EntZone: How long did it take you to get accustom to playing a blind man? What, if any, specific training did you go through to achieve such a realist look and feel to the character of Walter Cooke? When you were ‘in character, did you find yourself being treated differently by others around you?
Eric Jacobus: … People are also totally off their base when interacting with the blind because the blind don’t play by the same cultural rules as the sighted, so it throws the sighted into confusion. We start wondering why we chose the shirt we wore today, or why we’re attracted to the women we’re with. That’s the beauty of the Zatoichi films. He throws everyone off base because they’re suddenly in the presence of a man who lives on the periphery of culture, where we lose sight of what’s fashionable and begin facing hard truths. Why do I want that car? Why do I care what color my shoes are? Real-life Walter lived by these hard truths and rattled off a litany of rules he followed for every situation. It stopped being about coveting the goods others have or lusting after women we otherwise wouldn’t care about and became much more grounded.
DMR: Talk about rehearsing the various fights: what are some of the new techniques and action you learned along the way?
EJ: We start with the story. Walter has a sword, these guys have guns. You can’t make a long, intricate fight when it’s a sword versus a gun. We could do “gun-fu” or flail the sword around for five minutes like a Rurouni Kenshin fight scene, but that would only service our egos as stuntmen. You lose people with that mindset, so as stuntmen who are creating from the ground up we have to pull back and ask, “What’s the story here? What are the key moments to capitalize on?” Takeshi Kitano made memorable fight scenes out of a single move – jamming the hammer on a revolver with his thumb, or putting a bullet in a guy’s mouth and socking him. This is smart film-making, so we start there. The choreography falls into place effortlessly then.
Read the full interview here. Thank you Danny Templegod for the opportunity.
Be sure to check out Blindsided: The Game on YouTube here.
As somebody who has now put together several films of your own, who have been your greatest creative inspirations? Who are your favorite directors or writers?
Aside from the Vaudeville and Hong Kong masters, I love the simplicity of the 80s genre film. We all love directors like John Carpenter. We love the movers of this era because good was good and evil was evil. There was no gray. … Clayton always told me, “Story, story, story,” and story must be built on truth, and truth is black and white, not grey. One needs a foundational rock to build from there, but that rock’s been cast out in favor of relativism and “personal truths”. But the audience likes Blindsided: The Game’s simplicity because we never succumb to this relativism. Walter might wear grey, but that’s his diversion. He 100% on the side of good.
You’re standing in a line with a bunch of other people who are all trying to do what you want to do. However, if you stand in that line and think that out of all those people ahead of you, you’re gonna be the one that makes it, then you’re just as trapped as the people in front of you.
Blindsided: The Game, directed by Clayton J. Barber and starring Eric Jacobus and Roger Yuan, is now available to watch for free. Enjoy, leave a comment, and please subscribe. There may be more adventures with Walter yet…