PRE-PRODUCTION JOURNAL


A GREENLIGHT! A PUSH!                       10/13/00

Its only a year or so after I predicted, and two years after I wanted, but EvenHand will actually be recorded on film this winter. The budget we have raised is well under $1 million, which is less than we have ever made a film for before. Its both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because this is how truly independent films must be made to have a chance at success in today's incredibly competitive marketplace; terrifying because it's going to be tight in all respects -- a 23 day shooting schedule, communal living and little or no margin for error. But I must say, I can't wait for those peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for dinner, followed by a Little Debbie snack cake for dessert (or should that be a Moon Pie?).

Some of you may have visited the EvenHand website over the past weekend and noted a start date of November 20th. Here's where the "push" comes in: our new start date for principal photography is January 2, 2001. While we were confident that we could be prepared in all other respects, Jon and I felt that six weeks of prep was insufficient to cast this film, especially when we are contemplating casting sessions in New York, Los Angeles and San Antonio. Just getting the script read by agents will eat up a week or two; getting actors to engage is a lengthy process as well. And we both agreed that the cast is of paramount importance (its the secret ingredient to great directing). So, pre-production begins immediately for me, Jon & the casting director and officially on November 27th.

Jon will set up casting sessions in New York and Los Angeles as soon as possible while I head down to San Antonio on November 1st or thereabouts to start things rolling. We have hired Fernando Cano as our line producer. He will begin working full time on EvenHand on November 19th.

The most exciting news to date is that Tim Orr has agreed to be our cinematographer. Tim has received a good deal of attention recently for his exceptional work on George Washington, a film that achieved notable success at the most recent Sundance Film Festival and was also a selection at the New York Film Festival, earning critical accolades at both. Here is an excerpt from Elvis Mitchell's recent review in The New York Times:

"The cinematographer Tim Orr has accomplished something remarkable: the African-American children seem to have been lighted from within, and their skin has a slight burnished glow, as if the sun is deftly tracing across their bodies. (Mr. Orr emerges as a star as well. This may be the best-photographed film of the year; it's not ostentatious or showy, and the look helps create a sense of place.)"

We are thrilled to have Tim working with us on EvenHand.

The next big challenge is casting, which will really commence now, as opposed to back in February, when I wrote "Casting Commences."

For contact information and the most up-to-date nuts and bolts news on the production, please check the "CREW ACTORS AGENTS INTERNS" link on the EvenHand home page.

In other news, our friend Erik Jensen and his wife, Jessica Blank, spent last summer travelling around the country to track down a small but growing American minority: freed death row inmates. The resulting interviews provided the basis for "THE EXONERATED," a documentary play based on the stories of twelve death row inmates who were wrongly convicted. The play will be performed on four consecutive Monday nights, starting on October 30th at:

THE CULTURE PROJECT
45 Bleecker Street
Corner of Bleecker & Lafayette
New York, NY

Box Office: 212-529-4530

The opening night cast will feature Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, the director and star of Dead Man Walking. Featured cast members on that and other nights include: David Morse, Charles Dutton, Sarah Jones, Frankie Faison, Edie Falco (Sopranos), Vincent Dinofrio, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Hazelle Goodman, Martha Plimpton, Paul Butler and Harold Perrineau (OZ). Break a leg, Erik!

- Joseph Pierson
 


              

Next: CINEMA PURITÉ


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