A Bit More Than Method Acting
My cell phone rang, and I checked, it was my agent, Todd, on the phone.
"Hi Todd, hope you've got some good news for me?"
"Oh hi CJ, well, that depends on how brave you're feeling, I might have. Could even be your big break."
Oh, right, brief introduction. My name is Clara Johnson, but everybody calls me CJ, mainly because I like it that way. Oh please, I know its a family name, but Clara is just so old fashioned that...well, fine, I prefer CJ, and lets leave it at that. I'm 27, and act in the movies.
What's that, you've never heard my name mentioned? No, there could be a good reason for that, my name usually appears well down the cast list, just above the kid that makes the coffees, and fetches the food! Fine, a slight exaggerration, but not much! I think I did once appear in the top half of the casting list, but that's about my only claim to fame. But at the same time, without me...they'd probably use CGI crowds nowadays, to be honest! :P
"You make that sound like it might be a bad thing?" I ask him.
"You might think it is, when I tell you what the role is." he replied.
"Can't be that bad, surely? And if it helps to make me a star?"
"Hear me out, and then tell me what you think about it. Crazy scientist wants a woman to love him, no woman in their right mind would ever get involved with him in any way, let alone romantically. So he decides to kidnap a pretty young woman, in this case, your character, and make her fall in love with him."
"You've heard of Stepford wives, I guess?"
"Yes, women replaced by robot lookalike, and act a likes. So, is that what happens to me?"
"Not exactly. He cuts out the need for a robot lookalike, by turning his human captive into his obedient, robot wife."
"Ouch! And that's the part they want me to play, and to act like a robot? That will be a method acting challenge, and a half! Not easy to get into the mindset of a robot!" and I giggled.
"Agreed, but that's not exactly what they have in mind." he answered.
"So what exactly do they have in mind?"
"You know those temporary transformation machines they have at amusement parks?"
"Yes, I do. Good fun for about 30 minutes or so. Went in one at Joan's hen party, and spent half an hour as a cute little kitty cat. Bit weird, changing shape, and thoughts, but its only for a short time, and you soon feel fine again, when you automatically change back. But what's that got to do with a movie role? You can't make a movie in 30 minutes, and that's the limit, isn't it?"
"For safety, yes. Muscle issues if you spend too long in an unnatural shape, as well as any possible neurological issues, of spending days thinking like a cat, or a rabbit. But the theory is, so they say, is that if you stay in a humanoid type body, you could do far longer, about 7 days. And as long as you're using a human type thinking pattern, much the same. So if someone was turned into a humanoid robot..."
"So let me get this straight. They want me to get in one of those machines, get transformed into a robot, and stay that way all day? What the hell!"
"Not just for a day, honey, length of filming all those scenes, about 2-3 weeks. I've been told by experts that you will be checked on, at regular intervals, to make sure you're fine, but otherwise..."
"I stay as a robot, for all that time? You must be kidding! I'm desperate for a big role, but not that desperate!"
"Calm down, CJ, calm down. I didn't mention one thing yet, you know. Yes, I know, and the studio know, it's a pretty tough demand of anyone. And the salary they're offering matches that accordingly. About 6 weeks in all, five hundred thousand dollars!"
"Makes it sound like they're concerned its all going to work fine, to me. Don't normally pay small part actresses that amount for anything."
"Well, firstly, its not a small part, your name will be second on the cast list. As I say, take it, and things work out, you'll probably come out a star."
"Second, they know you're taking a huge risk, and they are prepared to pay accordingly. You may have some co-ordination, and reality issues once humanized again, and they are paying to cover that time off, if needed. Lastly..."
"...these issues, what, exactly?"
He laughed, "The obvious ones really. For a few weeks, your carefully designed robot programming, albeit based upon a neurological scan of your own mind, is going to be in total control of your mind, and body. No direct thoughts, no direct deeds, just a passenger within your robot self. So when you have to literally start thinking for yourself again, it might affect you for a while."
"No kidding!" I reply sarcastically, "But it should all be safe?"
"So the experts say. Obviously no one has ever been transformed yet for more than 3 days, but computer testing says that given it will be your mind as the base for programming, and you will be using human musculature patterns, it should be fine."
"Should?" I ask nervously.
"99.9% certain it will be, so they say."
"Well, in that case..."
"I'm crazy, I'll do it."
"Thanks, CJ, I'll let them know. You won't regret it."
"I hope not."
And closed the call.
"Well, if this is what it really takes to make it in Hollywood? Just hope I'm doing the right thing."
The neurological scan was quite something. To be honest, I probably had more electrodes attached to my skull than your average robot, but anyway...And no, it wasn't too much consolation when they said that the readings would probably allow them to recreate the human me, in case of problems. Gee, not the sort of thing you want to hear about when your mind is so thoroughly wired up! But all the same, as a get out clause...
They also did a whole series of physical checks, to make sure my body would stand up to everything, as recreating vital organs might be a lot more complex. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you wanted to look at it, I passed them all with flying colors.
After that, the simple stuff, making the movie. The first couple of weeks were pretty standard acting stuff, filming all the scenes leading up to my kidnapping, and preparation for being transformed into his obedient Stepford wife. Only difference was, it wasn't going to be a replicant robot, it was actually going to be me, being transformed.
The process was explained to me, not that I understood all the technical stuff, but anyway...They had set it up to give me a metal endoskeleton, complete with circuitry (they were going to do some panel shots, to prove I was a robot), but ensure my internal organs stayed nicely organic, inside. Explaining exactly how they would keep my heart pumping just sailed over my head! Then, at the end, return me to soft squishy flesh, unless I decided otherwise. Unless they want to turn me into a super heroine, no thanks!
Then fine, the stuff that concerned me more, what they were going to do to my mind. Basically, they wanted me to be me, just an obedient robot version of me, and speaking in a nice monotone, robotic way, as required, so they were going to tinker with my mind accordingly. When transformed back, they would just ensure my thought patterns had returned to normal, and if not, recover me by using the full scan that had been done. So in theory (and yes, I still didnt like the idea of 'in theory') I would be back to normal at the end, and a hell of a lot richer.
(The big day)
Under normal circumstances, you select your desired template, walk into the transformation chamber, stand on the plate, get transformed as desired, and for the next 30 minutes or so, you literally become, well, whatever. The most popular ones, well, guys becoming girls, girls becoming guys, you get my drift. Cute animals are also a popular option, and the only time I did this before, I went with the cute kitten option. It was weird, to be honest, even more so when you change back, especially if you were curled in a ball, somewhere comfortable when it happens. Even more, when said comfortable place is fine for a kitten, but not a full grown human, but anyway, you don't want to know!
But this time, it was not normal circumstances. Firstly, I would be using a new, untested template, designed to match the desired look (human outside, metal inside) the studio had in mind for me. Second, because they wanted it to act like my character, there was a secondary item, a special neural template, based on my mind, only very obedient to commands! Yes, that's right, never been tested either! Maybe I should make guinea pig noises, or something? Just remember the pay, honey, and smile! Thirdly, this wasn't going to be for 30 minutes, but for 2-3 weeks!
Lastly, because this has to be made to look like an involuntary transformation (and part of me was still thinking it was), I had to be restrained in a small pod, inside the transformation chamber, and all wired up accordingly. I was told they were just for show (and lets face it, that's all they needed to be), but even so, how to make a girl feel comfortable, not!
"When do we finally get this done? You know, this isn't the most pleasant experience in the whole world, and the sooner I'm not concerned about it, the better...?"
"Any minute now, CJ, just setting up the last couple of things, and then we'll do it."
Fine, I guess I should enjoy my last few moments as a human for a few weeks, but it didn't feel that way to me, restrained, and wired up, knowing what was about to happen to me.
"OK, CJ, ready when you are." I heard a couple of minutes later.
"Fine, lets get it done." I replied.
I'm told there was a loud gasp as the chamber activated, and began my transformation. Seems I appeared 'Terminator like' for a few moments, pure metal, before I became 'flesh' again, as the 'skin' formed on top of my endoskeleton. To be honest, I knew nothing about all this, only really coming to any level of realisation, as I saw streams of data passing across my vision, by which time, I wasn't really me, but Clara-bot, for want of a better description. And yes, she was booting up, in my body, as such.
I'll be honest, beyond that, I didn't really feel any different, once she'd become fully online, but that was probably because her thought patterns were very similar to mine at this point. And being restrained, and wired up, I couldn't pinch myself to see what I was made of. A few minutes later, I did, mind.
After a couple of minutes, the actor playing the scientist came and released me, and 'checked' on me, to make sure the process had worked.
"Who are you?" he asked me.
"I am Clara-bot, Master, created to serve you as you desire." I replied blankly, in a monotone voice.
"You will serve as my robot wife, and lover." he said to me in a firm, commanding tone.
"Yes, Master, I will do as you wish." I blankly replied.
The next hour or so was spent, with scientists, and medical folk, checking me over carefully. Not so much that the programming was functioning fine, they could see that simply by connecting me up to the computers, and they did. No, they were more concerned (thankfully) about the health, and state of my internal organs, ensuring that the AI now controlling my mind had linked into my system, and was keeping me alive, though not too alive, as they wanted me to act, and move like a robot. Finally, they gave their approval, and filming went on.
What I didn't know at this point, was that they hadn't switched my human mind off entirely up to this point, just ensuring that I fed the right lines when released, as it wasn't exactly a scene they could film again. But at this point, someone said, "Bye, bye CJ.", and all went blank for a few moments. And then...
"Full Current Designation?" I heard a voice ask.
"Clara-bot now fully online, in full neural, and physical control of body system."
"Sweep systems, and quarantine any non cybernetic functions, other than internal vital organs."
A minute or two later, I blankly replied, "System has been swept, and quarantined as desired. Apart from basic life system functions, all human signs have been stored, temporarily erased from active state. I am now robot, human has ceased to exist, until I am instructed accordingly."
"Excellent. If any signs of functional distress are noted, we are to be informed immediately. Confirm?"
Using a combination of my excellent AI system, and the download from the human that I had received, I acted as her robot self. Well, of course, I was her robot self. Filming a movie was, err, interesting, as my human, fellow actors were prone to fluffing their lines, having fits of the giggles, and having other various issues with their performance. My performance, naturally was perfect, as a robot should be. To be honest, I was left wondering why they didn't simply use robots to play all the roles, but maybe that was too logical for the human mind.
Doing sex scenes, on my 'honeymoon night' with my new husband was fascinating. He really seemed to get into the role, exploding with both vigour, and copious juices into my robot vagina. There shouldnt be any internal leaking, but I trusted my human body donor was taking precautions that way, just in case.
When not filming, other men, and indeed one or two women decided they wanted to discover the delights of a robot lover. I'm told my 'husband' had quickly informed them how amazing a lover I made, and then everyone wanted to find out for themselves. Given that beyond charging sessions, I was designed as a healthy sexually driven robot (dont tell my human body donor this), I was more than happy with this turn of events.
But inevitably, after a few weeks of this, filming was completed, and it should have been time for me to be humanized again. I would miss this experience, but it was agreed in her contract, so why were the humans delaying transforming me back?
"Hi, Todd, we have a problem with transforming Clara back to being human."
"What's the matter with CJ? Nothing serious, I trust?"
"No, she's fine, as such, or was when we last ran the medical checks a couple of days ago. She seems to have survived the experience far better than anyone expected. But..."
"A certain wealthy billionaire heard what we've done, and visited the studio to check things out, and liked what he saw."
"Fine, but what has that to do with Clara, and not changing her back again?"
"Something to do with a cool, ten million dollar offer to turn her into his perfect robot wife, that's what!"
Todd whistled, "Ten million, what the hell? No disrespect to her, but she's not the most stunning looking girl in the world, and thats a lot of money he's offering!"
"Agreed, but an obedient wife, doing everything her husband wants her to, would make her the perfect trophy wife, and that's what he's after. And lets face it, she fits that role, is very pretty, and requires very little tweaking to make her his ideal wife. And with her current balance of AI, and her own memories, she wouldnt seem too much like a robot, as we know from filming, err, her, since the transformation."
"But in the end, she's a person, and she should have her own say in the matter. Even with no family, she deserves that right at least."
"What if we offer you 25%, if you let it happen?"
"2.5 million, for just hushing things up, letting her stay a robot? Sheesh, now you're asking! Let me think on it, and get back to you."
(A couple of days later)
"Be careful when she comes out the chamber, I suspect she's going to be in a pretty shaky state, disorientation, and all that.", one of the medical experts said, and then added jokingly, "All that thinking she's got to do again now, won't help either!"
They kept fingers crossed, as the transformation back to human Clara completed. After a few minutes, the door opened, and a shaky figure stumbled out. Within seconds, strong arms had grabbed her, lifted her onto a medical bed, and she was being thoroughly checked over.
"How are you feeling, honey?" Todd asked her nervously.
"A bit shaky, got a bit lazy, not having to think for myself for so long." I said, trying not to sound too shaken up. "But all in all, that wasn't as bad as I thought it might be."
"So you're up for a sequel then?" Todd asked cheekily, making sure he was safely out of range. Not that he could get too close, as the medical technicians were busy giving me a full physical, and neural check up.
"Yes, why not. Give me a while to recover, and I could go for that."
One of the studio guys spoke up, "In that case, Todd, maybe you should tell her about the offer we've had?"
"What offer?" I said, slightly sleepily.
"Rich billionaire wants you as his trophy robot wife! Offered ten million dollars for your beautiful robotized body."
"And you didn't just take the money, and run, I'm impressed." I replied sarcastically.
"No, I said it had to be your choice, but if you fancy it?"
"Could do, as long as he plans to love, and care for me, not just use me as a robot slave. Its not like I have much luck in love as a human!"
"Yes, we've already investigated, wants you as a genuine partner, and wife. Only thing is, he wants the obedient robot version of you, not the feisty human one."
"Shame! So, could it be done, if I said yes?"
"Quite easily. Back in the transformation chamber, same level of sentience as before, as he doesn't want people to know that he's married to a robot. One or two health issues would need to be cleared up, but otherwise, could be done, assuming you've come out of it fine."
One of the technicians spoke up, "She's fine physically, seems OK neurologically, but we would want to keep an eye on that for 24 hours or so. Which is fine, she needs lots of rest."
"Sounds good to me." I said, with a yawn.
"But after that, if I said yes, it could be done?"
"Absolutely. So what do you want us to tell him?"
"Tell him I'll think about it." and winked at Todd. "Would that be the end of my acting career?"
"Doesn't need to be, it was hard to tell the difference between you acting, and the robot doing so. Only difference was the robot did as it was told, unlike the human you. He's happy for you to carry on working, looks more natural that way, anyway."
I stuck out my tongue at him.
"Well, in that case..." I replied, and fell asleep.
(A fortnight or so later)
My cell phone rang, it was Todd. I guess I should have turned it off in a posh restaurant, while eating dinner, but hey, I'm an actress, I have to be available.
"Just excuse me a moment, darling." and I dashed for the girls room.
"Todd, nice to hear from you again. Anything interesting on offer?"
"No, just checking in, to see how you are, haven't heard from you since your return to humanity. Are you fine?"
"Yes, I'm fine, took me about a week to truly get back to normal, but now, I'm great. Not that I can chat for long, I'm out on a, err, date."
"Anyone I know?"
"You could say so. It's that wealthy man that wants to marry me! Well, the robot version of me, anyway. Didn't the studio tell you I asked to meet him, and discuss things."
"They did. That was another reason to check in, to be honest. So, news?"
I giggled. "Well, I can't convince him that it would be even better to marry the real me, if thats what you're suggesting. Not that I really mind that, to be honest, even if it is a bit weird, I guess? But fine, you might as well know, we're just working on the agreement, and the arrangements, and then..."
"You're going to become a robot, and marry him? Seriously?"
"Yes, I am. Seems he loves me, or my robot personality at least, so why not? We're just trying to really work out what protection clauses I should have put in, for legal purposes, and all that. Not that from what he's told me, I should need any, but better safe than sorry. Oh, and I want the knowledge downloaded so that I'm not just a trophy wife, as such, but a fine partner. Given my knowledge of the 'good life' is limited to movies, I need it. After that, it will just be a matter of if I'm turned into a robot before, or after my wedding day."
"What do you fancy?"
"Before probably, at least that way I won't panic on my Wedding Day. Besides, he ought to get his 'real' wife on his honeymoon night!" and I giggled. "I'll find it easier coping with his family that way, too."
"What can I say? Good luck?"
"Thanks. Oh Todd?" and I laughed, "I might need a good charging unit as a wedding gift!"
He laughed back, "Yes, you might.", and we closed the call.
I actually had the hen party a week or so before the big event. This was because I was going to be 'otherwise engaged' the day before the wedding! I took the fun fancy dress option for the event, the gang of us went out dressed as Austin Power type fembots, and had a great time. Not sure anyone else got the joke, but I did!
The day before the big event (Yes, I decided it would be far easier to get through the big day as a robot, and besides, we both fancied the wedding that way), my husband to be, took me to a secret venue, where a very complex transformation chamber had been specially designed for the occasion. I'd already had one piece of surgery, to ensure no baby, err, robots were ever born, though the seals on my body should have ensured that anyway. The body template was agreed (exactly as before), and we'd agreed on what I needed to know, beyond my own sentience, and this was all ready to be downloaded into my new robot mind.
So I signed all the paperwork, agreeing that this decision was entirely of my own free will, and that I would remain a robot until a minimum of 7 days after my husband's death. At which point, the neural lock on my mind would be released, and I could choose whether to remain a robot, or become a human again, of my own free will. I was pretty sure that by then, in truth, the only viable option would be to stay a robot, but he wanted me to have the choice.
Having done all that, I walked into the transformation chamber, and they wired me up in preparation, for the neural upload we wanted input into my mind. After all that, I gave the thumbs up, I heard the words,
"Transformation countdown commencing, ten...nine...eight...seven...six...five...four...three...two...one."
My world lit up, and the next thing I knew, was seeing the data flashing before my eyes, as my system booted up.
"Clara-bot now online." I said in a blank, monotone voice.
A few minutes later I heard, "How are you feeling, honey?"
And in my natural voice, I heard my robot self reply, "Absolutely wonderful, darling."
Yes, we lived happily ever after (well, 40 years at least), man, and fembot.
--- (Alternate ending 1, as Todd)
Todd still felt slightly guilty about events, as he watched the happy bride walk down the aisle, on the arm of a good friend, playing the father role, as hers was no longer alive. She'd actually asked him to do it, but he'd surprised her, and turned her down, as he knew he felt way too guilty about the way things were playing out, if he had done it.
Alright, the 2.5 million in the bank would help his business, and the way the whole transaction had been handled by the studio helped too, but all the same...part of him still felt it was wrong. But at the same time, she looked happy, he knew she was going to be loved, and looked after (a major concern of his initially) wonderfully well, but...he'd still have preferred if people had been brave enough to let her make her own call on the matter. Mind, he had to admit it himself, he was pretty sure she would have said no, so, all in all...
They'd tweaked a few things, before releasing her to her beau. For one thing, she would need to be able to give the illusion of eating, and drinking, in her new role, so they'd created that ability for her. The other thing they ensured, there would be no chance of any 'robot' babies being created!
Mind, he had to admit it, no one would ever know she was a robot bride, if they didn't know the truth already. One thing was for sure, her husband to be wasn't going to tell anyone.
After the service, she looked so radiant walking down the aisle, arm in arm, that Todd almost forgot she wasn't still human.
There was still one thing he hoped, and the studio had agreed with him on the issue, no more transforming actresses into robots, ever again!
(Alternate ending 2)
"Be careful when she comes out the chamber, I suspect she's going to be in a pretty shaky state, disorientation, and all that.", one of the studio guys said, and then added jokingly, "All that thinking she's got to do again now, won't help either!"
They kept fingers crossed, as the transformation back to human Clara completed. After a few minutes, the door opened, and a shaky figure stumbled out. Within seconds, strong arms had grabbed her, lifted me onto a medical bed, and I was thoroughly checked over.
"How are you feeling, honey?" Todd asked me nervously.
"Weird, a bit shaky, but after all that time, I'm not surprised by that." I replied, "Wow, I wouldn't want to repeat that again, anytime soon, I have to say."
"So you dont want to make the sequel in a months time?" Todd asked jokingly, avoiding the feeble punch she threw at him quite easily.
"No, I don't!" was my reply. "Though it was definitely interesting being a virtual passenger in my own body. Glad I did it, but I sure need a long break after that.
An hour later, after comprehensive checks, the medical team gave a thumbs up, and said, "She's fine physically, everything is working great. She is going to need at least 48 hours medical rest though, as her mind is going to take a long while to settle down, and we want to keep a close eye on her, while it does."
"Fine, fine. We'll ensure the money's in your bank account, by the time you get home after that, CJ."
"Sounds good to me." Then my eye spotted a date on the calendar, and I asked a leading question, "Hey, I thought you said it would be 2-3 weeks, but that's saying I've been a robot for 29 days, what was going on?"
Todd smiled, "Nothing to worry about, honey, just a minor issue that had to be, err, stabilised before we transformed you back."
Wearily, I smiled, and said, "Fine, if that's all it was." and fell into a peaceful sleep.
"Yes, minor issue. Good answer, Todd. Best she never knows the truth."
Todd laughed, "So true!"