Last weekend felt like a reunion. I haven’t seen my friend Harmony (Nichols) Davidson in several years. Harmony and I go way back to the days of FEAR OF THE DARK when she played the role of Alice Walker’s mother.
The Nichols family has been a valuable resource for casting over the years. You see there are fifty billion children in the family so there was always someone to fill a part when necessary. In addition to Harmony, Brianna played young Alice, Alondra (the youngest) appeared as a spooky little girl and Mariah and Yakira (twins) appeared in a movie and short film.
Harmony and I had made plans to meet up while she was in town from Wyoming. Since I have been crazy busy with production we figured we would kill two birds with one stone and have her play an extra in the diner scene. During our chat on Facebook, I discovered that the twins are both actresses now. I had a few open roles that had yet to be filled so I tweaked the script to lens the twins once again.
It’s been thirteen years since I last saw Mariah and Yakira. Meeting these young adults brought back a flood of memories and made me feel really old at the same time. Everyone quickly fell into the old groove and it was as if we had only worked together a few years ago.
Then… Mariah and Yakira in THE FAMILY TREE
This past weekend marked the second time that I got to work with Stewart Thomas. Stewart steals the scenes he’s in. There’s a raw energy in his performance that captivates you. He blew me away in his audition so I can’t wait to shoot the really heavy material in the script.
The building that we shot in was a great location. By day it’s a camp and on the weekend it’s available for rental. I wish we had this diner setup for FAIRVIEW FALLS. When you have a great location you really need to maximize it’s potential. Once we wrapped the diner scene with Stewart for TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY we shot another diner scene for OPEN CALL.
The OPEN CALL diner scene reunited Jude Pucillo and Sandy Oppedisano who worked together 16 years ago at WVIP where Jude was a DJ and Sandy was a technician.
They have both been in the same Light & Dark movies but never actually met again until now. It was as if Jude and Sandy had been working together all these years. They nailed their scenes in one take.
Sabrina Coleman proved to be a blessing and a lifesaver. A few days prior to the shoot I received a text from my sister-in-law who was supposed to appear as a love interest in the OPEN CALL diner scene. Due to a conflict she was unable to attend the shoot which sent me into a panic. After making numerous calls to backup actresses who couldn’t make it on such short notice, I was ready to throw in the towel. Suddenly it hit me. What if I rewrote the script to include GEOKILLING’s Lydia played by Sabrina? It would further cement the storylines. So after a two hour plus car ride and waiting over an hour, we shot about than ten seconds of footage with Sabrina and she was wrapped.
After we wrapped the diner scenes we moved to the other half of the building which featured a twenty foot stage that was put to good use for one of OPEN CALL’s many audition scenes… or open calls. Rich Redmond played a stone cold casting director and my wife, Diana and friend, Dan Deyo sat along side him looking just as equally intimidating.
It was great working with Rich again too. We last worked together in 2002 on SINS OF THE FATHER where he played author and B-movie actor Peter Jacobs.
Though he is not called Peter Jacobs by name in this episode, Rich was an intentional plant for a possible future storyline that may tie back to the events in my previous “Black Rose Killer” movies.
All of the scenes went smoothly. Great cast right down to the extras. I haven’t had this much fun working on a project in years.
Special thanks to Maryann Arrien for lending me her house and lighting the scene beautifully.
And of course this post wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t recount my Gerber baby story. You see, when I was a baby a talent scout approached my mother and wanted me for a Gerber Baby ad. My father worked construction and my mother didn’t drive so getting me to the city proved to be too difficult so they passed on the offer. It’s a shame. Who knows, things might have worked out and I could have been the star of this season’s Celebrity Rehab. Anyway, Jude and Mick just couldn’t resist…