There's a small but tight independent film community here in Dallas, so I was happy to see a lot of the same people on this new set. It's nice to not have such a learning curve and feel more relaxed with how to find the light, marks, etc. The director of photography from BotH is working on this one, too, and he is HILARIOUS. (He's one of the guys that wants me for another project for which he's waiting on funds.) We were making all sorts of inappropriate jokes (are there any other kind?) in between scenes with the kids. Hahaha, sneaky with the cuss words. (I'm angling for an extra credit listing as "Sausage Wrangler." Keep your fingers crossed! Ahahaha.)
Anyhoo.... The director for St. Nick (David Lowery - this is his blog with some set pics) called me yesterday and asked if I'd be interested in having an extra scene. Let me think about it... :D So, the premise of the movie, again, is that two young children run away, and there's no real understanding as to why. Their home life is idyllic and loving. (I'm their mother. My character name? The Mom.) The director had an idea for a dream sequence set in the abandoned home that is serving as temporary home for the two. It's the boy's dream about his mom, be he's unsure if he loves me or hates me. No talking in this, btw. V V cool!
Here's the thing: we had a cold front that moved through yesterday with a big rain storm so it's wet and cold, at the freezing point. I have to sit in a chair, in an abandoned house, for HOURS staring up at "my son" hoping he'll come sit in my lap so I can hug him. (They finally let him, and we wouldn't let go of each other because hello, body warmth!) Side note, I don't know what it is about 12 year old boys, but they all smell the same. I'm holding this kid, and he smells just like my boy. Awww. It made it easier to get emotional, that's for sure. Four solid hours of that, btw.
I'm sore all over my shoulders and back today from shivering, and I'm not exaggerating. And I can't wait until Saturday when I can do it all over again. Saturday is when the improv starts. They were wrapping up a scene with the boy and girl (real life bro and sis) and I got an idea of how it's going to work. David, the director, talks to each of us about what he's wanting for the scene, tells us the POV for each character, then trains the camera on us and let's us go. Freaking awesome. And these kids? 9 and 11 (almost 12, he informed me)? Absolutely natural. The boy is outstanding, very comfortable with what he's doing. David mentioned that last weekend, during a scene in an abandoned train yard, Tucker (the boy) got really upset and told David how much he hated filming "that stupid scene." Why? "It's so sad." They got it on the next take.
For those interested, their mother is there for all of the filming, and she's very nice. Very much a soccer mom, but for this. Involved, supportive, has a tote of snacks and activities for in between shoots. Last night she was curled up in her jacket in the green room, trying to get some sleep. They weren't set to wrap for the day until 2 am, and she had a long drive back home with her kids. The little girl is a cutie pie - she kept asking me to play Uno with her in between takes, and I had to keep explaining to her that I couldn't get out of character and off my mark while they adjusted lighting. "But I missed you!" D'aww. (This is her first filming experience.) This weekend is the "reunion" with our kids, so I'll be making it up to her with loads of hugs, etc., I'm sure.
[ETA] for me, basically. It's very weird to play a mom to these kids and have their actual mom right there. The little girl is very attracted to me, and it's the age, you know? She's 9, I'm a new, older woman that holds her hand and listens to her rattle on about her dolls, etc., so she wants to sit by me, hold my hand, and her mom's there, and I'm trying to gage how she feels about that, and be respectful. It's odd. The boy is old enough that he gets I'm an actress, but it's funny. I can tell he's comfortable in the moment, he hugs me, looks at me with love on camera (he's really REALLY good) but then off camera he's all toeing the ground, shy jokes, sarcasm. When his mom wasn't there (she was with Savannah) he cut loose a bit. Just... it's interesting.
Okay, I'm on my second pot of coffee. I fell asleep last night about 1am, with wool socks on my feet (I cannot sleep in socks - my feet must be untethered!) and a Hope cat on my chest to try and get my core warm. I just want to go back to sleeeeeeeeeep. But there are movies to watch today! (I can't decide between No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood. Hmm. Maybe a double header!)