With Hisss on the brink of release, the cast and crew are out to create buzz or rather, hiss around the film. The villain of the film, Jeff Doucette, plays the character of George States, an eccentric scientist or the snake charmer if you will. Talking more about his role, the actor spoke at length about coming to India and his newfound knowledge of the legendary nagin. “We’ve never heard of the nagin legend in America. I found out that the legend of nagin is common to many eastern and Asian cultures. I found out that many seek out the nag mani, the diamond square on the head of the cobra which is supposed to be a source of mystery and power. I decided to use it for my character and to become obsessed by that image,” he explained.
More so because his character plays a brain cancer stricken scientist, he felt the need to research the disease and gain more knowledge medically. “I also studied the symptoms and effects of brain cancer. George is driven by the pain he feels from his progressed state of brain cancer. I sort of justified all of his actions by saying that his pain from the brain cancer was the only real thing in his experience, and that everything else seemed like an illusion to him,” Doucette claims.
What he didn’t have to do is research the American personality. However, because the character of George States was far more abhorrent, he found himself having to play a personality that is far more different than his own. “I didn’t have to do much research on being an American obviously, but I did have to push the more obnoxious sides of my personality. To me the challenge was to play his sense of entitlement. That is the biggest quality of the stereotypical Ugly American. I had to tap into some unpleasant parts of my psyche, but as an actor you want that kind of challenge. I improvised all kinds of lines and attitudes that played my disgust with my servants who didn’t speak English. Just the fact that he thinks he can go to India and take the power from a Goddess is the ultimate in hubris. I know Jen wrote the part as a comment on the kind of rich American bullies who push their way around in every country as if they deserve to get special treatment. She even named him George States, as in George [Bush] from the States,” he wraps up.