DAY SIX (Sunday, October 10)
Location: Stockbridge Citgo / the garage
This is our last day of shooting in Atlanta before we relocate the cast and crew to Bradenton, Florida. Scenes for today include the band’s practice at the garage, scientist John Patterson’s emotional moment when he and the Skunk Ape lock eyes, and several pickups from the previous 2 days at the garage.
One scene we’ll do today is where Sheriff Brag and Deputy Bob spot the Skunk Ape leaving the garage and chase him from the garage. There’s a couple of lines of dialog right before they spot him. It’s Bob filling time with his opinions on luncheon meat, “I don’t like baloney. Now fried baloney…that’s OK. Hey, that looks like a Skunk Ape.” The combination of the dialog (overhead verbatim at a Taco Bell some 10 years ago) and actor Chris Hines' perfectly deadpan delivery makes it one of my favorite moments in the movie.
The most involved shot is where we have to kill one of the leading characters.
The script calls for the Skunk Ape to pick him up over his head and ‘break him in half’. I wrote that, but I have no earthly idea how we’re going to sell it. While Skunk Ape actor Ned Hastings is ‘the largest mammal I know’ (his words), he still can’t pickup a full grown man and military press him over his head. After much debate, we put the camera on the ground, tilted almost straight up at the back of Ned’s shoulder while he sits on an apple box. He grips the actor around the collar while burly key grip John Stephens hunch over just out of frame with black fabric draped over him. Our to-be-killed actor lays across John’s back and all Ned has to do is movie his arm up on cue. John will do the heavy lifting with his back and legs. It’s into the twelfth hour on set for the cast and crew, but everyone is gathered around to watch. We do 3 takes and get what we need. I call for two more because we’re having too much fun.
Here’s some statistics from the script supervisor’s reports after half of our shooting schedule: 321 slates, 160 setups, 38 completed scenes (of 102), almost 40 pages (of 96) completed, and roughly 33 minutes, 19 seconds of monster movie in the can (of an estimated 95:30).
Data provided by extraordinary script supervisor Reagan Brandon. I’ve had to omit only one scene from our schedule, which is covered in another scene with a quick line of dialog. While we have the majority of our work ahead of us, we’ve had an enormously successful first week of shooting.