As I write, I envision certain actors in the parts to give voice to the dialogues. Belial, or Bill Dante, was not one of the first characters designed, but he is one of the most important. He had to be the “cookie-cutter” image of my hero, who is also Bill’s child. I found all the visual and physical characteristics I needed in actor, Gary Oldman.
Visually I drew from his look in “Lost in Space,” but beyond that, characteristically I drew from his performances in several movies: “Nobody’s Baby,” “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” “Air Force One” and yes, even the much maligned (and with good reason), “The Scarlet Letter.”
Bill is a romantic who feels everything with great passion, therefore I was able to draw a taste from all of Oldman’s performances, and would watch these movies repeatedly while writing, for inspiration, paying specific attention to “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’s” soliloquy on death.
The brilliant Tom Stoppard wrote the following, but Oldman’s delivery of Rosencrantz is spot on and something to be seen: ***
Rosencrantz: Did you ever think of yourself as actually dead, lying in abox with a lid on it?
Rosencrantz: Nor do I,really. It's silly to be depressed by it. I mean, one thinks of it like beingalive in a box. One keeps forgetting to take into account the fact that one isdead, which should make all the difference, shouldn't it? I mean, you'd never*know* you were in a box, would you? It would be just like you were asleep in abox. Not that I'd like to sleep in a box, mind you. Not without any air. You'dwake up dead for a start, and then where would you be? In a box. That's the bitI don't like, frankly. That's why I don't think of it. Because you'd behelpless, wouldn't you? Stuffed in a box like that. I mean, you'd be in thereforever, even taking into account the fact that you're dead. It isn't apleasant thought. Especially if you're dead, really. Ask yourself, if I askedyou straight off, "I'm going to stuff you in this box. Now, would yourather be alive or dead?" naturally, you'd prefer to be alive. Life in abox is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. Youcould lie there thinking, "Well, at least I'm not dead. In a minutesomebody is going to bang on the lid, and tell me to come out."
[bangs on lid]
Rosencrantz: "Heyyou! What's your name? Come out of there!"
Guildenstern: [long pause] I think I'm going to killyou.
Oldman’s delivery is as easy and matter-of-fact as a chat over tea, but it also carries a deep, heart-felt emotion for the idea he is conveying on a subject he is seriously contemplating…it’s something I try to convey in Bill’s moments of deep thought on life, love and all that is most important to him.
I am certain that you, the reader, saw someone else when you first read Bill…I encourage you to share your “vision” here and why. I am always interested to hear what images my writing brings to mind in my readers.
*** Imdb Entry of Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” - Studio: Image Entertainment, DVD Release Date: March 22, 2005