Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pennsylvania amputee has role in newly released Charlize Theron film, "The Road"

From The Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh:

David August (pictured) calls it one of the greatest experiences he's had in his life -- even if it entailed an exhausting 16-hour day and being naked for part of it.

August has a supporting speaking role in "The Road," the film version of the Cormac McCarthy Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that opens Nov. 24. August is listed in the credits as simply "Man on mattress" -- although even the characters of stars Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron are simply known as Man and Woman.

August's s on-screen presence is limited to one, grisly scene involving amputees and cannibals. But the lead singer for local country band North of Mason-Dixon still revels in the experience.

"It was an exhilarating thing for me," says August, a West Newton native who lives in Monroeville.

The vocalist wasn't looking to start a film career when a friend let him know about a call for "thin amputees" for "The Road." The idea of auditioning intrigued him, especially because "a lot of people don't know I'm an amputee," he says. August lost a leg during a 10-car accident in a snow storm in 1989.

Casting agents were impressed with his audition, and he was eventually cast in the film.

August's scene was shot in Harmony, Butler County, in a rented mansion. It comes at a crucial juncture in the film as Man and his son arrive at the house where amputees are being feasted on by cannibals. August is the most recent amputee; his leg is gone, he's on the mattress bleeding, begging for help when Mortensen comes to the door.

This is where the clothes come off.

"I thought I was going to be a lot more nervous," August says, noting that everyone else in the scene had to shed their clothes. "That was the harrowing part of the whole deal. But it was with a small crew, and I knew everybody had to do it."

Still, the camera's focus ends up on August as he speaks to Mortensen, who lurks outside the house. Surely that must have made him a bit on edge. And it would have, had the noted actor actually been there. In a bit of Hollywood sleight of hand, the parts were filmed separately, then spliced together. August actually spoke to an empty doorway.

"I did meet Viggo for 10 seconds in between takes of another scene," he says.

August is currently in the midst of recording an album with his bandmates in North of Mason-Dixon. The release should be ready early in 2010, and that will be his focus in the coming months.

But he's not adverse to taking another shot at acting.

"If the right thing came along and I thought I would do well at it, I would definitely do it again," August says.