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 interiordesign.com 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 equipment...as 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 beaujesters.net 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 viggo-works.com 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"