by Janet Di Lauro | Soap Opera Weekly, p. 27
Date Unknown, approx. 1993
Mark Valley (Jack, Days of Our Lives) was an army man stationed in Berlin with
nary an acting lesson, nor a desire to act, when he was tapped for "The
Innocent", a film based on incidents in Cold War Berlin.
"It's a really small part, but my name comes up on the screen at the end of the
film. I'm billed as a tunnel technician," explains the actor, who's anxious to
view his movie debut.
Valley, who started out as an extra, recalls his first day vividly. "The
assistant director came up to me and said, 'Stir that coffee and read this
magazine.' The scene starts and this man who's trying to talk on the pay phone
starts yelling at some guys making noise at the bar. I looked at the guy on the
phone and then the guys at the bar. Then I went back to stirring my coffee and
reading. Afterward, the director asked me if I'd ever done any acting before. I
said, 'No,' and he said, 'Good. I want you to do exactly what you just did.' "
Valley's natural on-camera presence won him three weeks of work as, ironically,
an army man - - one of Anthony Hopkins' (as American intelligence officer Glass)
men. Based on Ian McEwan's best-selling novel of the same name, the film details
a top-secret project in Berlin -- called Operation Gold -- jointly run by
British and American intelligence. Their mission is to build and equip a massive
underground tunnel that will enable the British and the Americans to penetrate
the Russian sector and eavesdrop on Communist communications.
Valley, who admits that he "was totally starstruck" meeting Hopkins, notes that
most of his scenes take place with the renowned British actor. "We're soldiers,
so we're always around shooting pool, sitting in a cafateria or listening to
A notable screen moment for Valley takes place in a dance hall. "I'm there
talking with friends. We had to make up some dialogue for that scene," he says.
"The actor who got paid (to speak lines) in the scene filmed it, then had to
leave the next day to do a play. As it turned out, there was a problem with one
of the takes, and the whole thing had to be reshot. There were only three guys
left, and none of us were actors. So the director asked me to say the lines."
Valley found the experience to be rewarding though limited. "It was a good
chance to see what happens on a movie set," the actor says.