Saturday, April 20, 2013

Set Visit (and Uriah Thoughts)!

Full disclosure: as our car approached the set, I turned to my husband and said, "I feel like I'm going to throw up." I mean, I spend most of my time in front of a screen. Set visits to the movie adaptation of the words I scrawled over winter break three years ago were never something I was anticipating. On the way there, I felt totally unprepared for what was coming, and that meant a little bit of nausea.

Spoiler alert: I didn't throw up. Instead, I calmed down, which is better.

Here's the deal: I want your first experience with this stuff, in all its detail, to be as amazing as mine was, so I'm not going to try to capture it all for you here. I'm just going to tell you, generally, what I did and how I reacted to everything. Okay? Okay.

When I first got there, they were setting up to shoot the knife-throwing scene. (What a great day to go, right?) I spent a few seconds marveling at everything, then went back to "video village" (which is where director/producer/etc. types watch the filming on screens in real time, with headphones). 

There, I abruptly got all misty-eyed, because THEY MADE ME A CHAIR. You know, one of those director's chairs, with my name on it. It's weird what kinds of things hit you the hardest in these situations. For me it's usually the little things.

Shortly after that I met the Garrett, Master of Stunts and Fights (that's not his official title, but it's what I now call him in my mind), who told me about developing a particular fighting style for the movie and taught me the Dauntless stance. I even punched a punching bag. And nearly hurt my hand, because I am a marshmallow. (Garrett is not.)

I also got to see the Pit, a train car, and an Abnegation house, about which I can only say: !!! One of the best parts of the day was that I got to meet all the craftsmen who are working on the sets after seeing their impeccable work. I was so impressed with how much effort and thought went into everything I saw, so it was really fantastic to meet the people who were making it happen.

Then the fashion geek (is that a thing? I suspect it is not) inside me freaked out, because COSTUMES. I've been curious to see what they would do with costumes, because creating outfits that are entirely one or two colors is not an easy task, sorry guys. But...damn. Did they do it. I may or may not be planning an elaborate heist in which I sneak into the area after dark and steal some clothes. (Note: that is a joke. *hides heist plans in a drawer*)

After that we returned to the knife-throwing set and I watched the scene...over and over again, because, you know, that's how shooting movies works! Strangely this did not get boring for me (even though I've written that scene from two different POVs and I've probably read it over 100 times), which is a credit to everyone involved with it. I can't say much without spoiling things, but I will say that the scene is very true to the book.

I know you're probably mostly interested in the cast, because that's who you'll actually see on the screen. Let me first say that everyone was so nice, despite the fact that, for the first half of the day, I was too stunned to form coherent sentences. The people I talked to: Shailene Woodley (Tris), Theo James (Four), Jai Courtney (Eric), Christian Madsen (Al), Miles Teller (Peter), Ben Lamb (Edward), Ben Lloyd Hughes (Will), Zoe Kravitz (Christina), Amy Newbold (Molly). Basically, the whole Dauntless gang.

And they were all awesome. What can I tell you? They were all SO GOOD in that scene. Every time! Which is probably why I was able to watch it so many times! Without getting tired of it! Exclamation points!

I feel like the gushing is becoming extreme, so I'm going to cut myself off. Basically, I came away with one thought at the end of the day, which is that this adaptation is incredibly thoughtful, from things like fabric and building materials and light fixtures to directing and casting and acting and script.

I want to say I can't wait until it's in theaters, but I can-- I want to take in as much of this process as I can, because it's amazing and I'm so fortunate to be able to watch it happen.

Now, to address something else-- the issue of Uriah. Some of you may have heard, and some may not, that Uriah won't be cast until the second movie, if we are fortunate enough to make another one. It is understandably disappointing when a favorite character doesn't make it on screen. However, what I do think is encouraging is that the people working on the movie are taking the role of Uriah so seriously and taking so much care to get him right.

And even though the particulars will be a little bit different, we still get the zipline scene, guys! Which I, for one, am really excited to see.

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