Brianna (Nune) texted me one day and said she was falling in love with the character Nune. I had fallen in love with how she played Nune too. She had made the character I’ve written become a living reality. She gave Nune soul.
There is a scene in the movie that I love very much. It’s a very simple scene that I fought for. I don’t know too many directors that give their heart and soul into a “cut-away” (an image that “cuts away” from the master scene) but these details are very important to me.
So there’s a scene of Nune staring through the fence as she spies on Briana Enright (the popular girl) as she’s playing tennis. To the audience, the scene is about Briana right? WRONG. The story is really about Nune. Much of the event is happening on the tennis court. But the real drama is happening inside Nune’s head and how she feels and what she’s thinking when she’s looking at Briana:
And what you want to feel is the sweet innocence of adolescent sensuality; the lust, the hunger, the fears, the doubts, the magic as well as the darkness. Now, Bri didn’t take this scene lightly. She was set on doing this scene right. And the thing is, we never talked about it. She knew exactly what I wanted although we didn’t go into great detail about it. She got the whole picture based on the how the scene was written in the script: “Nune makes sweet love to her cigarette like it’s her only friend.”
Now, Bri doesn’t smoke. At least not tobacco. And during the long hours she waited for her scene to filmed, she spent practicing smoking although she hates cigarettes. Now, I don’t know a lot of actors that will do that. These days, people get very political about stupid shit like that; but not Bri. She really got into it. She got so into it that by the time we actually filmed her smoking, she was so grossed out from practicing smoking that she ran around the corner and vomited.
I know that sounds really awful. But it was actually very cute. I thought so anyway. I thought it was cute that she got that into it—that she would make herself sick.
Of all the days we decided to film at this very quiet tennis court: there happened to be a major event going on at a baseball field right near us. Amplified trance music, DJs, hooting, screaming and a crowd of 2,000 kids. Can you imagine?
Emily, one of the BTS filmmakers videotaped me looking pissed off the entire time. For over four hours we filmed the tennis court scene with all this shit going on.
Now, when I say that I gained in 6 months, everything a producer has experienced in 30 years—I’m not kidding. I experienced yet another living stereotype of a film production’s nightmare.
My AD wasn’t working in my favor. He worked according to logic, law, and order. And that didn’t jive with my method. I like to film things I love first to make sure that they get done (correctly). Now, I understand script breakdown and scheduling, but I believe in bending with the invisible flow. We ended up prioritizing all the talking scenes first when the Heavens knew that the MOS (scenes without sound) would be better off shot in the beginning. Why? Because after 4pm, the obnoxious DJ event ended and all was quiet. Yet we wasted all that time doing bad takes because of sound issues (when they could have been saved for last). A good AD would have gone to inquire about how long the event was going to go on for and we could have timed this.
Well… everything moved in my favor. Because of the sound issues, the so-called “unimportant” shots were saved for last. In essence, this moved Nune’s cut-away to the MAGIC HOUR!!!! LOL!
This was TOTALLY UNPLANNED.
Do you know how holy the Magic Hour is? It is the hour where the heavens make love and merge with the earth. It is the Michelangelo’s finger reaching out to make touch the Great Invincible. It is the hour when God opens Its eyes. It is the hour where Angels lose their wings and wanna become human for one day just to feel what it’s like to bleed in color. It is an ecstatic moment in film where nature as the Master Cinematographer produces light no man can create. It is every filmmaker’s wet dream. And YES, this happened during Nune’s cut-away.
Now if you ask me what are the most beautiful moments and most gratifying scenes in the film are: I would put the cut-away of Nune at the fence at the top. The sun appeared and kissed her all over her face and made her eternal.
Nune practicing smoking in this BTS video:
A day at the courts: