Saturday, October 14, 2006

working animals i have loved

A black wolf hybrid on the movie Natural Born Killers. (full-blooded wolves don't have blue eyes the trainers said.)
He literally had crap on his paw one morning, and jumped up on me because i was probably trying to pet him. (you don't really "pet" a wolf, even a tame one. they don't wag their tails like dogs. they have a much more steely disposition, obviously.) So I walked around with wolf crap on my white tshirt for the rest of the day. "hey g--, how come you got mud on your shirt? it's not mud, it's wolf shit. oh, you were in the pen again? yep." how many people get to do that at work?

Here I am having a conversation with Blink, the "retrieve" raven trained by Harry Potter wizards Gary Gero and Mark Jackson. She could pick up stuff with her beak and carry it as she flew. She tried to pick up the receiver on the phone in my hotel room once. Her favorite food: bloody raw horsemeat, fed by hand.

Little "Tex" the armadillo from the WASP video.

Shar-peis are weird looking as all hell. They look like
sea manatees. Looks better than me, though, christ what was with those bangs? and fugly outfit.

Fargo's chickens getting a drink of water on the set of Young Riders.

Trying to figure out where Eddie Money lived while working on At Close Range outside of Nashville, I think these were his colts. omg they were so cute. Cropped out my large ass, oh yes i did.

Kissing a rattlesnake ( i try to love all creatures) in the Mohave desert for a lame ass TV movie, Dalton Code of Vengeance with Charlie Haid and Tex Cobb. It's illegal to bring rattlers across state lines, so snake wranglers would have to catch them in the state where they would be filmed, "milk and de-fang," place them in the shot, and then take them back out and set them free again. I'm sure that wasn't legal either but that's how they did it. Fangs grow back like sharks' teeth, and pretty quickly too. I saw a lot of snakes over the years, needless to say.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fire Island Tea Dance

Bruce Davison and Mark Lamos hamming it up in a scene filmed at The Botel, the original location of the infamous tea dances of the 1970s and 80s in the Fire Island Pines.

Working on Longtime Companion was a good experience overall. I don't think I ever had more people call me up and say, "hey I saw your name on that movie, well done..." than I did after this one.

The leadership of this project, however, left a lot to be desired. When you have producers who can't admit making a mistake and who needlessly and regularly put the crew in discomfort as well as danger...

There was a typhoon on Fire Island during filming, and one crew member literally had a "Vietnam flashback". The Botel was not actually ready for guests that season, which is why John Whyte gave it to us so cheap. Rain came through the roof and dripped onto my bed at night, so I had to keep moving the bed around the room to find a dry place to sleep. It was so cold I sent a PA to Sayville to rent sub-zero sleeping bags for everyone on the crew, and this was in April! The two brilliant producers slept instead at the main location house, which was once owned by Calvin Klein. Nobody was supposed to sleep at the location houses, but they of course did.

We had to import a deer for one scene, which is like bringing ice to Antarctica, but since we were told "all the deer had lyme" we had to bring one in. And in 1989, there were many visibly ill young men with KS in the Pines, being wheeled around in wheelchairs. But in 1989, if you were in the Pines, or in the East Village, you remember what that looked like.

We had a lot of day players on this film - people who were cast early on and then called to come in for just a day or two of work. Sadly, some of the day players cast were people with aids and by the time I called them for the shoot, they were no longer alive.

The film had a great writer, Craig Lucas, and great people in the cast: Dermot Mulroney, Campbell Scott, and the two above, among many others. Everyone had to put up with low-budget conditions, and yet none of them ever complained. After this, I got a job on The Young Riders TV series out west, and quite suddenly I was in a different world. Tons of money, big budget, and assholes like Stephen Baldwin who did nothing but complain.