Chocolate consumption was up by a hundred per cent today. We were shooting some of the most difficult scenes of A Gothic Tale of Gluttony so it’s unsurprising that our dependence on that sweet, sweet almost-drug increased. Despite the hectic action, however, the day was over before we could say Jack Robinson (or maybe “prosim dej mi pivo”)
Jan Kupec has not only been feeding cast and crew delicious lunches and dinners (keeping tempers even) but produced an oppulent feast for the scenes being filmed today and tomorrow. Platters of perfectly pink roast beef adorned the table, flanked by venison mousse decorated with red currants and a whole salmon in aspic. He also prepared the pheasant which was served (endlessly it turns out) at the dinner we filmed today.
The garland hanging along the table is my pride and joy–conceptualised by Giulia Becker, Ronny’s lovely girlfriend, made by me and attached by the art department’s man of action and Mr Fix-It Michal Krejčí.
Actors were in make up at 7:30am while Laura Moss (Yes, I got my boss’s name wrong last night–for shame), Michal and I ran about trying to set up the dining room. Even with a long list which included remembering the chocolate cake, the wine (grape juice and vinegar water), glasses, spoons and what not, we managed to forget to put the wonderful menus and place cards on the table. We filmed three master shots, or large shots of the room and the scene today, so everything needed to look immaculate. Juan Vasquez kept an eagle’s eye on continuity sitting in the dark, glued to the monitor. He had to borrow my head-lamp (which I borrowed from Michal) so he could take notes while watching the screen. Joy, Laura and I were in hysterics during some of the takes because the actors got their timings so beautifully right.
I’d always heard that continuity in eating scenes was a real nightmare, but I hadn’t appreciated how much. When Herr Geyer (himself) went around to serve the pheasant the umpteenth time, the sprouts had started to look pretty unappetising. It started getting difficult to remember whether Henry (Peter Kollmann) had already cut his sprout when Priscilla (Julia Thurnau) started talking about transcendentals or whether Hieronymus (Andreas Berg) had already turned towards Esmeralde (Micky La Rosee) at the mention of Brueghel’s Schlaraffenland.
At the risk of sounding like a star-struck teenager, I thought there were some really stirling performances today. Priscilla’s embarrassment at the sound of her stomach grumbling in the close-ups Ronny and Margherita filmed in the afternoon was really palpable, while the almost synchronised disgust of Henry, Fleur (Johanna von Gagern) and Hieronymus at the sound looked as though they had all found a rotten egg at breakfast. Eudile (Faye Angelina Amaris Adell) managed to put across the sense that she is an ethereal but also fanatical character who annoys the others present, in part because her obsessions are not parallel to theirs. Meanwhile Richard (Peter Lobkowicz) and Esmeralde, came across as the perfect society host and hostess.
Andreas Berg and Benjamin Stoll had some great pictures. The first is of Margherita directing. The second is of Benjamin as Alexander.
We also did some more work on the off-site cold room and it’s beginning to look more real, thanks to the help of Robin Glaister.
Tomorrow’s another long day in the dining room, so I’d better be over and out. Apologies for giving you only an arts perspective (“Art. Art? Where is Art? We need some dressing here”). I’m hoping tomorrow to get some quotes and maybe someone else will volunteer to do an update. Stay classy, San Diego.
PS One more comment: The lighting was golden and beautiful in the dining room thanks to the efforts of Ronny and our gaffer Pavel Rott. It was seriously beautiful today.