We’re back, with access once again to dear, darling youtube and another cut scene–which I mean in both ways: the scene is both edited and excised from the finished film. It features Andy Garcia and Emily Mortimer saying goodnight to each other at the Roosevelt Island tram station. This scene took an exceptional amount of urban planning–we had to secure the private use of the tram for the end of the scene, and use a Roosevelt Island Tram Operator to take us up and back at our will for the interior of the tram. All of this work and the damn thing gets cut. But that’s the nature of the beast called cinema. If it doesn’t work in the finished film, it has no business being there, no matter how hard the scene was to get or how good it is. As a wise man whose name I can’t remember once said, “Any hack can cut a bad scene, but it takes an artist to cut a good one”. Good line. Maybe I thought of it.
A funny thing happened on the evening of this shoot. I had to go to the bathroom. Now, I wouldn’t normally blog an event of this low order but I’ll make an exception in this case since this proves the power of the position of the director. I didn’t have a trailer, you see. And the public bathrooms at Roosevelt Island were, to put it nicely, a catastrophe. So I waited for an interval when a new lighting set-up would be started — in this case it was the tram station scene posted below–and asked my DP Vanja Cernjul how long it would take. “Close to an hour” was the answer. “Make it an hour fifteen”, I replied. He was surprised. Usually the director is looking to spend less time lighting, not more. Then I found my Teamster–the driver who took me to set every morning and home every night–and told him that I had to be driven to my apartment in Manhattan, that we had just over an hour to get there and get back with a “short wait for something I have to do once we’re there” factored into things. He didn’t blink. Like the fine Teamster he is, he just said “Let’s move”.
And so I had the singular experience of commandeering a Teamster to take me to the bathroom in my apartment, which was a hell of a lot nicer than the wretched accommodations at Roosevelt Island. And nobody questioned it, because I was the director. Can you see know how too much of this sort of treatment could, potentially, turn the wrong sort of personality (somebody not as sweet and well balanced as yours truly) into a demanding, spoiled control freak who walks around commandeering any and all available to serve his/her personal whim? In other words, Oliver Stone.