Day 1-Rehearsals

The crew and Ronnie and Ram Murali (AD) sorted lights and blocked out most of the scene in the drawing room (the concert scene) and the dining room. Meanwhile Zuzana Frasova, the UPM, was running around making sure everything was under control. The actors started the morning with a rehearsal of the central dinner scene, but they were being served jam filled donuts. The rooms are looking pretty amazing and so are the actors in their smart evening dress. Joy Glaister did the make up, hair and costume. Laura Moss, the artistic director, arrived to my great joy (I am the art assistant). She’d had some serious delays coming out of New York, but rather impressively, rallied and ran around dressing the set with the help of Michael. She’s been getting very excited by all the weird animals and beasts around the house.

In the afternoon the lens from Arri arrived. It’s ginormous because of a slight misunderstanding.(It’s got a zoom from 18 to 290–I think) The picture below is of everyone admiring the crazy lens, by Benjamin Stoll, who is playing Alexander. Behind Ronnie are Richard (Peter Lobkowicz) and Fleur (Johanna Gagern).

At long last this evening there was a costume rehearsal of the scene in which Eudile (Faye Angelina Amaris), a harpist and guest, plays a concert for her friends. One by one, starting with Priscilla (Julia Thurnau and Hieronymus (Andreas Berg), quickly followed by Esmeralde (Micky La Rosee), Richard, Fleur, Alexander and Henry (Peter Kollmann).

A long day ahead of us tomorrow with shooting starting first thing in the morning.

-Anna

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Picking up the equipment at ARRI in Prague

Ronny, Zuzana and I went to pick up the camera equipment in Prague this evening. I then drove the truck back to our location. Once back on the location, Ronny set up the Alexa.

Pre-Production on location

Today Margherita and Ronnie, the Director of Photography, met with the Czech team: Zuzana Frasova, the UPM, Pavel Rott – Gaffer, Michal Krejci – Food stylist, Petr Neubauer – Sound Mixer for the pre-production meeting. They went through the set here in the Czech Republic scoping out the locations. Here is a picture of Margherita and Ronnie composing the shot list. It’s all very exciting.

Camera

We will be shooting on ARRI’s Alexa. 

The Alexa came out in April 2010 and is a digital camera made by ARRI, the world’s largest supplier of film equipment. It is a top of the line digital camera and unlike most digital media, it creates a film-like look. More information on the camera can be found on:

http://www.arri.com/camera/digital_cameras/cameras/camera_details.html?product=9&cHash=a8f59e1416

Some films, which have been shot on the Alexa are Paul Anderson’s Three Musketeers (2011), Lars van Trier’s Melancholia (2011) and Stephan Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (release date 2012). The Alexa will also be used to film, The Life of Pie, a film based on Yann Martel’s book and directed by Ang Lee (Sense & Sensibility, Lust & Caution, Brokeback Mountain).

Casting

I’m in the middle of the casting process. I just arrived in Berlin after spending two days casting in Munich. For the next two days, I will see approximately 20 other candidates.  So far I’ve seen some great candidates. It is exciting to see the script come alive, when the actor embodies the character in the casting.

In Munich, my sister helped me with the casting reading for the actors and in Berlin, a fellow M.F.A. candidate from Tisch School of the Arts will film the auditions. Dog Ear Film, a Berlin-based production company, has generously offered a space in its office for the castings.

There are 8 main roles to fill: Esmeralde, the host, Eudile, the harp player, Priscilla, a notorious flirt, Fleur, a poet. Richard, the host, Alexander, an adventurer, Hieronymus, a patron of the arts, and Henry, a business man.

I’ve already cast the roles of Stan and Herr Geyer.

I will keep you updated on the casting progress!

A Gothic Tale of Gluttony

At an unspecified schloss in Mittel Europa, a group of friends sit down to the most sumptuous dinner that chefs can prepare and money can buy, of medieval proportions. The staff serves up platter after platter of exquisitely prepared pheasant, venison, and other game, while the friends converse. Thin, completely self-disciplined, they hardly touch the great banquet before them. After dinner entertainment begins. Eudile plays the harp for the assembled guests. First Hieronymus and Priscilla disappear. Then the hostess Esmeralda disappears. As Eudile finishes the last bars of her piece she is surprised by the lack of applause. She looks up to find herself alone. As she searches through the house she finds her friends in the larder, with their faces slathered in venison mousse, mashed potatoes, sauce, their beautiful clothes covered in drippings, grease and fat. They are disheveled. Horrified at first, she joins in the orgy of eating with gusto. Ravenous they attack everything. There is nothing left. Someone spots a tin of caviar in the cold store. As they battle for this last remaining vestige of the feast, someone knocks the door shut. They are prisoners of their own gluttony.