Here's the thing about flashback episodes. They're awesome to write, but horrible to produce. So you can imagine the look on the faces of our department heads when they read the first few pages of Episode 7. Pure terror. Their terror quickly turned into panic. Panic then quickly transformed itself into 1,000 questions. What are we going to do with everyone's hair to make them look younger? Wardrobe? What kind of cars will we need? What did the island look like seven years ago? Lots of issues to resolve, but first things first, I had to find Chris Gauthier (who plays Malcolm) and explain to him that we were going to have to chop him up and throw his body parts into a furnace. As you guys know, the Assassin Rule has always been to speak with the actors about their demise before the script comes out for that particular episode. However, Chris Gauthier's shooting schedule was not cooperating with me, which meant that I wasn't going to be able to see him before the scripts were handed out. So, for the first time all season, I had to do something I had not done before. I had to kill someone over the phone. Not my area of expertise. Awkward. I tried to make it as painless as possible. "Hey Chris, it's Karim. How are you? [Pause] Great, umm, are you sitting down?" Worst line in Assassin history. ARE YOU SITTING DOWN?? I told you this wasn't my area of expertise. He laughed. I explained to him how we were planning on killing off Malcolm. He loved it. Until I told him that we'd have to make a cast of his head, like we did for Cousin Ben, the Reverend and Uncle Marty. The laughing stopped.
The way Malcolm's death scene was written was not what the audience saw. As written, Malcolm begins throwing the money into the furnace, until he's yanked off screen and butchered to death. As soon as the butchering ends, we would then see Malcolm's body parts (arm, leg, head) being thrown into the furnace. That's what we shot and presented to CBS in our Producer's cut. CBS loved it, but felt that we should cut the scene without showing Malcolm's body parts burning. The gore felt a little too gratuitous, and not necessary for our story. We agreed. Yes, it would be cool to show Malcolm's head engulfed in flames (sideburns included) but it wasn't going to make or break our story. So we took it out. However, we included the never seen before footage in the DVD. Coming soon. You're welcome!!
Final tidbit for the Malcolm death scene. We originally had Lou Reed's, "Perfect Day," playing over the sequence. It's one of my favorite songs and contrasted beautifully with the scene. You see a man's body parts going up in flames as another man is singing about what a beautiful day it is. Brilliant!! Unfortunately, we weren't able to clear the song, but ended up using an equally great song, Roy Orbison's "Running Scared." But if you recorded Episode 7 on your DVR, go back and play the scene with the Lou Reed song. Start the song as Malcolm walks into the room... and let it play out. You'll thank me later.
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