It's 76 degrees in Boston today, just as it was yesterday. Most people seem to view this as a cause for celebration and have taken to the streets, (barely) clad in the skimpiest clothes.
Me, I'm cloistered indoors, stewing in my own sweat as I listen to the amazing J*Davey live in session on Gilles Peterson.
Anybody who knows me will testify that hot weather and I really do not get along - I'm still baffled thinking about how I survived growing up in Nigeria all those years, and I'm kinda trepidatious thinking about how I'm gonna be able to function in that humid climate over the next several weeks (by the way, just in case you were wondering, "trepidatious" is not a real word).
Still, I really love this time of the year because the pretty girls start popping out like flowers in bloom, dressed in their sexy sundresses and shorts and halters and capris and high-heeled sandals and...
*gulps down some more iced tea*
Saturday was a dark day. Not just because it was overcast and it rained buckets but because I spent the afternoon in Hell. Contrary to popular belief, Hell is not a hot, dark network of caverns illuminated only by the sulphur pits. It is, in fact, quite well-lit with massive fluorescent globes. It looks something like this:
A labyrinthine maze in which a soul can get lost for eternit, searching for the way out. I was lucky that it only took me an afternoon to escape its maws, even though I didn't leave with what I came there for i.e. the dizzying array and nuts, bolts, spacers, washers, wingnuts, drawer pulls, electrical conductor conduits, brass nipples, mending braces, suction cups and L-brackets needed to build makeshift cranes, car clamps and dollies.
At some points I wanted to just throw up my hands, curl up in the fetal position in some corner of the Plumbing section and surrender my soul. Why on earth do I put myself through this punishment? Why don't I just rent the equipment I need rather than trying to build it all from scratch?
Because I'm cheap, that's why. (How cheap am I? Even now I'm typing this with shiny, metallic-looking hands. Why? I just spent the morning spraypainting a black umbrella silver because I refuse to spring $20 for an actual umbrella reflector.)
But Sunday and Monday have been much brighter days - both literally and figuratively. Back in Lagos, my boys have been interviewing actors for the lead roles and they sent me some photos of the frontrunners. They're so right for their parts that I virtually creamed in my jeans! I wish I could share the photos with you, sweet readers, but I have to keep a few things under my hat for the time being. But we got some good-looking kids, man... Not at all surprising, since the Bongoman prides himself on being a Professor of Sexy.
What's most impressive is that these actors all seem to have a pretty good head on their shoulders. One of the reasons we wanted to find some fresh faces rather than working with "name-brand" Nollywood stars (apart from the fact that we can't afford them) is because we didn't want to deal with egos or folks who would treat this production as just another job out of the 12 other films they're going to shoot this year. These kids we've got lined up all seem to understand that they have the potential to be part of something very special here, and I hope it works out and we can really have them in the cast.
One funny thing, though: One of the actors they talked to was perhaps a bit too intense. You know the kind who goes the extra mile to identify with the character, requiring an understanding of the character's backstory and habits and favorite food and what fragrance he's wearing in a particular scene and all that shit? Well, this dude doesn't go the extra mile... He runs a whole extra marathon!
At first I found it endearing... At least he's attempting a unique approach to the character rather than relying on the interchangeable stock character types that litter Nollywood films. But after a while, the brother was taking it too far. Especially when he started giving NOTES. He turned from an actor to a critic or a creative writing professor or something. He had issues with the dialogue and suggestions on how to "fix" it, he was critical of the way the characters looked, he even disagreed with the OPINIONS the characters expressed! I'm like, "Listen, genius... you need to go sit down in front of a typewriter and write your own damn movie and produce and direct it yourself, because clearly, you're not too interested in the one we're trying to make."
I don't subscribe to Hitchcock's view that actors are best treated like cattle - in fact, I quite enjoy getting creative feedback from them. But when an actor forgets what he's being hired for and thinks that he's auditioning for the part of co-writer/co-producer/co-director... Well, that ends up being a bit of a problem.
Needless to say, this dude gets an instant "No go" from me, but the good thing is that his critique actually gave me an idea for a new ending for the movie (since everybody - myself included - more or less agreed that the current ending is a bit on the weak side). I'll write it tonight and send it to Denis and Koko tomorrow... I can't wait to see their reaction to it, because I think it's kinda clever. (Maybe a bit too much so, but that's my style.)
One sore spot today, though: I've been working on developing a proposed look for the film. It's not easy to do since I haven't actually seen the spaces we're gonna be working in or the actors we're using, but I've still started mapping out a general color scheme in terms of lighting and costumes. I was doing some shooting last night and I happened to catch myself shirtless in a miror in one of the shots.
Now, I know that the camera is supposed to add 10 to 15 lbs but MAN, I have gotten sloppy as hell in the past two months. It's depressing, but I have only myself to blame. My eating patterns have been kinda bizarre since we moved TOO MUCH BEAUTIFUL WOMAN into the fast track - I often don't eat all day, and then end up pigging out at night. I don't sleep much either... I look like hell. I really hope I can shed some of this extra baggage in Naija, though. At least Cherry Garcia isn't as readily available there, so I don't have to worry about falling back on that to fuel my manic, all-night brainstorms. My metabolism ain't what it used to be!
mp3 of the day: Benny Sings - "Little Donna"
This is a cool song for the beginning of summer, I think.