Saturday, November 24, 2007

APPALOOSA Movie 2007 Viggo Mortensen

APPALOOSA Base Camp South of Santa Fe New Mexico.
Thank you Nancy Ann


The truck and trailers in the background with several
windows, was the self contained 'trailer restrooms' at Base Camp. The tent to the right of the truck, with the low profile mountain in the background was our 'extras holding', where we waited and ate after 'signing in' for the days work 'on set'.

The white van was our 'ride' to 'The Set' of Appaloosa.
White trailer just to the right, contained catering supplies. The tent just over Viggo's head is where the 'Principles and Crew dined. During days when 'Background' was limited, we were Welcomed and dined there on the great feast. Somewhat nicer than our regular meals of course.

The trailers to the right were used by
the 'Principles' for wardrobe change and
their make-up rituals. Sometimes a brand
'Star Coach' is used. Usually they are 'fifth wheel'
types, and towed by diesel trucks, to the Base Camps.

VIGGO MORTENSEN 'Hitch' playing soccer wearing Spurs, Backicks? with crew and 'background' as he did often at our Base Camp of 'APPALOOSA' during filming near Santa Fe NM Nov 02 2007. Thank you Nancy Ann....'Blogengeezer'

Are these the only players in this game? Did the townspeople of 'Appaloosa' play soccer in 1880? Can he jump and kick wearing spurs? Is this a soccer player wearing his spurs? or the Appaloosa Deputy Marshall playing soccer? Check back for possibly another surprise from; "Nancy Ann, 'The Doctors Wife' She cut off their tails with a carving knife" Oh wait that is from another little song/story long ago. Does anyone still recall the words to that? Just exactly what do they mean?


  • contains the latest trailer as well as commentary.
  • Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    APPALOOSA Movie 2007 NOV21

    Call Time: Wednesday, November 21

    9 am Laundress Mrs Chin, Charlene Wives and townswoman, Doctor's Wife Nancy, Carol Train Passenger, townswoman, Sandy, Jennifer

    9:30 am Doctor, Town Worker who Rides, Sign Shop Owner, Ranch Hand (Nathan Simmons) Cowboy on Horseback, New Businessman

    10 am, Nick Townsman who rides, David Town worker, Tailor, Hotel Desk Clerk Michael, Carpenter Blogengeezer

    These are our call times as posted by casting. 'The Carpenter' is due at a later time which means a later 'wrap time' usually but not in this case. The stories that each one of the featured 'background' wrote about their 'character', were for general distribution to give meaning to the movie 'APPALOOSA'.

    Ed Harris desired a personal touch for his film. Each story would be an interesting blog post on it's own, maybe Elizabeth would email them to Da Geezer for Da Flikkers? Being in the film business, we all have vivid imaginations. How about it Elizabeth? If not that way, all background please pass the word and email me your stories. I will post them as I receive them, the world wants to know about about how your character came to be in 'Appaloosa' 125 years ago.

    65 mi (105km) drive up to 'APPALOOSA' Base Camp, was in 44 F degree, clear weather this morning. Burrito and hot coffee, due to everything starting to be packed up in anticipation of breaking down the entire 'base camp'. Boxes and boxes of equipment and wardrobe, packed and ready to move on out. This will be an extremely long, very busy day for this dedicated crew.

    Van to 'On set' holding, more large plastic boxes piled everywhere. Stories from more background actors, were easy for Blogengeezer to come by now. The word is out that Da Flikkers is a 'positive', conservative blog.

    "Negativism is not a natural human trait, it is unfortunatly honed to sharp perfection by some humans, but most definetly not a pretty item when put on display"... 'Blogengeezerism'.

    Chuck, described in a previous post, was 'on set' today with his beautiful daughter Jennifer, 'Townsgirl', also the girl that rode her very large horse in our movie 'Swing Vote' due out in 2008. Chuck thought he was 'wrapped' after our last day together, cut his hair and shaved his beard....Oh-Oh, now what. He is seen as a rider and cowboy and looks totally different. Maybe no one will notice? Send me your story in the comments Chuck, I will copy/paste it into the main post. Tell the others as well. I think they are all great.

    Chuck also explained to us about the main 'props' in films. They are called 'The Hero' gun or knife or whatever item is on prominent display as the main 'prop' used by 'The Heros' in the films. Viggo Mortensen's and Ed Harris's weapons are the 'Hero' weapons in 'Appaloosa'. 'Hitch's, Viggo Mortensens very large, long barreled 8 ga shotgun stands alone and no one doubts about it's designation as the 'Hero' shotgun. It's huge prominence is displayed each time 'Hitch' fires it.

    My favorite 'background wrangler' and casting assistant to Elizabeth, Rebecca is returned wearing her 'wet look' lip gloss. Bet you never saw that on a Blacksmith before. Now we will behave ourselves better and be quiet when she admonishes us in 'holding' during 'pictures up', 'Rolling', on set.

    'Townswoman', Sandy actually teaches Physical Education in High School. Her daughter was in Swing Vote as a reporter and worked on that film with my friend Alisha, 'Townswoman' in Appaloosa, who also runs the 'Robert Horton Fan Club' website in links on my right sidebar, check it out, more film history.

    Nick 'cowboy' from Minneapolis, was back, we talked about his scuba diving in old abandoned Northern iron mines with old forests submerged in them, ice skating and his falling through the ice and nearly freezing to death. Young, well educated Nick 'The Swede' still likes the frozen North land, Nicholas is a true Norseman.

    Nathan Simmons, from 'New Mexico Actors' (Lively link in my right sidebar), is on set as the 'ranch hand', 20 years of film experience qualifies him for anything.

    Ed 'The Doctor' has a wife today as in other days. Nancy is found at and will teach her trade at UNM in 2008.

    My friend David, the very unique looking Mexican Trader in 3:10 to Yuma (Russell Crowe) and historic 're-inactor', was also in Comanche Moon with me and pictured with my friend Judi, she was not in this film about Appaloosa, but is used in a majority of NM filming. Judi works at the State of NM legislature during sessions.

    Larry McMurtry's prequel to the 'Lonesome Dove' series, 'Comanche Moon' will be aired as a series starting on CBS TV, January 13Th 2008, as an 1860's era Western, the prequel to the 'Lonesome Dove' TV series of a few years back. Comanche Moon (with Val Kilmer) portrays the violent historic Indian raids on newly established Austin Texas. Our 'Blackfoot Indian' horseback riders in graphic 'warpaint', from Montana were fantastic.

    Watch 'Comanche Moon' for the very big black horse ridden by the expert indian bareback rider. It thundered past at full gallup with all four hooves off the ground, within inches (cm's) of Blogengeezer at one time. Look for white bearded Blogengeezer in a long black 'Frock' coat, tall black tophat, walking around town with different ladies, running around Austin in suspenders after the Indian raid and even riding in a black carriage with Shani, using the 'Banker' as my 'driver'. Dennis is a horseman and also a two horse team carriage driver here in Appaloosa. Background knows no boundaries. Don't miss the 'Comanche Moon' series on CBS TV January 13Th 2008, if you like western movies with 'Hero's.

    Now for Michael the 'Hotel Desk Clerk'. Michael was inspired to be a cartoonist by 'Woody Woodpecker' when he was in 5Th grade, and a ventriloquist later. When he went into the Navy, they turned him into a 'medical corpsman' and he ended up in the nuclear field. He worked as a medical assistant for 25 years with 38 years total medical background. Now for the part I liked, Michael spent 5 years, some training people in Chad how to infiltrate, using camels that are capable of carrying 700 pounds of a CIA operative.

    Needless to say, Michael traveled and lived in, the 'difficult' parts of the world and now 'truly' apreciates his beloved USA. He also became a private pilot and nearly lost his life in a thunderstorm over Arizona's mountains. With advancing eye problems, he retired from flying soon after. These days Michael operates 'Beau Jesters', a magic and novelty store in Bernalillo New Mexico that is also online which imports 'magic trick' items from 'Tenyo Magic' in Japan. He says they are the best in the world. You will see him as well as many of the others in the hotel scenes of course.

    Mabel Chin, her real name, also speaks 'Toishan' Chinese dialect fluently. Mabel portrays Mr chins mother and is with her actual laundry family in business. Fiction and reality completely blur lines in her case. 'Toishan' was the province where the chinese rail workers primarily came from during the construction of the Western half of the US Intercontinental railroad in the 1800's as well as the mining industry.

    Charlene was 2 different, 'with wardrobe variation', wives in Appaloosa and sat with Renee Zellweger 'Allie' or Allison, in the courtroom scene.

    Pretty, dark haired Carol was the train passenger on her way to 'Yaqui', looking out the window while Renee Zellweger was being held hostage below the train trestle. She also was in the, on train, 'prisoner' scene with the guy from 'CSI Miami' acting as an officer transporting the prisoner.

    Viggo and ED (Hitch and Cole) are in this scene with her. The Couger on the rock, is Casey or KC, whichever you prefer. He is trained to be without a leash and was hungry enough to hang around waiting for his food. He did not realize that New Mexico is truly Couger and Bobcat country. Carol really liked him. Carol is also later in the movie, seen on the right side porch with 'Amazon' Elizabeth 'Printers Widow' tonight on the right boardwalk as Viggo 'Hitch' walks in the front door of the Hotel.

    'Hitch', Viggo, is involved in a confrontation with 'Bragg', Jeremy Irons, while Carol is in the background. She is a homemaker in real life, a beautiful mother of four and a local girl. Carol 44, looks about in her late 2o's, trim, fit and enjoys the film business. I hope to see her back on other sets. 'Background holding' is a treasure trove of talent, sitting around between filming, waiting to be called to the 'live set'.

    A scene that Rebecca delivered us to, was in front of the Assayer's office building on the side street across from the blacksmith shop. Michael was coming out of the office while the Carpenter waited outside. We walked down the steps and away from the camera, over to cowboys Nathan and Nick, the 'Swede'.

    The camera was mounted about 1/4Th mi (402m) away on the Eastern horizon. Tom 'the painter', walking in the street with a woman while a wagon rolled past, jokingly called it the 'Hubble' satelite shot. They are actually called 'Plate shots' of the town of Appaloosa, while approaching from a great distance.

    Rebecca 'wrangled' us into the van back to base camp, dinner was great including prime rib and lobster even though pretty blond Deidre, Dirk and the other caterers were still packing up, a quick meal and back to the set by van.

    Viggo fans, are you ready? I mean really ready. We heard 45 caliber single action pistol gunfire all of today as well as the last two days as The big finale was being 'shot' over and over to get all perfect and accepted by Ed Harris. Our 'on set holding' in the Hay Grain and feed store, was alive with curiousity.

    From now on you will probably wonder which building in a movie is 'holding' the 'background' waiting for their 'Starring' roles. Some of us clandestinely take pictures of each other while in holding. We have been chastised because the camera flashes appear in the windows from outside during the filming sometimes.

    We took turns at the cracks and knotholes, watching the endless different outcomes to each 'finale'. Different camera angles, Different outcomes, different reactions by the 'Principles' during each 'action' scene. This was done for three days to get the exact effect desired by the Directors.

    I will not tell the outcome, You will have to go and see the movie. This is an important scene in the street in front of the Hotel. The crew sweeps away all traces of wheels and modern treaded footprints. This ritual goes on endlessly in each scene before 'cameras up! The dust is ground to a fine powder by this critical attention to it's appearance.

    Tom said that this next scene could not "Go off without a 'Hitch"
    During the evening just before the bigger (there are several) confrontations with Bragg, Viggo walks intently toward the front steps leading up to Bragg's Boston House Hotel, turns his head slightly and nods to the 'Sign shop owner' and the 'Carpenter' standing near the ladder.

    Paul (a crew member now dressed in period wardrobe) is up the ladder painting the new sign. While the sign shop owner and the carpenter stand talking. Viggo confidently climbs the stairs with his very big 8 ga shotgun craddled in his left arm. This is a night scene with burning torches out side the hotel.

    Rebecca noticed us looking cold, ran into the back room of the hotel, grabbed my coat, returned, also opened and gave to me, two little packaged 'hand warmers', then as we were alerted to 'Cameras up', ran back in with my coat, to her station inside. You gotta Love that girl.

    Viggo once again strides meaningfully, from an angle directly across the street. A horse drawn wagon passes, He enters the front doors. This scene is the immediate 'prequel' to the scene that the Painter and the Carpenter did the other cold night, while being blown by the 27 degree wind as Hitch enters the etched glass front doors of Bragg's Boston House Hotel's, main entrance.

    That chilly night, it took hours because of the numbers of background and several camera relocations set up in the different rooms. Tonight with 3 cameras and their myriad of equipment in the street in back of us, one 'Chapman' dolly rolled forward on a carefully set up, railed track, looking right at us and also 'Hitch' Viggo's back, as he walks toward the Boston House..

    The Doctor and his wife are walking in the street, Carol and Elizabeth on the walkway near the door and others in the street with horses tied to railings and pulling a wagon, it took one practice walk by Viggo, one quick rehersal, two actual 'Cameras up! 'Rolling! Action! filming runs, a finish with 'Cut! 'Checking the gate! and 'IT's A WRAP! all within one hour. That 'my friends' is quality in overall performance and directing.

    Ed Harris, who had been running back and forth in his orange baseball cap to get the action perfect, was obviously extremely excited and ran over to Viggo Mortensen, grabbed him and hugged him in gratitude, thanking him for a great performance in their great 1880's Western film 'APPALOOSA'. Everyone on the set started applauding and cheering in the brightly lit night street scene, cake was served all around.

    'The Carpenter' was standing in the middle of the dusty street, watching the happy filmakers, Ed Harris turns, walks over to 'The Carpenter', reaches out, gives him a hearty handshake and says "Thank you very much for your help", 'The Carpenter' replied, "I Thank you sir, it was an honor" and I truly meant it.

    While standing in the middle of the street, waiting for orders, the 'Carpenter' turned around to see Viggo Mortensen in his wide, rolled brim, flat top brown hat, tall brown muddy boots with spurs and long Green coat, standing two feet (60cm) away from me. Viggo standing, while two production crew removed all of the 'Hero' weapons from the brown 'quick crossdraw' holster'd belt.

    Carefully removing the blued steel 45 colt revolver which they told me, is an actual 1871 model rebuilt to spec. They were already holding the Colt 8 ga double barreled shotgun which was also rebuilt to spec using 12 ga shotgun shells in the chambers, and which punched Viggo back each time it fired using 'smoky' black powder. The large 'production' man in control of the 'Hero' weapons carefully showed me the double hammer'd receiver, 12 ga chambers, while 'breaking' the action on the very big, blued steel shotgun.

    They removed all of the bullets from Viggo Mortensen's belts while he held the 'long green coat' back and high with both of his hands. The many blank shotgun shells in a black loop belt, as well as the 45 caliber pistol shells loaded with lead but no powder, were carefully pulled one at a time, from each individual loop on Viggo's brown belt. I asked Viggo about the interesting white handled knife mounted right next to the holster, he removed it from it's sheath, displayed it, then replied to me, "It's a Mexican Knife". The extremely sharp looking blade was bigger than the white handle and it looked more like a very deadly 'steak knife' on closer examination.

    Before Viggo Mortensen turned away in the brightly lit, night street of APPALOOSA, he unexpectedly reached out, grabbed my hand, looked directly into my eyes and said, "Thank You Very Much for your help". 'The Carpenter' gratefully replied, "Thank you sir, it is an Honor having worked with you". Viggo Mortensen smiled, then slowly turned to walk to his 'ride'.....and it truly was an Honor, thats no lie. the Carpenter stood motionless and completely in shock, as Viggo Mortensen, the Film Star, walked away down the dusty street of APPALOOSA.

    You know the ritual by now, Rebecca walked up to me, "Van to Base Camp", change in 26 degree weather to our own clothes in the tent, wardrobe for turn in, and pick up pay voucher in return, Rebecca signed us out, hugged Rebecca a lot (Thomas are you reading this?) Hugged Elizabeth, our casting director and finished our historic film work on the set of Appaloosa while the crew worked feverishly into the brightly lit night, loading up our Base Camp into the many large white trucks and trailers. The drive back to 'the house' began. Instant Replays were running through my thoughts. The time was 9:13pm on Wednesday night before our 'Day of Thanksgiving' in the United States of America.

    No longer will the worlds faithful Viggo Mortensen fans, of return to Da Flikkers, unless of course Viggo Mortensen returns to New Mexico for another film. Then Da 'Blogengeezer' will repeat the process all over again. Until that time, Viggo Mortensen fans, "Hasta La Vista, Baby". "It's been a great ride". And always remember,

    "Eagles May Soar..but Weasels don't Get Sucked Into Jet Engines" :>)

    Most importantly to the rest of 'Background', thank you for your memories. We all wished each other well as we walked away from 'APPALOOSA' base camp for the last time. We will most certainly see each other again some time. The long 'open casting call' lines, with thousands of 'background hopefuls', are great meeting places. The best by far though, are at 'Base Camp' of the latest film that we all 'Star' in.

    We enjoy the company of each other, doing what we love, for minimum wage, in all sorts of weather and conditions. We do it for, as was sung in Renee Zellweger's 'Chicago'..... "ALL THAT JAZZ"..., in the USA, the Greatest Democracy and Freedom loving Nation that the world Has Ever Known. 'The United States of America', "One Nation Under GOD"

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    APPALOOSA Movie 2007 Nov15

    Call Time: Thursday, November 15

    11:42 am Abner Raines Wife, Olsen's Wife, Banker's Wife, Barber's Wife, Doctor's Wife, Grocer's Wife,

    12:00 pm Feed and Grain Owner's Wife, Tailor's Wife, Older Homesteader's Wife, Townswoman, Print Shop Lady 1, Print Shop Lady 2,

    12:12 pm Homesteader 1's Wife, Younger Homesteader's Wife, Laundress

    12:30 pm Carpenter, Doctor, Postmaster, Real Estate Agent, Tailor, Sign Shop Owner, Assayer, Banker, Bank Clerk

    1:00 pm Blacksmith, Butcher, Barber, , Older Homesteader, Watchmaker
    Homesteader 1, Young Homesteader, Lawyer, Building Supply Owner, Building Supply Helper, Grocer, Feed and Grain Owner, Clothier, Chemist Twins, Town Worker Who Rides, Townsman who Rides, Gun Shop Owner

    1:30 pm Town Boys, Town Girls, Chin's Sons, Homesteader 1 Teen Daughter, Homesteader 1 Son, Olson's Children,

    2:00 pm Homesteader's Baby

    This post above by Elizabeth, was our individual 'marching orders' for each day on Appaloosa. The days preparation starts at least 2 hours before 'call time' for each of us on this 'location' due to the distance involved. After arriving 'on set' about noon, the chow line was the first visit after sign in with Elizabeth. Breakfast was still being served today. I just 'wolfed down' a lowly turkey burger with coffee, still good stuff. During the wardrobe visit in the trailer with Lorrie and 3 other 'wardrobe attendants', she decided that The Carpenter was to be dressed up a little for the 'town Meeting'.

    'The Carpenter' got a wide brimmed brown felt hat size 8 3/8 US with a domed top. A newer, much nicer heavy pullover shirt, a hand tied by Lorrie, bow tie, much nicer brown vest with little pockets (I got to use my pocket watch and chain). Finally I got to wear my heavy tan canvas pants outside my size 13 US, tall boots. I felt slightly higher on the 'Appaloosa' social scale now. Not nearly as high though, as the days of sailing the 'high seas', as the Captain of my own ship before retirement.

    We van'd on over to the set, went into 'holding' in the Hay store. Stayed sequestered for the next 3 1/2 hours while watching some minor activity around regions of Appaloosa. Viggo Mortensen walked by one time. Ed Harris is extremely busy 'wearing many hats' in this film. Happy birthday Ed 'Nov 28Th' born 1950. You can still jump over the front wheel of a Buckboard with the best of them.

    Nearing 4pm, we finally got the call to march. The 'Town Meeting' was to be setup in the Church. We filed in and were carefully, individually placed, all 50 of us, so that each person could see the camera lens without being blocked by an other's head. Now that is unprecedented and unbelievably considerate of this crew. We will all want to see ourselves on the big screen some day. The white bearded Carpenter, 'Blogengeezer', is sitting in a chair on the far right, in the third row. Two cameras were set up on the short stage, looking at the 'townsfolk'. After a lot of shuffling around, we started this complex 'shoot' with about 50 background and 'principles'.

    This scene is in the first part of the movie. 'Abner Raines' our civic leader, called the 'meeting', introduced the 2 top hatted Aldermen that stood, bowed then reseated. 'Jack Bell', the town Marshall was introduced, stood, turned, acknowledged the gathering and reseated. 'Abner Raines' proceeded to tell us, "The last 7 years were very rough. The Indian raids took their toll on the little town with it's closed down copper mines. Many people were driven to despair and left. Appaloosa fell onto hard times. With their "Faith in God", they survived to see some ray of hope on this day" (or something to that effect)

    Then 'Abner Raines' introduced a young married couple sent from Chicago by a large company to reopen the mines. Young, well dressed, articulate 'Colfax Poston' stood and walked to the little covered table on stage. He carefully held up and explained about, the copper to be used in the wire for transmitting, then new, electricity. He pulled the red cloth cover off of a little, wooden electrical generator with a light bulb on top, we 'awed'. Then he started to turn the crank, the bulb gradually lit up, we all clapped and cheered at this latest cutting edge technology that none of us had ever seen before. 'Appaloosa' now had renewed Hope,... but for how long?

    The delivery of this dialog was flawless, after many minor adjustments to the emphasis of words spoken by the actors, the flourish of their hand movements, which they worked on between 'cut' and 'action', with the advice of Ed Harris, wearing his orange baseball cap. These actors, 'Abner Raines' (Thomas Bower) and the young articulate man playing 'Colfax Poston', are truly great and never blew their long complicated 'lines'. These people are 'real' professionals, unlike several, much more famous individuals I have worked with and described in previous film posts.

    Of course each delivery and the townsfolk's reaction, was filmed by the cameras from several angles in the front of the room, looking over the professional actors shoulders. This took hours to perfect. Now came the total re-arrangement of camera angles. This also takes a lot of time, moving all of the copious amounts of wiring, trying different camera mounts and all of the experimentation involved, required the presence of about a dozen people on this scene alone.

    The entire group in front of the Carpenter, including two rows of seating, were removed. The 3 Panavision 50mm cameras were now put in their new positions, looking directly at the 'Principles'. The background was now only for the clapping, and enthusiasm parts recorded on the sound track. Ed liked lots of clapping on the sound track and danced around while explaining 'Enthusiasm' to us. He also liked lots of 'cranking' on the generator to accompany the clapping.

    The mic 'boom' operator was standing on a ladder in front of me, holding the directional mic 24 inches (61cm) over the heads of the 'principles' as they voiced their dialog. One camera was directly in front of me on a short, multi-wheeled 'Chapman' dolly with the seated cameraman. Another was repositioned onto a 7 foot (2m) high mount looking from the 'stage actors' right. Another was positioned directly in center back, focused on the 'principles'.

    During a previous scene, camera change, while waiting for set up to be completed, Jack Bell (town Marshall) was leaning against the church wall to my left.
    When Marshall 'Jack Bell', returned to his seat, I noticed a large white spot on his coat's back. When 'Lorrie' from wardrobe stopped to check out my new duds for perfect alignment, I mentioned about 'Jacks' coat spot.

    She looked alarmed, then said that only the 'Principles' attendants could ever touch them. She then ran to find that wardrobe attendant. The 'principles' wardrobe person, the 'principles' hair person, the 'principles' make-up person are each in their own 'craft' or union. This group is separate from the 'craft' group that works on 'background', like the rest of us. The film industry seems totally unionised from the top to bottom. The Taft-Hartley act, also is adhered to religiously, or so it seems.

    When I needed lip balm, only the make-up attendant from our backgrounds 'Craft' could apply it to the back of my hand. I then applied it to my chapped lips. the 'make-up' attendant applied the 'dirt' to our faces and hands as well as sunscreen. 'Hair', only did hair. The Brylcreme was applied to achieve a 'sheen' for reflection of the highlights for camera. The women took much more time to be prepared than the men of course. Not that John Edwards could be outdone of course.

    When all was ready, we repeated the scene over and over from the new camera angles, just as we did repeatedly from the front angles. While rushing back to the outside monitors, Ed Harris bumped his head on a low hanging lamp, then in a swift recovery, rolled and did the impersonation of a 'rubber legged' drunk leaving the room.

    Ed worked outside during filming, watching the monitors set up there. ED wore a dark, knitted wool, pull down cap while in the cold command center outdoors. Ed ran in and out many times during this scene. After all of the repeated technical commands many times that afternoon, as described in the previous post on the 14Th, we break for supper and van'd back to base camp.

    Food was again, well prepared by the chefs, wonderful and plentiful. We were treated very well every day while on this set. Thank you ED Harris and the rest of this 'Appaloosa' Production company. After a fast meal due to the late hour, we returned to the 'town meeting' set. All of us were sent to 'on set holding' where a select few were hand picked to film the meetings exit scene.

    After a long wait, we finally heard that most of us were 'wrapped'. A few will return on friday and next week to finish up some scenes before our National "Day of Thanksgiving" for the power of God in allowing this remarkable Free nation to be formed in 1621 and celebrated again in 1623. Thank you God and Thank you good ship 'Mayflower', for delivering your precious cargo, The Pilgrims, to America, forming the beginning of our "One Nation Under God".

    Austin Texas, a great movie town, gets a share of this Appaloosa production as well.
    A few 'background' will be used in the remaining days here in NM 'on set'. The 'Carpenter' is totally 'wrapped', and not scheduled to return. We were sent to the vans for the return to base camp, wardrobe change in a 38 degree tent (better than the 27 of the previous night), checked out and left the set of APPALOOSA, for the last time. It is now after 11:00pm, begin the 65 mile (104.6km) trip down the desolate night highway, back to 'the house'.

    Monday afternoon the phone rang, the display showed the name of Elizabeth, my attention sharpened. why should Elizabeth Gabel call 'Blogengeezer'. After all he was 'wrapped' on the 15Th of Nov. Amazingly the rare recall to repeat a scene happened. The call was to return to the scene of Viggo mortensen 'Hitch', entering the hotel front door while the 'Sign Painter' and the 'Carpenter' were standing outside beside the ladder and flaming torch.

    Ed Harris seems to want the two of us more visible on camera? What an honor from the Director, Producer and Star. Of course I will return for another cool night on set of Appaloosa. Get ready for another 'posting' after the adventures 'on set' of "APPALOOSA' the greatest little Western in production, in the Greatest Nation in the World, "The United States of America, One Nation Under God"

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    APPALOOSA Movie 2007 Nov14

    The posted call time for our APPALOOSA movie was 12:30pm Nov 14th. After a few quick chores to prep the Motor Home for winter after the last trip to the Gulf of Mexico, (a later blog) a quick shower and fill the gas tank at $3.04 US, a gallon (3.8 liters) for the 130 mile (209 km) round trip, Blogengeezer set out for APPALOOSA. The day was New Mexico bright sunshine from East to West.

    Temperature was 55 degrees F. Arrival early, to a great welcome back, hug from Elizabeth, Rebecca was working on another movie set in NM, holding the mic boom for the scenes dialog. I miss her, but Thomas, her significant other, was looking after us like a 'Wrangler' does. Elizabeth sent me to the 'Tree Hugger' catering trailer, to see if anything was left to eat. A fine breakfast burrito (soft four tortilla with egg, cheese, and sausage rolled up in it) was still in the window, extremely hot coffee was in the dispenser, all in all, good stuff... had another, thanks Dirk.

    Signed in and walked over to Wardrobe where a few more early arrivals were already changed out. Tom 'sign painter' and Ed, 'the town doctor', were extremely early due to the pending excitement of the day. They and I think somewhat alike. Ed had an interesting life. A Texas church orphanage raised him and his siblings.

    Ed dropped out of school, rode the bus to the Gulf of Mexico with his brother and hired onto a 'Shrimper' for 19 cents an hour. As the 60 foot 'Shrimper' pulled away from the dock, Ed sailed his Texas cowboy hat to his brother on shore and waved goodby. Ed did not see his brother for 14 years after that.

    Ed weathered a hurricane at sea, just like in the movie 'Perfect Storm' He described the storm ravaged ocean as "Black as ink" while they were tied to the railings while working to batten down the rigging. He worked odd jobs, then joined the army. Did many other things. Became a pilot, a software engineer at Los Alamos, and now a fine background actor. The USA is the Greatest.

    After the change, 'Da Geezer' walked past a tall attractive woman PA, kicking a soccer ball to a man with his back to me. As 'Da Geezer' turned to get into the van, the soccer ball sailed over to the man, Someone in the van said Look, Viggo Mortensen was that man. He quickly shot the ball back to the woman who missed the return kick. Good shot Viggo! He plays with the soccer ball often while waiting for his 'on set' time.

    Margaret, our van driver, is from a famous family in Chicago industry history, also a catering chef at times, brought us to the APPAlOOSA set. After everyone else left the van, Margaret and 'Da Geez' talked while driving around behind the watering truck (keeps down the dust) The end of prohibition in Chicago was helped along by her great Grandfather. People are interesting when you just ask about their past.

    Arrival at Extras Holding in the Hay Grain and Feed store, brought a few new faces but mostly friends from previous days. While talking to several that I had not formaly met, Ron (surveyor #2) wearing a brown 'American' brand hat that looks like a 'Hoss' Cartwright style, was from South Carolina and does re-enactments at special events, Confederate?

    David (surveyor #2) is a retired, hospital toxicology dept mgr. forensics like in CSI. Unique looking David makes his own 'period' clothing. He was the only 'anglo Mexican' Trader looking guy in 3:10 To Yuma. David is also a re-enactment specialist. A restored Spanish Trail town, Los Golondrinas (the swallows) south of Santa Fe, features many re-enactors during the numerous festivals. He made his own unique hat out of an old brown felt, hat blank and weather'd it to look like a hundred years of hard trading.

    Nick is an Optical Engineering student with a Bachelors degree, going for his Masters at Bethel univ. Hang in there Nick, the world always welcomes Engineering people. Background acting gives him some reprieve. Nick hails from Minnesota and is of Swedish descent. He even traveled there to see his 'roots'. Nick is taller, but looks and 'voices' just like a very young Sylvester Stalone. Nick is better known in his role as the 'naked guy' in the film 'In Plain sight'. He is 'the visiting cowboy #1 today. You will see him playing cards in the saloon and just hanging around town.

    Cowboy on horseback #2, is Chuck. He owns 7 horses and has kids in rodeo and special events. His horse was in 'Swing Vote' (previous blog) with his daughter 'up'. 5' 8" (172cm) Michael 'building Supply helper' was raised in the family Ice Cream Restaurant business, then lost 60 pounds (27kg) after leaving the lifestyle. That is an amazing feat Michael. Tom (sign painter) showed me the finished house at the end of the street, that 'the Carpenter' and his helpers, built for Cole (Ed).

    It now is robins egg blue with an off white trim and railing just like 'the Carpenter' planned, (he is good) with Tim the wrangler helping him cut the 2x4's on the 24th of Oct. The porch has two rock'n chairs and a four panel front door graces it's entrance. The house now has an off white picket fence around it and flower boxes on the sides. One lone tree is in the left yard. It's roof is brown shingles with a square brick chimney to the back right side of the roof. The lightning rod was removed.

    'Neon Dash' Frank, the 'Assayer', is wearing the suit that Michael Landon wore in the last 'Little House on the Prarie' farewell episode on TV. It is a 3 piece brown herringbone pattern. Michael Landon's name is sewn into several places inside. Gives us a feeling of connection to the past film greats (Little Joe) from 'Bonanza' during the 1970 era of TV.

    Jerrall 'Assayer' is wearing a watch worn by Charlton Heston in filming history. It is a 'New Era' with exposed hands under a flip lid with a 3 row chain and slider. the little square box on the button hole end flips open and has red and green stones inset on each side. It is European and of 1800's origin.

    My friend PJ (a Santa Fe photo artist) that fell from the train (cut) while helping Allie (Renee) unload her luggage, is today the 'new lawyer'. On the 23rd of Oct, he was the helper to Bob, the building supply owner. today he is dressed in very fine black clothing with a fine bowler hat and long tailed coat, Tall distinguished looking, Perry 'PJ', is seen in the classy hotel scenes. The prostitutes are held in seclusion to keep warm until needed 'on set'. They also have very tight corsets. Perry told me that 'Brothers' is holding another casting call on Saturday in the Holiday Inn, in Santa Fe. Our networking system works great in 'holding'.

    Now for the scenes that the fans like. Ed Harris was directing today and will not be acting in anything 'the Carpenter' is involved in. Ed Harris has been working 20 hour days and the toll is starting to show. The Carpenter walked up to the newly re-modeled Boston House. The red brick first story, with green clapboard, second story, now has R B engraved into the frosted glass front doors. Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) bought it. A few scenes were being shot inside for some of the daylight hours as well. This set is very busy at all times. No time is wasted.

    As the temperature dropped to 40 degrees F, the wind started to pick up. The scene opens. Hitch (Viggo) was standing ouside the swinging saloon doors, intently watching from around the right side door frame, the goings on inside. The long double barreled, 8 ga shotgun was locked out of it's 'break' position and cradled in his left arm.

    After a few seconds he turned and walked briskly to the right, stopped at the center window. Holding his right hand up to the glass to shield the outside glare, Hitch peared inside to be prepared for his entrance. Many enemies (Bragg's men) could be lurking in there. The piano was playing. Scanning the interior within a couple of seconds, Hitch walked confidently to the front door and entered the Hotel doors at the top of the corner steps. The 12ft by 12ft, (3.6m) square 'Ultra bounce' silvered light reflector, covered the front entrance at a 45 degree angle, held in place by it's intricate aluminum framework.

    After several 'cut's and 'reset's, the scene became accepted by Ed Harris. Viggo Mortensen walked across the street to locate a PA, she pulled out her small camera and showed him her vid aquired during the filming. The actual filming was done from the top platform, 25 feet (7.6m) high in the air, on a self propelled, Genie GS-5390 scissor lift, positioned in the side street. The wind rocked it incessantly. The partially lowered window protector canvas on the hotel kept the lighting somewhat under control. The black fabric vertical covers hanging around the entrance, further kept any glare in perspective. "Checking the Gate". "Good Gate". The sun was lowering now so we went for supper.

    The crew line had us as guests. 'Tree Hugger Catering', Deidre and the others, helped provide us with the Shrimp gumbo, potato patties, green beans, steak, pork strips crab salad and many other side dishes. They do eat well, great feast, then return to the set in the darkness.

    A trip to the outdoor toilets in a back alley, in the darkness, was needed for the 'carpenter'. As soon as I got within touching distance of the portables, a movement loomed to my right accompanied by a heavy breath. Stoppping in my tracks and refocusing my eyes in the darkness, a very big black horse started to build along side me. My further prowling around, feeling my way through the darkness revealed a total of 9 horses munching their hay and resting after the days 'shooting'. Fun to find them all together in the night, just standing around enjoying life. I was raised on a small farm and owned horses. I love the smell and feel of them.

    Later the next day, I asked Kevin, a ruddy faced 'cowboy' and wrangler wearing 'chaps', seen in many scenes riding different horses, also in the bar throwing down 'shots', about the Big Black. 'Spider' is seen tied to hitching posts throughout 'APPALOOSA'. He is a Gelding but hard to handle nonetheless. Unpredictable horses are rarely used in action scenes. The biggest horse, slightly bigger than 'Spider', is ridden by 'Rex' the 'cowboy' and wrangler. A large copper colored sorrel, and more predictable than 'Spider', he looks impressive trotting past the cameras.

    All background is called out of 'holding' to the new 'Bragg's Boston House. All were positioned around the bar and dining room with the raised and railed, sitting area. Allie, 'Allison' Renee Zellweger, was playing the piano at times during this scene, as in the previous. Bragg 'Jeremy Irons', was now her employer. Hitch walks in to the scene. Scene 108 and 109 are the numbers we are doing. Allie explains to Hitch that Randall Bragg is now her boss. She asks if Cole will be coming in. Hitch explains that Cole would never come into Bragg's hotel.

    The Sign Painter and the Carpenter are now in position outside the front doors near the the torch and ladder used to put up the new Bragg's Hotel sign. We can see Jeremy Irons through the partially frosted glass doors, that's about as close as Tom and I got to him. We are discussing how well the town will do, now that Bragg 'Jeremy Irons' is spending his money to renovate it. Times were hard in the past 7 years. At this time, according to our script, we are all thinking that this new change is good for 'Appaloosa'.

    Viggo (Hitch)is entering the front doors. Viggo notices that we are now in 27 degree cold with a westerly wind. our hands are getting cold holding the paint cups and brushes. He motions us to step inside the frosted doors with him for a bit of warmth while we wait for the camera crew to complete set up. He tells us, we need to take advantage of the inside warmth when we can.

    The set is ready, Hitch stands at the door to enter just at the top steps on the corner porch, four steps up from the sign painter and carpenter. (Tom and I) Viggo Mortensen is wearing his "long dark green coat", apparently he likes a "long Dark Green Coat" (Lord of the Rings? thanks to, dark brown pants tucked into his tall muddy boots with spurs. The long barreled 8ga is sometimes 'broken', sometimes 'locked', on his right or left arm cradle style, that thing is heavy.

    Viggo's flat topped, light brown hat with the wide brim, slightly rolled edge, is trailing it's 24 inch (60cm) 'Stampede String' down his back from the slider positioned at the base of his neck. Viggo's large silver star over his heart on his light brown vest, is partially covered under the dark green long coat, with it's well worn leather shotgun 'recoil' patch, positioned to his right shoulder. Viggo's wide mustache and goatee, sets off his sharply chiseled features. The 8ga is now 'locked' and swung to the left side. The coyotes just outside the town, howl in the dark of the cold night air. This scene, like many others, is shot using very bright '5k's (sometimes even brighter) to illuminate it. The big energy hungry lights, turn night into day and send a bright glow seen for miles over the horizon.

    As viggo enters the door, we can see the bar maid serving the tables. Gamblers are sitting at tables. The new 'dark' bar has patrons working their positions. Now that's the scene 'the Carpenter' wanted to be in. Hitch and Allie 'Allison' (Renee Zellweger), have their discussion, while she seductively tries to get Hitch to switch sides. Bragg 'Jeremy Irons' walks across the room.

    We do this extremely complex scene over and over for hours. The long days and seemingly endless hours and the stress of meeting deadline, is taking it's toll on Ed Harris, as he seeks perfection in all of his duties, he apparently slams a somewhat fragile, back 'set door' in frustration over a scene, glass breaks. The sound comes to mind in the silent night air, as that of a body falling at a velocity of 250 feet per second, through the glass ceiling of an atrium over a hotel lobby. After two long seconds frozen in time, the entire outside crew rushes around to the rear of 'The Boston House' to the scene of the crash. Ed returns to the inside set and apologises profusely. "Reset"!

    Tom and I stand at the bottom of the wooden steps, outside the frosted glass entrance doors with Viggo Mortensen prepared to enter, silently pantomining about 'the painters' latest work of art and working our position in the cold, near the tall wooden ladder and the flaming torch, which can be seen through the frosted glass door as Viggo enters. The 'torch' is a tall tube wrapped on the end with burlap and parafin.

    It had to be moved over, 4 inches and remounted to get the desired visual effect on film. 'Special effects' relights it just for the action each time to save the fuel for each following shot. This scene is repeated many times until all is perfect. Walt, our PA (production assistant) rolls a propane heater to us, as we continue repeating this multiple camera angle scene with many 'principles', 'dialog' and 'background actors'.

    "lock it up" (secure all of the surrounding area of motion and sound) "Pictures up"! (Cameras are now live and the portable little hand held 'clapboards' with digital, red LED, downcounter is 'clapped' in front of the cameras, rapidly, sequentially one at a time as each camera comes on line) "Action" (start acting) "Cut" (cease filming) 'resetting' (start at position 1 sometimes position 2), 'cutting' and further 'resetting' until finally "Cut"!..."Checking the Gate"...."Good Gate"! "It's a Wrap"! Just thought that I would add in these little details for those not familiar with our basic daily ritual. 'Blogengeezer' tends to also add details to these posts daily as he rereads his endless little brown pads of notes and recalls fun stuff. Also friends respond with additional tid-bits. Keep returning to catch the latest inserts, sort of like a republishing you might say, it tends to drive the people that 'copy and paste' the first versions to their own sites, crazy. Have fun guys, 'Da Geezer' is old but not quite senile...yet!

    Load into the vans. Back to Base Camp Wardrobe, change clothes in the 27 degree cold tent. After turning in wardrobe, Elizabeth signs us out. Another long day. It's now 20 minutes after 1 am, cold, dark, dirty. Lets all go home over an hour away. The Carpenter as well as many others will be back early tomorrow for the last big scene that includes lots of 'Extras', the town meeting in the church, at the beginning of the movie. The scenes shooting's are not in chronological order. Posting will be forthcoming, on a date following work of the 15th of Nov. Life is great in the USA, "One Nation Under God"