1.19.98

Call: 6:30 AM

Making Cherry
a romantic comedy starring Shalom Harlow
"What exists here is buzz. If you get it, it's exhilerating. If you don't, you feel like that car over there -- buried under four feet of snow."
--Tom DiCillo, at Sundance
You've Got Questions? Cherry Has Answers
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Locations:
Muffin Shop

Sunrise: 7:20 AM
Sunset: 4:46 PM

Weather: Snow late in the afternoon. Hi: 26 degrees

Principals:
Leila, Dottie, Darcy, Customer, Menu Man, Red, Jack, Dr. Kirk, Evy, Man #1, Man #2, Man #3, Man #4, Man #5.

9 Extras

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How She Made a Virgin

Characters Come Alive for Terry Reed

"I wrote 10 drafts, 15 drafts, 25 drafts, I don’t know how many, before I ever sent the script out," says Terry Reed, talking about her script for Cherry. "At first I didn’t have Leila as a virgin. She was just a loser, and the idea was to look at what would happen if you fell through the cracks."

I caught up with Terry over the weekend, after a week of shooting. I was curious about her reaction to the shoot, and surprised to find out that the script’s main concept--a virgin wants to have a baby--wasn’t the story’s starting point.

"It wasn’t called 'Cherry' then, though it was the story of a woman who is an orphan, a woman who has been abandoned," she said. "At first I made her a typist, because when I got out of graduate school I was working on a novel and I had to work nights as a typist. It was so terribly depressing to be surrounded by people, your contemporaries, and they're making all kinds of money, and you’re just struggling to hang in there. I wanted Leila to be someone who had heart, who was seeking something more fulfilling than money."

Lest this sound too dark, Terry continued, "Of course, it was always supposed to be a comedy, too."

Terry soon rejected the idea of having Leila be a typist, "it was too isolated and boring," and made her a waitress in a muffin shop. Eventually it developed that Leila owned the muffin shop, but Terry made Leila’s the saddest, worst muffin shop in the world. Trained as a novelist, with a graduate degree from Columbia University’s writing program, it took some time for Terry to adjust to writing for film.

"The problem was I was making everything too internal, like a novel," she said. "It wasn't until I started to look for a way to externalize the idea that Leila was without love, to externalize her internal state, that I got it. And then it just naturally followed that Leila should be a virgin.

"Her being a virgin is a specific problem," Terry pointed out, in advice any screenwriting aspirant can benefit from, "and specific problems work much better than general ones. They’re funnier, too."

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Having spent time on the set this past week and having watched Cherry begin to come to life, Terry’s first reaction isn’t about comedy, it’s about romance: "The first time I saw Shalom and Jake together, it was a thrill. They’re so cute! My heart went pit-a-pat. They are very romantic together.

"All the casting is great," she continued. "It crystallizes the characters, captures who they are. They did a great job. And now, after all this time it’s amazing to think that my script could actually be a film."

    Mail the Cherry Web Man       
Peter Kreutzer  

 

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(c) 1998 Peter M. Kreutzer