Thursday, March 08, 2007

"WILD HOGS" the Movie

Disney Film, "WILD HOGS". My Archives of '16July06' (read the comments for each days shoots) gave a description of some of our experiences during filming. Archives of '10January 07' has the 'preview trailer'. It opened to a big number for the weekend of over $38 million dollars. Pretty good when it had a budget of only $62 million. This was John Travolta's biggest opening weekend ever. John Travolta is the nicest, friendliest, really down to earth guy. I was honored to meet him, He even remembered me and came over to talk twice during the 9 days I was on set, aircraft of course, he loves Jets, that's even his sons name, Jet. 'Orange County Choppers' was represented with a couple of bikes, including Paul Sr. himself and Paul Jr.

The riding is funny and of course a few interesting spills due to 'Pilot Error', which made fun of Dudley's riding skills. William H Macy is extremely good at making any scene look funny. The day He was on Oprah with John Travolta, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence, Bill said he only wanted to do comedy films now that he saw how much fun they are. FINALLY some of the good times are shown about Motorcycles. Being an old rider myself, I look forward to more films like this one.

The bar scene with John's 'squinty eyed' look was sort of impromptu, not in the script, but who wants to argue with John. The truck driver getting his windshield broken by the errant cellphone was classic. The New Mexico scenery was really great. Living here in NM is like being part of an old west that is not too far in the past. We were one of the very last states to join the Union, 06Feb1912 was when we were allowed to be a part of the USA. Only Arizona was 6 days later. Of course Alaska and Hawaii came much later but they are not on the contiguous part of the continent. Parts of NM have not gotten the news yet.

'Maggie's Diner' was left by Disney for all to enjoy, as was the excellent 'Gazebo' in the carnival. Anytime you travel here, be sure to make a side trip through 'Madrid'. The name is real as is the little old mining town. 500 people is about right more or less. A lot of folks live in the surrounding hills as well and come to town to give it color. Watch for Scary Larry and his dogs. Blogengeezer used to live back there himself and spent all of his spare time exploring the old mines, a fun part of the past.

The Carnival scene was fun to do. We worked on it night's and day's to get it right, Dusk to dawn with big lights that fooled the moths into coming out and get eaten by the 'nighthawks'. The dance scenes had a lot of Blogengeezers friends. Some were seen on the dance floor while also standing on the sidelines, then back onto the floor without so much as a lost step. Look for a woman with a floppy yellow straw hat and dark flowered shirt, that's my friend 'Judi' scootin' her 'Boot' on the dance floor as well as the 'schmoozin' on the sideline. (she was my 'first day's' wife in Comanche Moon) Watch for 'Robbie', the Director on the dance floor in a black 'Dude Cowboy' shirt during a dance scene, he likes to get in at least one scene of every movie he directs.

The old green and white hotel is in most scenes, you can see the porch railing nearby. The scene where the waiter from 'Maggie's Diner' gets pushed out the door was the most important scene he worked, after being 'on set' for over 3 weeks. That shows just how much film is run compared to what is cut. Blogengeezer was on set for 9 days and appears for about 9 seconds in a few background scenes.

The black SUV did not make it into the final cut either. The original 12 Harley riders, 'the Dirty Dozen', as casting assistant with Darlene Hanson, as well as 'Biker Bob Baxter' (Black Beard) called themselves, (others came and went as their jobs would allow) were seen in each riding scene as well as the 50 total which was in reality 42, count 'em?

While talking to a couple of the 'riders', they said it was a little scary to ride in that extremely tight formation during the 'Madrid' main street scene. They said they did not want to be the one to bump against another bike and cause the entire gang to pile up 'on camera'. They pulled it off fine though and sounded great as well, as they 'thundered' past us. Their leathers were excellent and 'dusted' up just prior to the scene

Ray Liotta does a great act as the leader of the 'Del Fuegos'. I like the guys, MC Gainey and Kevin Durand, that were sent to find the Wild Hogs. They did a good job even though they could not whack anybody. The 'beer spill on our friends head was done many times to get it right, he was a mess. I got to talk to the two 'hit men' while the mustard and catsup was being removed many, many times. Remember the old TV show made into movie, 'Dukes of Hazard'? The bumbling deputy, Roscoe? Thats the bearded 'mustard' guy, MC Gainey is also on the TV show LOST and a leading figure in 'Love Ranch as Russ Brymer. The 'catsup' guy, Kevin Durand, had the most evil sounding laugh, a real BWAHAHAHA, it was great. they both did a lot of fun stuff that was cut from the film. The fight scene in front of Maggie's Diner with the little short 'Martial Art's' guy was super.

The scene with John's stunt double getting knocked down on the dance floor while in his Red Chile costume did not make it into the final cut. He told me he bumped his elbow during the fall. A nice guy just like John. We talked twice, again just like with John. Pretty interesting to talk to both of them twice at different times... Hmm? While on set, I finished a great book by Shane Osborne "Born to Fly''. I gave it to John in case he had nothing to do in the hotel. That story would make a great Movie John. Any one wanting to drop John a note.. his site

During the 'Blown Up Bar' flames image, there is a flying motorcycle but it got lost in the flames during the launch. No Harley's were harmed at that time due to the value being a tad too high, Jap bikes were used for that part. Harley said no Jap bikes in the riding scenes. A couple of Harley's were slightly scorched because the 'Pyro Technics' 'blew' more than expected. Five gallon buckets of gasoline did the 'big blow' when detonated by explosive charges.

The last scene with the bar getting rebuilt by the TV show 'Extreme Makeover' was classic. I liked the statement about Ray Liotta being at a loss for words, after seeing the new 'improved'? 'Del Fuegos Saloon'. Over all, a family type movie, but with a bit of Hollywood special interest 'spin' thrown in of course, Hollywood has a few 'special' interest's. The 'Skinny dippin' pond and the waterfall were built for the scene. We have places similar, but they are slightly more difficult to get to. A scene set in the Jemez Mountain forest was used, then afterward returned to pristine condition. Peter Fonda even shows up near the ending of the film. My friend Sam at the Albuquerque 'Antique Connection' on Old Rt 66, (East Central Ave.) recalled the old Peter Fonda movie "Easy Rider", Sam joked that after the violent ending in 'Easy Rider', Peter Fonda should have become "Ghost Rider".

On that light note, Please drive the mileage to swing through the Southwestern States of this Great Nation. The scenery is most spectacular off the main Interstates. The Jemez Mountains ambience was emulated and adjusted for the totally made up waterfall scene. Restoration to original was mandatory. We do have gas stations less than 200 miles apart,..... 'in most areas'. (Tucumcari to Las Vegas NM ?) Keep your tank on 'the top half'. Enjoy life, go see a movie.


Blogger blogengeezer said...

After the 'Del Fuegos Saloon' was specially built for the filming, it was used daily until all of the saloon scenes were finished. After that it was destroyed. A little bit of gasoline goes a long way at the altitude and dry humidity of Santa Fe. The explosion was pretty impressive. A few weeks later we drove past the site. The restoration of the land had been done, even to the point of the scorched dirt removed and the plants put back in place. Disney knows how to "Get 'er Done" thats for sure. I had a hard time even finding the site. Another little known fact is all of the repainting done at 'Madrid', great job 'Disney', come back again, we love Ya!

10:42 AM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

copied from 2006 Jul post
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Wild Hogs set with 'JOHN TRAVOLTA
Reading the Sunday Journal today, shows the amount of money now being spent to educate the New Mexico College crowd in, among all things; the Film Industry. Our Universities are offering courses in Digital 'Animation' as well as other Crew trades. Now those are what we need instead of more mundane courses like 'Law', we have more than enough of 'that' to go around.
The person I admired the most on the set of 'Wild Hogs', filmed in Madrid NM, is John Travolta. What a nice man. He walked over to me twice during the breaks in filming. Both times we spoke about his passion for flying. I gave him a book 'Born to Fly' by shane Osborn. You may recall the US Navy Lockheed Orion 'survellance plane' rammed into by the Chinese fighter jet, in international waters off the coast of China during the first weeks of the Bush administration. (the first crises) John said he was reading it before bed and liked it. A great book to learn the truth about what actually occured, without the 'Media Spin'. John has an apparently semi-photographic memory. He seldom rehearsed his lines, yet made no problems, to be 'cut'. Astonishingly Johns stunt double, stand in, is not only of the same character as john, walks and stands like him, but also walked up to me twice to talk about the area and our filming. I could not say the same about Tim Allen. He had to constantly re-learn his lines. This gave him the appearance of being 'standoffish'. Martin Lawrence was pretty darn good. William H Macy was very funny and great at improvisation when things went awry. the dance floor scene was complicated when Marissa Tome' spun off the floor. William H Macy kept the flow moving through the little flaws, seamlessly. Robbie, the director is in the scene wearing a dark flowered cowboy shirt. He, like Alfred Hitchcock likes to be placed somewhere in each film. Look for him in his other work. Remember Roscoe P Coltrane in 'The Dukes of Hazard on tv years ago? Well he is one of the two bad bikers looking for 'The Wild Hogs'. You would never recognise him today. Fun guys to work with. I was in the 'Carnival Scene'. I parked the 'Rolling house' in Madrid for 11 days and worked for nine days, or should I say a few all nighters, Dusk to Dawn. The nighthawks loved the first nights with the brilliant lights and the flying moths.
A 'Grip' is a hard working person that I truely respect. The 'Techs' are very intelligent and fun to speak to. In most cases, they will inform you of what is going on if you just ask. Do not ask at the busiest time. When the 'Grip' is supporting the difuser screen during a breeze and takes the time to tell you just what he or she does, now that is 'Quality' time.
On the set of 'Wild Hogs' I ran into just such a person. We all enjoyed his comments and knowledge. He came from a backgroound in Modern Dance of all things. Are not people just the most surprising things? Have you ever asked what people have done in their lives? It may surprise you to find out they are interesting people just like yourself. When I meet the people in 'Wardrobe' or any of the other 'Crafts' represented on the set, I always think to myself; What have these folks done before? What is in their future. What 'Goals' are they heading for? The same questions can be asked about all of the 'Extras' as well.
I tend to observe the people around me. I especially enjoy waiting in line for the chance to present yourself at 'The Casting Call'. Most of them will share with you, their experiences of life and what plans they have for the future. Now that is 'Quality' time spent during the long wait for the words ; Background...Action!

8:33 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

Blogengeezer had the pleasure of working today with Dennis Hopper, Peter fondas partner in 'Easy Rider'. check out the 'Swing vote' movie posted 20Th of August 2007 for details.

10:50 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

I have just returned home from Madrid NM. Working as an extra on the Wild Hogs set.It is for one night only. I have to be back on the set monday morning with many of the other extras. The last 3 days have been very active. The high point of my time was meeting John travolta. The porch scene where Martin Lawrence came out of the door past the green rocking chairs where a lady and I were placed by one of the directors, turned out to be excellent. After the scene was shot a few times, John came over and shook our hands. I engaged him in conversation about his flying abilities. I told him that anyone that could fly a 747 and the other aircraft he is certified in , gets my utmost respect. He said that he has flown for 36 years. He is very outgoing and friendly. Patting my shoulder as he left. Martin Lawrence is in scenes a short distance away form me. Tim Allen is farther away. William C Macy is a real cut-up and can dance with the best. This entire production of Wild Hogs is just what I expected and then some. They even let me park my Motorhome there to save the commute to Albuquerque, at 5:30 am. We had to be on set at 6:30 pm each evening before. Long nights but worth every hour of it. The next week is daylight shoots and hopefully Motorcycles are entering the scene. I have ridden most of my life and looked forward to being a part of this production, even though I no longer own a "ride". Fathers day tomorrow, tired now. Will come back and have more details after wednesday, the 21st of june 2006. Or ?

8:33 PM

7:24 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

As usual I tend to think of funny scenes at random intervals.
William H Macy is sent to the dance floor by John Travolta. He removes his glasses to dance. During the dance spin, Marissa gets spun off the floor. Not having his glasses on, W H Macy starts feeling the air for his partner. This turns into a dance routine of it's own. She eventually returns in with a jump, to finish the dance. Great camera action by the Robo cam.
Another scene with the two 'Heavies' M C Gainey and Kevin Durand, involves Martin Lawrence squirting catsup and mustard all over them. What a mess. It had to be done a few times to get it right. M C Gainey smelled like mustard for a couple of days afterward.
One of the tunes performed by 'Kyle', While singing 'I want to Kiss You all Over' Was great to watch. They did not cut it at all. It was right the first time. The entire crew was present for that one. The Directors chairs were in rows 5 and 6 deep that night. I made a mistake about the day of the 'diner' scene. Thursday not friday was the day. They all run together when you are having fun.
The equipment Disney has at this set is impressive on it's own. I guess thats why they are good at what they do. This crew wasted very little time setting up for each scene. Resets were fast and usually we got to 'Checking the Gate' on the third time. The hours were long to take advantage of the darkness. Dawn came fast during the rush to complete the three night scenes. It takes about 7 days of our lives to portray one full day of film in this series. I have deep respect for the crew and all of the work involved. I still am impressed with the 'Carnys' that returned my money clip, credit cards, and ID. Honesty is not dead. I gave them a reward and thanked them. Also thank you to the lady that remembered me out of the 60 or so 'extras' present in the chow tent. What an honor to work with the entire organization. Wild Hogs, I wish you well.

7:35 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

I am back from Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) NM, in back of the Sandia Mountains from Albuquerque NM.
The Wild Hogs film is in its second week there. The Disney Co. really did a great job in making the little town look good for the film.
They even set up a real carnival with 'carnys' to operate the rides. Booths of all types, just like a real one.
Well it happened again, John Travolta came over and said hello to me. I had given him a book on flying the last time I saw one of his attendants. He liked it and was reading it before bed. Born to Fly is a true story. Maybe he will want to make it into a film some day. His standin even has intrduced himself to me twice, He looks and acts exactly like John plus he is a stuntman. All very remarkable people, as well as professional to the max. Including the crew, directors, producer and all involved.
William H Macy I also met as well as Martin Lawrence and Marissa Tome'. I told them all it was my pleasure to work with them.
If all goes as the shoot depicted, I may even be in the film somewhere.
I did not get to shake hands with Tim Allen. He was always a distance away, as was Ray Liotta.
This film is heavy with star power. It is directed toward the 12 to 14 year old audience. They spend the most money at the theatres so that makes sense.
Motorcycles were present and roaring through town several times on thursday during the filming. The makeup people dirtied them up with a biege powder and put stick on patches with the logo of 'Del Fuegos' and a satan image. (The Hells Angels threatened to sue if Disney used their logo)
The windshields were removed from the 50 Harleys (Harley Davidson is involved) and they were loud to the max. Fun for all the riders as well as 150 dollars for each rider and 50 for the bike.
During the bar scene, the 'built for this film' 'Bar' was blown up.
5 gallon pails of gasoline with sand and an explosive charge under each was set off, creating a mushroom cloud at dawn. Several bikes placed in front were consumed. They used Jap bikes because Harleys were way too valuable to destroy. One was launched into the air but was obscured by the fireball. A few of the riders bikes got scorched by the blast. Disney is going to cover it though. There are 12 of the same riders that are seen in all of the riding scenes. All of the others show up as they can. There have been several riding scenes, shot in several different locations. The scenery in New Mexico is condusive to good riding and good filming. This is going to be a fun film with minimal cursing. Of course a biker film needs it for effect. The dancing scene with Marisa Tome' and William H Macy is funny. I am sitting on a straw bale, 'rockin out' to the tunes in the background.
The camera is mounted on a robotic SuperTechno-crane arm and swoops all over the dance floor to capture the action. The Extras liked to dance in this one. Lots of my friends got good camera time.
The Diner scene took up most of friday, and had John and friends involved. Passerby tourists were asked if they wanted to be in the film. They all accepted willingly. A lady from NY was elated of course. Now she is hooked on stardom I am sure. A lot of friends from Comanche Moon were working with me as well, including my 'first day lady'. We really have a great time. I will think of more later I'm sure. On e very important incident that involved my money clip and credit cards. I left it in the chow tent. A couple of Carnys found it. They gave it back.

7:40 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

One other interesting thing happened on the evening of 29 June 06. As we were in the little restaurant (one of our favorites)at 11225 Montgomery NE in ABQ NM... IL VICINO ..(excellent Italian) with 'Bubba' tossing the spinning pizzas high in the air, open hearth, wood burning inside the Lion's open mouth, Special Brewskys and wine flowing,.. 'Wild Sage', see one of the previous comments. John Travolta's dancing partner, from 'Wild Hogs', showed up with her friend. He, then jokingly asked if 'IL VICINO' was where all of the stars hung out. Of course he was refering to us as 'Film Extras' being the Stars. I think it is an excellent idea to be suggested to all... See you all there some evening.
02 July 06

7:50 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

Wild Sage said...
Hi Ernie,

I'm back on set of Wild Hogs June 30th. and July the 10th how about you? The towns people are going to run the bad guy's out of town with rakes and pitchforks....sounds like fun. It was nice working with you.

The girl who got to dance with John Travolta.

8:09 PM  

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