Pamela Susan Shoop - Empire Of The Ants
Empire Of The Ants
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...with John David Carson...

The film starred Joan Collins and Robert Lansing, with a cast of true die-hards, if you ask me!
I can't help but wonder what H.G. Wells would think about this adaptation of his work.  We shot the entire film on location in Florida...over Thanksgiving and Christmas...and what an experience, it was!

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Robert Pine is a wonderful actor, as well as a personal family friend.  We had some amuzing moments shooting this scene - an attempted seduction where, eventually, I get the upper hand.  I think I giggled through the whole thing!

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After the first few weeks of shooting on a lovely beach area, the small remaining cast - who had so far survived the giant killer ants - moved to a place called Belle Glade...the crime capitol of the United States...and a very unpleasant swamp area.  We spent weeks in this tiny rowboat...and the honeywagons were 1/2 hour away by speed boat.

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There were crocodiles in the water throughout the swamps, and the crew loved to toss them donuts over the side of our "picture boat" - the one the actors we used for filming.  Hence, those crocs thought we were great!  Well, we were promised nets and a ranger with a shotgun to stand by when we finally had to film the fall into the murky water...but nothing was there - no net; no gun!  But, courageous actors that we are, in we went, anyway!

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One of the hardest things was to keep a straight face while running in terror from these "mock-up" ants.  Usually, the director, Bert I. Gordon, would just say, "See that tree over there?  Well, just look over at it and scream."  One morning at the crack of dawn, I had the early shot close-up...well, it was so cold and I screamed so violently, that I dislocated my jaw!

The first below was snapped between shots...not a comfortable spot to relax.  The second is a sequence of John and me running through the sugar cane fields.  He is a wonderfully disciplined actor, and gave his "all" to every scene.  I really admire him and his work.  Sugar cane can cut you to the quick, and particles of it flew into my eye giving me four cuts on my cornea.  I was swollen and red for the last week of shooting, so they could only film me from one side of my face.

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...Just some behind the scenes snaps...

I had the great good fortune in this film of being on location with some extraordinary people, one of whom I knew from school and we reconnected during long hours in the hotel.  Brooke Palance - yes, daughter of Jack - and I are still the best of friends and have traveled extensively together.  We even lived in Paris for awhile, and I am god-mother to her son.  Joan Collins was a dream...really a good sport and a funny lady.  She had the most enchanting way of handling our most uncivilized surroundings.  Robert Lansing and Jacqueline Scott...what talents they both are!  Alas, we've lost Robert to cancer, but he leaves a wonderful body of work behind.  And Jackie...well, she's the funniest person I've ever met!

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