Thursday, September 25, 2008

CITY ISLAND: THE DAY THE CAR CRASH CREAMED THE CAMERA



For the "car crash" scene in "City Island" (yes, even quirky romantic family comedies need a good car crash) we mounted our lovely brand new 35mm Arricam on the back of our not so lovely 1970 Ford Galaxy. There was a lot of talk about how to achieve the car crash--we were going to have the car on a "leash" controlled by a vehicle behind the picture car, we were going to rig something to do with a fake bumper etc. etc. Finally Andy Garcia simply said: "Why don't I just crash the car myself"? Why not indeed? Andy is a very confident actor (and person) who likes to keep things simple--one of his favorite things to say to me was to give him stuff to do "so I don't have to think about acting". We made a few safety adjustments, lined up the car in front of him and decided to go for it--after all, as car crashes go it was quite modest: just a nice, simple rear-ender.

We lined up the shot, tied down the camera, got into position and I called action. Andy nailed it on the first take. I watched on the monitor in horror as he successfully rear-ended the car in front of him--while acting--with real force. And then a strange thing happened: the matte box on the camera came flying open--the impact of the crash having released it from its locked position. The shot naturally was ruined--more importantly we were all afraid that the camera was too. But the Arricam is a tough little bastard and it survived unscathed. We taped the Matte box down for the next take and that's the one you'll see in the finished film.

Below is the day the car crash creamed the camera. Enjoy. The Arricam didn't...



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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great video clip. Thanks Raymond. I always hear people say good things about Andy and you are no exception.

Anonymous said...

Love the clip. Very amusing but glad to know the camera didn't meet a horrible fate :)

Nothing to do with this particular clip but instead something I've been wondering. We've seen a lot of clips with Andy with Emily. How much does he interact with the other characters and how much do they interact with each other? There are certain "pairings" we haven't seen which just made me wonder which characters spend the most time with each other.

Sherry said...

Ouch! That makes my neck hurt!

Raymond De Felitta said...

Thanks for your comments. In terms of how much Andy intersects with the others, the answer is: totally. The movie is something of a "La Ronde" (or a "canon" as they say in music--a piece that repeats on itself). Andy's the fulcrum of a series of events that happen over four days--and he's involved with all of them even though a few other characters (like Julianna and Steven's) interact seperately on their own. Sorry if this is vague but I know how people don't like so-called "spoilers" so I'm treading lightly. Myself, I prefer spoilers. I like knowing the plot before I see the movie because then I can watch it from a proper perspecive: i.e. how did they handle this? I wouldn't have liked "Sixth Sense" at all if I hadn't known the ending. I would have been bored. Knowing the twist made the whole film a lot more interesting to me...

Anonymous said...

To this day I cant understand how
Sixth Sense was nominated for
six Academy Awards made no sense
to me...
I notice that a lot of times the
trailers are much superior than the
actual films.

Anonymous said...

I'm like you...I like spoilers. There are some stories that probably do better being left unspoiled...as you mention, Sixth Sense is one of them but for the most part, I'm a spoiler-type of gal. I've even been known to read spoilers for my favorite TV shows. Too bad there isn't a place for those of us who'd like to read "more" while those who prefer to remain in the dark can remain unspoiled.

So the movie is set over a 4 day time period? That's interesting to know in itself, because I would have assumed from what little we know, that the time period was longer.

As long as I'm asking questions, I've been interested to know what your take on DVDs are? Do you plan in advance what kind of things you'd like to see on a DVD so that you can make sure those things are "covered"? I've been disappointed in some DVDs I've bought recently since I love the "extras" and the ones I've got focused pretty much exclusively on the special effects when I much more interested in the characters...casting, wardrobe, motivation, etc. Not that I don't like special effects but that can get old.

Raymond De Felitta said...

Re: the DVD comment/questions. I've been continually screwed over on DVD's of my own movies--whoever has bought them has elected to release them with as few extras as possible. I feel terrible about this--like I've climbed the ladder only to have lost the footing at the last moment. In some ways, this blog is my DVD extra--the place in which I can comment and be myself without some stupid company deciding weather its worth their time and money to do so. I'm pretty sure this movie will be different and look forward to putting the DVD together. My last film, a documentary called "Tis Autmun; the Search For Jackie Paris" is coming out on DVD in a few months and has all the extras and stuff that my other movies desserved.So its a beginning. And like I say, "City Island" is its own thing that we all have good feelings about...

Anonymous said...

You know, it never even occurred to me that you might not have complete control about what goes on the DVD..bummer! Hopefully you'll get to put whatever you want on the DVD for City Island. Can I put my vote in for a director's commentary? :)

And I don't think this is really a spoiler since we know that Andy's character is taking acting classes, but since you said the movie takes place over 4 days, does that mean he's already been taking these classes or is this something new for him? He must also spring Tony from jail pretty quickly. I'm sorry, I know I'm asking lots of questions but one makes me think of another makes me think of two more. I'd totally having you laying out the whole plot and timeline and posting copies of the script if I had my way, so I guess it's good that I don't have my way! :)

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how come for the
past hundred years that I have been around (joking) every one says to me
No No don't tell me the ending???
To me that's kind of like knowing
what I am going to get for Xmas.
Whatever you do Ray please don't tell
me how it ends. Knowing that it is
four days is enough. But I love Ya.
I look forward to the Directors
commentary's very much.... ciao

Anonymous said...

What kind of extras are you going to have for "Tis Autmun; the Search For Jackie Paris"? What kind of extras would you like (if you have your way) for City Island? Thanks!

Jan McLaughlin said...

Flashbacks! Ouch. What a day...