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...
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 8:00 AM