Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Love Ranch, Joe Pesci, Helen Mirren

Love Ranch... on set

  • Call Time: Tuesday February 26, Booked Extras
    For Paid Extras
    9:15 am Ranch Girls
    9:15 am Angel and April
    9:15 am Fight Fans whoes FIRST names begins with A-J
    9:15 am Arena Security
    9:15 am Sports writers/Still Photographers/TV Reporters/TV Cameramen
    9:15 am Fight Officials/Judges
    9:15 am Black Panther Body Guards
    10:15 am Fight Fans whoes FIRST names begin with J-M
    10:15 am Ring Doctor/Time Keeper/Referee/Colter's
    10:15 Colter's Cut Man/ Cortez's Buddy/Bruza's Cut Man/Ring Announcer
    11:00 am for Fight Fans whoes FIRST names begin with Q-Z
    Please report to bascamp, and follow the yellow signs to background parking.

    fight Scene details posted on this blog 2-21-08 through 3-5-08. Click on Juke Box, 1976, pick a tune to start, return back, then sit back and imagine you are there in that Reno of long ago.

    I arrived at the Arena at 8:30am on Tuesday. Always early to breakfast of Coffee, eggs and sausage, along with the ever present oatmeal and fruit. Wardrobe was not crowded yet, another reason for early arrival. Waited in Holding and talked to new people sitting at the tables. Mark (BIA)from Thursday along with many others from our background work were present as usual.

    Debbie, one of Elizabeth's PA's (production assistant) has a background in tele-comunications, also in flying both fixed wing as well as rotary. (Helo) She is also turbine certified which has put her in the cockpit of a news chopper in Southern California before coming to NM to enter the film industry.

    Bill a young retired pastor, from southern California, is working on his SAG (screen actors guild) certification so he can earn the big bucks and become a star. He gets to work in the ring as a corner man for Leroy Colter. Watch for him kneeling and attending to Leroy.

    While at the same table, Edward entered our converstion. Edward is a professional Tour Director during most months. His latest resume includes the Boy Scouts of America tours of NM while the scouts are heading for Philmont in Northern NM. Blue Sky adventures is his association. It includes a day of whitewater rafting. Of course in his travels, 100 countries have passed under his feet.

    Just before 12:00 Noon, Keith our head production manager, 'wrangler', escorted us to the NM State Fairground Arena. The first noticeable image was the hundreds of cardboard cutouts and inflated figures filling the grandstand. They looked like a packed house, at least from the cameras viewpoint. Our seating was arranged to give everyone a chance to get some 'on camera' time. We were re-arranged from time to time. Sort of a stirring of the crowd, you might say.

    My first position was near Woody, a retired truck driver, boxer, US Army veteran of Airborne demolition, Many jumps ago with 140 lbs of gear on a 10 ft GP bag line, flying in stacked formation during the late 1950's. A qurter horse training stint along with a life in Minnesota, included a stock brokers experience as well.

    Pretty S.Veronica Kraus crossed my path while on the way to the snack table. She, being a very observant woman, mentioned that the cardboard cutouts contained many of the same blond woman wearing several different colors. A licensed Aesthetician at 1345 Bishops Lodge rd. Santa Fe NM 87506. She and her daughter also own a business dealing in 'Immaginative Clothing'. Santa Fe, being an artsy little city, has lots of Immaginative people.

    Stop in and visit her selection some time. She wore on this occasion, a very flattering teal colored outfit from her collection, that went well with her Auburn hair. Florida was one state of previous residence. The NM film industry attracts many such people as Veronica. I am fortunate to meet many, while 'on set' hopefully to tell a brief part of their stories before they move on to other things in life.

    Ryan, previously a baseball player, works with his father Tim Sharp, in their antique furniture upholstery restoration business in Albuquerque. My wife has had a few things restored by his father years ago. With 30 years experience, his father, a restoration expert, is the greatest we have known, we highly reccomend him.

    No film that I work, is complete without the brothers of Nathan and Tom. Very distinctive due to their stature of well over 6ft tall, they are always noticeable in NM films.

    My first position in deep background, including a lot of cheering and standing repeatedly while encouraging Abruza in his battle with Coltrin. The relationship to historical fact is apparent in this sequence, when Helen Mirren runs to ringside, yells at security to get out of her way, and yells at Abruza's corner to "Stop this Madness". (he is gettin' whupped) Joe Pesci (Charlie Bontempo) looks on.

    In the real historical reference to Mustang Ranch near Reno Nevada in the year 1976, Sally Conforte (Helen Mirren) was reportedly having an affair with the heavyweight boxer from Argentina, Oscar Bonavena. Joe Conforte (Joe Pesci) reportedly had the boxer 'Oscar Bonavena' killed by his (Joe's) bodyguard, Ross Brymer. (See link at top of first post Love Ranch) This story made headlines back in 1976 so if this flmed portrayal is in any respect, somewhat true to history, this should be a good movie.

    There have always been suspicions that Joe really did the 'hit', after watching the movie, you be the judge. Rocky came out in 1976 and was rated as one of the best fight scenes. I can attest to the fact that these fight scenes are done well. Lots of blood and hard hits (pulled punches of course) Well not always, some punches land and the fighter is stagered for a couple of minutes. These are really serious fighters and the blows can be devastating.

    Our first positions were the only ones being filmed on this shoot, therefore the 'stand-ins' did all of the boxing. The lighting difusers and overhead lighting were on full brightness. The smoke generators were also on 'full smoke', cough, cough. Glycerin mixed with water vapor floats through the air like actual smoke with nearly as much irritant factor. I have no idea of the lasting effects of glycerin droplets in the lungs? Pantomime during scenes with the principles dialect are alternated with our loud yelling. The ring girls are very attractive of course and we yell even more when they step into the ring and shake their 'booty' around.

    We are assigned a numerical system for use later as the crowd is shifted around the various sides of the ring. Row 90 (really 9) is my home position for the time. This changes at 4:30 pm when a select few of us are moved to a position in the left camera field. My second row seat was great until the Reno Policeman and the tall cowboy hatted actor, portraying Story County Nevada, Sherrif Bob Del Carlo, stood in front of us. Oh well that's the breaks. Lots of yelling and hollering later with re-enactments by the stand-ins. The scene ends in a small pandemonium near the ring. I among others, run forward into the camera field.

    By 6pm we are ready to eat again. 'Holding' is prepared for us and Chicken or beef with veggie and fruit selection is served along with salad and carrot cake, which seems to apear on many sets along with lemonade. 7 pm and Keith from LA, trots us back to our new positions on the opposite side of the ring. Now I have third row seating, Best seats in the house, right in the field of super Techno Crane. This may cause me to be seen on both sides of the ring during the movie. (in one scene, I ran into the camera field on the other side of the ring)

    Super Techno Crane camera is 'flown' overhead during the action scenes. This is a big scene where the actual principles are battling it out, blood and all. Stage blood of course and applied at proper times during the bout. The man held, ring camera is all over and under the action. sometimes the camera man is laying on the floor. The camera risks getting punched in the lens at times.

    This set of scenes are filled with exhuberance and yelling, standing up, shaking of fists, sitting back down and repeated endlessly until all is correct. Two girls on the front row are chastised by our Producer Taylor Hackford

  • for just sitting there like Zombies. Hunger is present again but no pizza until near the last hour after 1:30 am on Wednesday morning. Eat rapidly and run back to the live set for more of the same. Yelling until our throats are raspy, our voices growly and the hours pass. Well after 2am our call comes "Wrapped'. Are we doing a good job portraying the real story?

    The run back to holding, fast wardrobe change, turn in clothing for tomorrow's use by many of us, and vouchers are taken to be signed out by Rebecca and the casting table crew. The lines are long with about 300 background actors all wanting to leave as soon as possible. The drive home and reviewing in my mind, what we have accomplished today. Arrival home after 3:30 am. After my 20 hr day, Wife is waiting by the computer trying to find our closing time posted somewhere. Hit the sack to wake early on Wednesday in preparation for yet another day of the same. Oh yeah, and post this blog. Life In the USA, the greatest country of opportunity in the world. "One Nation Under God"
    IMDB list of actors and comments

  • More links on following post for Wednesdays report.

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