It is 8:30am on a Sunday, and I am in my purple martini pajama pants sitting at the bar, blasting Sade’s “Diamond Life,” and watching adorable boys in bandannas and flannels bustle about with wires and lights and cameras and gadgets. Their rappel hooks are clinking against the tools in their belt loops and I can’t identify the equipment they’re tinkering with and their hair is all mussed and they’re all thin and wildly focused. The girls in the art department are beautiful and hip and too big for this tiny town in their short-shorts and Keds while they mix batches of fake brains in the bathroom and change the decorations in the bar to fit the scenes. They’re shooting that movie again at Zog’s, and even though my brain doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of any time before 11am, these people are awake and chipper and no one’s drinking the coffee I made, which is startling to me. I’m waiting for the lead actor to show up in his leather blazer, because I know he will drink some because he already has a favorite mug here, even, and I’ll feel better about myself for being this worthless this early. He’s quite disarming and since my first impression of him was when he was in crazy-intense character, his actual personality is warped in my mind. For the first couple of hours, he made me nervous and I couldn’t look him in the eyes until I realized he’s just a really good actor. His beard is the color of apple juice.
Apple juice, coincidentally, is the same color as Wild Turkey 101, so we filled up an empty 101 bottle with juice for the Hitman to drink out of. It looks so real, but that’s movies for ya.
Hobbling over the cement cobblestones haphazardly leading away from The Viking’s purple cinderblock house felt surreal so early this morning. I thought I’d never reach my car even though I only had to travel 50 feet. I’m not used to wearing ill-fitting tank-tops this time of year, and I vaguely worried if any old people were peering out their windows thinking I was doing a Walk of Shame, which I wasn’t.
Right now the actor with the apple juice beard is poring over a ton of guns splayed out on the third pool table. I’m supposed to be the Assistant Art Director, but I sincerely hope they don’t credit me as such because, aside from me having decorated the bar before the fact, no one has asked me for my art opinions about anything and I don’t want to take credit for things I haven’t done. I play a bartender in the movie. I don’t even have to act, which is helpful. I’m tired of acting, generally, in life. They asked me to wear makeup. I don’t really have any. I hope they brought some. I hope someone knows how to put it on me.
I guess my hair’s the color of apple juice, too. I’m just noticing it as such. I used to think it was the color of day-old iced tea, and I might be right, still.
The first movie set I worked on was almost a decade ago and it was in a tiny, creepy town deep in Louisiana bayou country. It was the type of place that will haunt you; things are a little too quiet and ghosts are everywhere in the crumbling bricks and Spanish moss and kudzu chokes whatever’s still alive. The basecamp was set up in an abandoned grocery store. It looked like people were either setting the store up or taking it away and they just sort of. . .stopped. . .halfway through. Why wouldn’t they finish the job? Want pictures? Here’s one:
That was the summer I mildly befriended Dave Matthews, who played a part in the movie. I learned three things about him: He drinks quad lattes with no sugar, he smokes, and he owns a fuzzy blue sweater that he will claim he wore for your enjoyment if he thinks it will make you feel special and regarded.
The next movie set I worked on was the one where I accidentally cussed out Jude Law for asking me where the fried chicken table was. I didn’t know where it was, and I clearly wasn’t fucking manning it. I was, however, manning an espresso station with a broken fucking espresso machine. I told him as much without looking up, and it wasn’t until he lightly grabbed my arm and gave me a piercing, reassuring smile that I realized who I was treating how. I didn’t care, though, because he’s a cheating bastard and I totally judge him for that.
So now it’s Monday morning and I’m back at the bar for the next chunk of the shoot and I’m being incredibly helpful by sitting in the corner writing a blog. But every time I walk anywhere or try to help anyone, I run into a tripod or throw away a carefully-placed piece of prop trash or stand in the way of the dolly tracks. They did let me do the very first clacky black-and-white slate-thingie, though, which was thrilling.
I think that’s about it from my end. I wanted you to be the first to know that I didn’t write a blog about being lonely this time. High-five that hot wife of yours for me. I’ll see you soon.