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Old August 13th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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Dairwendan Dairwendan is offline
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Writer Terry Rossio's Blog

Terry Rossio has a blog on MySpace.com Here.

I'm pretty sure the first entry was posted in here, but I can't find it now! He just updated.
Quote:
Friday, August 12, 2005

Curse of the Black Pearl
Current mood: Abashed

Haven't had a chance to Blog in a while so I'm going to re-post an essay I wrote for the Writer's Guild a couple years ago.

Thank you to everyone for the positive response on my first blog!

On Location
April 30, 2003
by Terry Rossio

Our favorite line we wrote for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN is one we didn't write.

This is how it goes, some days, when you're a writer working on set of a major motion picture:

6:15 A.M., my writing partner, Ted Elliott and I get called into director Gore Verbinski's office after a 30-minute morning commute to work via ferry along the coast of St. Vincent (yeah, sure beats the 405 at rush hour). Gore explained there was a change planned for that day's shooting. The stunt guys had figured out a brilliant way to pull Johnny Depp out of the water onto the moving ship -- but it meant Depp had to land back near the ship's wheel. The script had called for him to land mid-ships and move toward the wheel. The new staging meant Depp's character had to say something to order his crew away, and leave him alone for the final shot --

And this was the end shot of the movie, could we come up with a command that was interesting, meaningful, a bit more profound than "Back to work, Mates!"

Sure.

Ted went off to talk to the captain of one of the film's working ships, the Lady Washington, and try to scare up some authentic nautical commands. I went to find Depp and warn him that some new dialogue was coming. Johnny was cool with it, and even had suggestions -- as research for the role, he'd been reading stories of seafaring men, he said, so "How about something like, 'We venture forth over waves of adversity beneath clouds of adventure, always searching for that elusive shore of our dreams...?'"

"Right," I said... "Uh, something just like that. We're working on it."

So I go hook up with Ted on the Lady Washington, and they've come up with some possible phrases. There were a few that weren't right at all -- chief among them, I recall, was "Put the wind to our aft!" That's just not a line you want to use to end a movie. We all liked the phrase, "To stations! Let go, and haul to run free!" I particularly liked the 'run free' part, it seemed appropriate for Depp's character, who considered his ship a symbol of freedom.

So we run that line past Gore, he stares off into the distance, says "I dunno, I get kind of a BORN FREE vibe out of that, maybe something else?"

So, back to the Lady Washington. On the way we get the message from a PA via walkie-talkie that Depp wants us to meet him in make-up, but the ship is on the way, so we stop off there first, to try to find another line.

Now I will always remember this:

We hear a shout, look over, and there's Johnny Depp racing toward us full speed from the make-up trailers, only half in costume, waving a piece of paper over his head. He's shouting -- I kid you not -- "I've got it! Got it!"

He races full speed toward the gangplank, and let me tell you something about gangplanks, they're not very sturdy. Whenever we went across the production was careful to have a sailor on either end, one to help you on, the other to help you down onto the ship.

Depp wasn't waiting for that -- he bounded onto the gangplank, it bounced him into the air, and light as a feather he came down on it, bounced up again, and landed gracefully on deck. Hey, that's why he gets the big bucks. He comes up to us, breathless, says "I got it." and shows us the paper.

Well, with a build-up like that, from your major star, you'd better hope that it's good. We look at the paper, and beneath a bunch of crossed-off efforts, it says --

"Bring me that horizon!"

Ted and I look at each other.

"That's pretty good," Ted says.

Hell, it was really good. We put it together with the previous line and it sounded great, "Let go and haul to run free! Bring me that horizon!"

We took it to Gore. He thought about it for all of half a second, said "That's pretty good. That's really good." Now he even liked the 'run free' lead-in, too.

So by mid-morning we were rehearsing. The only thing left was the first line, the reference to the crew. Depp gamely tried our first effort, which I think was something like, "What are you looking at, you rickets-ridden layabouts! Back to work!" After spitting that out a few times he came over and demanded a better line. We worked through a few -- Depp's candidate was 'starving maggots' but I pointed out that seemed like a contradiction -- and then Ted came up with "scabrous dogs." So, the end line of the movie was finally set:

JACK SPARROW: "What are you lookin' at, you scabrous dogs? Back to work! Let go and haul to run free! Bring me that horizon!"

As of this writing, I don't know if the movie is good, or if the lines made it in, or even if they work the way they should. But if the film is good, it's fun to think that the final line of the film was written the day it was shot.

I hope it does work.

I hope the movie is great.

Because I've got something pinned above my desk. The scrap of paper Depp was waving as he raced out of the trailer, that he wrote the line on --

I kept it, of course.

It has our favorite line in the movie -- one we didn't even write!
Dairwendan
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Old August 13th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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Huh, wow. Thanks for posting Dairwenden.
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Old August 13th, 2005, 02:40 PM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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That's quite a story......thanks, Dairwenden.

Good for Johnny....yes, that's why he makes the big bucks !!! And I love how Terry has saved that scrap of paper !!!
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Old August 13th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Laughed my butt off at the idea of Johnny running about with half a costume on, bouncing off gangplanks! Thanks for posting that, Dair!
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Old August 13th, 2005, 03:40 PM
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That's great! Thank you very much for posting that!
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Old August 13th, 2005, 04:19 PM
She Kender
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Johnny really had gusto for the role, didn't he. Thanks for posting it, Dairwendan
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Old August 14th, 2005, 11:40 AM
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Wonderful. What fun filming these movies must be!
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Old August 14th, 2005, 09:26 PM
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Wow that's great, thanks for posting Dairwendan.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 03:19 AM
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Thanks for posting that !! That was so cute..'Bring me that horizon!' and Johnny's prowess on the gangplank !!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Terry has updated again

Quote:
TALES FROM THE SET
Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season


A tip to any screenwriters out there, if you're ever on a set. Get hold of one of the crew walkie-talkies. That's where the fun is. A constant stream of chatter. "Picture's up." "What's that noise? Someone get on that." "We need more dead readcoats." "Reload." "Five minute warning for Johnny." "We need the monkey on set." "Is that the swinging monkey or the running monkey?" "Swinging monkey." "Copy that." "Where's Kevin?" "Catering tent. At the desert table." "Francine, go to two." "That's a Bahama wrap for Johnny." "Or as some might say ... a Bahamian Wrapsody." "Do we need the writers for the walk through?" "I don't know. Checking. Negative on the writers." "If we don't shoot this soon, I'm going to ... cry." "Red Bull, Red Bull, Red Bull" "Too early!" "Just waiting on a cloud, then we go."

Gore and the Producers have moved heaven and earth with the schedule so Chow Yun-Fat can play the role of the Captain Sao Feng in P3. It's an intense combination of juggling Chow's schedule, set construction deadlines, ship construction, crew arriving at location, actor availability, and finding the money in the budget, etc. The studio folk seem curiously nonchalant about getting Yun-Fat on board, but in this case, the producers are doing an excellent job of looking out for the studio's financial interest. And Chow is only, like, walking film history, and it's a huge win when he commits to the film.

So now a writing deadline. Chow Yun-Fat needs to have his scenes delivered as early as possible -- his process is to memorize his lines phonetically as well as have them translated. This means we have to have the Singapore sequence (12 pages!) finished -- and locked down, meaning we don't have the luxury of making a final pass the day before, or even last second changes at rehearsal or on set.

We resume shooting in Los Angeles and sadly, the schedule shifts so that our summer hiatus ends early, and key scenes are being shot the week of the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. Our Group's six months of preparation for the theme camp, 'Chain of Thought Video Experience' are in danger. My girlfriend Jocelyn and I help drive the truck and RV north to the celebration on the weekend, then fly back from Reno, intending to return as soon as we can. But then we have to postpone our Wednesday return flight due to script revisions needed on Pirates, then a story meeting pushes the Friday flight to Saturday, which is really too late. Finally it sinks in: no Burning Man this year! A huge disappointment, apologies to our team who made the camp happen. Next year ...

We move to Universal Studios, to the huge Soundstage 12, and view what even veterans are calling the most gorgeous set they've ever seen: the Singapore set. The original Jack Sparrow line was a throwaway, "Clearly, you've never been to Singapore!" and who would have thought it would lead to such a mammouth, glorious, expensive construction. I take my daughter and her boyfriend onto the lot for a visit, and we have the thrill of walking across a lovely arching Chinese bridge ... until a crew member mentions, "Don't touch the railings, the whole thing is rigged to explode." Nice!

The Singapore set is built on a water tank and boasts an outdoor market, a prostitute ally, and a working bathhouse set. I'm reminded of the scene in THE STUNT MAN where the screenwriter confronts the director over moving his scene to a new, more vulgar, location, "My wife cried when she first read that scene ... how is it that your tawdry *****house version has so much more depth, drama and humanity?" (Or along those lines, going from memory here.) Our original scene was set in a temple, and Gore requested the change to a bathhouse, complete with giant water ladles, fat men in towels and rancid mushrooms growing out of the wood ...

Funny thing about this who-knows-how-many-milllions-of-dollars Singapore set, the sequence is being shot under the myth that 'there is no screenplay for P3.' Of course there is a screenplay for P3, there has been four drafts of the screenplay for P3, not to mention mutiple highly-detailed outlines ... there just isn't a screenplay that Gore, and Johnny, and Jerry, have approved. Our fault, in a sense, as many key scenes just aren't good yet. So far, the production schedule has been kind to us -- the only P3 scenes that have had to be shot are ones that are finished and correct. Like they asked in Shakespeare in Love, how can this possibly all work out? "It's a mystery ..."

Rumor has it that one of the ADs brought in a sushi chef to be one of the background actors on the Singapore set ... so in between takes the crew could eat the sushi that the chef created during the shots ...

My girlfriend Jocelyn and her mom Joyce (visiting) hang out with some of the CGI actors at breakfast ... interesting to see the film from their perspective, they get a call, they fly first class seats, they're flown to Los Angeles ... and there are six limos, one per actor waiting to pick them up ... they get put up in the Hilton ... which is great, but several of them are starving actors, and would have preferred one limo shared and less expensive rooms, and keep the difference and be able to afford dinner ... for a couple days they have no idea why they are there, then a call sheet under the door in the middle of the night, omigod, find a way to the studio and to the set ... where they each get a small dressing room, though one large one shared would have been better ... it's not that Disney isn't spending money, but there are some ways the money could be spent better ... not to mention they're several months into the film and have yet to be given a copy of the screenplay, they have no idea what the overall story is ...

Chow Yun-Fat is so incredibly charming! Upon meeting him, he bows, and in broken English says ... "I am the luckiest man," then smiles and points to the heavens, shouting: "I'm the last person invited to the party!" I learn that his first name is Yun-Fat (you can tell by the hyphen, which usually indicates a first name, and Chinese names commonly list the surname first).

File this under, 'Great Moments in Life': we arrive today at the Singapore set, and Kiera is moving a long boat through the water, lip-syncing a song. Blasting over the sound system is a playback of Keira's recording of "Hoist the Colors" ... when the production needed a song, Ted and I wrote the lyrics, Gore Verbinski and Hans Zimmer worked out music and the arrangement, and here it is playing throughout the stage ...

Little known fact, director Gore Verbinski used to play in a hair band in San Diego, and still travels with several guitars -- off days he's up on his balcony jamming, I will testify, the dude can play ...

Back out to the Bahamas, and finally we get a look at the infamous 'tank.' Or, as someone on the production has dubbed it, the 'wave generator.' The way it is supposed to work, an underwater sea wall protects a man-made harbor from the ocean swell, and in the protected area, an underwater gimble is built, where the ships are attached. Long cables are then connected to the hull and can alternately pull the ship, rocking it back and forth. In reality, it seems as though the shallow water of the tank actually causes waves to grow larger, and the gimble has yet to be tested. Water does not exit the tank properly, and instead of a beach, sand has washed away leaving a sea wall, which during high winds and surf, plumes water thirty feet into the air.

We begin by shooting Black Pearl out at sea, in the supposedly uncontrolled Caribbean waters ... which, ironically, often look too calm, with a glassy flat surface just like the big tank at Universal Studios. One solution is a 'wave boat' or even several, which zoom past just ahead of the shot, creating background chop to match shots shot on days when the ocean was choppy ...

What's that on the horizon? Another ship to add to our fleet ... the Flying Dutchman arrives, in full rancid splendor, and gives everyone a lift. It's the most fantastic prop I've ever seen, a genuine ghost ship, tattered sails, barnacle-coated, forward gatling cannons, human forms imbedded into the hull, lines made of seaweed, amazing detail throughout ... you look at it and just have to ask: who would win in battle, the Black Pearl or the Flying Dutchman? For the answer to that question you have to wait for P3 ...

Chow Yun-Fat, following a tradition in his home film industry, always takes the time to thank each and every member of the crew at the end of the day's shooting. Part of his particular thank-you style is often an embrace and big kiss, and some of the more manly men of the crew have been taken to ducking out of range after that last shot ...

**** Cook, top Disney brass (as they say), is visiting the set, and will get to witness our efforts to break a ship in half. **** is one of those professional men who at first, seem too good to be true; too nice, to smart, too gentlemanly, too sincere to ever be successful. You think there must be a catch, some hidden dark side, a painting in the attic. Then you start to suspect it's possible he's successful because he's so genuinely good-natured, genuine and sincere. He tells us a story about how Johnny Depp was so generous as to make an appearance as an industry trade show. Now only did Johnny participate, but he walked out on stage in full costume -- and the (normally jaded) industry types all roared, rose to their feet, and gave him a standing ovation. "Interest for this movie is HUGE," **** warns -- implying, 'don't screw this up.' Yeah, we know that ...

**** Cook story ..2: talking shop, **** told us how he had seen an early cut of the computer generated animated film CHICKEN LITTLE. He had recently read about a technique used in the old days of animation. What you do is take each character and put his or her name at the top of a large piece of paper. Under the name, you list all the lines of dialogue from that character. Completely out of context, even 'shoe leather' lines like, "close the door" or "pass the salt," etc. Then you read down the list -- and ask whether each character has a distinctive voice, if some of the lines could do double or triple duty -- invoke drama, move the story forward and be funnier. "It was a technique from the old days," Cook admitted with a twinkle in his eye, "but I let them think it was my invention."

An extraordinary amount of work gets done on the bus ride from the hotels back and forth to the set. Each day everyone gathers at the bus at some ungodly hour (usually 5:30AM). It's rare if anyone is even two or three minutes late. As screenwriters, we sometimes join, if there are revisions to approve or if there are story issues to work out. During the ride, each department has a chance to get the director's attention before the madness of the shooting day takes over. Today, one of the main topics of conversation is a mysterious fog that showed up in two of the dailies reels. A very slight vertical light band down the center of each frame. Laptop computers are handed around as the bus rumbles along so everyone can see. The problem is not so bad that it can't be corrected, and no footage is lost, but it's not something to repeat, either. It's not likely a lens flair because those are usually irregular, changing as the camera moves, points in a new direction, or also changing with different lenses. On the other hand it seemed unlikely to be a lab error (not all reels were affected) but also not likely a batch error (two reels were affected, not just one). I never found out the answer ...

On this set, it's all about the heavy equipment. We've got backhoes digging and bulldozers moving mountains of sand. Trucks and buses and tractors. Cranes are lifting cargo. Battering rams are shoving pylons into the ocean. Other huge cranes lift men in the air to set rigging on sails, or lift cameras to shoot from on high. There seems to be one forklift that zooms around the camp endlessly with the forks jutting out at eye level just to keep everyone on their toes. Constant beep! beep! warning of vehicles backing up. At one point I counted eight different construction-type vehicles all operating at once, different colors -- bright yellow, bright orange, bright green, bright blue. Caveat: don't come work on a film set unless you enjoy the smell of diesel.

Getting out to set, around the tanks or to the different docks, even just from base camp, is accomplished with a variety of vehicles. Including an array of small ATV jobs that constantly zip around at high speed, and one must be careful to dodge. "Anyone who wants to drive one of those," Ted observes, "should not be allowed to drive one of those."

The catering tent is a marvel: it houses a huge buffett, a drink station, salad bar, and dessert table, as well as six rows of eating tables thirty seats on a side. Air conditioned and tied down, secure against the wind. A point which is about to come into play: I'm sitting here at breakfast with the cast and crew, and the producers step up and get everyone's attention. This never happens, so the tent is suddenly quiet. There is a hurricane headed out way: Wilma, now forming off the Yucatan coast, building to an eventual Class 5. It's expected to turn and head east, crossing southern Florida and into the Bahamas. All equipment needs to be moved inland to safety, all ships stored in harbors or inland waterways. We're particularly concerned about the Flying Dutchman, too delicate to withstand a Class 5 even tucked away in St. Charles Bay. We're to leave our belongs behind, in our hotel rooms, as long as they're not on the bottom floor. Each department is to track their own personnel and make sure that they get safely off the island. The producers offer to answer any questions. One crew member immediately pipes up "Is the off-day party still on for Thursday?"

The catering food is the best food on the island; steak, pork chops, chicken, au gratin potatoes, lasagna, mexican, day in and day out, the variety is amazing ... because of the remote location, the menu has to be set a month ahead of time, for the food to be ordered and flown in ...

More on catering: what can we do to help? "Push your chairs in," says one of the crew, "It takes a half hour to push all the chairs in." Also, we learn that two 50-ish women spend 12 hours a day washing dishes, causing us to switch to less-environmentally sound paper plates and plastic forks ...

Due to scheduling issues, the studio must have Keira on set, but Kiera has already commited that time to doing promotion for her previous film, Domino. Solution, Kiera attends the film's premiere, flies the red-eye, and makes it on set for rehersal the very next day -- still wearing the makeup she wore on the red carpet the night before.

Gore is a mad-man. Passed him at the hotel on our one and only off day of the week. What does a director do after six grueling days of early calls, dawn to dusk shooting, post shooting meetings, reviewing dailies and CGI, and endless prep shooting on two 200 million dollar back-to-back films? Anyone else would need a day of sleep, massage, or therapy. Instead Gore is carrying his snorkeling equipment and fishing rod and cooler of beer, headed out to sea for a full day of skin-diving ...

Some of the reviews are in on Domino and Elizabethtown, movies starring Kiera and Orlando, and the reviews are not all good. Johnny Depp dismisses any concerns, says, "I had that for seven years, didn't bother me ... I think like seven people went to see Cry Baby."

When we land the corporate jet in Florida to clear customs, into the United States, I am told to carry my bag off the plane and into the U.S. Customs office. "They like when you carry a bag. They like when you take it seriously." I have no idea what this means, but I do as I am told, and am accepted back into my country.

Executive Producer Mike Stenson slips a surprise into tonights dailies. He's found an old episode of Rocky & Bulwinkle, where they travel back in time in the Wayback Machine. They end up on some British ship, pursed by Captain Kidd. The contested treasure is a slot machine that Kidd's instinct says will pay off on the next pull, but he's run out of quarters. Our heroes walk the plank and step off onto a desert island -- which turns out to be the island of Manhatten, where they hail a cab to Tortugo ... after shooting two pirate films for a years, all of it makes surrealistic sense ...

In between takes, Geoffrey Rush paces the deck, practicing his lines, over and over. After his shots are completed, Rush stays to feed lines, off camera, to the other actors. This guy is a gem, a true pro.

I'm sitting on the Black Pearl, and next to me is Orlando Bloom's very attractive girlfirend, and it occurs to me that she looks very much like his old girlfriend, the one with him on the first Pirates movie. Maybe Orlando has a particular type? (In a rare unguarded moment, one of Orlando's bodyguards admitted that it's usually blonds he has to fight off for Orlando, go figure.) In any case, the woman sitting next to me is blond, and looks just like Kate Bosworth ... and then it hits me, it is in fact Kate Bosworth. So I'm sitting on a pirate ship next to Lois Lane, how cool is that? Wait a second, her film opens opposite us next summer, she's the enemy -- walk the plank!

We get a couple of off days, and I get the bright idea to charter flight for Joceyln and I to nearby Harbor Island, a resort location on the neighboring island of Eleuthera. We park our rental and walk out onto the tarmac ... all these beautiful planes lined up ... and there is our pilot, he grins a bright smile, and points to our plane, a silver WWII vintage transport, yikes. But the pilot exudes confidence and we climb in, and 'Old Faithful' (as the plane is affectionately nicknamed) dutifully buzzes along in sturdy fashion over the glassy seas ...

We arrive at Eluthera, and this is more like it. Whereas Freeport feels like a run-down suburb of Miami, with the occasional Burger King dotting a flat landscape covered with sickly trees (or as Michal, Orlando's assistant describes it, "Like Fort Lauderdale coughed up a lugy fifty miles"), here it is tropical, hilly, and quaint, with white beaches and tall palm trees. And everybody waves to us. We travel by plane, rental car, boat taxi, and golf cart. I see the pink sand beach, with horses running free, and the amazing resorts, and realize, this the island everybody imagines we're at when we say we're at the Bahamas. This is what honeymooners hope to get when they're picking from the brochures. We rent a room that is a cute little loft looking toward the water and suck up the air conditioning ...

Day Two on Eleuthera: the hotel internet connection is one dollar per minute. Explore the town on our little golf cart. Buy some reggae CDs from a local guy, who I note seems to have, for rent in his little shack, a pirated version of every film ever made. I see neat magic-marker labled versions of films by screenwriter friends of mine, Cold Creek Manor by Richard Jeffries, and Sky High by Paul Hernandez ... and even a few films of my own ... I don't begrudge the pirating, because it's so far away from home and the handwritten lettering is done so neatly ...

Night on Eleuthera: questinging the locals leads to a late night snack -- barbecue ribs at Brian's Place. Open air cooking, delicious, amazing side dishes, and open all night. Why is this island so much better than Freeport? Colonia design? Palm trees? I figure it out: a lack of four lane highways.

Wake up to high winds. Call airport ... it's just a cold front, no problem. Of course ... At the airport, there is our shiny WWII 'old faithful' plane and our smiling pilot. I ask whether he uses radar to get from one island to the next. "No," he says, and points to a hand-held GPS system, "this, and dead reackoning." The plane darts in and around, under and over the clouds to keep visibility and avoid down drafts. Landing in 20 mph cross winds, our pilot wrestles the plane down. He's still smiling. "I needed the practice." I ask what the cross-wind limit on the plane is ... "35 mph." Arrive just in time for a story meeting with Gore.

There is a gradual exodus of people away from our hotel, Pelican Bay, when it's learned that there is good wi-fi at the nearby Westin. But Pelican Bay is pet-friendly, ane we have Phoebe the cat with is, so we will stay.

At lunch, in the big tent, David (who plays Cotton) has taken photographs of the island devastation, and set them up in the lunch room and is taking collections for a local church. Way to go David. Because he plays a mute so convincingly on screen, I have to remind myself that David can talk!

Script revision required. For you screenwriters out there, in the editing room, it's a constant battle between story logic and 'throws'. A throw is a filmed line or situation that compels the story to the next sequence ... which sometimes can take you to a place that defies story logic ('wait! there's no time for that ship to get there if this happened that day and this person was there that night ..." Gore has had a few days in the editing room to look at some cut P2 footage. Need to reorder one sequence ... some times it's impossible to predict how something will play when you view it ... with the new throw, we need a new logic to how Bootstrap knows his son is on another ship ... scene will shoot in a few days ... must write, can't blog ...

Bus ride in ... Gore is exhausted from late dinner with Jerry ... he likes the new scenes. Only one line revision. Still several hours work doing technical work, making sure the scene numbers, A/B pages, omitted pages, are correct, and the drafts are updated, including creating a 'Black Page' for Gore's reference only. (If you're directing a 200 million dollar film and you're not completely sure on the sequence order, best to give yourself a safety, not an official part of the shooting schedule but it could save a day's reshoot.)

The call sheet, which arrives on set every evening, lists the next day's work, and also a 'look ahead' section, so departments can prep for the next several days. There is also a 'second unit' section, so people can understand what those people are up to -- the second unit commonly shoots smaller, less complex insert shots, stuff like a hand picking up a sword, or a carriage wheel rolling through the mud. On this production, though, second unit might also shoot rather spectacular establishing shots, like a ship sailing into port in early morning sunshine, or barrels expoading in mid-air ...

Added to that, there is now an 'elements' shot list. 'Elements' are photographic images that are to be used in conjunction with CGI in special effects shots; turns out it's often easier, and more believable, to shoot real stuff and composite it into a CG shot rather than generate the image from scratch in the computer. Elements can span anything from splashes to clouds to fireballs exploading. A scale model of the Flying Dutchman is being built, so it can be put in the water to help make element shots. I bring it up because the list of these shots is astonishing -- many pages long, it's like a whole other movie with its own full crew. Add to this the 'making of' documentary, tests being shot, ILM people recording events on video, and the first unit with its many cameras, and seems like there are cameras everywhere ...

The per diem people show up usually at lunchtime at the end of the week with these neat little yellow envelopes. The eye gravitates toward them the way a dog salivates at the dinnertime bell. I get what seems to me a lot of money each week ($780.00) especially considering that you can eat breakfast and lunch on set every day. My girlfriend and I have taken to dropping in at the local Casino and playing roulette -- but only with per diem money. As a stats lover I fully understand that this is a nonsensical thing to do, but so far, ten our of eleven trips have resulted in us being $20-$70 dollars ahead on each trip. What we do is play until we are up, even a few bucks -- and then quit. I wonder if a computer model would show that this is a successful strategy? It seems not, but, just maybe, the beta factor of naturally occuring ups and downs, based on a set (somewhat large) amount of money to bet, could result in a high chance of at some point betting that amount being 'up' on any one session -- and then the choice to stop at that point gives the player an advantage. Or, maybe we're just lucky.

So I have to be in Los Angeles, but Jocelyn decides to stay with her visiting mom in the Bahamas. The plan is to drop down south to Nassau and avoid the brunt of the attack. But then the hurricane is delayed, and there is concern about Phoebe the cat staying alone too long in our hotel at Pelican Bay. Yes, the cat now officially has her own hotel room, and rented vehicle, and crew members looking in on her. So Jolly and her mother fly back to Freeport -- just ahead of the hurricane. Deadly flying roof tiles, power out for days, trees uprooted, flooding, the whole thing. Phoebe survives, though she is reduced to dry cat food for a few days.

Results of the hurricane: the ship we broke in two, and was supposed to be dressed and used as a different, ship, has been damaged. In other words, we have sustained several hundred thousand dollars of damage to our broken ship. "That there is what you call ironic," Ted notes.

Name-dropping time ... one of the Those Great Moments Being a Screenwriter ... I'm on the Black Pearl, and I look down ... and there performing our scene is: Johnny Depp. And Orlando Bloom. And Kiera Knightly. And Chow Yun Fat. And Geoffrey Rush. Any one of those actors could open a film, and there are five of them, all together on deck. And with them in the scene is Naomi Harris, who in my opinion is as good as anyone there. The same applies for Lee Arenberg, and Mackenzie Crook, and Kevin McNally. Wow, this is the first time, in any of the films, where all those actors are all together at one time. Dazzling.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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fascinating! thanks Interconnector for bringing that over. He sounds such an enthusiastic man, is great to read.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 03:57 PM
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Thanks for posting that Interconnector. Very interesting observations and as nuit wrote, he seems very enthusiastic indeed!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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thanks for that.;]
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Old February 26th, 2006, 05:20 PM
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Thank you for that, Interconnector!

Some of the reviews are in on Domino and Elizabethtown, movies starring Kiera and Orlando, and the reviews are not all good. Johnny Depp dismisses any concerns, says, "I had that for seven years, didn't bother me ... I think like seven people went to see Cry Baby."

Johnny is just all class, isn't he.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyneth
Some of the reviews are in on Domino and Elizabethtown, movies starring Kiera and Orlando, and the reviews are not all good. Johnny Depp dismisses any concerns, says, "I had that for seven years, didn't bother me ... I think like seven people went to see Cry Baby."

Johnny is just all class, isn't he.
That had me rolling on my end as well.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:58 PM
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I love JOHNNY!

lol!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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A question: Terry has updated again his blog, but he talks about lots of events, some of them are supposed to have happened a long time ago. Others seems to be recent. But what months or days he is talking about? last year? January? Someone could solve my questions?
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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helen
A question: Terry has updated again his blog, but he talks about lots of events, some of them are supposed to have happened a long time ago. Others seems to be recent. But what months or days he is talking about? last year? January? Someone could solve my questions?
Since the last blog update was done in August 2005, I'm assuming all this occured within the last six months, helen. The hurricanes were end of summer/early fall, but there's probably no way to tell exactly what days he's talking about.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:27 PM
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Such fun reading. Thank you for sharing.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 09:53 PM
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I love reading Terry's musings. Imagine my surprise to have him mention the Burning Man Festival? I've been there! How, "Six degrees" is that?

Thanks for posting that Innterconnector!

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Old March 11th, 2006, 01:56 AM
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thnx for that it was interesting
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Old June 12th, 2006, 03:31 AM
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New ENTRY from Terry Rossio's Blog! Check it out here .

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Quote:
Walking the Plank
Current mood: Cautiously Frightened
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

Pirates of the Caribbean
WALKING THE PLANK

e keep putting off the interview for the electronic press kit and DVD. One of those things that's easy to find reasons not to do -- most of the time we're exhausted, bad hair day, or I wore a stupid shirt, or we really are under deadline on a scene. They're willing to shoot it at the hotel, but that's no fun, what's the point of being on location if you can't get interviewed on the set? Thing is, we sort of know that writers always look boring on camera, who are those smug guys, people want to see the movie stars or the director or producer -- I think in an odd subtle way, most people in the audience would prefer that stories would simply 'exist' rather than 'be written,' as if everything was a Greek myth or a local legend. Shakespeare is all right because then the stories are really ancient and that works. I think audiences want to discover the world of the story, and the fact that there are writers sitting who make the stuff up sort of destroys that illusion, like seeing the guy who pulls the trap door cables backstage at a magic show.

So we finally did the DVD interview, on the Empress, trying to be witty. The questions were good, that helps. I always wonder where to look while Ted is talking; he's sitting too close to turn my head, but staring into camera seems like I'm ignoring him. You don't realize how many jackhammers, diesel trucks and beeping forklifts moving in reverse there are on a film set until you try to speak in front of a camera.

Jerry Bruckheimer is in town, and that means dinner. Even after a long day's shooing and an early next day, Jerry expects to have company at dinner, it's sort of required, and one sort of has to attend if invited. Best thing about it are the stories. Jerry recalled the audience preview to Glory Road. Jerry had seen the film and liked it, the studio thought they were in trouble, turns out the test score was through the roof. Gore said he had the same thing happen in reverse with Mouse Hunt. They had a decent score from a previews screening, but the studio forced some changes and then the studio loved it, but Gore hated it. The new score was 22 points lower, thank goodness, and Gore got to put it back the way it was. Audience testing giveth and audience testing taketh away

Gore put forth a theory on test audiences, that they put themselves under a sort of pressure, they want to be 'right' in test rooms, which is not the same experience as when they pay cash. Ted noted that audiences are forgiving for up to twenty minutes in real theaters -- since they chose the film, it's like picking a horse in a horse race, they're rooting for it to do well. Jerry noted the key value in test screenings is the response that tells you exactly where you forced them to be confused. "You just cant believe you left out some key detail," he said, shaking his head.

More dinner conversation: what profession would you have tried if you hadn't made it in the film business? Gore would have gone for rock star (guitarist) or sound designer. I would have tried fashion photography or fashion design. Ted would have drawn a comic strip. My girlfriend Jocelyn, if she hadn't been an MD, would have tried professional golfer. Jerry would have loved to have been a pro Hockey player or pro photographer.

Arriving on set in the bus, everyone's first glance is toward the water. How bad are the waves today, how dark is the sky? Only Gore is happy with high winds and choppy waves, "It looks more like being out at sea. If youre going to shoot on location, it might as well look like it."

Marketing gurus made a presentation for Dead Man's Chest, our first glimpse at the film's one-sheet. Features Johnny, Kiera, and Orlando, much like the first movie, but done in a cool greenish color palate. They demonstrated the break-apart standees, where you could assemble four into a column or spread them out acrosss the lobby. Theater owners can arrange them as they wish. We only got to see the twelve-inch high prototypes and made the requisite Spinal Tap jokes. Orlando snuck in to see the posters, came out grinning like a kid. SMOKING!" he yells. His photo was especially cool looking, very Errol Flynn. "No WAY do I look like that!" he says happily. Orlando is always the most enthusiastic person on the set -- and why not?

Got to talk a little bit about merchandizing. There really should be a Pirates of the Caribbean board game of some type. And I want to see a really high-end chess set. The pawns could be British Navy and look mostly the same, slight variations to suggest Murtogg, Mullroy, Groves, etc. Beckett as King? Or Davy Jones? Put Tia Dalma on that side as Queen. Jack and Elizabeth as King and Queen, or should it be William? Or make William a Bishop? What side does Barbossa go on? Made the suggestion about Jack-the-Monkey puppet, reversable, undead on one side, live on the other. Found out they're doing a Pirate's Dice (Perudo style) game! Our plan actually worked!

Playing Perudo with Orlando one night (which he is remarkably good at) Orlando tells a story about the difficulty in keeping in touch with people, often he has to register at hotels under a false name, and friends and family can't find him. Overzealous fans try to call so he has to make up a name, he uses something generic, like Tom Smith. Jonathan Pryce, not to be outdone, mentioned he also must use a false name. "What name did you pick?" Orlando asked. Jonathan deadpans, Orlando Bloom.

In the midst of shooting, Gore's 'little' film with Nic Cage opens, 'The Weatherman.' Opening numbers were about half what they hoped for, but he's still happy with the movie. It was a niche film, never designed to be mass appeal. Gore had some issues with the release date, why not a week earlier, but the studio wanted the same weekend as Ray the year before -- but who cares about that? There's often an issue when a film is inherited by a new regime at the studio. "It's like buying a house," Gore said, "and there's this frozen steak in the refrigerator do you eat it?"

Mark, our amazing animal trainer, is worried about taking Cotton's Parrot home for Christmas -- with the avian flu scare, the bird might not be allowed back into the country. The current plan is to have the bird board with one of the locally-hired assistants.

Damn, we see the Harry Potter teaser, and they've got the sailing ship rising out of the water gag. That's one of our key images, and now it's going to look like we copied it. Do we mention it to Gore? We bring it up to him, but Gore has already seen it and talked with the guys at ILM, and he says ours is going to look better.

Overhead on the set: Jerry Bruckheimer: Interest in this film is over the roof Gore Verbinski: We have to deliver or well be in Movie Jail.

Gore was talking about the story of 'P-3' as it's come to be called, said at key points the audience needs to check in back to the plot, like the bright little pasted 'sign-here' notes on contracts. We knew just what he meant, we've all signed those movie employment contracts, they're a stack of pages, and someone goes through and puts little 'sign here' or 'initial here' stickies so you can go through and not miss any key pages.

Bus ride talk, the Legend of Zorro had a mediocre opening and mediocre reviews. This is a film Ted and I worked on, did the first two drafts of the screenplay, but those drafts weren't used. In the way of WGA arbitration, we still end up with co-story credit, as the WGA has a bias toward early writers (whose work may be discarded) rather than later writers (whose work ends up on screen). In our draft, for example, we got Katherine Zeta-Jones into the Zorro costume. The consensus: they should have got Katherine Zeta-Jones into the Zorro costume.

Daruis, our cinematographer, was inspired (in part) to get into the business by the film Apocolypse Now. He tells the story of how, for one shot, Coppola wanted a flock of this particular type of exotic bird to fly out past the boat going up river. So all these birds were collected and put into little wooden boxes in the trees, with an elaborate system to open the trap doors all at once at the designated moment. Comes time for the shot, the boat roars by, and no birds. What happened? The boxes had opened, but it was really hot that day, it took a long time to set up the shot, and all the birds fell to the ground, dead. This strikes us all as an appropriate cautionary tale for moviemaking in general, including our own

Review script page revisions at dinner. Gore is generally happy but some changes needed. We'll make them overnight and print them out on our handy little Canon i90 portable printer, then review again on the bus ride to set. (Alright Canon, where's our product placement fee?)

Playing hookie from the set, out on the Lucaya Reef course trying to learn to play golf, see Marty, Kevin McNally, Lee Arenberg out on fairway next to us. Fun thing about being on an island, you almost have to run into each other. I get a call on the 12th hole and have to ditch the game to drive to the set. Somehow Ted knows where I was, I wonder who snitched?

My girlfriend Jocelyn likes to go down to the hotel breakfast shack for coffee early in the morning, and hang out with actors and crew members, listen to the latest gossip. Today she returned with this tidbit: "Word is that, without a doubt, Pirates Four is on track, the deals have all been negotiated and it's ready to go." And of course that's not true at all, the first place they would go to discuss another pirate movie is Gore, who won't even talk about it, too busy, or Ted and I, and we haven't heard a thing.

Morale amidst the crew is low. Talking to one of the production assistants, Francine, "When they took Thanksgiving away, that was hard." We spoke about the weird contrast, you know you're lucky as hell, occupying a spot that a hundred thousand other people would kill to have, and yet the actual day-to-day work is dull, tedious, exhausting. On the other hand a highlight for Francine, romance, she met her boyfriend on set.

Snuck away for a side trip to London for Thanksgiving. (Thanksgiving in London, does that even make sense?) I'm playing hookie from the production, really not supposed to leave, often holidays are used for story meetings and catching up on the screenplay. Thankfully Ted will cover for me and there is e-mail. But it's a chance to meet Jocelyn's parents, and from Los Angeles, we're already halfway there. I get 'permission' of a sort from the producers and make travel plans

First problem: what to do with Phoebe the cat? Turns out Disney is going to keep the hotel rooms over the Thanksgiving Holiday, so we just leave all our stuff. One of the CGI actors staying will look in on the cat, and we leave him our rental car. "You realize," Jocelyn says, "This cat now has a hotel room, a car, and a personal valet, for the next four days, all paid for by Disney."

The less said about the plane ride to London, the better. I should not shout out explatives during turbulance.

London is big. And old. We extend the stay one extra day to see ORSON play, a hot new band. Jason Pebworth, the band lead singer, worked as my personal assistant for several years and just got his big break. I was lucky enough to share some of his highs and lows, and now it's so great he has hit the big time in Great Britain with a record deal, publishing deal, and a tour opening for Duran Duran, Robbie Williams, etc. All with an album (Bright Idea) that Jason wrote and produced on his own dime. Weird to see my ex-assistant's face on magazine covers and in news stories, but it shows you -- sometimes overnight success can take a half-dozen years.

When you fly back to Freeport, the Bahamas, you have to take a 35 minute puddle jumper flight, and there is only one flight scheduled per evening. And they always overbook. Waiting in the crowded terminal, Jocelyn and I are told there isn't room enough on the plane for us. I had already pushed being away from the production an extra day, I couldn't afford to miss another! Boarding passes are handed out, and neither of us get one, but they are willing to put us on a bus and take us out to where the plane is, and then ask the Captain if there is any room -- something about weight restrictions based on cargo and luggage, etc. So we're sitting in this bus, alone with no driver along with two Germans who need to get to the island to work dock construction, and we look out, and there is another bus on the tarmac, and inside the bus is -- Orlando Bloom! We wave our arms and pound on the glass, and that's when we realize, we're actually trapped inside this bus, the doors won't open. So I actually muscle the doors open and we dash across toward Orlando's bus while airport officials chase us down, and of course we're saying, 'We're with Orlando Bloom!' Orlando sees us, lights up, and lets us onto his bus, where we get to hang out with him and his very personable father. I tell the aiport officials, look, we want to be on the flight, but Orland has to be on, if you don't let Orlando on, he's supposed to shoot in the morning, and the it will cost the production $600,000.00. Eventually they decide we can all make it onto the flight, which of course, when you're sitting there on the plane, you wonder, do I even want to be on a flight that is so overloaded? But the twin prop plane muscles into the air, drones through the night and makes the crossing, Orlando makes it to the shoot and all is well.


Talkin' 'bout swag, Part I. Joel Harlow, Pirates make-up artist and all around artist extraordinaire, started designing and self-manufacturing these way-cool, hefty silver-pewtar pirates skull-head rings, and they swept through the set, everybody who sees one wants one, including Bruckheimer, including me. People are customizing them with gold plating and adding diamonds, etc. The cool thing, Joel has set aside one of the designs to be exclusive to those who actually work on the production, he created other designs, subtly different, for friends and family. The really cool thing, his product was so superior to anything else that was being done, in terms of merchandizing, Disney came to him to make him an official licencesee, and now he gets to sell his designs worldwide (www.myswag.net). Way to go Joel!

Talkin' 'bout swag, Part II. So what will our cast & crew gift be this year? Last movie we gave away Black Pearl Rum t-shirts (designed by Joel) and 'Bring me that Horizon' Zippo lighters. This year we ordered leather Pirates of the Caribbean call-sheet portifolios. They are oversized leather wallets, designed to carry call sheets, other papers, business cards, a pen, and has a note-pad. We get boxes and boxes, I think we ordered 600, and quickly discover, it's very difficult to hand them out, the cast and crew are never all together at the same place at one time. Over time it's easy to forget who got one and who didn't, or if Ted handed a bunch out, and we don't want to miss anyone. On the other hand if we leave boxes out people tend to take more than one ("My wife would love one of these!") Out of respect we give the first one to Gore, who seems to genuinely like it, and because he has one, it helps make it a cool item now that everyone wants. We personalize the item by inserting a thank-you note and also a copy of the very first call sheet of Pirates II and III, it says, DAY 1 OF 200. People seem genuinely happy to get them.

On set, actor Kevin McNalley (Gibbs) proudly reports a personal best: an eight months time lag between shooting one side of a scene, and then the reverse side of the same scene. (For the curious, his previous record was five months.)

Saw Gore setting up his shot list at breakfast. Problem: to have the wind properly fill the sails, the ship can only be pointing in one direction. And with the shore nearby, you cant stage scenes to do reverses across the ship, either the shore would be visible or, if you turn it around, the sails would be filled the wrong way. Man, the **** a director has to worry about.

Out in front of the trailers, Kevin McNally checks in with us on a Gibbs backstory question, a fan site sent him a list of questions, one of them was, "How did Gibbs go from being in the Navy to sailing as a pirate?" Kevin said his answer was, "It was the only way to get rum." Ted's answer, Gibbs figured out, "If you don't want to fight pirates you become one." Another question: "You've served under both Captains, Jack and Barbossa, what are the relative merits of each?" I liked Gibbs' answer, "Jack is more fun."

Dinner, then it comes time for dessert, and Orlando says he had to give up caffine and sugar. The exception are Tim Tams, available only in Australia and New Zealand, "Like an orgasm in your mouth," he exclaims and Kate agrees, a set-up for a punch-line to be sure, but I think better of trying for one.

Overheard: Bill Nighy and Geoffrey Rush speaking about doing voice-overs. Nighy had just finished some voice-over work for DreamWorks, the animated film, Flushed Away. "I got to be a brain damaged rat, in a sewer, singing Abba's 'Fernado.' I LOVE THIS JOB!"

Back to the Exumas to try to finish the Parlay scene and the Wheel finale. Production had to set up their office in a recently-closed bar-restarant, complete with bar stools and pool table. Odd but cool to see Zoila working at her computer with her feet up in a vinyl-seat-covered corner booth.

Another day, another schedule change. The grapevine reports that Johnny has a flu, and may not be able to fly in for the Exumas shots. Rather, his doctor recommends not. There is no doubt Johnny could tough it out, but how would he sound? It makes no sense to sacrifice performance, especially the featured performance of the film. One of our producers observes, "I can't believe we're leaving this island for a second time without getting these scenes."

There is so much talent on set, a lot of it you never know about until you get to know people. One of the marine unit guys has a fish named after him, turns out the guy goes diving down 90 feet, and then into a 270 foot underwater cave, leaving tanks along the way. The precise oxygen mixtures allow him to return to the surface without getting the bends. Oh, and he does this alone. Wow. The camera unit marvels at the audacity of it. "One day he just won't show up to work, he'll just be gone and nobody will know where." Martin nods, "Yeah, you know the guy who wrote the book on cave diving safety? He died last year, diving. Tough sport."

Off day, Gore invites Jocelyn and I down to watch an old movie in the dailies hotel room. Amazing Panasonic high definition projector projecting onto a screen propped up by decidedly low-tech 2x4s. It was an old Burt Lancaster film I was not familiar with, THE TRAIN. Turns out to be an amazing film. Shot just after the war, incredible production values, heavy machinery, train yards, switching stations, marvels of the industrial revolution. The story is a perfect illustration of controlling subtext through plot and character. Halfway through the film we have to stop because Eric is there with a weather report -- rain may continue and Gore may lose his charter flight. And then the power goes out on the entire island, plunging us all into blackness. We pack up to go, say goodbyes, and are just out the door, and suddenly the power is back, and we get to finish the film, which turns out to be fantastic.

I found this out: if you ask for gum while travelling on Johnny's private jet, the lovely attendent will return and present you with a silver tray, linen napkin, arrayed upon it many different selections, Orbitz, Extra, Trident, Big Red, etc. Whoa, intense.

Gore says, the night before, he woke up suddenly in the middle of the night, laughing at Johnny's delivery, "Where's the thump thump?"

Johhny says, "You know how I knew it was a good take? Trevor was laughing, guy who does pull focus, he's the hardest guy on the set ot make laugh. I know if I can get Trevor to even look away, or smile, I'm doing good."

Jet ride back to LA, flying into the sunset Gore on the Jack Sparrow character, "Jack needs a pyramid to dance on ... the editors come to understand Jack, you have to leave Jack on screen, you cant cut back and forth, let Jack be odd " Looking out the window, the sun is a little lower now but not much Johnny says, "The press I the hardest part of the job " We start a story meeting with Gore, he describes the P3 screenplay, the complexity, all the set-ups, audience has to follow too much, Gore describes late Act Two of the script "The monster is still eating ... and it wants to take a dump " Bizzare image but perfect description. Glance out the window again, sun is still hovering, we're chasing it Johnny tells a story about Willy Wonka, he wanted to ad-lib 'fudge-packers' for the oompa-loompa workers, hey they were packing fudge, but then he thought better of it still the endless sunset as we travel west, the jet is so fast it's like we're landing the same time we took off, as if this job isn't surrealistic enough.

I campagin to the studio executives, the subtitle of the third film should be Calypso's Fury. It's specific, it's supernatural, it overshadows the narrative in a provocative way, contributing to the experience of the film. And it seems to fit in a progression, Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest, Calypso's Fury. They nod their heads, but later, word comes down from the marketing gurus, Calypso's Fury will not be the subtitle. They say it is "Too soft." So we're back to World's End, which I think feels a little too vague, non-specific. But someone on the video game side uses At Worlds' End and I like that a whole lot more, not sure why, it feels more grand and more specific, and the 'At' emphasizes both time (when the world ends) and place (at the ends of the earth kind of thing). So now I have a new campagin, if we use World's End, it should be AT WORLD'S END.

On set, you see right away that action is hard. Just the simple bit on the page where Will breaks a lamp, uses the oil to set a sword on fire -- easy to write, really difficult to film. Each take requires a new prop to break, each take requires a working flame, each take requires timing among the stunt people, each take requires timing the camera move, all done on a highly slanted deck, wet, rain from the rain machine pouring down, camera crew, CGI techs, actors, stunt doubles, hair and make-up getting in with their last tweaks, people all crowded onto a tiny shipwreck in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night action is hard.

When the production shifts hours and you start working nights, people say, "Good morning!" at 5:00 pm. Took me a couple of days to get in on the joke, and then I was doing it, too, saying 'good night' as the sun came up and we staggered off to our hotel rooms.

On set, you notice, the big name actors hold back in rehersal, and the secondary players go all out, every take. The name actors don't want to burn it in rehearsal, they want to keep something extra, something new for the actual take, a surprise, the secondary actors have a different job, they need to deliver in rehersal, to anchor the scene, create a safety net so the stars can go out on the wire

Jack the Monkey arrived in the mail. Since the message boards on our website (www.wordplayer.com) are down on weekends, a group of writers created their own message board on Yahoo, called Wordplay Retreat. Someone came up with the idea of sending a stuffed monkey (dubbed 'Jack the Monkey') from member-to-member, photographing and chronicling his journey. Jack has been photographed now in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans I snuck Jack onto the Black Pearl and took a photo of him at the wheel, and then got a shot of Jack in the make-up trailer with Vee, getting prepped for his close-up, then boxed him up and sent him on his way

We get a look at the teaser trailer, version 17 or something, and it's pretty terrible, very disappointing. On set, I pitch how it should go, and Gore and Jerry agree, want me to write up the ideas in a memo. I bring the memo to dinner, and they have a few more ideas, so I excuse myself and race back to the hotel room, make the changes, print it up, and bring the revised memo back as the main course arrives, send the memo off with Jerry. I don't know if it made a difference, but the final trailer, which I thought was pretty good, reflected a lot of our ideas

This gets filed under 'gee life must be tough' category. The actors have a lot of down time in between set-ups or before they are called to set. Orlando Bloom has just started to play chess, and needs someone to play with. As a writer on set, after the scene is blocked and rehearsed, I'm one of the few people without a specific task, at a specific time, and that makes me available. So Orlando's assistant would often track me down and say, "Orlando wants a game!" It turns out we're nearly exactly equal in our ability (well he would say he's a little better and I would say I'm a little better). Actually, we're each just not good enough to screw up at least once a game, which makes for some grand, rollicking, sea-saw battles. Orlando is particularly good when he is in trouble, he can strike out when he's on the run. And we are both super-super-competitive people, but it was still a lot of fun, Orlando was equally excited about a good play, whether it was for him or against him

Playing chess gave me an opportunity to study Orlando's face as he studied the board -- yeah I know that sounds weird, but there was an Orlando Bloom calendar on the table he was supposed to sign, and that got me to wonder, what exactly makes this guy so good looking? So I stared and stared, and I couldn't figure it out, like most actors he has a symmetrical face, and a megawatt smile. Then I noticed his eyelashes, wow, strikingly perfect and full, I wonder if that's a big part of it?


Off day, beach party, bonfire, hung out with the catering staff. Jocelyn asks one of them, what do they wish people did that they don't do? "Push in chairs" was the immediate answer. "We spend half an hour to an hour after each meal just pushing those folding chairs back to the tables." Next on the list: "Use paper plates ... we have local ladies, in their fifties, who do dishes for twelve hours a day, every day, they never complain, just stand there working and chatting with each other, but they would like to be able to go home early." So you can bet from that day forward we pushed in chairs and used paper plates

Geoffrey Rush had the perfect description of the beach party, standing in the firelight under the stars, "It's like Gidget meets Love Shack meets opening scene from Jaws," he says, a sparkle in his eye, relishing the final syllable of his line, "Jaaaaaawwsss "

The first indication I had that something was seriously wrong just before leaving on the morning bus ride, Producer Eric McLeod tells us that make-up artist Richard Snell had not answered his hotel room door or phone calls. Later, on the road halfway to set, a phone call comes in, and we are told Richard was found dead in his hotel room, locked from the inside. Natural causes. How to go on with the day's work when one of our film's most respected and best-loved talents is gone? Word gradually spreads through the set. A fund is set up for his family, and the tragedy seems all the worse to learn he had five-month old twin daughters. Later, a very moving on-set memorial took place on set at sunset, with flames on the ocean, a cannon salute and moving testimonials from friends and co-workers, including actors Kevin McNally and Orlando Bloom. Richard was an amazing talent who pioneered make-up techniques, was an expert at pirate lore and music among other talents, and is gone way too young. I hope the film is dedicated to him.

One day Jocelyn and I leave the comfort of the air-conditioned trailers and head out to end of the docks, word is there is going to be a ship-to-ship battle scene filmed, and who doesn't like to see a bunch of explosions? We pick a discreet spot one level below the film cameras, stuff in our ear-plugs and wait. Action! is called, and we watch as the attacking ship comes closer and closer and CLOSER, to the point where the cannons are pointed right at us, point blank range, just a few feet across the water. Who knew? We dive for cover as they go BOOM! and that close, it's not so much the sound that gets you, it's the concussive force of the air slamming against your chest. On another day, after one of the ships had been pummeled, Jocelyn picked up a scrap of the hull, and we have it in our living room.

We were shooting a scene for P3 and I noticed Lee had to hold a plate out during the entire take, like a waiter, and I thought it just didn't look good. You wouldn't think about it writing the scene, but watching it, I thought, "Hey, there's magic going on here, that dish should just hover on its own in mid-air." And then you think, "too late now, too bad we didn't write it that way." But I mention it to Ted, and he says, "Go tell Gore." Blocking and staging is in the realm of the director and you have to really believe in your idea if you're going to approach a director after rehearsal to change anything. But Gore is great that way, willing to listen, even in the midst of the madness of production. He immediately agrees with the idea, hands it over to the prop guys. Prop guys live for that kind of challenge, by that afternoon they had manufactured a spring-device pole that held the plate out but also created a kind of 'hovering' effect. Score one for the prop guys!

It felt right to me for Marty to be the crew member to call out and lead the Pirate charge. Marty is a strong physical presence on the ship, without the benefit of a lot of lines; he is sort of the id of the pirate crew, first into the fray, first to be afraid, first to be suspicous, etc. I think it's because he is the shortest pirate, maybe, it feels right that he should be out front, the most bold? Discuss with Gore and he agrees, it works for Marty to lead the charge.

Fun to drop by editorial and peek in got our first look at the finished Davy Jones character, Oh My God. Tried to make sure all the editorial guys got their crew gifts, and later, we send them a gift basket full of goodies, appreciating the fact they are now working around the clock

Gore has Ted and I in for a rough cut screening and we discuss the film afterwards for a couple of hours. I only have about twelve notes but I believe in them quite strongly and say so. Afterwards in the hallway Gore puts his arm around me and asks, "Are you proud?" I answer, "I'm proud of you." Not one of my notes, but some stuff has to be cut, due to running time issues, including my favorite line from Jack, "I love marriage, it's like a wager on who will fall out of love first."

Looking forward to the premier at Disneyland, our plan is to order pirate patches and scarves and pirate beads to throw to the fans. Why not? Also, maybe a couple of the portfolio crew gifts to fans who is really dressed up. If Disney was smart, they'd have some cameras out there early, showing the fans lining up to get into the park, with some free giveaways.

Surfing the net, I check out Keep to the Code, a fan website, and find an interesting discussion about Jack's character, what kind of man is Jack, is he essentially good at heart or not? Of course that's just the discussion we want people to have after they see the movie. Fans have a copy of the screenplay and have extrapolated from the images they've seen, and they're worried Jack may become too dark, too ruthless. They're concerned about Jack and Will, how far can a character go before he becomes unsympathetic? But the point of the first film, I'm surprised no one has brought it up, is that we each set our own limitation. Jack states his moral stance, beyond what anyone thinks, beyond the guidelines of society, there is simply what a man can do, what a man can't do. Also, the Jack character is much like Bugs Bunny, when things go bad, Bugs' strategy is to just hang on, until fate and chance comes around to work in his favor. It is an exploration of the unprectable antecedent state -- Jack will take actions to create chaos, not knowing how they will pay off or if they will pay off, but knowing that something will emerge that he may turn to his advantage. As such, his actions often seem inexplicable, or far fetched, and he seems to be taking credit for things he could never have predicted. It can be hard to define a morality to those 'stir the pot' strategies, because Jack counts on chance coming into play down the line, for good or ill.

I think the character fans might have to reassess is Elizabeth, for some reason she was let her off easy in the first movie, even though she barters herself to Norrington, lying in order to get him to turn around and go save Will, and a lot of good sailors died as a result of that deed -- so what is her essential nature? She has demonstrated, time an again, she is more of a pirate than any of them. I am VERY interested to see how the fans will react to our story -- it is in fact the key question, the one that will define the fate of the franchise!

On the scoring stage, talking to Hans Zimmer, he says when he dove into P3, just after finishing Da Vinci Code, he actually had more music finished for P3 than P2 Hans says at times he has recorded musicians in London and LA simultaneously, and was always aware of the time difference "You want to get them mid-morning, give them a chance to have a few pints," he laughs.

So we go to the scoring session, all the musicians are there with their amazing instruments, and they're playing back the three-way swordfight, with score, and it's a pretty amazing sequence. I look over to Jocelyn and she has tears in her eyes. "Why are you crying, it's not a sad sequence!" "I haven't seen any footage cut together before this and -- it's just beautiful." I point out to Gore and Hans that they made her cry. "Let's hope it works that way for everyone," Hans grins.

Last edited by ambayuun; June 12th, 2006 at 03:55 AM.
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  #23  
Old June 12th, 2006, 03:36 AM
vmob84
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thanks amby! I admit I only read the bits with Orlando and Johnny but Terry seems like a cool guy! :) and Orlando is sooo cute, like his reaction to the posters!! awwww
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Old June 12th, 2006, 03:56 AM
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Llyneth Llyneth is offline
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"what exactly makes this guy so good looking? So I stared and stared, and I couldn't figure it out, like most actors he has a symmetrical face, and a megawatt smile. Then I noticed his eyelashes, wow, strikingly perfect and full, I wonder if that's a big part of it?"

What part of him is NOT good looking?

thanks amby, that was really interesting! I've never had a Tim Tam, now I'm curious as to just how good they are.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 03:58 AM
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ambayuun ambayuun is offline
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Since it is VERY long, I bolded the Orlando mentions...

Quote:
Dinner, then it comes time for dessert, and Orlando says he had to give up caffine and sugar. The exception are Tim Tams, available only in Australia and New Zealand, "Like an orgasm in your mouth," he exclaims and Kate agrees, a set-up for a punch-line to be sure, but I think better of trying for one.
Naughty Naughty Orlando! Makes me think of naughty things about Orlando doing stuff to himself...
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