We started work on the two short films that will launch Hidden Passion Films. The concept is to produce films from period romances for the small screen (DVDs, download). We picked two very simple scenes that represented different periods as an example of how the full features would look. One of them is The Gift of Surrender the other is The Gunslinger. More can be found on the concept on the website for Hidden Passion Films. It’s still under construction, so I’m not sure how the type will appear on some browsers, but the concept is there.
The shorts are less than 10 pages each, so we did the rehearsals for both in one afternoon. Jon lead the actors through a table read, and then walked through the basic blocking of the movements. The actors for The Gunslinger are Travis Willingham . I like his current headshot a lot better, and I like the scruffy version even more. I’ve written about Travis several times in this blog. He’s really good in the role, and he’s extremely funny to work with. Our leading lady is Jennifer C. Sparks, a relative newcomer who is also quite good and very natural in the part. It’s always a fascinating experience to hear the words you’ve written actually performed the way you heard them in your head. I love writing novels for the independence of the creative process. I am very possessive of my characters and loathe to let them go. However, there is something wonderful about seeing the characters come to life even though the writer must lose them to the actor.
The leads for The Gift of Surrender have changed since I first mentioned the short. We had to recast Nikulainen as the original actor has gone on a theatrical tour. The new actor is David Matthiessen. He is quite dashing and compelling in person, and the camera really loves him. I should note for those who've seen POTC: At World's End (SPOILERS for those who haven't) , that when Johnny Depp seems to stab himself on the Black Pearl, he's actually stabbing David, who did such good impressions of Depp, he was given those lines about the rope. There were several moments during the rehearsal when I heard him speak the lines the way I heard Nikulainen in my head. It was thrilling. The very lovely Lisa Lee is still on board for Sarianna. She’s a bit more of a spitfire than I envisioned Sarianna, but I liked the interpretation. She really enjoyed tying up our Niku. The poor man was kept on his knees through all the direction that Jon was giving. He didn’t seem to mind. I certainly didn’t.
It was an exhausting day despite relatively little physical activity. Working with actors takes a lot of mental energy, and the process itself is tiring. I was in bed hours before my norm. Naturally, no writing got done Friday or Saturday. That’s okay though. I felt that we accomplished a lot. Now, we have to secure the location and set the dates. Stay tuned.
A Brief Rant
Some weeks ago, I was ranting about all the mutations of cheese steaks that I found appalling. Well, the most appalling of all is in my home town of Philadelphia. There at the Barclay Prime Hotel is a Kobe Beef cheese steak that costs $100! It has shaved truffles on it, for Pete’s Sake. That’s ridiculous. I’d never order that unless it came with a side of the French Rugby team, naked.