Yesterday we shot a scene with Gogol’s high school friends. Our pickup time was 5:30am. Bobby Steggert (who plays "Jason") and I were on time. We waited, joking that maybe the remaining actor overslept. I mentioned that I set 2 alarms every night – the alarm clock next to the bed, and the very loud cell phone alarm across the room (so that I am forced to get out of bed to turn its piercing annoyance off). Be that as it may – we waited. At 6am, after several phone calls were in to this guy’s cell, we left for set (which was 45 minutes north of Manhattan in the town of Nyack).
We were without one of the guys playing one of my best friends. This was pretty serious for me, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I specifically called up the 2 guys playing my high-school best friends back in February when I got to New York, and wanted to hang out with them to develop some backstory (although most of it is already present in Jhumpa’s incredibly detailed writing). So before shooting any of the film, I was able to attach and commit the faces of those 2 actors to the characters they play – which solidifies a lot of who Gogol is, particularly with regard to his relationship at home vs. outside of the home. A lot of this isn’t explored in the film itself, but affects the scenes which are in the film. (I hope that makes sense).
So having someone who in my mind was a crucial player in Gogol’s development (you always remember your best friends even after you lose touch) not show up to work, really affected my preparation.
But it was more than an inconvenience to an entire production that relies on the person they cast. Time is always an issue when you shoot something, especially outdoor scenes which are dependent upon sunlight. We scrambled to call people we knew to play the role of “Marc”, and ended up casting a Production Assistant named Justin (who was good). At the end of the day, everything was alright. The reason that the actor didn’t show up, was because he overslept. He had been helping a friend out with another film and didn’t get home until 2:30 in the morning (our pickup was, as I mentioned, 5:30). It was an innocent mistake that could have happened to any actor. We are in a career that is so competitive and collaborative, that we take every opportunity to work. In this case, that actor overslept. It happens. Everything worked out in the end, despite some temporary insanity; this was one of those instances I thought was worth mentioning.
Book: Still reading “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim”.
Music: Addicted to “Bowl of Oranges” by Bright Eyes. It’s a great song to wake up to.