GETTING BUGGED : ACTORS STUCK WITH CREEPY ROOMMATES IN MEGA-MESSY `JOE'S APARTMENT'.
Byline: Janet Weeks Daily News Staff Writer
``There's something disgusting about cockroach cockroach or roach, name applied to approximately 3,500 species of flat-bodied, oval insects forming the order Blattodea. Cockroaches have long antennae, long legs adapted to running, and a flat extension of the upper body wall that conceals the antennae tickling the roof of your mouth.''
Actor Jerry O'Connell, 22, says this with the dead-calm assurance of someone who knows. And he does know. For his role as the hygienically challenged slacker Joe in ``Joe's Apartment,'' O'Connell gamely placed a cockroach between his lips.
``Uh, I don't mean to brag, but I put two cockroaches cockroaches
insects which may carry Salmonella spp. in their gut and play a part in the spread of the disease. in my mouth,'' O'Connell says, correcting an apparently common and annoying error many have made. ``I did not ingest in·gest
tr.v. in·gest·ed, in·gest·ing, in·gests
1. To take into the body by the mouth for digestion or absorption. See Synonyms at eat.
2. them, though. I expelled them very politely.''
And he did it five times to get the shot right. What's more, he didn't have to.
``I did it for the team,'' says O'Connell, a lanky, handsome lad who is nearly unrecognizable from his early days in film, when he played the ``fat kid with the crew cut'' in ``Stand by Me.''
``They were going to do it with computer-generated images, but I thought, `How much cooler would it be if I did it for real?' Thank God the roaches didn't have an urge to lay eggs in my mouth.''
Yessir. Thank God for that.
Dedication to the art of moviemaking mov·ie·mak·er
One that makes movies, especially professionally.
movie·mak may have reached new highs - or new lows, depending on how you look at it - with ``Joe's Apartment,'' a silly, disgusting and ultimately sweet film about life in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of City's East Village.
The saga of Joe and his roaches began in 1992, as a creepy MTV MTV
in full Music Television
U.S. cable television network, established in 1980 to present videos of musicians and singers performing new rock music. MTV won a wide following among rock-music fans worldwide and greatly affected the popular-music business. short played between songs. It was created by John Payson, a Harvard graduate and Harvard Lampoon Harvard Lampoon
mocking, satirical periodical. [Am. Pop. Culture: Misc.]
See : Zaniness cartoonist who supervised production of MTV's avant-garde ``Liquid Television'' series.
The popularity of the short prompted Payson - with the backing of MTV, Geffen Pictures and Warner Bros BROS Brothers
BROS Benefits and Retirement Operations Section (King County, Washington)
BROS Barnes and Richmond Operatic Society (London, UK) . - to expand ``Joe's Apartment'' into a full-length film. With an alternative rock soundtrack, a grunged-out lead actor and a cast of thousands of bugs, the film is a fitting project for ultra-hip MTV's first foray into Verb 1. foray into - enter someone else's territory and take spoils; "The pirates raided the coastal villages regularly"
encroach upon, intrude on, obtrude upon, invade - to intrude upon, infringe, encroach on, violate; "This new colleague invades my feature films.
O'Connell and Megan Ward play young lovers caught between cockroaches and corporate corruption in the Big - and, in this case, stinking stinking
having an intrinsic fetid smell.
irisfoetidissima. - Apple. Don Ho (yes, the ``Tiny Bubbles'' guy) and Robert Vaughn play the foils.
But the real stars of the movie are the more than 2,000 cockroaches who sing, dance and philosophize phi·los·o·phize
v. phi·los·o·phized, phi·los·o·phiz·ing, phi·los·o·phiz·es
1. To speculate in a philosophical manner.
2. with the cuddly likability of Disney characters This is a currently incomplete list of Disney characters:
1. The art of dancelike movement in water; synchronized swimming.
2. A performance or competition of this swimming. in a filthy toilet and get down disco-style atop a ``funky'' (as in smelly) towel.
``Nobody likes cockroaches. But you'll fall in love with them when you see this movie,'' says Ward. ``They're such great characters for a film.''
To make the film, O'Connell, and occasionally Ward, spent seven weeks knee deep in garbage in a re-created tenement building. ``Joe's Apartment'' isn't just messy, it's a roach wonderland of months-old rotting food, foul socks and underwear, mold, dust and muck.
``Nothing will ever seem as messy to me as Joe's apartment as long as I live,'' says O'Connell, who plays the time-jumping Quinn on the Fox television series ``Sliders'' and whose next film role is as a spick-and-span football hero in the Tom Cruise comedy ``Jerry Maguire This article
* It does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by citing reliable sources.
* It reads like a personal reflection or essay. .'' has multiple issues:
``It was so authentic, this tenement apartment, that after a few days it began to smell. The food started to go bad. It took on a life of its own Memory Burn A Life Of Its Own was released by Noise Kontrol in 2002. Memory Burn is made up of several high profile musicians who came together to create this special work. .''
Director-writer Payson's concern for authenticity apparently extended to O'Connell's personal habits, too.
``Honestly, during the making of this film I would get into trouble for being too clean,'' O'Connell insists. ``Shaving was out of the question. If I bathed, I'd get into trouble.''
The stench and the filth, however, helped O'Connell dig into Verb 1. dig into - examine physically with or as if with a probe; "probe an anthill"
poke into, probe
penetrate, perforate - pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance; "The bullet penetrated her chest" his character: a fresh-faced Iowa farm boy who, after getting beat up by the big city, finds his only friends are the cockroaches in his hellish home.
The roaches, unlike the street thugs who take Joe's money, respect and even admire Joe, mostly because his piOggish ways make life easy for bugs.
In real life, O'Connell says he came to respect the roaches as well - a respect that came about under the tutelage TUTELAGE. State of guardianship; the condition of one who is subject to the control of a guardian. of ``roach wrangler'' Ray Mendez of Arizona, who brought 2,500 American roaches (commonly called ``waterbugs'') to the project.
``Roaches are intelligent creatures,'' says O'Connell. ``They're the best. I have a real affinity for them. I have not killed a roach since I made this film.''
Indeed, it's hard not to feel at least a twinge twinge
A sharp, sudden physical pain.
To cause to feel a sharp pain. of affection for roaches after talking to Mendez, a nattily nat·ty
adj. nat·ti·er, nat·ti·est
Neat, trim, and smart; dapper.
[Perhaps variant of obsolete netty, from net, elegant, from Middle English, from Old French; see dressed bug specialist and strong advocate of improved roach-human relations.
``I have real passion about insects and about getting people to not be afraid of them and about getting people to live healthier lives not as full of chemicals and pesticides,'' Mendez says, balancing a 4-inch-long giant cave roach on his hand during a recent interview in Los Angeles.
A former entomologist with the exhibits department of the American Museum of Natural History American Museum of Natural History, incorporated in New York City in 1869 to promote the study of natural science and related subjects. Buildings on its present site were opened in 1877. in New York, Mendez is so committed to insect welfare that he saw to it that all 2,500 cockroaches used in the movie were adopted out to good homes after the shoot. Most of them went to zoos and other institutions setting up live insect exhibits. Some were taken home by concerned film crew members who wanted the insects for pets.
Mendez says he purchased the roaches from a pesticide-testing company. After sparing them the death sentence, he couldn't then allow them to be killed.
``Once we had them for the movie, it wasn't OK for me to just take the roaches and say, `All right. We're done. Now they go back to the same company we bought them from.' Because I knew what was going to happen to them - they were all going to die.''
His adoption program was so successful, Mendez boasts, that ``if I had 60,000 roaches, I could have given them all away.''
Of course, not everyone connected to the movie was won over by Mendez's advocacy or the roaches' charm.
Ward, who plays the lovelOy and clean Lily, says she remains committed to squashing any roaches that find their way into her home - Mendez or not. Ward will co-star in NBC's ``Dark Skies'' this fall, a weekly ``X-Files''-type drama.
Ward admits that she had far more trouble working with the creepy critters of ``Joe's Apartment'' than did her co-star, O'Connell.
``I tried, but I was not having a good time with the cockroaches,'' she says. ``It's not that they're dirty. They're just so ugly.''
For one scene, Ward was required to draw a lipstick tube containing a roach close to her mouth without noticing the bug. But when the roach climbed out of its specially designed clip and onto her hand, she flung it across the room.
``They were so mad at me,'' she says of the cockroach-loving crew filming the scene. ``They knew they could never trust me again with a cockroach.''
In another scene, Ward and O'Connell are about to kiss when hundreds of cockroaches fall out of an overhead lamp and onto their laps. Although director Payson used a combination of real and fake roaches, Ward couldn't do the scene and was replaced by a body double.
But Ward says she would warm to roaches if they could talk and sing and dance like the computer-generated ones in the film.
``I like Joe's cockroaches,'' says Ward. ``They're charming and funny and they're good guys. And philosophically, those cockroaches got it going on. They're not responsible for new-age music and the hole in the ozone. They're just trying to survive.''
Mendez says he hopes the movie will spark the dawn of a new era in mankind's relationship with bugs. After all, who could watch roaches sing a country ballad on a scummy toaster See intranet toaster and Video Toaster.
(jargon) toaster - 1. The archetypal really stupid application for an embedded microprocessor controller; often used in comments that imply that a scheme is inappropriate technology (but see elevator controller). oven and not have a new appreciation for the pests?
``This movie has opened a wonderful window of opportunity,'' says Mendez, who got his break in Hollywood when Jonathan Demme tapped him to handle the moths in ``Silence of the Lambs.''
``I can tell people, `Quit being afraid. Roaches are not out to get you.' ''
The film: ``Joe's Apartment'' (PG-13; language, violence).
The stars: Jerry O'Connell, Megan Ward, Don Ho, Robert Vaughn.
Behind the scenes: Written and directed by John Payson, based on his short film. Produced by Diana Phillips and Bonni Lee. Released by Warner Bros.
Running time: One hour, 28 minutes.
Photo: (1--Cover--Color) `Joe's Apartment'
MTV hits thebig screen with a cast of thousands (OK, so they are cockroaches)
(2) ``I tried, but I was not having a good time with the cockroaches,'' says co-star Megan Ward. ``It's not that they're dirty. They're just so ugly.''
(3) ``Nothing will ever seem as messy to me as Joe's apartment as long as I live,'' says actor Jerry O'Connell. ``It was so authentic ... that after a few days it began to smell.''
Tina Gerson/Daily News
(4) `I have real passion about insects and about getting people to not be afraid of them.'
David Sprague/Daily News