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Brian Hutchison on 'Ahead-of-Her-Time Broad' Tallulah Bankhead in Looped

Brian Hutchison on 'Ahead-of-Her-Time Broad' Tallulah Bankhead in Looped
Brian Hutchison
'Tallulah was an outspoken, tell-it-like-it-is, ahead-of-her-time broad.'

Brian Hutchison has a lot on his hands in the national tour of Looped. The actor is reprising his Broadway role of Danny Miller on the tour. Danny is a tightly wound sound editor tasked with getting off-the-wall actress Tallulah Bankhead to correctly re-record one line of dialogue from her next movie. Below, Hutchison discusses his research on the Hollywood legend and his own experience with looping—sans prescription medication, of course.

“Tallulah was an outspoken, tell-it-like-it-is, ahead-of-her-time broad,” Hutchison said. The actor admits he didn’t know much about the Hollywood bad girl until he was cast in the play, though he was aware of her outrageous reputation. He started by doing some research to catch up. “I watched Life Boat; she’s amazing in that. The next thing I watched was the film Die! Die! My Darling!, which is what Looped is based on, and it’s a totally different thing to see her at the end of her career.”

Set in the summer of 1965, Looped follows an aging and intoxicated Bankhead (played by Stefanie Powers) as she attempts to re-record one line for her final film.The ordeal takes eight hours as Bankhead spars with Miller during the dubbing session.

So, has Hutchison ever had to loop a line? “I have for Law & Order,” he said. “Nowadays it’s a high-def TV that’s right in front of you and you’re in a really luxurious sound studio in your own little booth. You hear beeps and say the line while watching yourself in the scene.” How long does it take? “It didn’t take me eight hours,” he laughs, “but I wasn’t drunk and popping pills and belligerent when I went in there, so maybe that helped.”

Matthew Lombardo's Looped, directed by Rob Ruggiero, opens at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre on March 5 and runs through March 17.