9/5/08

CITY ISLAND: AN EMPIRE DINER MOMENT

empirediner

I've received a number of questions from various readers and thought I'd address a handful of them in no particular order.
First: the most fun scene to shoot? Andy Garcia going on his first "audition", lousing it up horribly and then unexpectedly being asked to do an improv at which he proves to be quite brilliant. I always say that for every movie I've done, there's one scene I can't wait to shoot and one that I hate the thought of shooting. The audition scene was the one I was always most eager to do--it epitomizes, to me, the story's essence--that within everybody there lies a sleeping lion of an artist, just waiting for the right opportunity to come along and roar. Andy was brilliant in the scene too--clearly he relished the moment.

On the other hand, the day we spent shooting in the prison (Andy's character is a corrections officer) was by far the least pleasant. Having never spent a moment behind bars, I was unprepared for how deeply unpleasant the prison vibe truly is. I couldn't wait to get home that night. Soon as I did, took a big fat shower while drinking a bit fat Vodka.

Release plans for the film: wish I could be more certain. I'll be getting it out on the festival circuit early next year and then we'll see...

As far as the "actors to avoid list", no I was blessed to only work with "lifeboat people" on "City Island". Andy, Emily, Steven and Julianna were ultimate professionals and all loved being there. I won't reveal any of the names on that list--that's strictly a "directors confidence". But I will tell you that when directors meet, they tend to spend most of their time asking each other about actors who they've worked with. Thus you hear conversations between them that go mostly like this: "You worked with...X." "Yeah. I did." (Pause). "How...WAS that?" It's the thing that, the more you direct, you realize truly makes the difference between wanting to go to work every morning or having to just get through it.

Dig the below moment between Andy and Emily, set in the Empire diner and shot on our last night of work, one week ago. It's an improvised moment at the end of a long and complicated scene, one that served as a tension-releaser for both the actors and crew...




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