Rick Gradone, Sean, Tessa and me in Depression-era garb
Who knows if this will turn out to be true, but today was supposed to be the last shoot of the seemingly interminable Pink House production – an effort, I might add, that began on July 23, 2001. We’ve had two reshoots/pickup sessions since the initial production (see here and here) but this was an elusive shot that I’ve coveted since about Draft 2 of the script.
It goes like this: in the 1930s section of the movie, evil Maddox (Fred Weller) forces his fiance Chloe (played by Natane Boudreau) to come with him to New Orleans. My brother Sean, who plays Oxford, steals her back. This was always just “explained” in the movie, you know, the ultimate crime of telling and not showing. I always wanted a tiny scene where Chloe has obviously escaped the clutches of her betrothed and has traversed road, river and rail to get back to her true love.
Originally, this was meant to be shot at an old dock, somewhere in Brooklyn. Then we looked into shooting at Grand Central, but it just got too involved. Finding the Stockbridge Train Station was a happy accident on the way home from Target one day last month – it was an abandoned depot that had changed little in 75 years, and nobody would see us shooting.
Of course, the usual shit happened when we showed up today: it was squirting down cold rain, there a train there with pissed-off conductors, and the town had spent 3.5 million dollars on a Grand Scenic Railroad Re-Opening due for tomorrow. This is after eight years of laying fallow. The only thing worse was if we’d actually planned the shoot for tomorrow.
Tessa batted her eyes and wooed the hearts of the contractors, and we had a 45-minute window to get everything we needed before the Man would show up to shut us down. Quick as bunnies, we got into places, shot a medium establishing of the station, a close-up of Sean, then sent him back to Queens. Then we shifted over to Natane, who bravely fought the rain and cold to look delighted to see her beloved. We wrapped, threw everything in the car, and all of us bolted onto the freeway just as the Housatonic Train Authority arrived to give us the heave-ho. It was the last shot of our movie, and we made it by about thirty seconds.
The enchantress Natane Boudreau gets her eyelines straight
Rick and our delightful Assistant Camerawoman named Valentina (from Naples) rushed the film back to Manhattan for processing, while Tessa and I drove Natane to her home in Woodstock. Once there, we gossiped with her mother and stepdad (both way cool) for a few hours while Tessa got hopped-up on French tea. On the way home, we stopped in Kingston to see the new Matrix movie with the sound all the way up, an experience I thoroughly dug.
With my mom Fedexing the score to the film today, we finally have the raw materials to make the movie I have been trying to make for four years. Now it is only up to us.