12.17.97

Making Cherry

A Real Life Ongoing Soap Opera and Instruction Manual About the Making of a Movie Called "Cherry"

 


 

Locations:
Production Office: Fittings, photographer meetings, shotlisting, hair/makeup consult.

Studio: Rehearsals.

Principals:
Office: Most everyone

Rehearsal: Jon, Leila, Menu Man, Evy.

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Clothes Call

Wardrobe, Hair, Makeup

Joe’s office, what used to be Joe’s office, is now Wardrobe. Which means where there was once a nice open feeling, a nice open room around his antique rolltop desk, there are now 5 racks of clothes and untold boxes of shoes. In the corner, Mary Ann, the costume designer points, are five or six neatly stacked clothing bags.

"Isaac Mizrahi sent those over," she says. "I haven’t had time to sort through them yet."

Having a fashion model as your star makes the product placement person’s job quite a bit easier, at least when it comes to clothes. There are also cases of sneakers from a multitude of manufacturers, stacked by the door. I wonder how any one person can keep it all straight.

Mary Ann, of course, does, because that’s her job and she’s a professional. She now has racks of clothes out in the reception room, which is being used by the Art Department. Wardrobe is encroaching.

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"I come up with an idea about the character," Mary Ann tells me, "from the script. And then I find clothes for her or him to wear in each scene. My job is to develop their personas through their clothes."

You’d be surprised how many clothes.

On Tuesday Mary Ann is meeting for the first time with Kelly and J, make-up and hair respectively, and the three will coordinate their individual takes on the characters and figure out how to make them whole.

There are technical considerations, as well.

"I’m concerned about the veil during the wedding," Kelly says to Mary Ann. "Have you selected it?"

"We’re developing the wedding clothes, both the flashback and present day, here in house. We don’t know yet about the veil."

"And the hat," J asks. "Because it will affect her hair. And the other way around."

"Well," says Mary Ann, "we’re working on the wedding clothes and I think we’ll be making decisions up until the last minute. But we’ll address those issues in time. The wedding is being shot last, so, why don’t we start at the beginning..."

And she does, pulling out a loose-leaf binder full of photographs of each of the characters in each of the outfits they’re to wear in each of the scenes. First up, of course, is Leila, who is to be played by Shalom.

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In the first picture she wears a Harvard football shirt as a night gown.

"Does she always wear Harvard?" Kelly asks.

"No. It is important for her character that she went to Harvard. It is the closing comment in the first scene, ‘You’ll go to Harvard, first.’ But once that’s established and supported we have her in other things."

Mary Ann turns the page and in other photos Shalom stands wearing a variety of sleepware styles. She describes each of the scenes-- there are many of them—in which Leila lounges around her house. In almost all of them she wears some kind of pajama. But they are funny pajamas, fluffy and powder soft, like the ones little girls might wear.

"She’s like a little kid in a lot of ways," Mary Ann points out.

"What about the scene with the porno tapes?"

Mary Ann gets up and snakes her way through the chairs and shoes to Leila’s rack. (Each of the characters has her or his own section of a rack, marked with a circular white piece of plastic with their name on it, as if they were a size.) She pulls out three frilly nighties.

"These are what Evy (Leila’s sister) brings to her, when she’s watching the tapes trying to figure out how to do it."

That’s "do it" as in "make a baby."

"Is Evy conservative?" Kelly asks, though I’m not sure where the idea comes from. Clearly Mary Ann is not, either.

"I see Evy as a really hip New Yorker," she says. "Evy thinks about what she’s wearing and consciously tries to look good. Both she and Leila grew up in Manhattan, they’re Manhattanites, so they’re sophisticated, but Leila is more scattered."

"Have you done a day breakdown," Kelly asks. "I’d like to see a page breakdown. When Leila goes to the doctor for the first time, is that the same day she’s with her sister? And then at work."

"I have a breakdown, but it hasn’t been updated yet. I haven’t had time to incorporate the changes in the new script. But yes, it’s the same day."

"So she hasn’t gotten dressed up for the doctor," Kelly continues. "She’s wearing jeans..."

Mary Ann interrupts.

"I have Leila wearing khaki’s to work, that sort of thing. She’s the boss, remember, and she tries to do well. She considers herself the entrepreneur of muffins after all. So she pays more attention when she goes to work.

"Outside of work she’s more like Shalom. Have you met Shalom yet?"

J and Kelly both shake their heads, no.

"Well, she’s great. She’s unlike any supermodels, you both know supermodels, she’s unlike any supermodel you’ve met. And so I’ve got Leila taking on some of Shalom’s feel.

"She’s a real bohemian, very Birkenstock. But then, as she starts to fall in love, sort of, she starts trying to look better. For Kirk."

At this point the 2nd AD wends her way through the racks. She has to take J and Kelly over to meet the actors. This will be their first consult. Chop, chop, it’s time to go.

Mary Ann is frustrated. She has a fitting in 45 minutes, and a lot to do. But she also needs to settle the creative issues. She has clearly worked out individual approaches to each of the characters, and it is impressive how readily she can jump back and forth through the script. This is the essence of filmmaking, where people in all kinds of different positions are working to interpret the written words and apply them to real life.

Well, make believe real life.

The three try to figure out a way to squeeze in some more time on Wednesday.

"I can stick around," J says, "if that helps."

It does. Mary Ann has fittings. J and Kelly have a string of consultations. But there may be another 45 minutes to meet, if they all hurry, before Mary Ann is to sit down with Joe to hone the creative vision.

They’d better hurry, there’s a lot to discuss.

 Peter Kreutzer

 

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(c) 1997 Peter M. Kreutzer