When John Ireland and John Ainsworth learned about a Supreme Court decision to bar the streaming of live testimony from the gay marriage trial on YouTube, they knew they had to do something. They decided to recreate all twelve days of testimony with actors and put it online.
"When something like this federal case is happening, I just couldn't accept that it wouldn't ever be there for me to access," says Ireland, an actor and producer. "So we knew it was time to fill that void."
Along with Ainsworth, they quickly cast the roles of Judge Vaughn Walker, attorneys for both sides, and the roster of expert witnesses.
They film in a mock courthouse in USC's law school. With so much material to cover, Ireland says, the actors often get only a day or two to study the court transcripts. "We want to use every word that was spoken," says Ireland. "We're not paraphrasing, we're putting every word, gavel to gavel, out there." He adds, even though the actors are forced to read many of their lines cold, there have been many moments of drama on the set.
Watch Day 1, Episode 1
Watch Day 1, Episode 2
In the end, they expect to put about 70 hours of testimony up at MarriageTrial.com. Filmmaker John Ireland says he hopes people will watch the footage as they start preparing dinner. "Let it run for some hours the way CSPAN might," he says. "I hope that it provides the entertainment value but ultimately the takeaway is that the viewer is part of the American experience."
Though it may not be a riveting courtroom drama along the lines of "Law and Order," you can expect to see some familiar faces in the series. Actress Morgan Fairchild and Gede Watanabe, who played Long Duk Dong in the John Hughes' film "Sixteen Candles," recently joined the cast.