Elizabeth called again to surprise the Blogengeezer. "Be at 'base camp' by 6:30am, Good job Elizabeth. What a girl. Cold morning, heavier coat, drive the 65 miles to our little movie town of APPALOOSA. Arrived a little early for sign in as usual. Chow line was calling. Eggs, Sausage, bacon, tators and lots of good hot coffee.
While eatin' my 'Good Gedunk', Tom (cottage Cheese and Beets, Tom) and I were talking and daylight was 'burnin'. Finally Elizabeth and Rebecca had to remind me about Wardrobe? Oh Yea, Wardrobe. I gulped the last coffee and rushed over to the trailer for my 1800's Duds. Rushed into the chango-tent to swap out my 2007 duds for the authentic canvas pants and suspenders, worn out thick woven authentic undershirt with big holes, and metal buttons, faded, checked shirt with no collar, vest with worn out lining, and size 12 EEE tallboots (actually very comfortable even if a bit snug, usually I wear a 13). According to my friend Tom (sign painter), I really look more like a well dressed 'Swamper' with his pants tucked into his boots, than a contractor.
Run to make-up and date with 'Tesla', flaming Red haired Bobby. Her red hair actually stands on end like a person under a static electricity generator. Bobby smeared on sun-blocker and dirt. I went out that door and within minutes was back in the other door to get hair smeared a litle before loading in the van for the trip to the set.
One very interesting observation. Just about all of the 'crew' is Stardom waiting to be discovered. 'Tesla' bobby is just one. I always see strange hairdo's, wild attire, and every conceivable character portrayed around the set. All are fascinating to watch. Talent is everywhere and exciting to observe. One attractive, tall young woman has very vibrant deep reddish-purple hair with trinkets set precisely throughout. I will get her name some time, maybe even an interview, everyone has a story waiting to be told.
Frank (neon-dash Frank) was on set again with a few different background people along with others from days past. The van deliverd us all to APPALOOSA. Another infamous friend, Dennis of all people was in 'set holding', the Feed store. Dennis was the 'Comanche Moon', Austin Banker on our first 'townfolk' day. Dennis stood outside the 1850's Austin bank looking very sophisticated with his tall top hat and white goatee with moustache. He really looked like a banker.
My first wife (Judi) and I walked past him, as he got into his carriage and rode away with his wife. The second day, I was an Austin businessman with an even taller black stovepipe hat. I now had a young girlfriend (Shaney) We climbed into the carriage driven by 'Dennis' the carriage driver. This story is told during the first blog series back in my 2006 archives. The 'comments' are the day by day happenings on set of Comanche Moon.
You never know how your fortune will change in the movies. I tapped Dennis's shoulder and he drove away smartly with our two horse hitch. Dennis is really an expert horseman in real life and has driven carriages back in Ohio (amish country) and ridden for years. This is fun stuff for him. Dennis likes westerns as well as anybody, Blogengeezer included.
During our preview of the days activities, Rebecca did an excellent 'reading' of the script. It came alive as she did the 'story lady' version. We were in stunned silence afterward, for whatever reason. Next time I will read 'Viggo's lines and Rebecca will read Renee's. Now that we were hyped, it was time to get to work. Rebecca sent us out into the dusty streets of Appaloosa. I was sent into the hotel Saloon up the street. Alll Riiight!
To my dismay no drinks were being served. The Set Decorator's crew was working full force to get it finished for the following weeks inside scenes. The true antique (in most cases) set fittings and vases with crystals hanging from the edges, were mostly brought in from LA Cal. Most are stored until needed, then used in films throughout their lifetime. Recycling is always evident, due to budget considerations. The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling really have candles visible. The bar is very well built with it's classic back mirror. The pot bellied stove is getting fitted to it's metal floor plate. The green wall covering was being applied throughout. The furniture is commensurate with the period as well.
The curved stairway and the sitting parlor were reminiscent of Durango Colorado's Strater Hotel (one of many in the restored 1800's, Colorado) This film budget is approximatly $15 million as far as My sources can figure. The money spends fast with so many people and so much time involved. Attention to detail seems to be running fairly high on this set. We are all properly 'dirty' and properly attired.
Talk about dirty, on the days he worked, Makeup used up all of their 'dirt' (actually dark face powder and spray) on this big guy, http://forgebuilder.com/ He was so dirty that the dirt fell off as he walked, his hands were sprayed with dirt, his face was dirtied, his clothes were dirtied, his boots were dirty. All in all, hands down he was the dirtiest of all of us. Steve is the most neccessary man in Appaloosa, The Blacksmith. Big Steve has also been very prominent in the 'Boy Scouts of America' Headquarters near Cimmaron NM.
On command from hidden Kate, the AD, "Cameras Up, Rolling-Rolling, Background, Action", I was to walk out the Saloon's swinging doors, put on my cap, turn and walk to the end of the raised boardwallk, step down the stairs, cross the street to where the banker and his 'friend' ('Amazon' Elizabeth) were entering the bank. Then I stepped up onto the boardwalk, turned and started toward the camera focused on the 'close in' Stars, untill I finally ended up at the feed store checking the feed bags.
Now this sounds quick and simple. Over five hours later and many resets, we finally got the entire sequence on film. Viggo (Hitch/Virgil) was busy with various people in the street. Stepping high up onto the boardwalk near Hunter the ten yr old, and carrying his 8 gauge double long barreled shotgun, staring intently into the distance, talking with important townfolk in the street, and all in all just doing his Deputy Marshall thing. Ed (Cole) is an excellent '5 yard, bottle in the trash can' shooter. Columbia University was not wasted on that man. He walked very close past 'Geezer', the carpenter, several times. Maybe I will get to start work on his house some time.
During the van load-up, I had the pleasure to ride in the seat just in front of pretty Renee Zellweger, who climbed in last with barely any space to actaully sit. As We exited the van at base camp, Elizabeth (my casting director) asked how I pulled that off. Renee did not ask my opinion, just talked in concern, about the lost 'town dog' that is seen in the film. Blue dog had trotted back to the chow tent for a snack. The dog handler is always hiding around the corner and sending hand signals to the 'blue' dog. Amazing how the blue dog behaves as he is told,... except when he wants a snack.
One new background, 'printers wife no 1', a widow operating the 'Appaloosa Gazette' with 'printers wife no 2' (also a widow), is from the 'Amazon' remember, she is messing around with the Banker?, and came to NM just to be an Extra on this film. I don't think so. Her Mom got her to do it. Elizabeth (dead printers widow) is in real life, a doctor helping the native indian tribes in Ecuador, to get along in their changing world. She has done it for 5 years, and is going back when this is finished. Unless we can somehow convince her otherwise? NM is fun?
Just after 'Tesla' Bobby with hazel eyes, had put more sunscreen on my dirty face. I was told that the day was finished for 'the carpenter', 'It's a wrap' for me. The list was read and I am to return tomorrow at 'HIGH NOON', "Oh don't Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" for another days shoot. We do have fun and pass the time in a meaningful, mostly non-violent manner. One Nation Under God, is a Great place to live. It also is a wide open, scenery rich environment. To drive 65 miles back to 'the house' across the desolate Eastern Plains, is a pleasure in itself.
See comments below for following episodes and dates of 'On Set' activity in filming of APPALOOSA.