George Eads' character, Nick Stokes, goes to the depths with a traumatic breakdown in the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" episode airing Thursday (3/5). If Eads' suffering seems real — it is.
"Since Dec. 5th I've had a herniated disc in my back," reveals the actor. "I've had two epidural injections and it won't go away. I have to sit down on an apple box between scenes. As kind of a joke, the crew screwed a handle on my box so I can take it with me."
Eads says he's having another shot this week, and he's been talking to a specialist about surgery options — and is also considering holistic approaches to the problem. But in the meantime, he admits, the pain is excruciating. "I've been on all fours crying in the shower, but that doesn't do any good. You can't whine all the time; people don't want to be around that."
The emotionally demanding episode, "Turn, Turn, Turn," required him to be on his feet 12 hours at a time, he says. He found himself "in a weird head space" during shooting of the episode, and says that the director was kidding around about his back possibly helping his performance. "I said, 'I don't know, man, maybe there's a silver lining to this.'"
AND: Teen pop star Taylor Swift is also in the episode, and Eads says she was a delight to work with. "She was charming. It so happened she was doing 'Saturday Night Live' about the time the episode was being shot. I familiarized myself with her and, well, if I was 19 and my concert sold out in three minutes and I sang for adoring fans, it might be hard to check my ego at the door when I came in to act on a show. She did. She was very sweet and humble. She gave little gifts to the crew."
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: Martha MacIsaac has gone from "Superbad" to super good as her career has taken off since appearing in the popular Judd Apatow movie. Now she's starring in a Wes Craven remake and she's holding her own against Val Kilmer in the upcoming movie "The Thaw." "It really put me in another direction completely," says the Canadian actress of starring in Apatow's teen comedy. "I've been recognized a lot more by people my own age so that's been interesting, but everyone always has really nice things to say. Certainly doing Canadian TV shows and doing a widely successfully American movie puts you in a whole other ballgame. It made me move to L.A. and it just opened a lot of doors for me so I'm really grateful for that experience."
Fans can catch a different side of MacIsaac as she stars in "The Last House On the Left," which hits theatres on March 13. "It's a little daunting to do a remake that is sort of a cult classic, so hopefully we did it justice," says MacIsaac, who tells us it wasn't hard pretending to be scared. "I'm kind of a big chicken, so horror films are not high on my list of something I can watch comfortably, but it's still an honor to be a part of a Wes Craven project."
Of course getting the chance to work with veteran actor Val Kilmer had its highlights as well. "He and I got along really well. We have similar senses of humor so we made each other laugh a lot," she recalls. The two play father and daughter in the thriller about a group of students who discover that a deadly prehistoric parasite has been released in the arctic due to global warming.
GIRL ON THE MOVE: Olympic Gold Medal–winning gymnast Shawn Johnson tells us she's finding being a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" is "very challenging and very scary — just not my comfort zone. It makes me really nervous, but hopefully I'll work through it." Does she find dancing comes naturally to her? "Not really," she admits. "It's hard and I've been working really hard to get things the way they're supposed to be." Looking ahead, would the 17-year-old Johnson like to go out on a "Dancing With the Stars" tour? She says, "I'm not sure yet. I'm taking it one day at a time — but I'd love to."
AHA!: Patrick Warburton has been busy filming the third season of "Rules of Engagement," but the actor tells us he makes sure to fit in one of his passions: voiceover work. Not only has he been providing the voice of Joe Swanson on "Family Guy," but he's also got the movie "Hoodwinked 2" on the way. "I love doing the cartoons. I can't say that I prefer acting over voiceovers or vice versa, but I do love doing the Disney stuff and I love the Adult Swim stuff," he tells us. "You can do the voiceover stuff, then sneak out to the golf course for 18 holes, and then come home in the early evening shortly after the kids have gotten back from school and act like you've been at work all day long."
With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster.
Copyright 2009 Marilyn Beck And Stacy Jenel Smith. Distributed By Creators Syndicate, Inc.