On Friday the whole crew packed up
and made its way via caravan from Hoboken, first to the upper west side of New York City,
then to the heart of midtown.
The objects of the day are three shots involving stuffed
dogs, a limo, Dr. Kirk and two adorable children. To get these the street must be dressed,
sprayed with water (the legendary wetdown, which makes the sidewalks glisten with spectral
reflection yet also increases the blackness of the pavement), the limo must be positioned,
marks established for all the actors, lights set in doorways and down the block and flags
and scrims set-up and arranged to block the streetlights that are already there.
The three scenes, #s 26, 46 and 47 if you're keeping score,
involve the two orphaned children. Red, the girl, drops her stuffed doggie when she and
her brother are tossed from a car by unseen baddies, and leaves it behind.
Later, a limo driving through the park screeches to a halt
and a mysterious hand retrieves the doggie. Next, we see the limo glide to a stop outside
a nice Italian restaurant in midtown. A giddy couple emerges and dashes inside. Almost
immediately the woman comes back into the street and fetches an armful of stuffed dogs
from the limo's back seat.
As she returns to the restaurant she drops one dog, which
is coincidentally picked up by Dr. Beverly Kirk, who coincidentally is passing by while on
a melancholy stroll. He steps over to the window and inside sees the woman and man
arranging the stuffed dogs around the table at which they are about to sup.
It is a fanciful scene, but its airy insouciance (Drenda Spohnholtz, who plays the woman fetching the
dogs, cries out as she emerges from the restaurant's revolving door: "We must not
forget the children!") is cut by Dr. Kirk's powerful melancholy, which itself is a
reflection of the awfulness of seeing children abandoned in the street.
"That was terribly sad to see," Sherri said later, "Very, very sad."
But if the scenes were marked by sadness, the temper of the
crew was upbeat. Almost giddy at times. The cold night air eventually insinuates itself no
matter how many layers you wear, and once you're cold the only salvation is found in the
hand-warmers Amy is passing out. These marvels in a small
blue plastic bag give off a helpful amount of heat for hours and hours. If there is any
one problem they are a little too hot to keep wrapped up in one's gloves.
I asked Amy if she would prefer to be in New Jersey, where
there is always a fairly warm building to duck into. "No," she said, "it's
great to be in the city." It was an opinion to which seemingly everyone but
perhaps Kyra, who lives in Hoboken, subscribed.
Terry Reed had a different
reason to feel giddy.
A few years back, when she was in graduate school, she took
a screenwriting class with Sam Raphaelson. One of the scene she wrote for an early
assignment involved a woman who brought five stuffed dogs along on a date.
"Sam like the scene a lot," she said, "but
then I forgot all about it."
Terry's scene was inspired by a beau who had tried to woo
her by bringing his own giant stuffed Doberman on a date for her. She was not seduced, but
the incident got her an A in screenwriting class.
And now, fifteen years later, nearly the same scene is
finally reaching the silver screen.
"It's so cool to see it happening," she said.
"But Jonny made it much better. My scene was mostly about the contrast between rich
and poor, but he added more. The scene now has more depth to it."
Which doesn't mean it isn't a little silly, too.