Monday, August 21, 2006

Norah's Smile, David's Gait, and Rachel's Left Hook:On the Set of My Blueberry Nights

Tuesday of last week, I started working on the set of My Blueberry Nights. My favorite vegan, Amy Weatherford, was the PA in charge of extras. Also, my good buddy Lee Mauney (Delusions, Mail Call) was a stand-in for David Straitharn of Good Night and Good Luck fame. Dana Terle (Heart and Strings, Team Picture) was a stand-in for Norah Jones. Most of the extras were pretty cool. It was a lot of long hours filming bar scenes at Earnestine and Hazel's downtown. By the end of the shoot, Wong Kar-Wai was calling me by name, as was Jamie, the guy who positioned extras. I worked from 12:30 PM-3AM. Kar-Wai decided to have my character motion toward Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) and leave out. The scene continued. From about 10:45 PM until 3 AM, I was on the street chilling. That's the business. At least, Norah Hones smiled at me and David Straitharn showed Lee Mauney and I his drunken stumble. David's character is a bit of a drinker. Earlier, I shot a scene with Frankie Faison, who was the landlord in Coming to America. He was talking and I had to nod my head or make faces. I was supposed to be drunk, and so was this other girl, Efia. It turns out that Efia is the twin sister of my buddy Mario Lindsey's girlfriend, Tatiana.

Wednesday, I get a call at 7 PM asking me how soon can I be on set. I made it by 7:30 PM and worked until 6AM. That day, we started shooting the scene where Rachel Weisz slaps David Straithartn repeatedly. Very intense. We kept shooting multiple scenes in the bar. Our different shirts and outfits were labeled by nights, like Night 2, Night 4, etc. Kar-Wai kept revisiting scenes. He is very detailed and analytical. We would revisit different nights quite often.

Saturday, I returned to set at 7 PM and worked until noon the next day. I was dead on my feet. Near the end, I was sitting at the bar close to Frankie Faison and Norah Jones, two very cool actors. Norah Jones even told a corny joke: How do you turn into a duck into a soul singer? Leave him in the microwave until his bill withers. Get it? Bill Withers? She fanned me and Keenon (Tricks) and left her battery-operated fan for us. She even started using some technique to fan us with her hand fan. I gave her a 9.5. She made the unbearable heat (air conditioning disrupts sound) and fatigue bearable. Adrian Lennox (Black Snake Moan) was also very cool. She is from Memphis and she plays a waitress. She was very friendly. She and Frankie carried on like brother and sister. Our last scene on Sunday was Rachel Weisz' last scene. They broke out champagne, and Keenon was taking pictures with his camera phone. It was real cool.

I enjoyed the experience. Shout out to Keenon, Efia, Tatiana (who was also on set), Camilla, Carmela, Zakoma, Kim Moore, Dana Terle, Bear, Merenda, Christian, Andy, Lindsay, Amy Weatherford, Naseera Lewis, Antoine, Jerry Kimble, and all the other extras who I hung out with. I think we did a good job. It was long hours, but it was still fun. Shout out again to the crew: Jamie, Sean, and the ladid that sprayed me with water and lotioned my hand when I had to pass money to Frankie Faison. Also, the lady who kept giving me napkins when I was sweaty and the fan lady. You people were awesome. I can't wait to see the movie...and my check. Be easy, readers.


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