looking at superheroes - myth, pop culture, ideology...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

bees, beekeeping and apiary

The Beekeeper is a short revisionist superhero film that I'm directing. I also wrote it. It is an examination of contemporary morality, the role of law, innate human desire for violence, revenge versus justice, the interior landscape of a troubled individual, the nature of reformation. It covers alot, by being minimalist. Its a meaty and interesting script, lots of stuff to explore.

Yesterday I had my first experience with casting, and first time dealing with 'real actors' on a production. Probably one of the most interesting days of my life. Seeing actors work with a script, bring something unseen to the table. Its a bizarre and strange sensation to see something that was just an idea in your head - words you wrote on a page - be transformed into reality. This reality is sometimes 'method acting'. Or it could be people just reading lines. Or it could be a transformation into the written character. Each of these happened yesterday.

We looked at about 12 people, taking up all day. Some were american (strange for a 'westy' character, but hey, lets try it.). One lady was 'methodic'. She taught acting, was very Shakespeare. She needed to psychologically understand the location, the space of the room, in order to be the character. Strange, when the character is a woman who walks to a postbox, sees nothing, and walks back. They come up with these huge, sprawling backstories - maybe the woman lost her husband in a war and is now dependent on her children, who she has not seen, and on a pension, which she is not comfortable with receiving. (its pretty weird).

Personally, I like to watch miminalist films. I'll watch anything at all, but I really have a love for filmmakers who can create a meditative pace with a film, challenge and frustrate audiences, change their outlook. Its really hard to do in movies. Be devoid of cinema to tell a cinematic story. The two actors we settled on for the Ellard role and the Female role were minimal. They were slow. They had a painful pace. But watching them you were mesmerised, like a child staring at ants he lit on fire with a magnifying glass. Theres a beauty in the reality, in the realism, that comes from a place I didnt know existed. Acting is more than reading lines, its more than just understanding the script. Its a form of creation and destruction. Make a character while tearing it apart. It is a fake reality.

Our crew is great. We have a location for the film, that at this stage, seems available to shoot, and perfect for the script. Rhiannon, producer, has done a painful lot of work on this. Frustrating, i'm sure. Putting up with a whole lot of anxiety and wank from the 'auteur'. Shes done a great job, and hasnt shot me in the head just yet.

The script, draft five, is going to be tinkered with again. There are a few things (with thanks to screenwriting tutor matthew gear) that need adjusting. writing is the key to a good film. after all, what are movies but filmed stories? its difficult writing, but i feel like i've got a whole lot out of the process through the frustration. i love it. i hate it. i love it.

so, the 'superhero volumes' are underway. Volume 3: The Beekeeper, will be shot in two and a half weeks. In a month's time it will be done. After this it will be in festivals. Maybe it will be good. Maybe it won't. Its been a very difficult film to make, especially at this level, but I still think that it could be a very interesting, challenging piece.

I also want to finish editing Volume 1: Sparrowhawk, sometime. Its in the can, just need a faster editing machine to get through all the footage. Volume 2: Camouflage Man is available for viewing. I like camouflage man. Its ridiculous, amateurish, short and cheap but hey... come on... its a funny idea...

And so, the production plunges forward. I'm sure there are hundreds of things that have happened in the last 3 or 4 weeks that were really interesting and funny and would make good anecdotes but I guess they've gone in the vault and hidden forever. So fuck you for asking. I'm tired.

Until the next time we meet, jurassic park.

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