Dan K. Sigurd ist zur Zeit auf Sky zu sehen. Er spielt "den Inder" in der Serie 8 Tage. Während den Dreharbeiten schrieb er diese Story.
Dan K. Sigurd can currently be seen on Sky, playing "the Indian" in the series 8 Tage. He penned this story during the shooting.
0. found himself on the steps of a large building, right at the top, beside the entrance. At the bottom of the stairs the American President arrived and as he made his way up he was greeted by countless people. When he reached 0. he probably expected more adoration, but instead 0. said with a firm voice: "Please resign!", as he shook his hand.
"What...what is this?", the President stammered and stared at 0. in confusion for a few moments before abruptly turning around and heading inside.
0. followed him a few minutes later and joined a group of young people in a room with large windows.
He wanted to tell them about the things that had just unfurled, but suddenly he noticed something sticking to the window beside him. It was some kind of large slug that almost covered the entire glass with its body, and when 0. looked around he noticed countless creatures gliding up the windows all around him. Some of them began to break under their weight and in panic the mob stormed towards the cellar where they barricaded themselves.
In the small dark room it did not take long for violence to break out and 0. began to wrestle with a big, heavyset man who tried to rape one of the women that had locked herself in with them.
Finally the door swung open and a few men and women stormed inside, but somehow it was clear to 0. that they were the alien slugs from before, that had to be some sort of shapeshifters.
With a muffled scream he awoke and it took him a while to realize that it had all just been a dream. He grasped for the touchscreen on the nightstand beside him that was beeping loud and shrill and stared at its clock in disbelief. When he remembered that he would take part in a film shoot today he turned the alarm clock off and opened the shutters in front of his window that exposed a rainy, grey backyard.
'The perfect day for a summertime-scene out in nature!', 0. thought as he got dressed. There was no time for breakfast or shower and so he just hasted out the door where he opened his umbrella and headed for the subway. It took him to the city center where he ran through the rain once more, towards a row of buses. One of them turned out to be a shuttle for extras like him and after telling the man beside the door his name he climbed inside and sank down in one of the seats in exhaustion.
He stared through a veil of raindrops on the window, at the gigantic TV tower beside them, that was partially obscured by thick white clouds.
A man with some sort of pirates hat and dark glasses entered and sat down beside 0., who wondered if he was the last one. But they remained parked and 0 wished he had slept a little bit longer. When a bearded man in camouflage came in and took his seat they finally set in motion though, and made their way through the dirty, wet city, towards a small village at the outskirts of the town.
0. got out his touchscreen again and read the mail he had gotten a few weeks ago:
"Wir möchten Dich gerne für folgendes Projekt anfragen:
Serie: "ACHT TAGE - Weltuntergangs/Dramaserie für SKY Deutschland"
Einsatz als Komparse
\"In 8 Tagen stürzt ein Meteorid auf die Erde und löscht alles Leben aus. Auf einem Campingplatz leben in den letzten Tagen von der Gesellschaft verstoßene, die meisten von ihnen geben sich dem hemmungslosen Drogenkonsum hin\"
Art: Tagdreh / Innen- und Außendreh
'So I'm a drug fiend again, eh?!', he thought and wondered why he always got these types of roles.
'Oh well, I'll better do my character justice then!', 0. told himself and got out tobacco and weed in order to roll himself a small spliff.
He decided to check the web for information on the series and found out that the production for a large European Pay TV station was helmed by an Austrian director who had won an Academy Award for yet another film about the Holocaust. 0. had only seen his horror movies about murderous medicine students though, that had been unusually successful for German language films.
'At least the weather is appropriate for the end of the world!', 0. thought, but when they left the city behind the rain stopped. They drove through dense green woods and past a number of small towns. Suddenly 0. noticed a sign with the words: "Mass Graves" on it, and when they left the town again and he caught a glimpse at the name-sign he realized that there had been a concentration camp here during the second world war. In fact it had been the very camp the directors last film had taken place at, though it had actually been filmed in artificial sets inside of studios.
Finally they rolled onto an old shipyard full of rusted old boats where they came to a hold beside a couple of containers on wheels.
The extras were lead into one of them and sat down at the small wooden tables inside where they were told that they were the first ones here.
"So I don't know when the director wants you ready...you'll get your costumes...but they shouldn't get wet so...", a bearded blond man stammered and one of the extras asked whether the container could be heated while another one wanted to know where the catering was. The bearded man fled their questions and when he came back he ordered some of them to head over to the costume department that was housed in a small hangar beside them. 0. followed a few others there and began to undress.
He put on the thin shirt and pants he was handed but pleaded that he'd be allowed to keep his leather coat.
One of the costume ladies nodded and told him to head over to make-up and so 0. climbed into another container where he sat down in front of a mirror. The make-up artist shaved his arm and then began to cover it with tattoos.
"That's Sanskrit!", the man in the chair beside him remarked and leaned over to read it.
"How do you know?", the make-up artist asked and he replied: "I studied that...politics and culture of Asia..."
When she added: "And what do you do with that now?", he replied: "Well...nothing right now...I have one fourth of a doctors degree...but I don't do nothing much...I'm pretty happy with my life the way it is..."
After a brief moment of silence he went on: "Well, I'm thinking about running for parliament...after all I studied politics. I was at the headquarters of the green party yesterday...wanted to meet with Ströbele...he's retiring, so maybe I can have his seat!"
0. looked at the man in disbelief and wondered whether he'd seem more respectable without the colorful hippie-clothing he was wearing, and the shrill make-up that was supposed to make him look like a junkie.
0. got one final tattoo on his forehead and then headed back to the holding container where breakfast was finally being served.
He quickly swallowed a coffee and stuffed a sandwich and cookies into his mouth as he filled out his contract.
The bearded mans superior came in and demanded the extras attention. She introduced herself and then said:
"So this is a production for Sky Germany. It's called
8 days and we're shooting 8 episodes that show the final 8 days of different members of a family that are dealing with the apocalypse that will come soon...in 8 days!"
'Ah', 0. thought, 'They learned from the streaming site! I guess that's how it goes now...a number in the title to let the people know what awaits them! Nice and easy to grasp!'
"We'll be shooting this first block with the director who won the Oscar for his film 'Die Fälscher'", the woman continued and then said: "Anyways, there is a meteor heading for the earth and people are unsure how to deal with it...some say: 'The Americans will deal with it...blow it up...', and just go on with their lives...until reports surface that bunkers are being built, but only for the elites...everyone panics a little...there are different situations that ensue and the series shows them: Some people just
have sex, others take lots of drugs...others become religious fanatics, some flee to Russia, or America where the comet might not do so much damage.
In all this, there is our main character, he's blond, quite handsome... and tonight you encounter him, bow some of you are churchgoers, others are camping...hippies, junkies...all of you decide to follow Robin who seems to be some sort of messiah...you just hang around him in those last few days...smoke a crack pipe...and you're sure: 'Robin will built us an ark...on one of these old boats in the river out back...so you decorate it and say or think things like: "He's our Jesus...he'll save us...so you hippies and you evangelicals become some kind of bazaar...ahh...kabala!"
She gave them a long look and then claimed: "And this scenario is really told through the images of you extras! You're not just passers-by in the background here! So really act out! Be fanatics and...rock the image...sing some songs...maybe we can even pay you extra for that...but mainly...repeat what he says and so on...and then you have to defend him against critic, a pastor who comes on board in order to get his congregation back...that's the first scene we will be shooting in just a few minutes!"
When she was finally finished with her instructions they were lead back to the costume department where they had to stand in a row as the head of the department inspected them.
First he took a close look at the churchgoers and remarked: "I'm not sure...you look great, but it still feels like a costume...", he pointed at a young girl before him and continued: "I mean...I've never seen someone like you walk down the street anywhere...but OK...you're very religious and all...god-fearing...are you god-fearing?"
The girl shrugged her shoulders and slowly shook her head, but the head of the costume department mumbled: "Oh well..."
They headed back to the container where 0. let his gaze wander over the posters on the walls that all showed a famous Hollywood actor in his most iconic roles.
'Brando was a method actor...', 0. told himself and reluctantly got out the spliff he had rolled earlier.
'Maybe I should refresh my emotional memory...'
He left the container and walked down to the river where he sat down on the rusted metal skeleton of a wagon and lit the joint.
Then he got out his little black book and wrote:
they brought us here
and told us to act
like the apocalypse was near
as if we're
by a messiah
guide us to the light
0. noticed that the other extras were lining up again and so he gathered his things and joined them. The head of the costume department took one last look at them and then they headed over to the set. After a short walk through bushes and mud a boat appeared behind the trees, with a huge smokestack, from which colorful ribbons were hanging.
0.boarded the ship, where he was told to stand in the bow.
"So you're making decorations out of these old CDs...", the bearded instructor told him, "...and then you hang them up over here!"
0. nodded and looked around at the numerous set pieces that surrounded him. He noticed a map of the world to his right, with a big black spot right in the middle of Europe. Dark crosses surrounded the epicenter and below the map it said:
"RIP in Frieden"
The bearded man reappeared with a broom which he handed 0., only to take it away again moments later to give it to someone else instead.
Finally he reappeared with a middle-aged woman who he placed beside 0. and instructed to interact with him.
Then the crew left the boat and they filmed the first shot, from the riverbank.
The director yelled: "Action!" and 0. began to move towards the woman with a few shimmering CDs. She placed the purple ribbon around his neck as he hung them on a rope, until the director yelled: "Thank you!"
They repeated the shot a few more times and then moved on to the next one that was supposed to be filmed from a crane on a second boat beside them.
0. watched the floating platform slowly come closer and overheard one of the technicians on board say: "Just 10 more minutes..."
"I don't believe you!", the bearded man yelled back and then told the extras that snacks and coffee were waiting for them in a tent on the shore. They left the boat and 0. grabbed a few more sandwiches before the bearded man appeared and told them they were needed for a sound-recording. They were told to sing and chant and once everything was recorded the were sent back onto the ship where they were told to move their lips in silence because the main actors text would be recorded.
The rain began to pour a little harder and they were handed umbrellas that were taken away again a few minutes later when the director was ready to shoot.
"Camera isn't rolling...don't know why...", 0. heard from the other end of the boat and they had to wait in the rain a little longer, until they were finally able to film.
Even though they were shooting chronologically the woman beside 0. was taken to the riverside to walk around in the background there.
The director yelled "Action!" again and 0. continued playing with the CDs until the take was done.
Afterwards he was told to walk towards the camera, embrace someone and then walk off the ship, and once the director yelled "Action" he did as he was told.
When 0. recognized the actor who played the messiah, leaving the boat, he followed him down the plank until the director yelled: "Thank you!" again.
Before the next take they told him to change his behavior once more and when the cameras were rolling again he went back to hanging up decoration.
After the final take they were ordered to be quiet for an ambience sound recording. Then the extras were chased off the boat so that the main actors could rehearse the next scene.
0. sat down on a log beside the river and got out the joint butt. He lit it, inhaled and watched the boats pass by, from which confused vacationers starred at the surreal scenery. 0. waved his tattoo-covered arm and a couple of old women waved back in amazement.
An older man who portrayed one of the churchgoers approached 0. and waved as well.
0. asked him if this was what he would do if the end of the world was near, but the man shook his head and replied: "No I guess then I'd have some fun with a woman...enjoy myself...maybe smoke a joint...I guess I'd do all the things I've never done before...but I wouldn't join a sect, no..."
"Well, have you ever been in one?", 0. gave back, "That could be something new you've never done before..."
"Well...", the man replied, "I've been quite active in the protestant church in my life...that's a kind of sect! But if the end was near I wouldn't go back to that...I've done enough in my life for others...I'd just care for myself in my last few days on earth...spend my last days with a woman and just have sex till the end..."
They were called back to the set and scattered on the boat. The director yelled over from the shore from where they were shooting the return of the messiah with his girl.
A young man in a priest's collar climbed up to the wooden cross on the smokestack and the bearded man who was taking care of the extras explained that he would be telling them not to follow their so-called messiah.
"Yeah!", the actor yelled, "Can't you see?! This isn't a real cross! These are just some wooden panels from the hardware store!"
A few of the extras were apparently already in character as well and especially one large woman or man in female clothing vehemently disagreed: "He's our messiah! You don't know what you're talking about!"
After taking care of a few more technical difficulties the director yelled: "Action!" once more and they repeated the scene a few times. Then he came on board with the main actor and tried to decide on the next few shots with his cameraman.
Before they shot the scene they were told to head back to the holding area for some lunch though. 0. filled himself a small plastic plate with the vegetarian option and sat down beside the river where he ate in the soft rain.
Soon thereafter they were called back to the set where they set up to shoot the scene they had just rehearsed. The priest addressed the crowd of freaks that had assembled around him once again and explained that their messiah was a lunatic. He was interrupted by the return of the chosen one, who approached him and revealed that God was talking to him. He climbed up beside the cross with tears in his eyes as the priest left on his own in disbelief.
0. realized that he would barely be visible behind the funnel, but he reached out his arm to the main actor anyways until the director screamed: "CUT!"
He instructed the actors, gave them a few notes and suggested minor changes. But when he walked away to the set-monitor one of the extras remarked: "You said 'mass'...but you're an Evangelical priest, right?! We don't have mass...only church service!"
The actor looked at her in confusion and then asked: "So what is it? Service? I mean it says 'mass' in the script...that's their job, they have to do better research...I just say the lines..."
Nevertheless he stammered: "This cross was not consecrated...in no...mass...in no service!", when they shot the scene the next time.
At the end of the take their messiah cried even more as he proclaimed: "We will venture into the light on our ark...together!"
The actors and extras cried out in agreement and repeated: "Into the light! INTO THE LIGHT!", until the director told them to stop.
They repeated the scene one more time and then returned to the holding area for a few minutes.
When they returned to the set the next time, the camera crane on the floating platform beside the boat was towering high into the air, moving back and forth as it followed one of the crewmembers to check the light-situation. The director replaced him with the main actor and they went through the different positions one more time.
Meanwhile the bearded man instructed the extras. He turned to 0. and told him to change his position, but as soon as 0. began to walk away the director appeared behind him and told him to turn around and ascend the smokestack with the messiah.
"I'll give you a sign when!", the bearded man said, but 0. had his doubts whether he would see him waving at the other end of the boat.
When the moment came the camera was pointing right at him and 0. did not dare to look away. He just kept his eyes on the messiah and climbed when he felt like the time was right. He came close to the young actors face and when the tears reappeared in his eyes 0. grasped for the cross and held on to the man who had climbed up beside him until the director yelled: THANK YOU!"
They repeated the scene a few more times and with every take 0.moved closer to the messiah that stared at him with piercing mad eyes. The man who 0. was embracing kept crying: "The light! The LIGHT!", as he held on to 0. and pressed himself against him in shivers that seemed almost orgasmic. 0. felt his nether region pressed against his leg and as soon as the director proclaimed: "Cut!" 0. let go of his hair as the main actor mumbled: "Man, that's strange when everyone stares at you like you're a holy saint!"
The director was finally satisfied with the take and proclaimed that they would set up one more shot from further away.
As the floating platform drifted further away and the camera crane was readjusted they were lead off the boat for a few minutes only to board it again moments later.
The crane was still being adjusted though and so 0. got out another small spliff which he smoked as the other extras looked at him with surprise and disbelief.
"I thought that was what this series was all about?!", 0. said and took another hit.
They were asked to be quiet for a sound-recording of the priest that repeated his monologue with some minor variations. When one of the crewmembers whispered something on the riverside he stopped and stammered: "What? What was that?"
The director gave back: "Never mind! Continue!" and after a long silence the priest continued for a while, until he fell silent again. When someone behind him suggested: "'The ark'...", the priest yelled: "Shut up!", followed by another long silence.
The director decided not to film a wide shot from the crane and as they set up lights to illuminate the dusk, the extras waited on the shore again for a few minutes. When they were called back onto the boat it was rapidly getting darker and darker and the cameraman screamed: "The light is disappearing! We have to shoot now!"
"The light! The Light!", a few of the extras yelled out and chuckled until the director climbed aboard and pointed them to their new positions.
0. had to sit on a pillow to the messiahs feet. He was only partially covered by the umbrellas above them and cold wind blew the rain into his face that was coming down hard and fast now.
The young girl the messiah had disappeared with earlier was told to run up to the shore and call out for him and after rehearsing the scene a few more times the director said: "We have to change your line: 'I can't leave, we're guarding the ship'...I want something less severe...maybe: 'We're having a moment...we're being enlightened...a séance...we're having a moment together! Yeah, something like that!"
He told them all to hold hands and act entranced, left the boat and then yelled: "Action!", from a tent on the shore.
0. let the rain pour down on him for this take and the next one where none of them were even visible.
A dirty old man lit a giant joint with every new take and when the scene was done and they were heading back to the holding area 0. asked the old actor if there was actual weed inside.
"No! I wish! It's some kind of fake tobacco and it tastes like old socks!"
When they were back in their warm bright container the churchgoers were told that they would no longer be needed.
"So you could go now...but the nearest subway is a couple of kilometers away...and our shuttle isn't going until the last extras are done..."
The director came in and pointed at the hippies he wanted for the final scene. 0. wasn't too thrilled when he was chosen to come back out into the rain, but at least he wouldn't have to wait in the stuffy trailer much longer.
He followed the other extras back to the set where they were spread out on the riverbank beside the ship on which's roof the messiah was crouched in a dark hoody.
He had a plastic waterbottle in his left hand that he threw into the air, trying to make it land in an upright position.
"This is never gonna work!", he yelled, but the director replied: "I know...but do it anyways!", before returning his attention to the lights.
The main actor laughed and kept trying.
"There is too much water in the bottle!", he exclaimed, but to his surprise it actually worked and the bottle came to a rattling hold on its bottom.
A few of the extras cried out in amazement, but the director was still occupied with the lights, that still did not satisfy him.
The messiah tried to repeat his miracle and it worked a few more times until the bottle fell down into the river.
More lights were being added and adjusted as the mosquitoes at the shore stung actors and crewmembers mercilessly.
The cameraman was finally satisfied with the lights and instead he and the director tried to give the messiah directions so that it would hit his body and face in the right angle.
"Open your shirt and let the light hit your chest...I don't need that much of your belly...but try to get the light in your face!"
They finally decided to shoot the scene and as the hippies moved closer their leader cried out: "You saved my life!"
The old Russian woman beside him yelled: "Who are you?" and the messiah flung the bottle into the air. As it miraculously landed on its bottom in perfect balance he said: "You know my name!"
Shivers ran up and down 0.'s back but nevertheless the director told them to repeat the scene.
This time the bottle trick did not work right away. Only after the third try did the bottle land correctly and when the shot the scene once more it did not work at all.
They moved on and the director and his cameraman came out of the dark towards the extras to reposition them.
The cameraman wore two pair of glasses through which he stared at 0. and the others with a calculating and piercing gaze.
They fought with the lights again and the bespectacled cameraman climbed onto the boat to set up a second camera behind the messiah.
0. was told not to move too far back so he wouldn't block the view on any of the actors.
When the final shot was set up the director yelled "Aaaaand...action!", one last time and the group of campers and junkies staggered towards the boat and gazed up at their messiah.
0. raised his hand to his heart and suppressed the urge to kill the mosquitoes that were sucking blood out of his legs, through his skinny pants.
After two more cries for "Action!" the messiah whispered "You know my name!" one last time and the director yelled: "Thank you! We're done for today!"
As they stumbled back through the dark 0. passed the award winning auteur of this production, but the old Austrian barely noticed him as he waved goodbye. And then, suddenly it hit 0.. Wasn't this a production for Sky - a Rupert Murdoch company?
Will the revenues from this series flow into the American cable TV market somehow to fund the 24 hour news channel that had become the propaganda machine of that newly elected populist monster of a President?"
The images from the dream 0. had awoken from this morning reappeared before 0. and he stumbled and nearly fell to the ground when his foot hit a root on the ground.
His legs were shaking and he sank down on a pile of wood beside the river with his head buried in his hands.
When he calmed down and stopped thinking about the sensationalist TV News the sky network had been running in the UK for years, or the many other vulgar businesses the old Australian mogul had his fingers in.
When he looked out over the shimmering water he wondered if the topic of the Apocalypse was bubbling uo more and more now, or whether there ha always been this large heard of doom criers in art and popular culture.
With trembling hands 0. reached for his tobacco and weed to roll one more joint. As he looked down at the warning label on the tobacco that showed a woman puking blood he told himself: 'The apocalypse is near anyways. Before I start puking blood I'll be long gone!'
A shiver ran down his spine when the question: 'Could that be true? Is the world that close to the edge?', appeared in his head.
He inhaled from the spliff and then picked up his little black book:
in these few lines
let this stoned idiot savant
be your messiah
with these few rhymes
and tell you of the nearing doom
it will be here
I have felt it
in my bones
all those places
we call homes
will be wiped from the earth
all our faces
with the blast
of giant, fast
beyond the horizon
of the next day
it will be here soon