Friday, December 16, 2005

crying wolf

In spite of the very small number of comments posted on the previous entry (one), that blog item has resulted in a flurry of emails. It seems that everyone either wants to read more about “The Flock,” or is hoping to see more photos of Richard Gere. Okay, a few emails have arrived asking what any of this has to do with baseball.

First, I want to clear up any misunderstandings about the photo I posted of Richard Gere. I did NOT take it. The son of the couple who are in the process of “flipping” the property next door did. The ONLY reason I even have the pic is because it was in need of some light and color adjustments, and I volunteered to do them using Photoshop. Since I had access to the photo, I decided to share it with my loyal readers.

I was talking to one of the Production Assistants (PA) Wednesday evening, and he indicated that the character that “lives” in the house is indeed played by Claire Danes. He had this cool iPod-type device that let him view the actual scene that was being filmed in real time while standing about outside. The part he let me watch was a close-up of Richard Gere’s hands as he scanned through a FBI book of crime scenes and body parts. It was pretty graphic. He also confirmed that the movie was originally supposed to be set in New Orleans, but the locus was shifted to Albuquerque because of the hurricane. Thus, people who go to the movie expecting to see Bourbon Street and shots of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 will instead be treated to various shots of our downtown skyline and the beautiful Sandia Mountains.

This same PA indicated that “Welcome to America,” a Kevin Kline movie currently being filmed in Mexico, is scheduled to wrap in Albuquerque around the middle of January. He also stated that a John Travolta project is to be filmed in the Duke City in 2006.

Okay then, whoever out there in cyber land posted the comment about Narnia must be some sort of genius or mystic. Certainly your timing could not have been spookier. I first read the comment in the wee hours of Thursday morning after coming indoors to warm up after having stood around in the cold watching all the activity. Although the crew didn’t show up at the set until around 4:00 pm, they shot for 10 hours before calling it a day at 2:00 am. Now those are my kind of hours!

At any rate, I stood transfixed in the blackness of winter watching an animal trainer handle what had to be the largest damn dog I’ve ever seen. Quite possibly, it was even a wolf. It appeared that she would release the beast from the leash on cue, and it would charge into the house and do lord knows what. (They really should provide copies of the screenplays to people like me, don’t you think?) As this scene was repeated time and again, I finally noticed the full moon overhead. “Good grief,” I fretted to myself, “I wonder if this is some sort of werewolf flick.” Taking a large step backwards, I attempted to calculate how quickly this wolf-dog could cover the ground between us if it escaped from the handler. Determined to spare my kitties gazing out through the living room window any holiday nightmares, I took an additional medium-sized step back towards the front porch.

Later, I was emailing a writer friend about what I had witnessed, and he inquired whether I thought Mr. Gere was a shape shifter. To be sure, the wolf-dog’s fur was the same color as Richard’s hair, but I didn’t think this was the case. I did recheck the movie’s details at though, just to make sure that Tony Hillerman hadn’t been added to the writing credits. He hadn’t.

Another 25 hours have passed and they are still going at it. They spent the day Thursday using cranes to hoist additional lights and rigging into the surrounding Chinese Elm trees, and have been filming since dusk. It never ceases to amaze me how much footage goes unused while pulling together a motion picture.

They are supposed to finish up in our neighborhood tomorrow, so I can get back to thinking of excuses for not writing.

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