By Marc Wasserman
I have been blessed with the good fortune of meeting Toluca Lake resident Ford Austin, executive producer, director, writer and actor; a man who can do anything. Having been directed by Mr. Austin in three films, it was a no-brainer for me when he asked, in 2008, if I would make a cameo appearance in the current production of his feature film, Dahmer vs. Gacy. What I didn’t expect was to be surrounded by legends and stars acting in the same movie as I was.
Working with Ford Austin is always an amazing experience and to share the screen with hilarious actor and comedian Harland Williams, veteran character actor Art LaFleur, Hollywood legend Jerry Maren (‘Lollipop Kid’ from The Wizard of Oz), film star Randal Malone and Toluca Lake residents Ethan Phillips (from Michael Bay’s The Island), Alana Curry (Terminator 3) and newcomer Wade Stanton, was beyond my wildest dreams.
Making Dahmer vs. Gacy with historic Toluca Lake as our backdrop was the best experience of my life. We shot the film in and around the lake itself and at various historic locations such as the house that inspired Paul Henning to create his classic TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. We had all our food catered from establishments like Koo Koo Roo, China Garden and even got snacks from the Trader Joe’s on Riverside Drive. (Nearby areas also helped.) We shot a bowling alley scene at Pinz in Studio City and I had the honor of sharing a drink with veteran character actor George Reynolds, who’s been working in film and TV since 1969. But it was his portrayal of ‘Big Percy’ in Sidney Poitier’s Uptown Saturday Night that I wanted to talk to him about.
Mr. Austin’s movies are always a joy for everyone involved because he runs a very open set and is truly an actor’s director. He also manages to always have the hottest, sexiest and most talented actresses in Hollywood. Knowing that, my name will forever be attached to this project. Dahmer vs. Gacy sends chills up and down my spine and I am proud to be a part of this great film. Even more important to me, however, is how lucky I am to be included in the list of people who have worked in Toluca Lake and to have seen what a wonderful community can be where all the locals, restaurants and establishments really understand the importance of having a place to call your home.
Dahmer vs. Gacy, the feature film, is an instant cult classic and starts its “Midnight Mayhem Screenings” this weekend at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 theatre in West Hollywood on Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16, 2010.
The Sunset 5 theatre is located at 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046. To purchase tickets, please visit www.Laemmle.com. For more information, please call (323) 848-3500.