Friday, September 21, 2007

Hamlett II, movie

Eric Eisner and Aaron Ryder will produce. Directing will be Andy Fleming who also co-wrote the screenplay with Pam Brady.

Hamlet II is an irreverent comedy. It tells the story of a very idiosyncratic Drama teacher, Dana Marszh, in a typical Southwestern high school who commits himself to writing a sequel to ‘Hamlet’ by Shakespeare. Buoyed by his students, he prevails and the play becomes a significant cultural moment and an emotional turning point for everyone involved.

“Steve Coogan is simply one of the most talented comedians there is. Andy and Pam wrote a very smart and engaging script and I’m excited to work with such an experienced team,” said Eisner.
See also; David Arquette
Catherine Keener;
Steve Coogan;

Hamlett II, movie casting call came in last week for a day in Pat Hurley park. Something else was planned for that afternoon, so I had to decline. That was the day I also decided to climb the mountain (previous post). Maria remembered to call me for the scenes at El Pinto Mexican Restaurant on 4Th street on Thursday Sep 20Th. I accepted readily, seeing as no big personal event was planned and it was time to see old friends. Maria, in her smooth flowing Louisiana accent, called the evening before and 'downloaded' the latest info into my ear. Call time was 1:30pm at El Pinto.

I arrived early which is my custom. Lo and behold, there was my favorite 'Strawberry', standing and waving to me. Hardly recognizable though, because of her normally 'Strawberry' blond hair now a color she referred to as 'Rue'. I, being a food service staff Sargent in the Air Force, recalled that, Rue was a gravy. Yup gravy colored hair. Her bathroom was splashed with blackish dye all over the place. Poor Debbie is changing her hair color so often lately, it is getting sort of straw like. Strawberry Debbie told me that she was a stand in for 'Catherine Keener' and had been working for days at each location.

Some of the scenes in the house overlooking the river, the days before, were steamy and she was layed upon by another one of our friends, Daniel, whom I call Dan'l, also a 'stand-in' for this film, taking the place of 'David Arquette' during camera set-up. You may recognise that name from many other films and TV programs over the years. The Arquette family is heavy into this filming industry. When I asked if her and Dan'l got emotionally involved, she replied no because the lights were hot and Dan'l was heavy. I asked if he was her 'Sweater'? She laughed when I referred to him as that.

Chow was in the walk-up craft trailer so burgers and chicken sandwiches were the main course. The rain was light but fairly steady. Joann was our 'Wrangler', actually a Production Assistant, to be sure we were in the right place at the right time. As pre-arranged, four of us were directed to drive in the 'roadblock Scene' just down the street. An extra $20 was added to our daily pay to use our cars. After arriving at the staging point, receiving a Motorola two-way for driving instructions, getting the Arizona plates stuck on, I got a nap while waiting for the camera set up to be completed.

Joann came by and asked if I was awake for the start of the 'drive by'. I was watching the NM State Patrol cars to block the street, so Yup, I was awake. After a long delay for various reasons, we drove in a repeat loop past the scene while the detainee was being arrested. The longest wait was after the shoot. A stray dog had to be leashed and a couple more kept barking.

Some person on the radio suggested meat, I thought maybe adding some 'sleepy time' would help. I got to read while sitting in the car for over an hour. Finally back to 'extras holding'. The restaurant scene was being set up because the rain was getting too heavy and darkness was setting in rapidly, ruling out any more outside work.

My co-extra, Marianne, told me that in Los Angeles the neighbors keep honking their horns until the film crew pays them 500 dollars to keep quiet. Now it's a common occurrence (blackmail). Just one more reason for them to film here in Albuquerque.

After spending some time in the 'rain tent',we were taken in to the interior holding area. When 'wardrobe' had checked us for 'look', I wore western hat and jacket with jeans, Marianne was dressed in brown, the tables were ready for our positions. As luck would have it. Marianne and I sat at the table right next to the Stars David, Catherine and Steve. A prime place to be seen in the film because the action camera was focused right on us most of the scene. Our young waiter 'Stephan' was studying film and advertising PR at university , he worked at ABC as an intern.

David Arquette ("Are You Ready to Rumble") came over and shook our hands, and politely introduced himself. Nice young man. Catherine (film; 40 year old virgin) came over and did likewise. Catherine apologized for her language during the shoot, saying that was not the real her, but the character demanded the act.

Catherine kept telling the crew to bring me a real cold beer instead of the warm O'douls prop on the table. She kept insisting, but they only humored her and I did not get my cold beer. They did bring some food but we were instructed to not really eat much of it. Marianne liked it hot and would not touch it if it sat for any amount of time.

The other star was 'Steve Coogan', a British comedian that was in the movie "Night at the Museum". Steven, with long straggly hair, was dressed weird and wore pads on his arms and knees, a helmet along with roller skates. Steve sat at the table with David and Catherine. After more set-up and camera time, we were sent to our holding tent for 'lunch' at 8pm.

'Lunch' was chicken breast or pork with baked new potatoes, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spaghetti, noodles with marinara sauce, mixed fruit and chocolate cake. All in all a pretty nice buffet. Time to return to the set came quickly.

During the camera set-up, Dan'l and Debbie sat at the table in place of David and Catherine. Of course that is just what 'Stand-in's do, in order to focus and align the cameras properly. Debbie and I were joking between our two tables, when the director barked at us to be still while they were testing. We shut right up.

When all was ready, David and Catherine were brought back in. The steaming plate of Fajitas smoking, was in reality, created by a little water in the bottom of the cold fajita plate with chips of 'dry ice' to leave a trail of 'smoke' as the waiter delivered the fajitas to their table. The dialogue was over the super sized Marguerita with lots of salt, in front of Catherine. When she said loudly "I'm getting Hammered" both Marianne and myself turned to look at her. If I ever see this film, I will watch for myself. This scene was done repeatedly throughout the evening. Marianne and myself were removed to holding during the close-ups. The holding area was regularly filled with the furious chipping sound of dry ice being prepared for that 'smoking fajita' scene.

After being brought back in, one more time for a short additional session, it was back to interior holding, until sign-out, about 12:00 midnight. Joann remembered we used our cars, then we were released. Drive home was quiet and I snuck in the house. A light came on so my wife and I talked for a half hour before trying to sleep. the late 'lunch' at 8pm kept me awake so I got up, worked on the blogs for a while before going back to sleep at 5:50am. Being in film, is a great way to spend a few hours a week. "Helping to create the 'Illusion of Fact' from Total Fiction". Thats obviously the reason why Hollywood as well as most filmakers are 'Libby Left', is it not? If my own personal observation did not turn you 'off', read the following comments for any following days 'rolling-rolling, backgroound, Action' in Ham II. Now for the next 'casting call', maybe another interesting mountain hike while waiting. 'Our Earth' 'Warm Earth' 'Cool Earth''Casting calls', click on 'In Production' and 'bulletin board' or 'for locals'.



Blogger blogengeezer said...

Monday 25 September 2007, Maria called me! Her sweet southern Louisiana voice asked if I could work on the 25Th. Of course I could not resist the chance to meet some new friends and re-meet other friends.

I arrived at 10 minutes to 11:00am and found a pick up van waiting for the extras at the new Crossroads shopping center at Wyoming and Paseo Del Norte. A quick ride to the eastern end of Paseo Del Norte, Equestrian Park where the shoot was finished for the morning, put us in the extras holding tent.

Young cheery Joann greeted us. what a pleasure to see her friendly face again. She actually remembered 'Blogengeezer' from the El Pinto shoot. We talked about the latest eating establishments (Elephant Bar) at the new Uptown Mall. We obviously both enjoy fine dining. She manages to keep her very fine figure by working off the calories around the set. Joann never stops moving gracefully in her combat boots, from here to there and back again, countless times during the entire shoot.

Which reminds me of the Catering trailer operated by 'Austro' (Austria) out of Southern California. The food for the day was prepared well in advance of our arrival and included a selection of very good items. Tuna Salad on a bed of lettuce was my choice but many more good things were available.

I met Kathy, her husband is a retired Alb. City Patrol officer. We discussed the previous films she worked on. The 'Last ride', gunsmoke, and revenge on the Highway. It has been 14 years since she did this but wants more of it again.

Hannah had previously done the same work as Joann (Production assistant) She worked in 'The Burrowers' a western horror film. she is doing background work on this set. See how flexible each person in this industry is?

My young friend Daniel is standing in for David Arquette most of the time but he is flexible and fits any roles presented.

About 2pm we boarded the Van for a ride back to the 'Crossing'. Joann (now the 'car wrangler') had us park the cars in a special area for the shoot. This guaranteed that the same vehicles would be in the scene each time. The car earned $20 dollars for the day, just like down in the valley at El Pinto. Joann said that she would write it in when she reviewed the paperwork, she's so sweet.

The first scene we set up was unloading a truck with myself and a young helper (a Coldwell Banker Real Estate Representative). The driver kept repeatedly giving us a defective box which we refused to accept. After that retake a few times the truck was removed.

The next scene was myself and the truck driver walking across the deep background repeatedly. We finally made up it seems. We were carrying our
$tarbucks coffee as we went around the corner. My young helper walked in front of us many times as planned. Kathy and her friend got out of their cars and walked toward us.

The Steve Coogan character kept running away from the summons server and yelling about the attempt. For some unexplained reason that was repeated over and over for a long time. Finally we were released at about 5pm. Joann, don't forget to add the car, Joann...Joann...are you reading this?

6:59 PM  

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