Welcome, dears, to another installment of my on-line book about the making of our movie "CIty Island". When last we left off, nobody seemed to want to play the part of Joyce Rizzo. I'll get to the remarkable stroke of luck that saved our collective asses in a moment. But first a few annoucements.
For new readers (and what the hell--for old readers as well): this blog and "making of" book that's being written on it are part of our grass roots effort to reach the people out there whom might be interested in helping make our movie "City Island' a hit. If you like what I'm writing about, like the trailer of the movie (in the right column--see it?) or have managed to see the movie already and enjoyed it, please PLEASE e-mail this blog to one friend. Or send them a link to the movies website or Facebook page (all are findable in the right column--see them?)
And now two plugs: please visit our wonderful, devoted reader Marianna from Greece's blog. She's devoted a lovely post to our movie and what this blog has meant to her. But there is much other good stuff to be found there as well.
And my old friend and producing partner on "Two Family House", Adam Brightman, has gotten into the high stakes world of blogging with a very charming blog called "Way Off Center". Check it out.
And remember: "City Island" is the people's movie. It belongs to you. Please tell friends about it. We open on 3/19 in LA and New York and a week later in Toronto, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Minneapolis and two other cities that I can't remember at the moment. Next week, though, I'll post the theaters in each city where we'll be opening...really, I will...
So there I am, waiting for Mary Louise Parker to give us the thumbs up...and then we got the call. Ready?
She was passing. Loved the material, said it was nice meeting me on the phone, but there were personal issues that seemed to preclude her being in New York for the summer. Oh well.
We were, by now, bordering on despondency mixed with anxiety. Xanax was my morning drug of choice. Evenings saw the bottle of Absolute Vodka rapidly diminishing. We began discussing who in the office might be qualified to play the role. Not really. But we were getting desperate.
And then Andy suggested Julianna Margulies, with whom he'd previously worked in a movie called "Man From Elysian Fields". How come we hadn't thought of her before? Because she had been in something of a retirement phase...not working...living in New York...got married, had a baby...and not necessarily acting like she was too interested in going back to work. (This is all a little hard to believe now--she is, as I'm writing this, the years great "comeback" event...but remember, this is the summer of 2008 I'm talking about). I thought it was a fine idea--a bit of a longshot perhaps but why not give it a try?
A couple of days later, she phoned Andy and said she'd like to meet me.
So there I am, sitting across from Julianna Margulies at DeMarchlier on 86th and Madison. We're less than two weeks away from principle photography and as soon as I sit across from this foxy, magnetic and totally down-to-earth woman I suddenly realized: everything truly does happen for a reason. She was exactly the combination of elements that I wanted for Joyce Rizzo. Attractive, open, funny, unafraid.
We talked around the subject for a bit. How happy she was living in New York again, how much I like it as well etc. etc. Then we got into the script and I found she had a lot of insight into the role. She also really liked Andy--we talked about their previous work together. All the while I'm thinking: this is who always belonged in the movie...why did it take such a stressful and circuitous route to find her?
And then I started thinking: when is the other shoe going to drop? When is she going to tell me what she doesn't like about it?
But that didn't happen. Instead, after quite a bit of conversation she said: "So when are you guys looking to try to make this movie?"
Pause. Try to make this movie? As if it were a faraway prospect, still unfinanced and unready to roll. Apparently nobody had informed her of the emergent nature of the situation. There was the other shoe! She had no idea we were days away from going...and no doubt she had other plans for the summer that was already upon us.
As calmly as possible I replied: "A week from next Thursday."
Now the pause belonged to Julianna. She took this in. Looked away for a moment. Then she said: "Oh. I get it. You're in trouble."
Yes, I replied. I'm in trouble.
Now we understood each other. Another long pause as she no doubt contemplated her still open options. Then she nodded and said: "Well...a lot of the time it's much more fun for me to just jump into somethng without overthinking it too much. There's one thing that I really would need from you."
At this point I'm thinking: ANYTHING! Even script changes...
"I have this great custom-made wig that would be perfect for Joyce. It'll also save you guys lots of time because my hair is a big deal to deal with every morning. If I can use the wig, I'll do the movie."