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کتاب: زندگی در چند بخش / فصل 46

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  • زمان مطالعه 3 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Patrick Crump

I didn’t even have time to shave when I got back from the desert. The clock was ticking. I had a couple of weeks to edit Last Chance before I ran out of money. Unshowered, unkempt, I began working around the clock.

Three days in, I got a call from my agent: “I know you just got back. I know you’ve got a time crunch editing the film. But there’s an audition for The X-Files. A good part for you.”

Robin and I had rolled the dice and put in $150,000 for Last Chance. We’d raised the rest from friends and family. I had a five-year-old daughter. I was broke. Of course I was interested.

My agent told me the character was a backwoods anti-Semitic loser. I looked in the mirror. Greasy hair. Badass Fu Manchu mustache. Red-rimmed eyes. I think I can handle that, I said.

I auditioned and got the job. The episode was called “Drive.” I played Patrick Crump. The story was this. Besides being a despicable hick, he had a piercing, constant headache, and the only way to ease his pain was to drive west at a minimum of eighty miles an hour. If he didn’t keep driving west, his head was going to explode.

Crump’s wife had already succumbed to that horrible fate at the beginning of the episode. Mulder (the dryly hilarious David Duchovny) gets into the car with me (I don’t remember how that worked without my head exploding) and drives toward the setting sun. Unfortunately for Crump they start in western Nevada, and you know what happens if you keep driving west across America: you eventually run out of real estate. RIP Patrick Crump.

Crump couldn’t have been worse company for Mulder. He is racist, abrasive, loathsome. Most writers on television at the time would have sanitized Crump, made him sweet and sympathetic, allowing the audience to root for the series star to rescue the nice man from death. But the writer of this episode imbued Crump with negative characteristics that forced Mulder into a moral quandary: Is this man worth saving simply because he’s a human being? That question put an emotional and intellectual dilemma right in the heart of the drama, and forced the audience to ask, What would I have done?

That was my first taste of the subtlety and brilliance of Vince Gilligan, who wrote that episode.

Vince felt that in order to prevent the audience from completely turning its back on the story, Crump had to retain some shred of humanity despite his odiousness. He wanted to find an actor who could both play a villain and elicit the audience’s sympathy when he died. Someone you could, somehow, someway, both love and hate. For whatever reason, he thought that was me.

I enjoyed it. A lot. But my mind was foremost on my film, and the X-Files paycheck allowed me to keep the lights on while I finished it.

Vince and I were friendly and expressed our mutual appreciation. But as far as I knew then, that was the last time I’d ever see him. I did the job and moved on.

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