It was back to the public landing for two back-to-back lonnnngggg days on the ocean in Rockland harbor with Tall Tails serving as camera boat, Anteres as Jamie's boat, and a safety boat, run by my friend, Aaron Crossman.
Here is the cast and crew hanging out on Jamie's boat (actually Dan Merriam's). The lobstermen took off a couple of work days in order to make this happen. I can't tell you how much this film will ROCK because of all of their efforts.
The prop department, costume crew, and the hair/makeup crew tagged along as there were a number of scenes that needed their assistance. For example, for the scene in which Jamie stomps the crap out of a lobster trap to send a warning, we needed a real stomped lobster trap. So, Ryan provided one of his old ones and Zak got right up on it and stove it right in bub!
For the scene where Anja is resuscitated, we needed a foamy, pink goo to approximate what the lungs would spit up after a near drowning. Here is Jo Jo, using some red dye and healing ointment to get the right look.
Zak here looking every bit the lobsterman.
These two couldn't stop giggling and making fun of each other between scenes.
Zak pretending to put "a ring on it" with one of the lobster banders. This is an actual scene in the beginning of the movie, but here he is just playing around while we wait for the shot to resume (and putting the "wedding band" on two fingers.)
We've had so much fun with this cast and crew. We get the shots and then we have a laugh between takes. I couldn't have asked for a better experience my first time on a film production.
I was riding shotgun on the safety boat and we had to get out of the scene, so why not cruise over to the Breakwater lighthouse for a close up?
On this day, we were land-bound, but right next to the ocean, the entire time.
In this scene, which goes back to the Maine Lobster Festival, Thongchai, Tadpole, and Jamie have an encounter with the Fogerty boys, Ev, Kenny, and Russell.
In rehearsal, a flock of birds interrupted the scene.
Zak, just going with it.
Kip Weeks, a former lobsterman, as Ev Fogerty, and Gabriel Perez playing Kenny Fogerty. This is just a rehearsal scene. We ended up moving locations for the actual scene where the actual exchange between Tadpole and Ev takes place.
This is part of the boardwalk owned by Larry Reed, owner (and an all-around great guy) of Eclipse of The Pearl, who let all of our extras hang out for this scene. Also in this scene is Billy Wirth's nephew, Alec, who is playing Russell Fogerty.
We turned the little park right next to the police station into a side lot of The Maine Lobster Festival and had to decorate it as such. We got real footage of MLF earlier in the summer. Thanks to the Mac Attack food truck, we also got a giant inflatable lobster for this scene!
We're giving a big shout out to the extras who waited all day on set!
Alec as Russell and Billy as Dale. "TEAM FOGERTY"--they're going to make a t-shirt out of it.
Sarah Catherine in costume as Happy, waiting for the scene at "The Maine Lobster Festival" to resume.
Director/Producer James Khanlarian relaxing between shots.
Zak and Greer rehearsing the scene. Michael Tedford, cinematographer, in the background setting up the shot.
So, if you're wondering from the book: "Where is the lighthouse scene?" There isn't one. This is where the book and the script diverge a bit, but we wanted to have an iconic backdrop to the first time Happy and Jamie get to know one another. Introducing Sarah Catherine Hook of Netflix's "First Kill." SC plays Happy Klein, a free-wheeling first mate on a schooner that docks in Camden in the summer and Key West in the winter.
Call time was 4 a.m. I got there at 5 a.m. just as the light was starting to change. Luckily for us, the sky was cloudy and overcast, so it remained a consistent grey over the lighthouse, which is supposed to be a sunset, not a sunrise scene. A little movie magic will change that in post production.
This is the interior of the lighthouse. We got special permission from Bob Trapani, the Executive Director of the American Lighthouse Foundation. He also happens to be an author of a book on the Rockland Breakwater. He and his wife, Ann, stayed to watch the shoot. It's interesting, because Bob is in charge of 17 lighthouses across the state and he initially was not inclined to let anyone film at this lighthouse. Too many people over the years have treated lighthouses as though they are some kind of Disney ride. Not enough focus on the cultural and historical aspect. But through Cheri, Bob learned this was a local Maine novel and script and he graciously allowed us to shoot our scenes there.
We've been so lucky in that rain has held off for most of the shoot--but this remnant of a hurricane day was actually the perfect overcast greasy sky to go with our scenes. We had a beach scene next between Happy and Jamie that was pretty somber and the gray, cold skies complemented it.
The last scene of that long day was the barn scene where Jamie approaches Dale Fogerty to make amends.
This is a great scene if you know what happens in the book. Billy talked with me ahead of time about adding one more line into the script, which I'll keep a secret, but it's perfect. He made Dale Fogerty his own character.
My friend Jack Churchill, a long-time filmmaker told me: "The worst subjects to shoot are boats, kids, and animals." Just ask the production of JAWS.
The crew and cast spent a LONG afternoon into the evening recreating the showdown scene between Fogerty, Jamie, and James Sr. and friends. The tides were strong, the wind, and the waves kept changing direction. The light was everywhere--never consistent.
Tall Tails served as the camera boat. We had to anchor out on the harbor and reposition multiple times over and over to get the shot.
Zak and James hanging out waiting to set up another shot.
At one point, Marine Patrol investigated what this was all about. Ryan shouted across the boat about what we were all doing out there. Then he said. "Hey, you want to play some asshole Marine Patrol guy in this film?" luckily the guy had a great sense of humor. :)
Here's Kip Weeks playing Ev Fogerty and Billy Wirth as Dale Fogerty.
Stay tuned! I'll add more photos. But I'm late and need to get to the set!
Come find me down by the Camden harbor from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I'll be at a booth next the the Camden Snow Bowl people. Would love to sign your books and chat about the film!
It was Dude Day on set! Yesterday's scenes were all about the confrontation between the Eugleys, the Fogertys and everyone in the middle!
From [L to R] Jay Hughley (Paul), Chris Ellis (Doug), Steven Ogg (James Eugley, Sr.) and Whip Hubley, Roger Powers, Town Office Manager.
Billy Wirth, from The Lost Boys plays Dale Fogerty with growling menace as he does a O.S. (off screen) reading of Fogerty on the phone with Roger Powers.
Remember Whip as the hotshot fighter pilot "Hollywood" in the original movie Top Gun? He said he played that character at age 27 and it was loads of fun. He and his wife now live in Maine.
Steven Ogg as the highliner defending his territory.
Scenes inside The Fish House, where the plotting takes place. Standing next to Ogg is actor Paul Bellefeuille playing the harbor patriarch, Don Thatcher as they debate what to do.
The Ghost Trap's breakout star, lobsterman Kurt Winters, whose job during these long scenes, was to stand around and look menacing. We kept laughing in the parking lot when the cast took breaks for set up how much of a badass he looks.
A light-hearted moment between takes with Zak Steiner and Taylor Takahashi.
Yesterday, we spent a full day at a beautiful oceanside cottage that replicates Neal Ames's house. This was the confrontation scene between Jamie and Neal. While we all sat outside in the garage (i.e. hair and makeup headquarters) we could hear Zak go FULL HAM on Neal, (played by Tim Peper). When Tim came out for a break after that scene, I asked if he needed a hug.
Meanwhile, Taylor Takahashi (Thongchai) was sitting in the makeup chair for a couple of hours while Jena Morgensen, Key/SPFX worked her magic to make Taylor appear as though he'd been out of the hospital a week after getting clobbered with a whiskey bottle. (Stay tuned for a special blog on the hair and makeup crew soon). I touched Taylor's shoulder to tell him something while Jena was applying special prosthetics and I got THE LOOK. People, I am going to tell you now. When hair and makeup specialists are doing their thing, do not touch.
We did a company move (translation: moved to a new location) around 5 p.m. that afternoon to set up for the day's last scene--Zak and Taylor sharing a bonding moment. Of course two things had to happen at this point: a vehicle failure (in this case a production truck) and a sudden rainstorm. (Sound familiar? See Day 7) I swear to God, the Powers That Be on this film set really, really have it out for vehicles not working just as we need them to.
But after the rain comes a rainbow, right? And no, that's not some treacly platitude, it really happened!
Just look at that light after the passing shower! It's just radiant. And I'll tell you, if had I just been living my normal life here in Maine, I would have been inside probably scrolling online while a shower passed overhead. I would have never seen this rainbow or the rich, moody light that followed. This is what makes being on a film set so electric--it throws you completely out of your comfort zone and rewards you with moments in life worth paying attention to. (Which I cover in a FB post).
Stay tuned as we post more photos/videos on Facebook and TikTok. We just started an official Instagram page too, so please follow!
The momentum has been building and now it's official on Deadline.com!
We shot the entire day (so muggy, so hot!) in S. Thomaston for scenes involving James Sr. and Donna's house. Welcoming Steven Ogg (Walking Dead and Westworld) and Sarah Clarke (24) as Jamie's parents, the day involved a lot of preparation at a local couple's home. The Art Dept. had to transform the kitchen into a '90s house with a rotary phone. I chatted with Sarah in make up about Maine and how she and her husband Xander Berkeley (who plays Grampa Maynard) moved from L.A. to Maine.
For the bait shack scene where James Sr. is on the phone with Anja, we couldn't have a more authentic location.
Below, I just want to show you how much goes into the props of a scene. Prop Master Maisie May (as we like to call her, like the name of Thonchai's boat) put together the entire lobster supper scene (from my memory) and script. Behold the already cooked lobsters, the not cooked corn. The salad. The beers. (Thank you to Allagash Brewery and Harpoon for clearance!)
And here's the scene from afar.
Yesterday on set was supposed to be our "quiet day" after a long intense week. It started off well. Becca, our Unit Production Manager and our craft services QUEEN allowed her Toyota Camry to be used in the scene where Jamie teaches Anja how to relearn how to drive again.
The Toyota had to be started, gunned, reversed, gunned, stopped, and lurched.
The poor thing was an '06 and didn't like all its rough treatment so decided to have a tantrum once Becca brought it down the road to Lincoln Country Store. Then, it died. We tried to revive it with dry gas and jump the cables to no avail. Meanwhile, it's now 6 p.m. a lightning storm has cruised into the area, clearing the entire crew out from the open front yard where we'd been camping out while the actors filmed.
Oh...and Becca is responsible for getting the crew dinner on time at precisely 7 p.m. Plan A for the evening was to grill out hotdogs and hamburgers, but now, under the pouring rain, that was out of the question. Plan B? Order 28 portions of take out to be delivered in exactly one hour. This is Maine, remember. NOT HAPPENING.
Plan C: I told Becca "We're gonna get a Ploughman's Lunch at Hannaford--meats, crusty baguettes, crackers, assortment of cheeses, fruits, nuts, pickles, hummus, salads, sushi. Everybody can have as much or as little as they want. We've got 20 minutes to fly to Hannaford, 20 minutes to shop, and 20 minutes to fly back."
So, we did. We ran through that store like we were on Supermarket Sweep.
At one point I was frantically checking where the rotisserie chickens were, only to be told, "our chicken oven has been down for a few weeks." So here we were running around the store like we were the chickens with our heads cut off. Thank you to Eli and Alber for bagging up our groceries in record time!
It's pouring like a mother on our way back--I hydroplaned--and told Becca "OK I gotta slow down; I'm not going to get into a wreck over food." We dropped into the base camp just as the rain abated and began to lay out platters of the Ploughman's Lunch.
But we got dinner on the table at exactly 7:20 p.m. The grill came out, so there were hamburgers and hotdogs after all. And a lot of people said, "This is one of the best dinners we've had so far."
I don't know what it is with cars dying on this set right when we need to use them, but after our first full week of filming, we are ready for THE WEEKEND!
It takes a lot of talented people to recreate what was in my head. Salli Levi, our set designer, recreated a Midcoast house into the home of Jamie Eugley--a ninth generation lobsterman, who inherited his grandfather's house on the ocean.
"They drove silently back home to Porter's Cove, to a crabby-looking Cape on the ocean's edge with cedar shingles weathered to the color of beef jerky."
"Jamie set leftover pizza on the counter and picked up the wall phone in the kitchen."
In the center of the living room stood a flagstone fireplace so inefficient, it barely heated the the room in the winter. Next to it, Jamie installed a small Vermont castings woodstove."
"At one time, they shared the master bedroom, which faced the sea, but then she drowned. And came back to life. And then it became necessary to set Anja up in the spare room, where she'd be up at all hours, like a kitten skittering Across the floor, batting curios off the dresser, keeping him awake all night."
I absolutely love the detail Salli put into this room. From the silver-framed photo of Jamie and Anja by her bed to the flashcards (so she can practice her math skills) to the childlike posters and inspirational quotes that inspire her to keep reaching toward her brain-injury recovery goals.
Note the Mad Libs (for vocan skills and the 1970s tape recorder.
These are the details that blew me away when I walked in and saw them. Anja's easel set up in the living room, her paintings, and the spent tube of red paint that factors into a major fight in the book/movie.
This is the ideal living room I've always pictured in the book. "The house had its own personality. It liked being dusty, blackened, and old. She settled on the plaid hunter's couch facing the TV with an irritated glance at the dingy things they had: bachelor furniture, a floral La-Z-Boy, a wooden chicken coop for a coffee table, a TV, and a telescope."
News, musings, and events from a Maine coast writer. Stay Salty!