‘JAY and SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’ – On-Set Production Report
February 5th through February 9th, 2001.
"Its Ladies Night…" – Monday, Day 15
…and the feelings right. Oh yes, its ladies night, oh what a night! This is where the gig gets tough. You see, right now shooting is taking place outdoors, and the impending threat of rain in the forecast is evident by the ominous cloud cover and chilly wind that’s currently whipping by us.
Speaking of cold it seems that one ran through the Smith household over the weekend, but Kev tells me he’s feeling better today for the first time. Which is a good thing, because with the job of making films, there are no sick days, personal or vacation days. Rain or shine, the cameras always up and rolling. Which often explains why colds run through an entire crew at once, and a medic is always on set to try and help out.
After talking a bit with Kev and Scott, they head back to their trailers to prepare for the next set up featuring a small piece with the girls. It’s getting a bit cold and dark now, as I stand by myself for the moment. That is until the camera does one of those classic Scorsese-style counter-rotating pans, like with Newman in ‘The Color of Money’. Except it’s not a row of pool tables I’m left to find, it’s better… its Ali Larter.
She looks great. I watch her walk about already in her set wardrobe, hair done, intentionally scuffing her boots across the rough asphalt. I haven’t seen nor had the chance to talk to her since the day she popped by for the El Rey shoot, so I figured now’s a good chance as any.
We chat for a good while, and she expresses to me her relief that she has no dialog tonight, being her first night. We talk about what it’s like living out here in LA now, compared to Cherry Hills, New Jersey where she’s originally from, and the surprise success of her last film, ‘Final Destination’. Knowing that the script for the sequel has recently been penned I inquire about her possible involvement in it. She informs me that she has indeed been approached, but since its still in early development stages, no formal contracts or agreements have yet been established.
And wouldn’t ya know it, here comes Mewes to bust up my scene. No sooner after Jay’s timely arrival, does Ali get called back into her trailer for some final touch ups. I turn to Jay and say, "That Ali’s really cool, and a damn cute girl too." That’s when Jay fires back at me to "back off, she’s MY girlfriend!" Yeah, right Mewes!
Back on set the girls stand about in the bitter cold, waiting for Kev to call their scene into play. But just before that, Kev and Jay have to shoot a scene, which pays a sort of homage to a scene from ‘MALLRATS’, which in turn paid the same to 1989’s ‘BATMAN’.
"Girls, Girls, Girls" – Tuesday, Day 16
It’s now officially all a night shoot from here on out, as shoot hours are scheduled to go from 5pm to about 5am, outdoors on location no less.
All the girls are here, present and accounted for, but today marks a special day. It’s Jen’s first shot at reciting Kevin’s dialogue. And all seems to go off well, with Kev beaming proudly at his wife’s performance. He’ll do this more and more as shooting with her progresses (but its deservedly so).
"These Girls Have Sass, Class and Lots of…" – Wednesday, Day 17
When Quentin Tarantino expressed his interest in doing a ‘Fox Force Five’ project on the heels of ‘Pulp Fiction’, I think I now know what he meant and why.
This is Kev’s ‘Fox Force Four’, and tonight is "glamour stuff" with the girls as he calls it.
The girls (Shannon, Eliza, Ali & Jen) all sit bundled up in coats and shielded by propane heaters that Kev dubs "The Fortress of Heat". They’re coming in handy tonight, as temperatures are to dip into the low-‘30’s, with cold winds throughout.
The scene calls for the girls to simply hop out of a van, and strike sexy, camp-like poses together in their tight, body-hugging suits.
To motivate the girls performance and hoping to get the shot off in one or two takes, Kev offers up this little piece of advice:
"The sexier the pose you make, the faster we move on to the next shot. The van you will be jumping out of does have heat, but the other van waiting directly behind you is "the heat van"; it’s MUCH warmer."
The shot is set and the girls drop out of their coats, revealing their skimpy outfits, and head off to the van.
The scene rolls, but isn’t quite what Kev and Scott want. Scott would like them to exit the van a bit quicker, so he offers up this direction to the girls:
"Maintain the sexiness, but make it faster."
After a few more takes, the scene moves into a 2-shot of each set of girls, striking those same sexy poses.
What looks great on film looks even better in person, but you’ll just have to take my word for it (or not).
"Lights, Camera, ACTION!" – Thursday, Day 18
Today marks another first for a View Askew film: a full on vehicle explosion. Also another first, they’ll be four Panavision cameras rolling on this one. The most used at any one time before this, were three cameras on ‘DOGMA’.
As Kev and I walk onto the set, Gary Jensen, the film’s stunt coordinator, gives Kev a run through of what’s going to happen tonight, demonstrating with a few small Hot Wheel cars. The plan is for the vehicle to ignite into a large fireball, and flip over onto its roof, ablaze.
Kev likes what he hears, and he, and Gary and DP Anderson do a run through together to block the shot.
Everyone loves a good explosion, and excitement runs high. It even brings out some more surprise guests including View Askew and Affleck.com webmasters, Ming and Ben. Also on hand is Synapse Films own Don May Jr. who is prepping VA’s Vincent Pereira’s film, ‘A BETTER PLACE’ for release on DVD hopefully sometime in April.
Since there’s only one set vehicle to pull this stunt off with, everything is crucial, meaning a lot of double and triple checking going on, as well as safety precautions, which Gary Jensen explains. He informs us of the safety distance (behind the "video village"), and that earplugs, and safety goggles will be provided in case of any flying shrapnel or debris that might somehow make its way past the safe distance.
8pm – Flame on! We all settle in behind the monitors. Kev opts to wear a fireman’s hat and coat, and on "action" the vehicle erupts into a nice, massive fireball.
But no flip.
It’s a nice explosion, sure, but this film demands that it’s bigger, better. So Kev, Gary and VFX supervisor Charlie Belardinelli, get together to figure out how to make it all work from here.
It’s decided that another go again is needed and that Gary and his team will need 50 minutes to re-rig the explosives.
9:15pm – Flame on… again! The vehicle is now re-rigged with weight added to its front end and more explosives at the rear. The vehicle is re-lit to try and match previous continuity and then explodes beautifully, flipping over airborne and crashing down in a flaming heap on its rooftop. Marshmallows anyone?
"How Many Animals Did Kevin Have On His Ark?" – Friday, Day 19
A lot. We’re talking about rats, cats, dogs, ducks, monkeys, pigeons, pigs, a pony… it’s a regular petting zoo here tonight. So much so, that Jen even brought little Harley down to see and pet some on the animals.
The crew has a lot of work ahead of them tonight, and its decided that the production team will break off into 1st and 2nd unit teams to assure that everything that needs to get done, gets done.
The task of the second unit for tonight is essentially shooting all the stuff with the animals, under Charlie’s supervision, as he’ll later be adding over 100 rotoscope mattes to the shot later.
While this goes on outside, inside, a makeshift set has been erected where 1st unit will be filming. This is basically Jay and Silent Bob stuff.
Cast and crew break for dinner around 11pm, and the menu for tonight is FANTASTIC! Grilled Cajun steak, orange roughly, chicken oscar, whiskey mushrooms, baked potato/salad bar, jumbo shrimp. Kudos to our craft services!
And in answering the previous query by "Son of Ratface" as to how I took my Cajun steak, I took it medium well, my friend. How’d you take yours?
Back on set the night seems to drag, and outside it’s beginning to drizzle. Rain is inevitable at this point.
Inside, Kev quizzes us on guessing the years end box office grosses according to the Daily Variety, which he holds in front of him. Just something to help pass the time while awaiting the next set up.
And at the end, although the night was a long one, it turned out to be a hell of a productive and successful one.
"JAYriding and Club-hoping With Jay Mewes" – Saturday Night
This was a night that Jay and I decided to put work aside and go out and have a good time, hitting a local party and then taxiing to a club in Hollywood to cut loose.
This is bad you see, as I’d love to tell you all what the experience was like with Jay and what went on, but uh, I’ve practically lost all recollection of the evening. Yeah, it must’ve that good, and I’m sure we had a blast and we’ll probably do it again sometime down the road. Maybe I’ll remember a bit better next time. Who knows?
Until then, heeerrrreeeeesssss Jay with another quotable quote!
"Suck this dick and make it puke." – Jay
Such a ladies man!
Production decisions, ‘CLERKS’ deja vu, eating at Mooby’s, another surprise on set visit from a past View Askew cast member and reaching the mid-way point.