Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don't Try This At Home

July 2, 2013

Here's for the adventure New Orleans + e. Style.

NOLA has been a beautiful place to regroup, write and eat puffy, powdered Beignets (New Orleans Restaurants, Morning Call) and the occasional Po Boy (Parkway Bakery is a must).

Aside from the regional tasty delights, I managed to get into some mischief. My camera person hungers for all things historical. Margaret Coble took us on the unconventional tour of New Orleans (as if we'd be on the ordinary tour), and we passed a rather popular cemetery ... with grip trucks!

I whipped the car around, paying immediate lip service to stopping for the camera person. Let's be honest. Film equipment will get me to spin around most anytime. 

We unfolded ourselves from the Ford Focus (compact is not a cute word when describing a car). Then a 100 yards away and parked six car lengths long stretched a quite fantastic, great big ol' grip truck. For non-filmmaker nerds, that's were all the film equipment is stored.

In this case, they stored some people too.

Margaret grumbled something under breath. About how we'd be stopped by the Man In Black with dark shades guarding the gate.

Survey Says: Negatory!

In fact, that would be a massive negatory as we walked by him like Harry Potter draped with invisible cloak. The three of us drenched in sweat from the 91 percent humidity and near 100 degree heat walked right onto the set of American Heist.

Say what you will about Adrian Brody, but the guy's got acting chops. The Pianist was fantastic and Wrecked has dimension as well. And there I was standing only a few feet from the guy who scored both an Oscar and a kiss from Hallie Berry (though he was clearly more about the kiss than she).

For Star Wars freaks and geeks, Hayden Christensen was also there and can I say Darth Vader looked much smaller in the person.

A production assistant suddenly emerged from behind a crypt and line of C-Stands. She was a twenty-something cross between Cher from the film Clueless and a forgotten character from Melville's Moby Dick. She spoke with a muddied Southern/Newark accent while adjusting her tank top and sports bra, simultaneously fighting the big crawl of her excessive short-shorts. She slipped a pair of $5.99 sunglasses on top of her head and appealed to me with eyes that must've worked on any male of her fancy and most likely her father. She told me how her life would be over if I got any closer to set. I'm not in the business of ending one's life. Especially not on film sets, so I was cordial and remained at a distance.

But then I got curious, and you know what curiosity did to the cat.

Margaret thought we could get a better angle. She accepts my film geek, wanna-see-all-the-dolly-track and big lights self, so we weaved through headstones and mossy covered crypts. The summer green grass folding under my sneakers, only whispering we were there.

I positioned myself quickly out of view but with a view. Needless to say, Margaret had not brought us to the "best" position. It was as if I went from a few bleachers back to the nose bleed section. You can't fault her for trying. I mean, she's not a break-into-set tour guide.

I was about to peel off when what was most likely the Key Set PA approached He slipped on his reflective aviator sunglasses on descent.

"You're crew, right?' he ask/confirmed.

That's how I walked passed the Man In Black.
  • Cargo shorts (check)
  • Ball cap (check)
  • Sloppy T-Shirt of Unknown Origin (check)
They thought I was crew. Dilemma, dilemma. I mean, I was making a film. Not that film but a film, so I was technically crew.

"Nah, I'm just passing through," I said.

The temperature shifted.
His jaw clenched.
Friendly, he was not.

He reached for my arm, and we'd just met. I'd say that was forward for a date and surely not comfortable with said complete stranger. 

"We're good," I said. "I'll leave. Just no hands, okay. We're good."

But what can I say. The gentleman was handsy (yes, I misspelled that).

"Seriously, we're good. I'm going out the gate that I came in."

"What gate?" he asked. "No one can get in any gate."

So I did the point in a direction thing.

I described said Man In Black.

I slipped my phone in my back pocket and held both hands up as if Jack Lord said, "Book'em, Dano," so as to not further alarm the Key Set PA. But it was too late. He was speaking into his ear piece mic walkie.

"We've got a situation here."

Situation? I've agreed to leave. I've told the truth. That I walked on set with no objection from one said Man In Black and a twenty something PA who was robbed of $5.99 for a pair of sunglasses. How am I a situation? I'm completing into the comply.

Well ...

I'll spare you the blow by blow of the next. Mostly because it's late, and we've got a lot to do before we head out of NOLA in a few days. Needless to say I was, along with Margaret and my camera person, escorted off the set of American Heist. A professional filmmaker kicked off a professional film set. It's all good. I mean, I did get to see some swanky film-geek gear and watch Adrian Brody do the acting thing up close.

We'll see what's next, but hopefully, that's the last set I get booted off of for the rest of my career.

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