Today was Phil's
last day. Or really I should say, "Tonight was Phil's last night." And it was a
Back in early January, after the first week of shooting Cherry
was complete, and it had become clear to everyone that the schedule was going to have to
be extended, Phil was already obligated to start a new job on March 2nd.
There was talk of trying to fit all the shooting in before Phil had to
leave, but it was decided that was impossible. There was hope that Phil's new job might
get pushed back and start later than expected, but that turned out to be only hope.
So on Monday he will go to work as Operator on a big Hollywood studio
remake of Neil Simon's "The Out-of-Towners," which is starring Steve Martin. It
seems a silly idea, to remake a silly old comedy, but Phil says the very commercial comedy
looks to be funny. The twist is that this is Giuliani polite, crime-free New York, not the
rude old Big Apple of the bad old days.
Phil brings a calm and exacting voice to his job. Whether he is discussing
the fall of shadows on the wall, or the way a camera movement finds its subject, his
measured precision is appealing and helpful. There seems to be an aura of creativity and
thoughtfulness that surrounds him, and sets the tone for his conversations. I get the
feeling he is the sort of person who has few problems keeping track of priorities.
It is not easy for him to leave, though he must. With eight days of
shooting left, he will be missed.
Magdalena has been Shalom's stand-in the past two weeks. The stand-in is
on set at all times, and when the lights and camera are being positioned she or he takes
the actor's place. The stand in does some of the boring work so the actor can concentrate
on the important work.
Magdalena says the job isn't completely boring: "This job has been
fun. You learn about what the electrics do, and they're all funny." Still, being a
stand in isn't a career.
"I'm going to have to stop this," she says. "I need to go
to more auditions. This is okay, but you just have to stop sometimes and focus on what's
Because the stand in is being used by the lighting crew to set light
levels it's important that she be of similar height and weight, and shares the actors
coloring and wears similar clothes. Magdalena's hair is blonde, so she wears a wig
to match Shalom.
Finally, an example of on set humor:
When Terry arrived on set Kelly was crying.
"Josh, what's the matter with
Kelly?" Terry asked the camera loader.
He answered: "She just heard that the writer is on set."
Good night, Phil.