Before you knew him from movies, like Best in Show, Pitch Perfect, A Mighty Wind or from the television show, Happily Divorced, John Michael Higgins was the face of EPCOT’s Test Track attraction sponsored by GM. Test Track opened in December of 1998. As the host, Bill McKim, Higgins told the guests that they would take part in some of these tests and also told the technician Sherrie what tests to set up. Small videos of each test were shown as he spoke. He finally told her to choose one final “surprise test,” and a video of a car crashing into a barrier was shown as a door opened for guests to enter the interior queue.
John Michael Higgins recounted his experience filming this sequence on the Nerdist show, Pop My Culture, hosted by comedians Cole Stratten and Vanessa Ragland.
He describes the gig as hard. The idea was that as the host, Higgin’s character was speaking to you live via a security camera. This meant that the segment had to be shot completely through without any breaks at all.
When he first took the job, he thought it would be an easy gig. There was “tons of technical dialogue” that had to be memorized about “torque, pistons.” No cue cards and he had to memorize a total of eight pages of dialogue. The day of shooting, he was “cramming and cramming” this difficult dialogue into his head. “All afternoon, you’d get seven minutes into it and then cut. ‘You forgot a word.’” sighs Higgins. “Finally, I get one take out, and that’s the take you see now.”
“Then I finish the job, I straggle home exhausted, quitting show business. Month later, they call saying they need to do some ADR,” Higgins says. There was a sound problem and he has to loop the entire performance and match every single word for minutes at the time. “It was the job from hell.”