Two weekends ago, just after I found out this news (for those of you keeping score at home), I headed up to Bucks County for two days to play a young Russian soldier in a short film set on the Russian front during WWII. I had been looking forward to it as a little project on the side, but when the shoot days finally arrived, I was ready for some fun to take my mind off other things.
The first hour of the first day was spent collecting our gear and our uniforms from the weapons master/production manager, who I'd previously worked with on both The Chrononauts and Rendezvous. His basement is full of all sorts of WWII uniforms, and he can tell the difference between Nazi uniforms from 1941 and 1945. And he also has them both. As well as everything in between. It's quite extraordinary. After we were all geared up, we were given our weapons, and the entire look was finally starting to come together. Here's a picture of me as the Russian soldier Gregory:
When we all headed out to the location, knee-deep in snow, we started shooting. I had never worked with the filmmaker before, but we fell into a nice rhythm. I liked how fast he tried to shoot things, and I liked that he was letting us be very relaxed and very conversational with our lines. He even encouraged us to improvise some of the lines, but I stuck pretty much to what I had already memorized. It's just easier that way.
On this first day of the two-day shoot, we did a lot of the middle of the film, and then the final pieces as well. We worked straight up until sunset, and I literally watched the sun set while I was on camera. It's going to be a very cool shot to end the film. The day was a lot of fun, even if it was freezing cold by the time we were done. My leather boots (while really cool!) didn't provide a whole lot of insulation against the cold, but they were also the only part of my body that was cold. This is a picture of me trying to keep my toes warm, through willpower alone.
Also, please note that I did not get to fire my weapon. I had to pretend. But my costar Amanda got to fire off several rounds with her sniper rifle. I was pretty jealous of that, and she wanted to keep doing take after take of that scene. She was a little disappointed when they told her they had the shot, so she celebrated by firing off a few more rounds. Okay, maybe she didn't, but that's certainly something that I would have done. It's the easiest way to empty the clip!
Our shoot day ended at dusk, we got out of costume, and we got ready to come back for another day on Sunday. I'll post again about the next day of filming, the day that involved the hand-to-hand combat, lots of slipping on the ice, and actually acting an entire page and a half of dialogue as we raced to beat the setting sun yet again.
Okay, well, that's a lot of the stories in fact. But in more detail... NEXT TIME!