Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shelly Nunchucks Finnegan as "Jackie/Maria"

Kevin, Dennis, and I first met Shelly "Nunchucks" Finnegan when we were running auditions for The Observer.

To say she made an impression is an understatement in the extreme.

She bounded in and expressed how flustered she was in locating the audition site (ImprovBoston), by breaking the land-speed record for f-word utterances. We were in hysterics before we started running any improv scenes.

Auditions for that film were done in pairs, and the luck of the draw had her teamed with Quentin James, who subsequently worked with us as the "Cautious Friend" in Esc. Both impressed us: Shelly with her overabundance of personality and Quentin with his dry wit and disarming demeanor, making the most of the rare moments when Shelly caught her breath.

Alas, neither turned out to be available for The Observer's shoot days. But now in Inventory we've captured their hilarious asymmetry, as they play a furniture-counting duo with wildly disparate temperaments.

Nunchuck-swinging clerk Maria insists on being called "Jackie," after her hero, Jackie Chan. The other clerks are well-advised to, as the old punchline goes, call her anything she wants.

In addition to building Shelly's real-life fixation with Jackie Chan into her character, a set of outrageous rants she regaled us with after one night of shooting became an integral part of her Inventory performance. She insists these stories of scatalogical workplace nightmares are 100% true. All I can say is, it was hard not to crash a carful of castmembers as she piled on the jawdropping details. Driving while ROFL is a definite hazard of being Shelly's wheels to or from the set.

Shelly shares her thoughts about working on Inventory:
I have to say that I sincerely enjoyed working with the whole cast. It was a ball!

It was a really unique type of atmosphere, because Justin and the whole crew took something that I had a love for and really truly put it in my character.

Long story short, my dream is to work with my idol Jackie Chan.

So these crazy, lovable guys took something that I truly have been working on and added it into my character Jackie/Maria.

They let me swing nun-chucks on the set, and I am so glad I didn't decapitate Dennis Hurley, the brave soul he was, working with me.

I tortured and might have drove crazy my partner in the film, Tucker, who was played by Quentin James. He was such a saint. You could say he was like yin to my yang, so I say thank you Quentin for being a brave soul, too.

Mostly, I think the camera guys had a blast, because they laughed so hard, they had to stop filming to get their composure.

I really loved my character, Jackie, cause I wanted to be a strong woman, picking up furniture, swinging around nun-chucks and doing any physical activity in the film and kept asking if I could do stunts, since that is truly what I do, in sets, I actually do my own little stunts and fight scenes.

In downtime, some of the cast members picked up my nun-chucks and used them, but don't worry, no one got hurt.

I learned a silly lesson. On downtime, beware, cameramen can film you doing just about anything on set.

A few times, being around the cameraman Kevin Hammer, I was actually just staying in character and decided to just be real crazy in my character and improv things.

Little did I know, that Kevin would actually take what I was kidding around with and throw it in the film. OK, Kevin be glad that I like you, just kidding.

But I feel honored, and have to say, I think my idol Jackie Chan, would thoroughly enjoy this film, and when you see Jackie/Maria, you probably will understand my character, at what she is most passionate about, using nun-chucks and doing stunts, so in actuality, for my character, art imitated life, in this film for me.

I think Justin Fielding understands what type of actress I am, doing my own stunts and own type of fights, for which I have moved out of Boston to work and train with a production company called Unicovia Productions.

I have been re-training in Tai Chi, and in a future film, will have to get up on horse and such, and have had a little bit of a fight scene shown in a film called Anikryua, and that is on my Youtube account, Capoeirababe, on which you will see my first interview, where I actually take down one of the interviewers out of fun, but I think the guys loved every minute of it.

What I would love to happen someday, is for my idol Jackie Chan to see Inventory, since I have been watching Jackie's work for 30 years or so, oops kind of giving my age away, but being able to honor my idol and to dedicate something to a man who has brought me so much happiness for many years. I truly think he would enjoy this film, and plus, I would love to make Jackie Chan laugh.

I know I can be proud of this film, because the men in this production really understood what I really could give to a character and I feel very honored to have been part of the film.

OK, yes, Justin had us up to 2 to 3 a.m. and I had to be in work the following days at 5:30 a.m., but how on earth can you ever forget this whole crazy, loving, bunch of human beings, you just can't.

In Martial Arts, a sign of respect is a bow, so as I sit and write, I wish the whole cast and crew, and especially Justin could see, but I am bowing, thank you, or as my idol would say "Xie Xie".

It would be kind of nice for Jackie Chan to see this film, I am sure it would make him pee his pants with laughter...


  1. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!

    I do want to dedicate something to two people. my big brother Ahura Z, he was the first person who truly believed in me, and continues to teach about Tai Chi and many things.
    Z was also the first person who said he believe in my and my meet in person and to work with Jackie Chan...thank you Z.

    The 2nd person, is of course Jackie Chan Kong Sang....the man has given me alot of inspiration and happiness for many, many years.

    So to Kong Sang, Xie Xie and want to wish to those out there this year, on Feb. 3, Happy Chinese New Year!!!!

  2. I guess I found out how funny I truly was, sitting in the audience watching Inventory.

    People laughing really hard, I could hardly hear, with the outburst of laughter from the audience.

    I don't if it is a good thing, when audience members came up to me, after the viewing and said they laughed so hard, they stopped breathing, LOL!.

    But I truly was lucky and blessed to be part of a film, in which I have watched, from a screener dvd, 101 times before viewing, to see it come to life before my very eyes on the big screen....I actually truly enjoyed watching myself. :)

    But if it weren't for the contrast of all the cast members, for not one was an extra, everyone was a star in the film, and that is why the film ended up working.

    Whatever Justin Fielding did, to bring out my own type of Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting, type of rants, was just brilliantly done and I truly appreciate, that fact that Justin truly let me loose in this film.

    I know many will laugh out my outbursts, but just be warned, you might need oxygen when you view my rants. :)