as the original Stephen Hawking. This should not surprise you too much, especially if you know something about ALS. ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. We are told Hawking has had ALS for over 52 years, which is a record by many decades. Jason Becker is the only person I have heard of who has lived more than 20 years with the disease, so there is about a three-decade difference between the longest survivor and the second longest survivor. That is a more than 100% difference between first and second place. It would be like Justin Gatlin running the 100 meters in 9.8 seconds, and Usain Bolt beating him with a time of 4.5 seconds. In other words, statistically it doesn’t happen. The average survival time for ALS is four years. When Hawking was first diagnosed in 1963, doctors gave him two years to live. And yet here we are, 52 years later and counting. Should you believe it? Well, no. Like Becker, it appears the real Hawking did beat the odds and live for about 20 years. But at some point he was replaced. I have no proof he died, but I assume that is why they replaced him. He was a very useful public relations entity for physics, and they didn’t want to lose him. (cont.)


Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.


‘In 1955, Stooge Shemp Howard (older brother of Moe and the late Jerry or “Curly”) died of a heart attack. The Three Stooges still owed Columbia Pictures four shorts by the terms of their contract. Producer Jules White shot new footage of Moe and Larry and edited it together with bits recycled from previous shorts and stock footage (both of which included Shemp). When continuity required that Shemp appear in these new scenes, a body double (Joe Palma) stood in for him, appearing only from behind or with an object obscuring his face. They also dubbed in audio of Shemp’s voice, although occasionally its Palma’s actual voice. I pulled out all the fake Shemp footage (also a couple of lines referring to Shemp’s conspicuous absence) from those four shorts and strung them together. (Sorry, the audio level varies among the shorts, but the audio is not the point anyway.)’ — Dropofahat


BINA48 & ME portrait “sitting” is one in a series of Android Portraits that artist Claire Jervert is creating of Humanoid Robots throughout the world. This series of drawings appears to be a group of traditional portraits, reflecting the individuality and psychological nuance of their “subjects”. They are, in fact, drawings of robots created with the intent of manifesting human emotion–which are currently being produced by scientists around the world. BINA48, one of the worlds most advanced social robots created by Hanson Robotics and Martine Rothblatt, founder of Sirus Radio. BINA48 is based on Martine’s wife Bina Aspen.


In Ant-Man’s opening scene, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym strides into S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to tender his resignation. The scene takes place in 1989, and the Douglas that walks into the room is the spitting image of the actor during his Wall Street and Fatal Attraction days. To de-age Douglas, a special effects team added a little more fat to the middle of his cheeks. And since human ears and noses never stop growing, they also had to shrink Douglas’s back to their 1980s’ sizes, as well as remove some of his ear wrinkles. Then it came time to restore Douglas’s “youthful glow,” adding shine to his skin and hiding the blood vessels in his nose.


Before making Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee had been working on his own movie, The Game of Death, but had only managed to finish filming part of the climatic action scene. The sequence featured him fighting the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar while encased in a yellow track suit that proved his skills at martial arts did not extend to costume design. The director of Enter the Dragon took these unfinished scraps and tried to cobble together a finished film using new footage featuring several stand-ins who, aside from also being Asian guys who knew how to kick and punch, didn’t resemble Bruce Lee in any way. Of course this death fakery plot needed some sort of set-up, so early on in the film they had to shoot around the impostors using shadows, giant sunglasses, incredibly awkward editing and gluing a cardboard cutout of Bruce Lee to a mirror.


Johnnie Walker’s Bruce Lee obviously isn’t the real thing, but you could be forgiven for being confused. The whisky maker used the latest in computer-generated graphics to resurrect a realistic near-video quality version of Lee.


To create the CG head replacement for Paul Walker in Furious 7, VFX started by scanning his two brothers as the closest reference. Then they used Paul’s footage for the final touch up to his model to capture details like skin textures. To animate the simulated performance, they used a lot of Paul’s footage as reference, because as close as the brothers were in style and mannerisms, they just weren’t Paul when Paul played his character. They tried to limit their interpretation of the character to things that they had seen Paul do as the character. They found performances that matched the situation that they needed to put him in and used that to guide them.


The puppets featured in the Puppet Master films are the aforementioned Jester – an emotive clown. Blade – a knife and hook wielding puppet with a face modeled after actor Klaus Kinski. Pinhead – the muscle of the bunch with a head that’s too small for his body. Tunneler – a Nazi-uniformed puppet with a drill-bit head. Ms. Leach – a lady puppet who can regurgitate deadly leeches. Oddly, he oriental puppet from the start of the film is never seen again. The marionettes do not get a lot of screen time in the film until the last 3rd but their sequences are well shot and their interactions with the actors are believable and eerily effective.


Bob May (September 4, 1939 – January 18, 2009) played the Robot on Lost in Space. He also appeared as Adolf Hitler in The Time Tunnel episode The Kidnappers (uncredited). He also may have played the voice of Zalto’s Dummy in the Lost in Space episode ‘Rocket to Earth’.


For Tron: Legacy, Disney hired Digital Domain to create a younger version of Jeff Bridges. Motion capture was used to capture Bridges’ facial expressions and that formed the visual foundation of a younger, digitized version of his self.


Marty’s adorably dorky dad in 1985’s Back to the Future was played impeccably at two ages by Crispin Glover. But when it came time to negotiate his role in the two sequels, something went awry, and Glover refused to return (he either demanded a preposterous amount of money or was offered insultingly too little, depending on which side you believe). Director Robert Zemekis therefore cast Jeffrey Weissman in the role. Weissman was disguised with prosthetic makeup and sunglasses, turned upside down, and intercut with footage of Glover from the first film.


Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic Terminator character briefly popped up in McG’s ill-fated Terminator Salvation, but it was a slightly unconvincing recreation. He was too busy running California to appear in person. A crude, barely mobile mapping of his face done by Stan Winston in 1983 was digitally placed over a Schwarzenegger-esque body instead.


The famous comedian and SCTV alum John Candy died of a massive heart attack during production of the mostly forgotten Western comedy Wagons East! Candy had not completed all of his scenes before his untimely passing; therefore, much of his role was cut from the film. What little was filmed was reused as reaction shots, including the one which is shown twice in the movie, with different backdrops.


Orville Redenbacher was resurrected to star in this gourmet popcorn commercial in 2007. The result, according to Advertising Age, was “the resulting Orville zombie sounds nothing like the original. More importantly, it is visually jarring. It looks more like Dana Carvey made up to look like an old man. It is high octane nightmare fuel. It’s a desiccated undead zombie-mummy in a bowtie, and it will steal your soul.”


This British television series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons was created and produced in 1967, by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the same genius minds behind the worldwide success of Thunderbirds, the direct predecessor of Captain Scarlet, in a long line of Supermarionation shows. Captain Scarlet was very different from these other series. It was the first to use the real proportions of the human body, instead of the caricatured proportions and features used by its predecessors. Its gloomy atmosphere was also a far cry from the lighter and often humorous tone generally displayed in the other shows (such as in Thunderbirds). Captain Scarlet was a more serious show – Humour, although present in some episodes, was rare. Those two aspects served to give more much depths and realism to the series – something that was somewhat lacking in other Supermarionation series.


The third episode of HBO’s Westworld took the series to a whole new level, and not just in terms of android abilities. The visual effects for the show also went up a notch in “The Stray,” which flashed back to a younger version of Westworld’s creative director, Dr. Robert Ford, played by 78-year-old Anthony Hopkins.


Brandon Lee’s scenes in The Crow were completed using revolutionary CGI technology. The film began under Paramount Pictures, but after the actor was accidentally shot to death on set by a misfiring stunt gun, the company quickly abandoned the project. It was actually Entertainment Media Investment Corporation that decided to buy the film and finish it using newly developed CGI technology and body doubles. For example, effects team Dream Quest Images superimposed Lee’s face on a body double in the scene where we see Eric Draven’s face in a smashed mirror. In total, the team spent between 500-600 hours on effects to bring Brandon Lee “back from the dead.”


Swiss Army Man, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (who also want to remake White Chicks as an R-rated drama), stars Paul Dano as a man stranded on a desert island who stumbles across a flatulent corpse (Daniel Radcliffe), which he then uses to sail to the mainland. According to Jason Hamer, who produced the film’s makeup effects, “Building a body that looks convincingly like Daniel Radcliffe and can hold another body that’s propelled by farts going across the ocean. Things that have never been done before. That’s what makes it exciting,”


Pee-Wee Herman — played by Paul Reubens for many years on TV — recently returned in a Netflix original film. Reubens, who is now sixty-three years old, said that he felt age didn’t work with the character, and would take away from the film. So a mixture of make-up and digital effects took the current Reubens, on the left of the below picture, and created the Reubens on the right.


Lena Headey used a body double to film her most brutal (and nude) scene on the season five finale of Game Of Thrones. The scene took three days to shoot with Lena and her body double reenacting each brutal moment over and over again in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Then the star’s head was superimposed upon the body of her double for the final cut. And upon close examination it’s pretty clear that come computer graphics were at work to create the scene. In many shots the head does not match the body, and Lena’s neck is often different shapes and sizes.


Few people would have put money on old-fashioned stop-motion animation surviving this far into the digital age. Compared to modern computer animation, it’s like writing your emails in needlepoint. But stop-motion has not just prevailed, it has moved into new territories. Once associated with children’s entertainment, it has somehow found a new lease of life among “grown-up” film-makers – be they live-action auteurs, or animators dealing in darker, child-unfriendlier content. Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa ticks both boxes, and it’s the tip of an iceberg that’s still growing.


No, that’s not an image from a video game from the 2000s. That’s an image from 2001’s Mummy Returns, a $98 million blockbuster from Warner Bros. where The Rock appears as an absurdly fake-looking CGI man-scorpion.


Surely the most shocking victim of the so-called “Poltergeist Curse,” child actress Heather O’Rourke died of septic shock caused by a bowel obstruction before completing the 1988 sequel, in which she is the only returning member of the long-suffering Freeling family. A body double was used to film the final sequences of the film.

The planned original ending




p.s. Hey. ** H, Hi. Yes, Tate is wonderful, and I’m very happy you’re a fan too. ‘Absences’ was the book that originally cemented my love of his work, which is strange since it’s his most uncharacteristic collection. When I met him back in the 80s, I mentioned that and he made a face that made me think he wasn’t so fond of that book. Maybe a bit like Ashbery used to be about ‘The Tennis Court Oath’. Have a great weekend. ** Jonathan, Hey, J! Yeah, with Tate, I basically recommend starting with the first volume of his ‘Selected Poems’. There’s a later one covering his 90s/00s work, but I would start with the earlier volume. This one. But he’s always great, so if you can only find a single book by him, get it. Yes, I saw on FB that you had/are reading Kenneth Koch. Made me want to reread him, and I will. I’ll check out that Emily Berry book, thanks. I think it must be even harder to know if your art show is going well than it is to know if your new book is going well. I was over-optimistic about the apartment. I won’t know until next week, and I have a sinking feeling, so I’m continuing the hunt. I think yes on the secret compartment table. There’s a wealthy woman who bought this place, and an architect has been here twice to measure the place up, and it seems that she’s going to completely gut and redesign the place, so I don’t think she’ll mind if I swipe as much of the furniture here as I want. Fine weekend to you! ** Liquoredgoat, Tate is mega-great in my book. Yes, I read and really liked the Ocean Vuong book. He’s very, very good. ** David Saä Estornell, Hi, David. Congrats on the great interview! It was fun to read and try to decode. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. Funny the equating between Tate and Cheever. They’re super not alike. I think, or I hope, that you will be very and happily surprised by James Tate. Curious to know after you dip or dive. Like I told Jonathan, I think the ideal starting place is the first ‘Selected Poems’ book. There’s a link to it/the cover in my message to Jonathan. But starting anywhere is probably okay. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! I’m very happy you like the James Tate poems! That makes total sense about starting with those basic topics and questions. I can only imagine their answers will inspire more particular ones. Cool, good thinking. As long as the muse’s wave is still there, that’s what counts. The changes in intensity are totally natural, I think. So that’s awesome. Yeah, I was too hopeful about that apartment and in thinking I might get an immediate answer. The owner has to decide, and that’s where I’ve been rejected every time so far because my application is so not normal. So I don’t feel very hopeful now, and it’s depressing. I’m still hunting in case the owner says no. Otherwise, my day, … Zac and I checked out the post-production facility where we’ll be editing our film, and it’s really nice, which is good because we’ll be there all day every day for weeks. Then we met, for the first time, with our production manager who will organize everything and keep us within our budget. She seems cool, but she’s already questioning whether we can do some of the things we want to do, so that’s a bit worrying. A writer/journalist who’s a friend is going to write a feature article on the making of our film for a big magazine, so I conferred with him about how/when he can visit the set and interview us and so on. And I think that was mostly yesterday. I hope you have a very happy and splendid weekend, and I look forward to hearing what happened! xoxo. ** David Ehrenstein, Yes, thank you, sir! ** James Nulick, Hi. Always very happy to successfully turn people onto to Tate. Like I told a couple of people, if you can get his ‘Selected Poems’, that’s optimal, but any book by him is a boon. I have read Jon Anderson, but not for a very long time. Huh, Interesting. I’d like to read him again. I remember liking his stuff. Cool, thanks. They didn’t say yes on the apartment; I have to wait until next week to find out. It feels gloomy, but we’ll see. Zac lives very close to Pere Lachaise. Avenue Gambetta: funny location pick. Interesting. ** Bernard, Hi, Bernard! Yes, Tate, love! Tate was kind of my entryway into contemporary poetry. It was somehow through his work that I found the 2nd generation New York School poets, and then the 1st generation after that, and the New York School generally was the giant revelation for me. I carried Ron Padgett and David Shapiro’s ‘An Anthology of New York Poets’ around like a Bible everywhere I went for years. Anyway, I totally agree with you re: all of your characterizations re: James Tate. Back to New York, cool. You’re there a lot. Bonus. I’m so curious about the stuff behind your Paris trip. So very curious. Me too re: ‘Get Out’. I just don’t think I can handle seeing ‘La La Land’. Like I mentioned, the trendy Instagram colorized look of ‘Moonlight’ was so offputting to me that I couldn’t get through it. But I suppose that look is one of the reasons why people consider it so zeitgeist-y. More power to it, though. Me too about the apartment. The stress of the hunt and the continuing failures while time ticks away is wearing me completely out. Love, me. ** Larry Delinger, Hi, Larry! I’m so very, very happy to hear that! I hope you have a most excellent weekend! ** Steevee, Hi. I look forward to your review, natch! Everyone, Go find out what the eminent film thinker/critic/maker Steevee thinks about the Oscar winning ‘Best Foreign Language’ film ‘The Salesman’ Precisely here. ** K, Hi! You came back, nice, thank you! Oh, wow, I had not seen those Rafman sculptures all. How fascinating. Kind of a Renaissance guy, that Rafman. I’ll look through those works this weekend. Thanks a bunch. I hope your weekend is beset with great things and moments. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Oh, Mark Wallinger, very interesting. The works look very intriguing in the images. Curious to hear about that. DCA is a cooking kinda place. And you can eat breakfast there! Wow! What a nice idea. Rock your weekend, with out without Tai Chi moves, my friend. ** Paul Curran, Hi, Paul! You are the veritable sight for sore eyes, man. Oh, shit, Paul, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I went through that loss a few years ago. And with the consequent sibling stuff too. I hope that part of it isn’t as hellish as mine was. Anyway, nuclear hugs from me and all of Paris, although it’s pretty rainy today so put on your raincoat before you accept that sloppy embrace. Love, me. ** Jeff J, Thanks, Jeff. There’s a second ‘Selected Poems’ covering his work from the 90s onwards. No, he never slowed down or lost his touch whatsoever. He became less experimental and more of a master doing his genius thing with fulltime finesse and freshness is all. Thanks about the apartment. The hell/stress is not over yet despite my daydreams that it would be by now. No new news on the opera. We’re still waiting to hear from our mysterious collaborator and will be nudging him firmly this coming week. Yes, I’ll get a blurb to you this weekend. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. I love that you’re a big fan of James Tate, and, as is the case with me, I think, I think it makes total sense that you are, knowing you and your sensibility. Hooray for us. Have a good one, or, rather, a good two, buddy! ** Right. So, I started dwelling on the idea of the ‘post-actor’, i.e. actors acting while being supplanted visually by various means and for various reasons, and I started looking for examples, and I found some, and I stacked them up, and I called that ‘Post-Actor’, and god knows if it wound being a thing of interest outside of my own head. I hope so. See you on Monday.


  1. Today’s blog is on the genius level. And on Tate, his name I knew, but not his work whatsoever. The responses you got regarding the Tate post, is really great. My comparison with Cheever is not with the writing itself, but more of knowing the author’s name but never paying attention to their actual work. And when I do, BINGO! It’s a great moment for me.

    Tomorrow I’m going to the “David Bowie Is” V&A exhibition. It’s now in Tokyo, and I’m a huge Bowie lunatic. My knees are shaking with respect to seeing his actual costumes/clothing, notebooks, etc. And today I read an article somewhere about Lou Reed’s archives – which seems to be a lot of stuff. Notebooks, receipts, cassettes, videos, etc. It’s an interesting process of pulling all or one’s ‘stuff’ for preservation. In that sense, everyone can become a museum. I like that.

  2. David Saä Estornell

    March 4, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    BRUTAL!!! great, great work! I would like to meet with you. Do I write you through facebook message or your mail? I love you “Dennis Lecter/ Hannibal Cooper”

  3. Hi Dennis,

    So cool. Would those late-era animated Robert Zemeckis films (Polar Express, Beowulf, Christmas Carol) fall under this umbrella? For my money, this could be one of the most terrifying moments committed to film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGlBs4qX4f8 Those dead little eyes.

    Also, that scene in Irreversible probably changed the way bludgeoning is depicted in movies forever. Hats off to Gaspar.

    Hope you are well, always a pleasure

  4. Whoa, that Orville Redenbacher commercial. What were they thinking?

    Hope you get good news with the apartment soon, Dennis.

    Gig went pretty well last night. Most of my technical difficulties bad karma was napping till about 5 mins from the end, ha. It was at the end of a long day (and week); wish I had more energy to enjoy it.

    Will try to do a little collapsing this weekend, and maybe catch Gabriel Kahane’s recital Sunday.


  5. When I first saw the title of today’s post, I thought of “post-rock” and thought “post-actors” referred to some new acting style. I guess it does indeed, but not in the way I expected.

  6. Fascinating day.
    When the next “Star Wars” movie comes out (later this year, I believe) you can add Carrie Fischer to this group.

  7. I’ve now finished HAPPY PLACE. Even though I’m a fast reader, it’s a quick read – written in a fast-paced journalistic style and about 100 pages. I felt somewhat distant from it due to the fact that I’ve never been to a Disney theme park and I don’t much care for Disney cartoons (especially recent ones.) Nevertheless, fans and obsessive subcultures interest me, and it helps that author Scott Renshaw’s personal investment in his subject is evident. He’s obviously a huge Disney fan too and even seems to envy the super-fans he interviews at times. There’s criticism of Disney here as well, but it never gets political, although he can go there, as I’ve seen from his recent attacks on them on Twitter for hyping “the first openly gay character in a Disney movie’ in the new BEAUTY AND THE BEAST remake: he’s already seen the movie and claims the gayness exists entirely as subtext.

  8. Hi Dennis,

    saw Nocturama this evening and really liked it. The audience (whew, a lot) seemed to love it, and the majority of them are noticeably much older than I am, so it was cool to see a nice reaction. The director said the film is about insurrection rather than terrorism, which made sense to me. Its structure is very interesting, though it was not made for the complexity itself. It was a fine film throughout. Today New York is icy cold, so its romantic (broadly speaking) vibe felt like a shot of vodka to me.

    Couldn’t look at your post yet, but will do it as I finished the quick report above. Did you hear from the landlord yet?

  9. Dóra Grőber

    March 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm


    Thank you for this post! Some really interesting and… wild stuff here, haha.

    It’s great news about the post-production facility! I’m glad you’ll spend those weeks somewhere you find nice. It’s not so very hooray about the production manager, though. Or more like about her opinion. Does this mean that she gets to decide whether or not you can do something or is the final word yours, I mean Zac’s and yours?
    Is your writer/journalist friend the one who’s also going to interview you for the Kathy Acker book?
    Did you hear word from the owner of the apartment? I really do hope you got the place!!
    My weekend was work-filled – meaning I continued my research for places I can bomb with my submissions and I wrote, wrote, wrote. Pretty ideal, in my opinion.
    How was yours? I hope it was splendid!

  10. Hey Dennis – Interesting post-actor day. I remember Nancy Marchand’s back-from-the-dead appearance in The Sopranos and thinking it was a godawful mistake. Can’t believe it cost a quarter of a mil. Yow. They did it pretty well in ‘Rogue One,’ though. I wonder who are the agents for these post-actors or if that’s a thing yet? Post-agents?

    Forgot to say how cool it was that you ran into William Gibson a few days back. Have you kept up with his work? The first half of his latest novel was some of his very best writing, I thought. And I really liked ‘Pattern Recognition’ though that’s a few books back by now.

    Watched Victor Erice’s ‘El Sur’ this weekend, which was pretty amazing. BFI finally put it out on blu-ray and dvd, first time it’s ever been commercially available, I think. Highly recommend, if you haven’t already seen it.

    Hoping your weekend was good and the apartment situation is resolved soon and the owners say yes. Fingers crossed for you.

    And thanks in advance for the blurb.

  11. Dennis, James Tate is great, no?

    What’s odd to me with these post-actors is how it can go really wrong or bad. You’d think that with the technology these days, it’d be a slam dunk almost every time. Just do what the best ones have done or something like that. I understand about budgets and all, but when it works really well, it works really well…and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Just funny to me how it can be so hit and miss.

    The one with Schwarzenegger is interesting because they used Roland Kickinger, whose body is uncannily very similar to Schwarzenegger’s…and his face isn’t far off either. Seems that would’ve been fairly easy. But nope.

    We’re lucky in my area. Very rarely get extreme weather. But we have had a couple tornados and an earthquake (which originated 89 miles away in Mineral, VA and almost shook me out of bed). I guess we need a hurricane for the trifecta. Luckily, hurricanes usually lose all their force by the time they get up the coast to us. Fingers crossed that that doesn’t happen.

  12. Haha I love those Clutch Cargo animations, they’re just so wrong.

    So on Saturday morning I had a DCA breakfast and took a look round their perfectly enjoyable Mark Wallinger show. I took a selfie in front of his mirrored TARDIS, and my Tai Chi instructor has pledged to go along to their session on Thursday night.

  13. Hi Dennis!

    It’s Matt Doyle from around. How’s it going?!? Getting a bit of an idea from reading the comment sections, seems you are as busy as ever 🙂 My first time posting in a while, first time in the new digs. Nice to see the new blog. I love this post… didn’t know about Swiss Army Man, which looks insane/amazing.

    I’m finishing up at UCLA right now. Last quarter getting M.F.A. in their Design | Media Arts department. Working on a theater piece involving A.i.

    In part writing here because great writer and friend Fiona Duncan wanted to invite you to participate in a monthly reading series she runs in L.A. – apparently Hedi only had your old gmail? More info here – http://hardtoread.us/about

    If you’re interested, what is current email to put the two of you in contact?

    With care, and ’til soon – 

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