For the handful of faithful readers of my weblog, I hearby apologize for switching gears from old movie and music epheremra to my other–you might say primary–obsession; the making of my own films, a maddening and utterly addictive puruit which I’ve been doggedly…um, pursuing since I was a kid (GAF Super 8mm camera, little editing set-up in my bedroom, the whole schmeer). And currently I have the great good fortune of beginning my fifth feature film from a script I wrote seven years ago called “City Island” . The film shoots this summer in and around New York City–and I have the honor of making the film with one of the film world’s few true acting giants whose participation, support and steadfastness in putting this movie together have made it a reality: that would be the guy in the above photo, Andy Garcia. Starring along with Andy will be Emily Mortimer, Steven Strait and Alan Arkin. More about all of them as the days unfold.

My plan is to blog the making of the film day by day. Some days in pre-production I will simply post videos of the various actors who are featured; other days photos of locations; once production begins, we’ll provide a daily clip or two of our outtakes. If seeing actors screw up lines and then say the word “fuck” in frustration is what you dig, this site will be for you! Above all, this experiment will clearly articulate–for me more than anyone–what happens in the weeks when a movie (one long planned, lovingly discussed, often dreamed about) comes into being and instantly turns into the hell-on-wheels reality that can only be compared to a truck losing its e-brake while parked on a steep hill. The momentum of any movie shoot–even the long ones though mine have thus far all been mercifully short–is a kind of mad rush to oblivion culminating in a usually losing struggle for control and order. Actually it sounds something like parenthood–a mad, abbreviated time-lapse version of parenthood. Only with kids, one out of three seem to turn out okay.

Having said that, let’s remember Josef Von Sternberg’s quote from “Fun In A Chinese Laundry” (his 1965 autobiography, o.p. but very much findable and an important addition to any cinephile’s library): “Man has never yet invented a machine more intricately designed, hard to construct and impossible to master the use of, as the motion picture.” On that note we begin with a photo of the place that inspired the movie, City Island, located in the Bronx, New York.

And now join me in watching a ten minute condensation of Andy Garcia from his appearance on James Lipton’s “Inside The Actor’s Studio” show, from 2000 (or so). In it, Andy is very himself–poised and self-confident while being a little uncomfortable with the standing ovations the students give him. It’s a nice appearance and Andy is very much the sweet “everyman” that I see in him as a person which led to me to send him this script two years ago…and perhaps why he liked the idea of playing my character Vince Rizzo…an everyman who dreams of becoming an artist…and how the presence of a kid in the prison he works in makes him think, for the first time, of his own early life…but more on the story of “City Island” in the coming days.


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