Eriq La Salle Goes to the Devil
He may have retired his surgical scrubs last November after eight seasons as the testy Dr. Peter Benton on "ER," but Eriq LaSalle has been doing anything but resting idly since. The Los Angeles Times reports that La Salle, 39, is one of the executive producers of the upcoming film "The Salton Sea," starring Val Kilmer, and will also be seen later this year in the thriller "One Hour Photo," with Robin Williams. But before all that, on Wednesday night in L.A., La Salle makes his feature film directorial debut with the psychological thriller "Crazy as Hell," which opens the 10th annual Pan African Film Festival. "We had fun with it," La Salle, who financed the film himself, told the Times. (He was, after all, paid $27 million in total for his last three years on the hit NBC medical drama.) In "Crazy as Hell," he plays someone who checks himself into a mental institution claiming to be Satan. "The whole point of the movie is you don't know (if he really is Satan)," La Salle told the Times. "If you have the character performing some supernatural feats, then that defeats the purpose. We wanted to have the audience guess. If it were a big studio film, walls would be bleeding. That was not the type of film we were trying to make." The movie, for which La Salle also served as producer, was shot in 19 days on 24-frame-per-second digital video, the exact same format George Lucas utilized for his upcoming big studio film, "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones." La Salle claims that he fell in love working the Steadicam. Still, back to the subject of Satan. "I definitely wanted my first project done post-'ER' to be something so far removed from what people's impression of me as an actor was or how they associated me with a specific character for nine years," he added. "This was very, very different. I had a ball."
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