CITY ISLAND: PRODUCTION DAY ONE? (Sort of...)
Well, let's begin our journey on our production with an error. Shooting did not, as I said, commence on a Thursday, but rather on a Tuesday. The reason for my not remembering this clearly was that it was not much of a shoot day. It was a kind of warm-up second unit day--albeit with first unit "talent" (me and the DP Vanja Cernjul). A look at the attached call sheet (click on it to enlarge) shows that we spent the day cruising around City Island, making shots of roads, signs, traveling point of view shots and so-called "beauty" shots of the island. A full three days later (as you can see on the bottom of the sheet) the crew loaded-in to City Island.
And then, the following Monday--July 21, 2008-- the real shoot began. Click below to see our first official call sheet.
As you can see after clicking and enlarging on the above call sheet, we kicked off fast and furious, shooting an impressive four and two-eighths pages. We started in the upstairs of the house, filming scenes that currently play under the opening credits--the Rizzo family waking up and getting ready for another screwed up day in their lives. In the afternoon, post-lunch, we moved downstairs and outside to shoot a scene of Vince and his daughter coming home. This really ought to have been enough work for any normal movie. But when you're shooting a 125 page script in 28 days, you've still got miles to go. As you can see, we then moved into the dining room and shot the first of the films two epic family dinner and fight scenes. These were two-camera shoots--doing stuff around a dining table is slow going and requires tons of coverage so carrying a second camera is, for me, mandatory.
What I remember most fondly about this day is, in fact, that last scene. Because the Rizzo family suddenly came alive before my eyes. The improvs around the table and the hostile, funny and mordant interactions of the family made the script come alive--after years of waiting patiently on the page, the words were suddenly given real life. Below is some unedited footage--dailies--of Ezra Miller, from that first day of shooting. Ezra blew us all away from the get go--a race horse who'd been waiting for the starting bell his whole life and who took of like a shot. Viz:
Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 10:06 AM