Cold sweats are
just weird. Anyone know why they happen? Would love to
understand that whole thing a bit better.
So yeah, that
whole sleeping thing last night didn't work out. I was
horizontal but it made little difference. The unending
shakes, then sweating profusely, annnnnd repeat. Do
that for 2 hours and now you have a headache. Throw in
phonecalls every couple of hours because you have to
keep your cell phone on for your alarm at 4:30 AM -
delightful. I just succumbed to the fact that
I wasn't going to actually sleep and just tried
to be as quiet and peaceful as possible.
Later on it was
time to wake up, walk 20 minutes to a subway, take
that for 15 minutes, walk a bit more, then take a van
to New Jersey for the 7 AM call. A dry heave here
and there, but goddamnit I did it. There was
simply nothing that was going to keep me from being on
that set yesterday. I felt like a New Yorker. Hell
I've lived here for nearly a month and am now buying
groceries instead of eating out. That vacation mode is
slipping into just livin'. This was just another
commute, albeit quite the struggle with how sick
Get to the pick-up
point and there's Max Casella (Benny from the show),
but unfortunately you'll remember him as Vinny from
Doogie Houser. I have to admit that "Hey Doog"
entered my mind the moment I saw him. I'm sure he
just LOVES that. The other people waiting were
background just like me and were actually quite a
drag. Complaining about the early call, pissed about
all sorts of little stuff. These are the lifers. These
are the group of people that have been doing
background for 20 years. They do it because it's an
easy gig and have given up on it becoming anything
more. This is their job at the factory and they do it
begrudgingly. When I did background before in
2002 everyone was so young that they still had a bit
of hope... but this was an entirely different crew.
They only thing they hoped for was something that
would make the day end early because they get paid
their 10 hour rate no matter what.
So the van took us
to the Satin Dolls strip club where we were able to
load up on some breakfast and then wait to be
situated. I got a look at the sides (rundown of
call times and the script) and was pretty excited
because I was gonna be in THREE SCENES and Tony,
Paulie and Sil were in all of them. No Christopha, but
I'll live right?
They took the
SAG background first and I realized that
they were getting the primo spots, they then came back
up and hand picked a few more background for more
prime spots at which time I just came down anyway
because I figured the guy would forget. Good
move. I got the last "bar" spot and a primo angle
on camera. Had I waited I would've been
standing in the back with the last group. It was an
intensely large group, I believe 50 extras in
all. It took several hours just to put everyone in
their place and give directions. 3 hours before the
principals even showed up. But finally they
First Paulie (and
those wings), Sil, then Benny...and no Tony. I
actually didn't even notice because my eyes were glued
to Paulie. I mean, I'm sitting in the Bada Bing,
holding a beer and Paulie walks in. What the fuck.
Also I'm sitting at THE part of the bar. If you watch
the show, whenever anyone walks in - it's where Tony
always meets with 'em. I made no attempt not to stare.
I stared a lot.
So they set-up the
shot and do a rehearsal and it still doesn't occur to
me that Mr. Gandolfini hasn't shown up. We got our
directions from the AD (oggle the stripper was
actually uttered as a direction), and we were, uhm,
concentrating on our job. And then they said they were
gonna roll a take. So they just had a guy say Tony's
lines off-camera and picked up what they could.
Strangest part of the shoot? The robes for the
strippers. There must be some law about the amount of
time they can be legally topless because it was like a
ticking clock. Anything over 60 seconds it seemed like
the wardrobe people would burst in and give them their
robes. !?!? Even the strippers seemed somewhat annoyed
by it. They'd say "rolling", they'd take of their
robes, and if they didn't yell ACTION within 10
seconds? Robes back on... then they'd say it again -
robes off... this constant juggling act. It was kind
I was in this weird place of watching The
Sopranos in ultimate surround-o-vision. It was so
fuckin' cool guys. Hearin' Sil and Paulie saying "What
the fuck" to my right as I watched a Bada Bing
Girl...so surreal. What I wouldn't give for a
picture of me on that set. The wardrobe lady did take
one, but I can't image I'll ever be able to get that.
I was able to take a picture of the bar while
they were almost completely tore down, but it's not
like it's a big deal - it's a public
ahead of myself, but unfortunately not too
far ahead of myself. All of the sudden,
after only an hour of shooting they yell
"That's a wrap". And I went back upstairs
to change for the next scene. Uhm, nope -
they had to scrap the entire day. Tony
wasn't comin' at ALL. Something obviously
happened. I knew there were contract
issues before but I thought they were
What really sucks?
Getting "The Bing" is apparently very, very
difficult and incredibly expensive. Add to that, this
was a HUGE group of people for 2 really big scenes. It
seems pretty obvious that I was a little pawn in
a big power move. If you want to show your muscle,
this is the day you don't show up. The Sopranos rarely
has more than 5 people in any room at any given time.
Now I dont' know that. But had it been
anything else, like a sickness or whatnot...they
wouldn't have gone through what they went through.
It's pretty clear that they had no reason to believe
he wasn't going to show up - so they set everything
up, all the other principles were there, ready to
go... they even rehearsed and shot some things as if
he was gonna come at any moment... and the finally
just called the whole day.
The worst part
was? Everyone was HAPPY. Fuckin' lifers! Yay! We just
worked 3 hours and got paid for 10! YAHOOO!! Even the
handlers said: "Don't get too used to this, this
NEVER happens...but you guys are already done for
the day!!" Wahoo!!! Happy times! We didn't have to sit
at the BADA FUCKING BING and watch an
episode of The Sopranos from
INSIDE THE TELEVISION. Thank the fuck christ
huh? How lucky can we get?!?!
Still though, the 90 minutes I got to sit on-set
with Paulie and Sil, and watch them was a fuckin'
riot. They are those characters. I watched 'em
staring at one of the strippers and Paulie is talking
to Sil and curving his hand to show that he likes her
ass, and Sil is laughin'. It was so fun to turn your
head and watch that, then turn your head and watch the
stripper... It was like being a cameraman during the
"off-times" in a Sopranos episode. And amazingly, it
didn't take away the magic. Like, I first saw
Paulie going into a trailer and it seemed
really...wrong you know? But on-set - you were
IN the Sopranos. They all sat there and acted
exactly like you would've expected and it was fun as
hell. GOD I want to go back...
I most likely will be asked to. They all but said
they need the exact same background back and took
specific notes on where we all were at the bar because
they know they need to redo the scene - but man, it
could be weeks from now. No way they fly in background
for that. All I can hope is that it's during the
week I'm in Ohio, because I can get a round trip
for $100 and be there and back within 24 hours.
But honestly, what
a cool fuckin' moment. And if they do use anything
they shot today, the AD said we were in the shot
- so that's exciting. Hell it doesn't even matter.
It's a memory I'll have forever and I just can't
thank Charlotte enough for being able to arrange that
for me. I was able to snag a souvenir for her as
a thank you.