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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Barbara’s temp job as a movie extra led to good times for DBD. Among them were stories related to a crime film being made at one of the many defunked plants in the Detroit area.

--The set was fantastic, just amazing. Urban sinister at its best.
--We do that well here.
--Across from where we parked, there was this long, sort of outdoor corridor between huge warehouses. Like an alley, but wide. Looming. Then, inside, these wide, dingy halls. But it was a hard day.
--How so?
--I’m just glad I went to the bathroom before I joined the others. Five hours, and not one break.
--Why not?
--I don’t know. Maybe because it’s an indie film and they don’t have any money.
--You need to budget for pee breaks? Porta-potties can’t cost much to rent.
--You asked, I don’t know. But the crew worked very hard, I can tell you that. They were all very focused.
--And no catering? Nothing to eat? In the credits, they always mention the caterer.
--Nothing. But I went to the bathroom first, so that was good. The ladies room in one of the warehouses fit perfectly. It had an ancient granite floor, old-style wooden stalls. The kind people put graffiti on so they have to be painted over and over.
--Then what?
--Then I went in to register. You have to show them ID to prove you’re a Michigan resident. I think for income tax purposes. Then we went to “holding.”
--That’s what they called it?
--Holding, yes. A room with folding chairs, very sparse. Dirty, grungy. I added my suitcase to the others. In the end, what I had on was fine, I never put on anything else. And it was so cold.
--Inside it was cold.
--No no, the shoot was outside. In that long, looming space between the warehouses. It wasn’t a real windy day, but this space worked just like a wind tunnel.
--What took so long?
--I don’t know. It’s very complicated, setting up for a scene. But I think I’ll end up being in the final version of this one. I was part of a group of four.
--You mean a group of coordinated gawkers.
--That’s right. Plus lots of police, detectives, CSI people. I think some of them might have been real police.
--How so?
--They had three actual squad cars with lights flashing. And some of the guys really looked like cops. I bet they do that, don’t you think? Lease cop cars from the local police, and hire some of the cops for the movie?
--In all, how many gawkers were there?
--I’d say about sixty. But our four were used to represent the gawkers as a whole.
--You said Ron Perlman’s the star.
--Right. You know who he is?
--I remember him from the last of the Alien movies. Alien Resurrection. He was in it with your hero, Sigourney Weaver. And Wynona Rider.
--I remember, she played an ingénue robot. She’s that actress who was caught shoplifting, isn’t she? I wonder what happened to her. I bet she’s one of those people in show business who came from a dysfunctional hippie family. A family that lived in a van or bus.
--You mean a hippy shoplifting family.
--You know what I mean. She’s not ambitious. I bet she just dropped out.
--Hippies are ambitious, just not in the usual way.
--How are they ambitious?
--Well, you know. To get high and own land in the remoter sections of New Mexico or Oregon. But tell me about Ron Perlman. I think he’s in some cable show about bikers.
--That fits, he really does look tough. I would be terrified of him in life.
--As opposed to art.
--As opposed to freezing next to him for hours. Watching him doing nothing but being Ron Perlman freezing. He seemed nice enough. Just like Sigourney Weaver.
--You mean the way someone asked her for an autograph and she was nice about it.
--You could just tell he was nice in a similar way. That young girl who asked Sigourney for an autograph, she was just star-struck. “Not now, dear, maybe later. I’m working.” That was just so appealing of her, so classy, don’t you think?
--It was a good way to handle it.
--Except I don’t see a star-struck person asking Ron for an autograph. I see someone with serious problems. “Hi, Mister Perlman, I was wondering if you could beat me up.”
--“Not now, miss, maybe later.” So, your gang of four had the key gawker assignment.
--I was the oldest, I had the grandmother part.
--OK, that’s, good, that’s fine. This could be big for you. Your breakthrough. Crave could be the featured indie movie at the Sundance Film Festival.
--It could be, that’s true. Robert Redford sees the movie. He starts pointing…. “I want… No, not that one… No… There, freeze frame it right there, the grandmother who dropped the bag of groceries. I want her for my next film.”
--In no time, you’ll start calling him Bob.
--Right, and he’ll call me… GiGi. Instead of Grandma Geezer. Oh, Chelsea, I forgot about you, sweetie—
--Forgive her, Chelsea. It’s an old story in show business, the total self-absorption. They lose track of friends, family, even their dogs. It’s just the price of art, it goes with the territory.

1 comment:

  1. The full bladder thing might be part of the director's technique; people do really authentic things when they've been deprived of the opportunity to relieve themselves. Whole wars have been known to start that way, I believe.


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