The saga continues. But first, here's a lovely review of "Tis Autumn: The Search For Jackie Paris"--now available on DVD from Amazon.
So: we were in Cannes with Clint Eastwood and Andy Garcia, where I stared glassily out at the Mediterranean wondering if--having lost our two actresses--a night of gambling and a dawn suicide might, in fact, be the best route to take at this juncture.
But back in New York it was clear that the only course was action. We had enough money to get prep started and seemed to have more on the way. So we started offering the parts to other actors and never stopped heading for our start date--which was shaping up as June/July. The first person we offered the part that Chloe Sevigny bagged on to was Emily Mortimer. Andy had worked with her in The Pink Panther movies and I'd loved her in a couple of indies--with names that, frankly, elude me. To our surprise and delight, she responded to the script and asked to meet me.
This meeting took place, as I recall, in Brooklyn near her home. It was a kind of coffee house setting--the kind of place that Brooklyn, once the home exclusively of bars and laundromats, now specializes in. Emily was so enchanting, so charming and so easy to talk with that after the meeting, I got into the car to leave and realized I hadn't actually asked her to be in the movie. I mean, I took it for granted that if she liked the script well enough to meet me and our meeting went well, then the rest would follow. But you never know. Actors can be touchy about being...wanted. I told this to her via e-mail a few days later and she was dumbfounded. Of course she wanted to do the movie! Feeling like a bit of a twit isn't usually the best way to launch an actor/director relationship but there I was. She held nothing against me. I still feel like a bit of a twit.
We backed into our actual start date by finding out our actual end date. Labor day, the end of summer, made a convenient endmark for production. Backing up six weeks created a start date in mid July. Backing up another six weeks gave us a pre-production start date of end of May, beginning of June. It was now mid-May. So we had to start prep without having filled the role of Vince's wife, Joyce--the part that Marcia Gay Harden had passed on. This was not terribly daunting, though, since we knew it was the kind of part actresses always complain they don't get the chance to do: a mother, a real woman, still a sexual being and a tough cookie who loves her family but isn't afraid to go out and take for herself what she needs. How many times have you heard actresses (in print or in interviews) complain that Hollywood doesn't give women enough of these kinds of strong female characters--that all they're interested in are young, shallow, sexy, air-headed male desire objects?
Casting the role of Joyce would be a piece of cake. We'd have it wrapped up in tissue paper and tied with pink ribbons in a week or so. Right? In the words of Sidney Falco: "you're walking around blind without a cane..."
The below clip is for you, Dan Fisher! Dan was our property master and remains a faithful reader/commenter of this blog. Here he is, "customizing" the car that Vince "drives"...