Keith David & Greg Weisman
"Goliath had a real dignity to him that we made a tremendous effort to respect."
Keith David: I stole [a line] from a friend of mine, a very good friend of mine. [When] she was doing her nightclub act, she would say, "Okay, y'all, I'm not gonna sing for ya, I'm gonna sang for ya. And if the spirit moves you, just raise your hand and say 'jalapeña'." And she had such an incredible ability to make you feel like she was talking directly to you. I went to see her many times, and the house was packed, but I knew she was talking to me. And that "jalapeña" stuff gripped me, so every time I would get tickled or the spirit moved me, I would say "jalapeña". And then one day, I saw it in the script, and Goliath says [as Goliath] "jalapeña", and I was like, oh Lord, I love it! That was so funny! [laughs]

Emru Townsend: That's great.

Greg Weisman: The thing there was that Keith did say that all the time, and Jamie Thomason turned to me and said, "I'll bet you can't work that into a script." [everybody laughs] And I said, "You're gonna lose."

And so poor Gary Sperling, who was the writer/story editor of that particular episode, at least the story editor, I forget if he wrote it... so he hands me this perfectly normal script called "Protection" about a protection racket that Dracon is setting up, and I--Gary's great, so it didn't take a lot of rewriting, but I rewrite this whole "jalapeña" subplot in it to justify sticking in there.

But one of the things that was great about Keith is that Keith was a watchdog for Goliath in terms of what he should and shouldn't say, and what he could and couldn't say. Goliath tended not to speak into contractions. That's not to say we never used a contraction, we didn't want to make it artificial, but Goliath tended to not speak in contractions. And sometimes--and I consider myself to be relatively anal about this kind of stuff--things would slip by me. Keith would say, "This doesn't sound like Goliath."

KD: He wouldn't put it like that.

GW: And he would say, "What about this?" and we'd be like, yeah, that's it, that's right. It wasn't about the gist of the line being wrong, but Goliath had a certain diction that wasn't quite Shakespearean, but...

KD: It was elevated.

GW: Yeah, it was elevated, and it was dignified. He had a real dignity to him that we made a tremendous effort to respect. And if we weren't going to respect it, we were going to make a point of it, like the "jalapeña" thing. In other words, we were going to catch him off-guard and make him look silly for two seconds, because everyone needs to be knocked down a peg every once in a while. But we're going to really give this guy the dignity that we felt he deserved, and Keith was great in helping us maintain that, obviously in his performance, but also in kind of looking over what we did, and making sure that we were true to the character.

page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4

Originally printed in fps #13
Eight people - eight lives - one universal groove