Archive for June, 2009

the light at the end of the tunnel

June 26, 2009

so here we are with only 4 days of shooting left before we wrap it up and head back to our lives.  I’m feeling a little melancholy as I usually do when a film draws to a close  but for some reason I’m really feeling it on this one.  It has been such a cool experience being a part of this film and working with this amazing cast and crew. But it aint over til its over and we still have a whole lot of stuff to do…Jason throwing knives and kicking an interloper’s ass on a basketball court,  a car crash in a warehouse somewhere in NOLA with Dolph and Sly and a church with or without the character Church.  On Thursday  July 2 at 5:30pm I bid adieu to the Crescent City and along with Miss Sadie head back to Hermosa Beach.

last week was a busy one  – Harry Knowles visited the set on Wednesday.  I’d never met him before  but I do read AICN on a daily basis.  So when he came rolling in with his dad for some reason I was prepared for a high maintenance night.  Thanks for the nice surprise, Harry.  He was the prefect guest – he wasn’t interested in the traditional interview with the actors but I wish I had taped the conversations he had with Dolph, Jason, Sly etc…all Harry wanted to do was soak it in and as you can tell from his post he was like a sponge!!  And he didn’t rat me out when I scraped the side of the golf cart as I drove through the metal doors leading to the palace courtyard set.  So thanks for that!!  The next night we had journalists from Japan, Holland, France, the UK, IGN, UGO and the Times Picayune visit…once again great people who asked good questions and were very patient.  Being on a set usually means a lot of sitting around waiting…or eating…and they did both.  At around 3am they finally got their interviews with Sly, Jet, Terry, Dolph and Randy.  too bad Jason had already left.  at any rate…busy week as  I also did interviews with most of the cast that will be used for media outreach as well as on the DVD.  I used some of the questions submitted by fans – it was a fun and interesting process to hear the guys talk about their characters, about working together as an ensemble, Sly as a director and the process as a whole.  Gave me a whole new perspective while reminding me of things I had forgotten…and in spite of all the bitching I’ve done over the past 3 months about heat, bugs, rain, gators and whatever, I’ve had a pretty amazing experience.

last night we said good bye to Jet and Giselle.  felt damn weird.  What can I say about Jet…he’s Jet Li – an amazing human being who is dedicating his life to making the world a better place.  His ONE FOUNDATION is his focus now and we all wish him the best.  As for Giselle, The Expendables marks her debut in a US film.  Being the only female in a testosterone fueled environment was no easy task but aside from her stunning beauty she is a very strong and powerful force.  She does things in this film that will certainly make film goers take notice.  She became my closest confident on this film – she will be missed. 

Ok now for Church…I saw on several websites that it is Bruce Willis but as I write this nothing has been confirmed about who will play Church. Someone PLEASE make a decision here people!!!

so here I sit on the back lot of the studio while fires rage, Sly shoots the hell out of things and Randy Couture stealthily takes out a few palace guards.  Terry is here too but hasn’t worked yet. Looks like Randy and Terry will wrap up tonight or tomorrow..then Steve Austin and Eric.  Last to go will be Jason who is with us til the bitter end which is only fitting as he was was in the first scene we shot so many weeks ago…

Earlier  today on splinter unit Steve Austin and Eric Roberts went swimming – blown into the water by a huge explosion.  The first part of the scene was shot in Brazil – today we shot the aftermath.  Ah movie magic.

factoid…we shot the title sequence for the film tonight – the song playing during the scene has lyrics by Sly and music and additional lyrics by one of the guys from Godsmack…I think it was Sully but haven’t had a chance to confirm with Sly…so please don’t quote me.  What I do know is the song is pretty freakin perfect…

that’s it for now…I have about 3000 photos to go through but didn’t want you to think I forgot about you…

RIP Farrah – you fought a brave fight. And MIchael Jackson…you were one crazy mother towards the end but your music will never be forgotten…sad ending to an even sadder life…ah fame and fortune…

I need to be clever – will you help?

June 12, 2009

Monday and Tuesday I am doing interviews with t he cast for the electronic press kit and DVD.  There are some questions i HAVE to ask – like tell me about your character, etc but since this is a unique movie I want the questions to be interesting and revealing.  So I’m turning to you – if you could ask Sly, Jason, Jet, Terry, Dolph, Randy, Eric, Steve or Giselle a question ABOUT MAKING THE MOVIE OR THEIR CHARACTER what would it be.  Respond only on the blog and I promise to read them all as long as you don’t get too verbose or off track.  IF I use  your question I will let the actor know it came from a fan…so thanks for helping…I expect big things from you guys!

Cult of Personality

June 11, 2009

working on a film shot on location is similar to a traveling circus…lots of moving parts, lots of different personalities, long hours and little time for social engagement outside of work.  So the cast and crew become a family of sorts – kinda dysfunctional like most families but a family nonetheless.  As in most families there is a hierarchy and the way I see it… the producers are the parents constantly telling you what you can and cannot do, the director is the teacher and life guide, the actors are the children and the crew – well I guess we are the glue that holds it all together.  when you have an adventure such as the one we’ve had shooting The Expendables you tend to bond with your co-workers. I am always fascinated by set dynamics – it never fails… the oddest couples emerge…Eric Roberts and Steve Austin for example – these guys are day and night but as Eric told me last night, Steve is now his new best friend.  Their common ground – a raucous sense of humor among other things.  Both of them are pretty freakin funny and together they are hilarious. Terry and Randy are like the set ambassadors – they always have a smile or kind word for everyone but they both look like they could break you in half in a New York minute.  Jason…ah Jason… well he’s the guy everyone wants to be or be with!!  He is a really focused let’s make it better, rougher, meaner kind of guy who just looks freakin awesome in that swat garb…holy cow people.  He is longtime friends with Mickey – it was very cool having them on set together….Jet Li is the consummate professional.  He is always prepared always on point and totally immerses himself when on camera.  I was taken aback by his keen sense of humor and his love for shopping!!  I am also impressed with his commitment to his foundation (www.onefoundation.cn).  There is only ONE Earth. Each of us has only ONE life. We share the planet, and that makes us ONE global family. By helping others, we are also helping ourselves. Together we can overcome any challenge or difficulty. We encourage you to join us and help support the One Foundation. Pretty inspiring! Dolph is the one people look up to.  He reinvented himself and is very unassuming on set.  But he is a big blonde Swedish dude so seriously how unassuming can you be???  Then there’s the Slymeister…what can you say about this guy.  He is a visionary and risk taker who obviously loves what he does.  Writing, directing and starring in a film of this scope is no easy task to be sure but he sees everything in his minds eye and what a vision it is!  The actors love him as a director and he seems very generous as an actor.  We already know he can write.  And he likes to keep it real by doing most of his own stuntwork…which encourages the other actors to do the same.  Pretty freakin amazing.  He likes to keep the vibe on set upbeat so our sound guys crank up the tunes…The Who, CCR, Tom Petty, Rick James, Led Zep, Stones etc etc etc…every once in a while you’d hear him yell “keep up the momentum guys” as another explosion goes off or another body goes flying.  I love my life.

As for the crew I must say there are very few on this team I don’t like but some of my faves are…Celestina who allows me to vent and rant on occasion, Wes the Visual Effects God, Amy who went to Jesus with me in Brazil, Audrey & Kent the prop masters, Mark the key grip, my girl Shannon who runs basecamp and kept me sane in Brazil, the “hair girls” Nikki and Kristi, Mustaffa the wonder of wardrobe, the crazy assed crafty guys Mike & Paul and almost all of of transpo…what a hilarious bunch of characters they are!  And I cant forget my peeps in the production office who always take care of me…Ashley, Amy and Casey. But my absolute faves are the beauttiful Giselle and Super PA Craig.  I feel pretty lucky to be able to work with such a cool group.

Last night was interesting…we started with Jet Li in the back of a pick up truck shooting, running and jumping then moved to the palace grounds for lots of gunfire and explosions.  On more than one occasion the ADs had to move crew out of the way so as not to get hit by exploding grenades…we also had to be mindful of the hundreds of bullets being fired by nearly 100 extras and of course the totally out of control big mama Terry Crews blasts his way to hell with.  The explosions looked pretty cool as well but the dust it kicks up contains Fullers Earth which is NASTY NASTY NASTY…and hard to get off your skin and clothes. And the fireballs our SFX team created weren’t any sissy fires…they went big…real big.  Tonight we have more of the same…Next week we enter the homestretch as we wrap (I think) on June 26th.  Looks like we are going to have some press visit us when we shoot the Somalian pirate scenes…we will also do the EPK interviews and we may have a visit from an online outlet – waiting for confirmation.  And did I mention we are shooting French hours tonight?  No lunch break and we can only work 10 hours…yippeee…we have to wrap by 6am…ok enough…more later. Oh and to you know who you are…don’t hold your breath…

 

 

Shannon & me

Shannon & me

the_trio

I went a little rogue last night

June 4, 2009

part of my job is to make sure no one takes photos on set other than the unit photographer.  when we are shooting in a public place it’s impossible but on stage or on the back lot at the Louisiana Film Studios you must obey my authoritay!!  With over 70 extras it’s not an easy task but I make best effort.  Last night I broke my own rule – I took photos on the set.  I had to – it is such an impressive set.  We are shooting the battle scenes that take place in the courtyard of General Garza’s (DAVID ZAYAS) palace.  So I am posting a couple of shots I took with the IPhone I hate…

We have 3 more weeks of shooting left – the majority of which will include all of the guys.  One thing I love about Sly’s scripts is that no matter how many heads roll (literally) there’s always an element of humor.  Who knew that Jet Li and Seve Austin were funny?? Actually Steve makes me laugh more than anyone on set.  He’s a totally anchored to the earth living on a ranch in South Texas kind of guy with a big body and a bigger heart.  And a sassy sense of humor. Even when Sly and he are beating the bejesus out of each other.

To while away the hours during night shoots I began doing little impromptu interviews with the guys in between setups.  GIves me a chance to get some quotes and find out how they see their characters while giving me a little glimpse into who they are as people.  Barney Ross (SLY) is the sage and strategist of the team.  Lee Christmas (JASON STATHAM) is former SAS and a savant with anything with a blade.  Toll Road (RANDY COUTURE) is the intellect of the group, a skilled and deadly demolitions expert.  Hale Caesar (TERRY CREWS) is a long barrel specialist who has been friends with Barney for over 10 years.  Ying Yang (JET LI) is a master at close quarters combat, who because of his size is the brunt of jokes from the bigger guys.  But they all know he can be as deadly with a kick as they are with traditional weapons.  Gunnar (DOLPH LUNDGREN) is a combat veteran and an expert at precision sniping.  He’s also the problem child of the group.

No news on Church.  Oh and the guy who said my blog is poorly written…piss off!!

 

Palace set

alace set 2