CITY ISLAND: JULIANNA SMOKES, SLATES AND SMILES

Apropos of my discussion the other day of the absurd contraption known as the “process trailer”, here are two charming and telling moments, showing Julianna in the one and Andy in the other, each alone–trapped–in the car trying to figure out how best to get started. Directing via walkie-talkie is almost impossible and being out on the highway, with other cars passing and pointlessly honking at us, makes everything even tenser.

Dig Julianna and her wildly winning attitude–she is so frigging cute when she gives that thumbs up having successfully slated herself, while holding the cigarette. Julianna and I had a line we used with each other: whenever you need her to do something–even if you haven’t successfully explained it–she suddenly…just does it! I complimented her on this acting fearlessness once and she said, “Yeah. I commit!” That is such a lovely thing about actors–once in the moment they are there to get un-shy, unabashed, unafraid. The better they are, the quicker they jump in. Julianna is one of the quickest (and thus best) and every time I’d see her do this, I’d say to her “You commit”. One of these days (after the film has come out) I’ll tell how Julianna got involved in the project to begin with–one of those by-your-seat show-biz tales that I know people love to hear, but discretion is still the order of the day.

The second clip is of Andy, similarly trapped on the process trailer and waiting for his befuddled director to tell him what the hell is going on. The process trailer truly is a weirdly claustrophobic filmic experience for all involved. My DP, Vanja Cernjul, told me that the great DP Allan Davieu told him that he once turned down a script because he could tell that eighty percent of the movie was going to be the crew and actors stuck on process trailers and there was no way he was dealing with that; the film was “American Graffiti”.

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