Production Week 3

by Andrew

Vinalhaven Light

Photo by my brother

By week three I was feeling a lot more confident in the production, and the fears of not finishing our days or letting the logistics of shooting on a frozen island get the better of us had subsided. As a production unit, we were certainly tired, but Sunday of that week was the last day inside the Greene family home, which told us we had completed the bulk of the heavy lifting on the island. We had a number of stunts (and two hell days) in front of us, but the first two days of the week were relatively calm.

On Sunday we shot a number of assorted things with Abby in and around her bedroom, and a scene (the content of which I won’t reveal) that has become one of my favorites in the film. For this scene it was clear from the first take that we would be able to execute the scene as I’d planned, in a single shot, without compromising the clarity of what happened in the moments off screen. In the scene, Abby’s brother opens the door to his bedroom and reveals what he’s done to his room after being left alone for only a few minutes. Ian took advantage of an interior skylight in the bedroom and shined a murky light down onto the two actors. Along with a few dangled branches just off camera to heighten the effect, he created a ghostly effect that I think will stick with people. Liam’s face is captivating in the scene, drawing the viewer in as I’d hoped it would.

We also shot the ending of the film on Sunday, and I was grateful for the amount of time the crew devoted to it. It takes place outside, and up until that day we had had a lot of trouble shooting in the area where we’d planned to end the film. The two previous scenes there had been cut short after only a few takes (though, having seen them, I don’t think the material suffers) because the weather had been so brutal. We caught a break on Sunday and were given a perfectly overcast sky with little wind, which made the 12 or so takes bearable. Richard and David were on point from the start, and our work became more about finding the right pace and tenor rather than the tone.

Monday was a peach. It was snowing when we woke up. Chapin lost control of Veronica’s car on the way to set and lodged it in a ditch. We put together a stunt that none of us was entirely sure the actors would live through, but after having navigated a car crash, the odds somehow seemed better for Richard. He’d been riding shotgun during the wreck but the stunt turned out to be a lot worse than that. I think he liked attacking David but who can say. Perks of being an actor, really. Then we shot five pages after lunch. Before that, Ian dropped the camera on the rocks outside David’s cabin. The whole thing did a barrel roll; the matte box went flying; it was a real sight.  Ian’s knee was destroyed but the bleeding stopped by the time it started really raining. We were soaking wet. Lunch was good. We had to shoot five pages after lunch. The most important five pages. Veronica’s car stayed in the ditch for about a day and a half, at like a sixty degree angle. We were already the talk of the town, but if there weren’t a film production going on this would have made us the talk of the town, because it really was there for a day and a half. Tow truck was off island. It took three days for her transmission to give out, though. If memory serves we wrapped almost on time.