Archive for May, 2009

I got a favor to ask…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 22, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

I just got this as a comment here and I’d like to actually devote a full post to it, as it’s the most polite and honest one like this that I’ve received here.

“I know well the Dylan Dog comic books and I read the plot of your movie. It has nothing in common with the original Tiziano Sclavi story (except the name, the job and the clothes of the main character). If you called your character Mr. Smith nobody could think to Dylan Dog.
So, why do you say that your movie is the adaptation of Dylan Dog?

-Alessandro Neri, chiropratica.blogspot.com

Alessandro, I understand completely that some changes had to be made between the book and the film adaptation of it, but I hope, if you read this blog carefully, you will find that there are very good reasons for most of the changes.  Unavoidable reasons in most cases that meant the difference between having a movie and not having a movie.  We honestly believe that we’ve remained very true to the spirit and character of Tiziano’s character, which, with all due respect, you cannot get out of the short synopsis that have been released publicly or the few photos you may have seen.  Let me give you a parallel.  If you go to imdb, you’ll find the following summary: “When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.”  Is that an accurate accounting of what the movie ultimately was?  If you were an Iron Man fan and you read that, would you be excited to see the movie or would you have thought they had dressed some guy like Iron Man and called it that?  Would you assume, based only on that, that it would be a faithful adaptation of the character you loved in the books?

I truly appreciate you and everyone else who is so very passionate about Dylan and I understand because I love him nearly as much as you all do.  (And I only say “nearly” because I’m not Italian.  :-))  Will we ultimately provide you with a faithful adaptation of the book?  I hope so.  We’re all doing our best, but none of us know.  We hope so and at the very least we’ll be able to say we did the best job we possibly could under the circumstances.  I would ask you give us the same hope and benefit of the doubt. You haven’t read the script, you haven’t seen the performances and you haven’t seen the months, and in some cases years, of work people have put into this project.  You’ve read a synopsis online somewhere.  Once you’ve seen it and if you hate it then, feel free to write me and I will humbly, genuinely, and personally apologize for letting you down, because that’s the last thing I want to do for you or any Dylan fan.  But, please, don’t judge us until you have the full “picture” (pun fully intended).

I’ll say again that I’m really, really glad so many people feel so passionate about Dylan.  I just hope, when the movie finally airs, that everyone out there will see that we’re some of those same people.

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Former Stunt Guy/HH (Humbly Hoping)

In regards to promised “dirt”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 18, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

I feel like I’m being a bit of a cheerleader here about the movie and I don’t mean to be.  I’d really like to give you guys some “dirt”.  Honestly, I would.  I know I promised the unedited truth when I started this blog and I’ve been trying to give it.  Believe me, I’d love to have some juicy drama to talk about, as it would be picked up in an instant and probably increase word of mouth about this production tenfold, but the truth of the matter is that there isn’t any.  None.  The biggest conflict I’ve seen associated with the movie is me getting into ongoing arguments with the publicist about NOT being able to put up any frickin’ pictures.  (And even those haven’t involved even a raising of either of our voices.)  No actors have hated each other.  No production people have had power struggles.  Nothing.  It’s been a completely lovely, if slightly boring, set.  I may kick some random person in the shins tomorrow, just to start some conflict for you guys. I mean, it’s silly.  Here I am, in a position of power, running the Official Production Blog of a major motion picture, with no one editing me, and I’ve got NO gossip to spread.  I mean NONE, ZIP, NADA, NOTHING bad to say or scandal to unveil.  Nothing to get TMZ or E! Online or even Lying In The Gutters to look at.  Perez Hilton could be quoting me, darn it, and I can’t find a reason to give him.  Life is really unfair sometimes.  :-)

Just wanted to say I’m really not sugar coating anything.  It really is THAT great a production and THAT great a crew to work with, dammit.

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stunt Guy/ATOUACOSJFYG (About To Open Up A Can On Someone Just For You Guys)

One is the loneliest number

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 18, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

Last Thursday we said goodbye to a gentleman named Eric Norris.  Eric was our stunt coordinator on this production and one of the best I’ve ever worked for in my career.  Even thought the production had another week of filming, all of the major stunts were done and Eric was anxious to go back to his wife and three daughters, so I was left the lone stuntman on set.  (Every other stunt guy had left the previous Friday.)

Little known piece of Hollywood history for you (and stick with me for a sec and this will make sense why it’s important): on July 23, 1982, Vic Morrow and two small children were killed when a helicopter fell on them during the filming of “Twilight Zone: The Movie”.   As happens often in tragedies, many lawsuits sprang out of that fateful night.  One of the changes that came from that night was the so-called Morrow Law which states that a stunt coordinator must be on set in any scene where an actor is doing even the most minor of stunts, even a slap to the face or a kick to the shins.  You see, in that tragic case, it was unclear who was in charge of the actual stunt, whether it was effects people, the stunt coordinator or the director.  Now, thanks to the Morrow Law, the stunt coordinator is the unquestioned authority and, ultimately, holds the ultimate responsibility, for the safety of the actors and the crew.  (You can read more about this, if you want, in a book called “Outrageous Conduct: Art, Ego, and the Twilight Zone Case” by Stephen Farber and Marc Green.  It’s really a fascinating read.)

Why is this even remotely relevant to a production about a nightmare detective currently shooting in New Orleans?  Well, it is personally important because there is a shot on the very last day of filming where Dylan is reluctantly forced to slug a guy in the nose.  Thus, because of the Morrow Law, they need a stunt coordinator on set that day, but Mr. Norris had to get back to Los Angeles, which leaves yours truly as the ultimate power for one shining day!  I, yes I, will finally have my day in the sun and they will rue the day they ever called me “stunt boy”!!!!  <<EVIL LAUGH>>  <<EVIL LAUGH>>  <<EVIL LAUGH!!!!>>

Uh…sorry about that.  Don’t know what came over me.  Actually..umm… I’m the only one left and the only one that was willing to stick around for a week for a half hour’s worth of work (and no one has EVER referred to me as “stunt boy”).  I think I’ve had too much beef jerky and red vines from craft services.  :-)

The REAL truth of the matter is that it’ll be an honor and a privilege to try and fill some very big shoes left behind by Mr. Norris, even for a half an hour and one punch.  Eric is one of the few people in this business that I’ve ever encountered where he walks on a set, any set, and everyone has a smile and kind word for.  I have worked with him on several sets and this is true on every one I’ve ever been on with him.  He’s handled everything from difficult actors to props gone bad to fireballs that are…a little bigger than we were told they would be (none of which were on this movie), and he’s done so with grace, tact, and an ability to keep his cool and have all parties walk away as friends that really amazes me.  Eric has done some amazing things on this show that left the entire cast and crew giving him a standing ovation when he had his final scene last week. The position of a stunt coordinator is not one it’s easy to step into, even for a half an hour.  The movie, the production budget and, ultimately, people’s lives are in your hands (as is, unfortunately, evidenced by the incident on Twilight Zone).  It’s a lot of responsibility and I tip my hat to you for it, Mr. Norris.  It’s been an honor working for you and I’ve learned a ton.

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stunt Guy/MWPBS (Megalomaniac When Powered By Sugar)

On a “lighter” note…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 13, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

Sorry for the radio silence, folks.  We had agreed to let all the great bloggers who have been covering us have some time in the sun to be THE source of news on this production.  So I was muffled for a bit, but I’m back now.  Hello?  Hello?  Anyone left?  :-)

So today I wanted to talk a little bit about a guy named Geoffrey Hall.  Never heard of him?  I hadn’t either before this, to be honest.  He’s an Aussie and probably his most well-known movie before this was a film called “Chopper” starring a guy named Eric Bana (who was one of the few disappointing parts of Star Trek).  If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

Geoff is our cinematographer on this film, otherwise known as the DP or Director of Photography.  If you don’t know what that means, don’t be ashamed.  It took me years to actually understand it all, as the DP always just seemed the guy walking around holding a light meter next to your face and not really looking at you.  Maybe, once in a while, he would actually get behind the camera, but there were a lot of other guys who usually handled that.

To explain it better, I’ll step back a bit.  Usually the way it works is that the director takes the script and works with a storyboard artist to create the storyboards, essentially stick figure drawings of what shots he wants in a particular scene.  It’s the DP’s job to make those come to life when we’re actually filming.  He has to find the right angle with each camera, how the camera is going to move (is it going to pan left to right or right to left?), what part of the scene is the primary focus (even down to whether it’s an actor’s nose or their eyes in focus), and (most importantly in this case, I think) how a scene is going to be lit.

And Geoff is one of the best I’ve ever seen with that last part.  He sat with Kevin when he was first hired and they poured over the original black and white comics, deciding how best to translate the feel of the series on film.  Dylan Dog’s artists have always done an amazing job of conveying the damp, dark streets of London as Dylan walks through them, on the tail of the latest nightmare, while at the same time letting the lighter moments (mostly with Groucho) to be lighter and happier.  (On a personal note, it’s how great they are at this that always makes me gravitate more to the black and white issues than to the color versions that are offered in the Giants.  You can just feel it better.)  Geoff and Kevin wanted to let the way things are lit in the movie reflect that same thing the artists had captured for years and have consistently referred back to comics almost every day to make sure they’re getting it right.

Take another look at the pictures I’ve linked to in previous posts and judge for yourself if they’re doing it right.  Look in particular at the way each shot is lit.  Notice the way the light is falling on only half of Dylan’s face in the shot with the monocle and see if it reminds you of this:  dylan2

Or the way Marcus is lit from both above and below in the graveyard and see if it reminds you of this:

dylan3

I was lucky enough to see a few of the dailies (rushed developed shots that are shipped to a lab and shipped back for the director to see) the other day and I have to say, hopefully without being too self serving, that the way Geoff is shooting this, it’s creating an amazingly beautiful movie, and hopefully one that will do justice to the amazingly beautiful source material.

Jeez.  I’m starting to sound like a commercial, aren’t I?  Don’t mean to, I’m just finding myself surrounded by some amazingly talented people and I’m a bit in awe at the amount of love and dedication everyone is putting into this.  I feel really fortunate to be a small part of it all.

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stunt Guy/LEBIBJFT (Little Emotional But I’ll Be Just Fine, Thanks)

Another man of “steel”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 7, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

Nope, I’m not talking about Brandon in this instance.  Today’s post is about a guy named Brian Steele.  Name not sound familiar?  Doesn’t surprise me, as I didn’t know it before a few weeks ago.  It was about then that a 6’4″-ish white guy with a mohawk and a very pleasant demeanor walked onto set and introduced himself as the “suit guy” for this show.  Now, I had heard of these “suit guys” before, so I immediately knew he wasn’t trying to sell me a couple of nice Armanis that he had in the back of his van that accidentally fell off a truck somewhere.  No, Brian is one of a very few people who specialize in being monsters.  I guarantee you’ve seen him and the few others who have made a living out of being professional monsters.  Check out his website www.creatureboy.com if you don’t believe me.  If you’re a horror or comic fan (or especially if you’re a horror comic fan), you’ll recognize him immediately.

Now, I’ve been a few monsters in my time.  I once spent several months dressing as a zombie every day (and not because of some strange fetish, I was stunting) and I’ve met a few in the past, but this was first time I had a chance to work with one close up.  Before meeting Brian, I had probably the same preconceived notions that most of you do:  “WHAT a cool and easy job.  Sign me up!”  After working with Mr. Steele for several weeks, I have a new-found and deep respect for the few guys that do this and I think there’s a very few because there is only a few people on this planet that could.  Let me explain a little.

First of all, Brian is the second person on set every day.  The first being the guy who puts his makeup and prosthetics on.  But Brian’s job actually starts the day before, when he has to limit the amount of food and liquid he consumes.  You see, he knows once all that “monster” stuff is on him, there’s no…taking it off to perform certain functions.  You’re there from the wee hours of the morning (no pun intended) to the late, late hours of the night.  Then, from the moment he is in the suit, he has to know exactly how much water to ingest to keep his body at a even level of not being dehydrated while not having to…perform certain functions.  Try doing that with about 50 pounds of latex on.  In May.  In Louisiana.  Not an easy task.  Oh, yeah, then you’ve got to actually DO stuff, like act.

One of the first things Brian said when he came to Eric Norris, the stunt coordinator, was “I’m not a stunt guy.  I’m a creature guy and I’m going to need a lot of help from you to look good.”  Turns out, he was being modest as he handles whatever stunts we threw at him with grace and bravery (and there were some whoppers, too).  He did them all with a smile and happy voice, an occasional sip of a smoothie, and losing about 5 litres of sweat a minute.  (I heard a rumor he lost 12 pounds in two days in the suit, but I can’t confirm that as truth, as I didn’t ask.)  I wish I could show you exactly what he looked like or even what character he’s playing, but that’s gonna have to wait for the Xciting climax.  Oops, spelled that wrong, didn’t I?

Anyway, this blog post is dedicated to the only on-screen guys more unknown in this business than the stunt people:  Mr. Steele, I salute thee.  Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying a well-deserved…certain function.

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stunt Guy/WKWE (Who Knows What Else)

And MORE photos!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 7, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

Couple of more photos released today.  Make sure to check back with these great sites, as all of them have posted follow-up articles talking about their experiences on set, too.

http://www.mania.com/first-look-dead-night_article_114886.html
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=21114

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stunt Guy/EATEN (Excited by All This Entertaining News and, yes, also “Eaten” (by zombies))

Photos everywhere!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 7, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

Well, you asked for it, you got it.  We just didn’t get to release them here first.  Lots of photos released today from the journalists that got to visit the set and play zombies the last few days.  Here’s a collection of links to them.

http://www.iesb.net/index.php?option=com_ezine&task=read&page=1&category=3&article=6849

http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/topnews.php?id=10411

http://scifiwire.com/2009/05/weve-got-an-exclusive-ima.php

http://www.movieweb.com/news/NEqpxvvwzJyZuu

http://chud.com/articles/articles/19320/1/EXCLUSIVE-FIRST-LOOK-BRANDON-ROUTH-AS-DYLAN-DOG-IN-DEAD-OF-NIGHT/Page1.html

Go and take a gander at each of their articles, too.  Some little details slip out that you all may find interesting.  Check back at the sites, too, for some additional articles.  We’ve given them exclusives for the photos for now, but as soon as they’ve had some time, I’ll be reposting them here, too.  Also, the photo “floodgates” have been opened, so keep an eye out here for some more!!!

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stuntguy/EE (Easily Excitable)

On Being The Fall Guy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 3, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

There are two preconceived notions I had about stunt guys when I was young and dumb that were quickly shattered when I actually became one:

1)  “Chicks’ll dig it.”

When I was younger and much more stupid than I am even now, I thought they would.  I mean, you’re the ultimate dangerous bad boy, right?  You’re dangerous, edgy and yet still glamorous, right?  Not so much. Women don’t flock to you because you do it.  In general, it’s either one of two reactions.  A. “Wow, what a dangerous job.  I could never date anyone that did that.” OR B. “Can you introduce me to the actor you’re doubling?”  For any young guys out there who are thinking of getting into this business for that, become a fireman instead.

2)  “Actors will be SOOO appreciative.”

Actors don’t really appreciate you.  Big generalization and there are some notable exceptions (one of which is the real point of this post) but for the most part actors tend to resent you.  Even though you’re there taking lumps for them, you’re also the guy or girl they’re bringing in to do something they can’t do.  You’re the one that can do it smoother and make it look cooler than they can.  I’ve seen actors that out and out hate their doubles, forbidding them to be on set at the same time or even talk to them.  I’ve even had an actor walk up to the director after I’ve been thrown through a window and am bleeding profusely and tell the director that I need to do it again because he thought my back was too rounded and he didn’t want to look like he was slouching.  (Wasn’t on this show.)

Which is really silly if you think about it.  Most stunt people I know spend hours and years and hundreds of thousands of dollars building their skills.  Actors spend equally as much time and effort on their trade.  They’re two separate skills and one shouldn’t be seen as competition of the other but for some reason they are and this sense of competition causes great resentment more often than not.

A huge exception to this is Mr. Brandon Routh.  Our Italian fans here can confirm this for me, but Dylan is a lover not a fighter.  Which means he takes some lumps in this movie.  Quite a few.  I mean, a lot.  Brandon is willing to do a lot but he also knows his limitations and that his job is to act, not hit the ground twenty times in a row.  That’s what his double, Mike Massa and stunt coordinator Eric Norris are here for.  Friday night we were in downtown New Orleans, about a block from Bourbon Street (very interesting place to film on a Friday night, believe me), and the shot was Dylan flying out of an alley and crashing into a car.  Mr. Massa was hitting an air ram (kind of an electronic catapult that flings a person high into the air) traveling about twenty feet through the air and landing on the hood of a car.  Not an easy thing, especially when you’ve got one car, so you’ve got one take.  Brandon had a later call than the rest of us, so he was still getting ready when we first started but quickly showed up on set when he heard what Mike was doing.  You see, Mr. Routh is, unless he’s shooting elsewhere, on set when his double is working and is, more often than not, the first one there to pick him up and dust him off after it’s done.  In this particular instance, when the stunt went off perfectly, Brandon was there immediately with a huge (man) hug for Mike and a genuine and sincere thanks to him “for making me look so good”.  Most actors may not realize how much that kind of thing truly means.  It gets really hard to keep putting your life on the line for somebody who resents you or wants you to do it again because you slouched too much.  You do it because that’s your job, but it’s still tough.  Guys like Mr. Routh make it a lot easier.

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stunt Guy/LHTINO (Little Hot Today In New Orleans)

Little ole me? Shucks.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 1, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

For reasons beyond my understanding, Sean at www.thinkmcflythink.com has interviewed little ole me.  You can go directly to the article here: www.tinyurl.com/deadofnight but you really should check out the entire site.  I only found it a few weeks ago but I find myself checking it every day now.  Big thanks to Sean for making me sound much more interesting than I actually am in real life.  He dragged some cool info out of me, too, than I haven’t gotten to yet on this blog, thus scooping myself.  Curse you, reporter man!!!  (He says in his best Scooby Doo villain voice.)

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stuntguy/SSI (Slightly Shy Interviewee)

Creature Comforts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 1, 2009 by deadofnightmovie

A lot of you lately have been asking about the various monsters that have been talked about around the web, so I wanted to discuss them a bit.  Now, I’m no expert when it comes to prosthetics, other than having worn them a bunch during my previous stunt life.  (Or maybe it’s “revived stunt life” now?  Not sure how to phrase that.)  Having said that, I think everybody will be as amazed as I am by what the good people at DRAC are doing on this film.

Kevin’s vision from the onset was to avoid CGI (Computer Generated Imagery for the non-moviespeak people like myself) as much as possible.  I’m paraphrasing heavily, but an early conversation I had with him went something like this:

“I think when people see completely CGI characters on screen, it stops them from caring about the characters.  Who worries about video game characters?  Dylan, at his core, is a very real and grounded character and we want that to be reflected in the “monsters” he encounters.”

And he’s stuck to that.  99.9% of what you will eventually see on film is being done practically with prosthetics and creature suits.  Think Hellboy much more than The Hulk.  It makes our job on the stunt team a little more difficult, as it’s really tough to do some things when you’re wearing black contact lenses, but I think it’s one of the many things that will set this movie apart in the end.  You can check out DRAC’s credits and reel here: www.dracstudios.com for a taste of what you will be getting.

Now if you could all only see how cool I look as a vampire!!!!  (And I’m not a very cool person to begin with, so you KNOW they’re good.)

-Dan Forcey

Development Exec/Stuntguy/PTC (Part Time Creature)

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