CITY ISLAND: X-16 (or is it 15?)


We're just over two weeks out from our opening weekend. (Pause).

Would you like any more sparkling dialogue?

Then let's get started. At the screenings where I've been doing q&a's this week (I've got another one coming up tonight in Westchester) I invariably get asked these three questions: How did you come up with the story? How did you cast all those actors? And what was the hardest scene to shoot in the whole film?

I'll skip the first two since I've regurgitated those answers ad infinitum, ad naseaum all over this blog for the past year and a half. But the hardest scene to shoot was one that is coming up tomorrow.

Today we do day ten. Tomorrow day eleven. But day ten and eleven were inextricably linked and one served to set up the other. You see--for those of you who haven't seen the film--the ending is a huge climactic family fight on the street in front of the Rizzo's house. The fight begins indoors and moves outdoors. It all takes place at night. It covers fourteen pages of material--and if you've been following along for the past few days, you'll notice that since we were averaging four pages a day, fourteen pages in two days is quite a bit more to get.

So click on the above call sheet and dig: we were called for four pm, gradually pushing our start by a few hours a day in order to eventually arrive even later the next night--when we would shoot all night long. On this day/night, however, we used a few hours of daylight to pick up some random shoots in the backyard (that's the list of things you see that have N/A written under the page count...inserts of matches flying through the air, tv set screens, stuff like that). Then we moved inside the house and shot the first part of the argument--this was four plus pages of material and it involved a stunt as well (Andy flying through a doorway and landing on his face...not really him, of course, but a stunt guy). Stunts invariably slow things down and this was no exception. An inordinant amount of time was spent staging the work in this scene. We finally got it all shot but that doesn't mean we were done for the evening.

Because the interior fight leads to Steven Strait running out of the house and Andy following him...and then the rest of the cast following him. This eventually sets up everyone standing in the street, delivering a whopping eight more pages of dialogue.

We moved outside sometime after midnight (might have been closer to two am) and shot the two men chasing each other outside. Then the women following them. And then we wrapped. Because my theory was that once the actors started in on the long argument in the street, we would be better off getting it all in one go and not breaking it up into two nights.

Day ten, therefore, was a prelude to the hardest shoot day we had. And that I'll come too tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a nifty snippet of on-set confusion captured on the tail of a camera mag...it's from the Day 10 interior fight location. Julianna Margulies stands on the stairs. The tall handsome chap wandering around on the left side of the frame acting like a cameraman is...Vanja Cernjul, our cameraman.

 Subscribe in a reader

1 comment: