[Doing guest coverage of Project Green light is sg-dub. You can read his blog at http://weakisht.blogspot.com/.]
If you were a flabby, pasty, middle-aged guy, would you:
- a) Wear brightly colored shirts tucked into pants that were pulled up to your ribcage?
- b) Purposely look like Flava Flav’s retarded white brother (right), or
- c) allow television film crews access to your bathroom while you bathe in your dingy tub?
If you answered “none of the above,” then you’re no John Gulager, the eternally down-in-the-dumps first time director at the center of Project Greenlight’s third season. For the second week in a row, we were treated to a bath time scene of a sulking, hunched over Gulager scrubbing grime from underneath his man-boobs. Seeing Gulager wallowing in his own filth and soaping his bloated torso is, I’m sure, more disgusting and scarier than anything we’ll see in “Feast,” the feature length movie he’s been chosen to direct. I thought about starting a “Get John Gulager a showerhead” fund, but then I remembered I’m not a very nice person.
Q) What do Dimension Films and John Gulager have in common? [answer after the jump]A) We get to see them both take a bath on Project Greenlight! (*rimshot*)
Finally, after many weeks of preparation, it was time to get to the process of actually filming the movie – Day one of production. A good crew supports the director, inspiring him with confidence and providing that extra spark to get the job done. So it was at 5:45 AM when the first person he encountered on set greeted him with a heartfelt, “Hey John, don’t f*ck it up.” Sigh, I wish a PA greeted George Lucas that same way back when Jar-Jar Binks was still only a horrible idea.
We were introduced to several members of the movie’s crew; the line producer, the director of photography, and the 1st AD. And then we were introduced to Gulager’s innovative directorial style. After months of blocking and lining up props and camera shots, he felt the need to change things at crunch time. The very first scene to be filmed was Harley Mom (played by Gulager’s wife/girlfriend) sitting on the can in the bar’s bathroom. Not satisfied with the puerile qualities of that shot, John decided she needed to be smoking a crack pipe as well. Finally, Gulager would be able to fulfill the dark voyeuristic fantasy he’s had since Jr. High – spying on a peeing butch tattooed woman smoking crack. (And with that last sentence, I’ve just upped TVgasm’s Google hits ten-fold… Don’t thank me, thank Gulager.) As it turned out, this bit of last second improvisation is frowned upon in the world of low-budget film making, as it adds time – and time is money. Luckily, with Jason Mewes on set, getting the necessary prop was no problem at all.
With production underway, the producers were still scrambling to score an actor to play the male lead, Hero. I know, I know, like you, my first thought was also to cast Rob Van Winkle (a.k.a. Vanilla Ice) whose stirring performance in “Cool as Ice” is seared into my brain. Say it with me now… “Drop that zero and get with the hero.” Ahhh, that felt good. Unfortunately, Feast’s producer’s got confused over their early 90′s embarrassing white boy “rappers” and instead actively sought out Mark Wahlberg, a.k.a. Marky Mark. Even more confusing, they concurrently sought out some guy named Eric Dane. Yes, the Eric Dane. I was going to make fun of him (“Las Vegas,” “Charmed,” “Gideon’s Crossing”) but then I read that he dated Alyssa Milano and married Rebecca Gayheart. Prick.
The Eric Dane and his agent somehow got wind that he was up against Marky Mark and they were (justifiably) pissed off. So pissed off, in fact, that after Josh Duhamel (that’s right, Josh Duhamel was preferable to the Eric Dane) and Marky Mark turned down the movie, Dane quickly accepted the role. Gee, maybe now he’ll at least get his picture up on imdb.com. Freaking Clu Gulager and Diane Goldner even have that. If the Eric Dane hadn’t come through, I’d have suggested the producers just go to lunch and hire their waiter for the part – surely he’d have been of equal talent. Back on the sound stage set, things were wrapping up on day one. This was the first time we heard the phrase, “make the day.” It’s a Hollywood thing, I understand, but when a new phrase is as overused as much as this one was, it’s really, really annoying. Yes, the cast and crew made their day and were in a very self-congratulatory mood. Everyone, that is, except for the Line producer who was very concerned about Gulager’s constant use of new ideas or set shots. When confronted with this reality, Gulager dropped his melon-sized head, sighed a melancholy sigh and lamented, “It’s good, we made the day, what else do you want me to say?” Oh, gee, I don’t know John, how about something that doesn’t totally bum me out? Just as I finished saying that to my TV, Gulager ratcheted up the pout and moped, “I get embarrassed sometimes.” Really? Like when you made a complete ass of yourself with your Worst. Beatbox. Ever?
(Since the writers are more or less out of the picture at this point, I have to insert a random parenthetical to point out that wacky writer Marcus appeared to be drinking blood in his one on-camera moment. Normally, I’d think he’d just put tomato juice in a water bottle – but with him being such a tool, I’d bet he was trying to be funny.) Day two on the set was greeted with trepidation as they were filming their first FX shot – spraying Honey Pie (played by the Jenny Wade) with gallons of fake blood. Foul mouthed Chris Moore showed up to check the progress and was very pleased with all that he saw; a happy crew, a breathing Gulager, and a hot blond chick covered in fake blood. Bravo offered the perfect antidote to the hot chick with a quick scene featuring a guy who called himself a “maggot wrangler.” At that, dozens of teenaged trench coat mafia members across the country whipped out their cellies, dialed up their boys and said, “Dude, I’ve got the perfect name for our band, dude.”
The maggots were for a scene where Beer Guy (played by the Judah Friedlander – who wears Harry Carey glasses by the way) was to have the larvae crawling out his orifices. Like this dude needs any help looking gross. Just in case you’re attracted to men who look like him, his multiple attempts at shooting a live maggot from his nostril would steer you away. The maggot/snot rocket scene was another spur of the moment idea dreamt up by cinematic genius John Gulager. (Improvisation on the set can sometimes be worth it; Brando with the cat in godfather, Sellers walking on water in Being There… Thats inspired. Saying lets see if he can shoot a maggot out his nose onto the lens. Not so much.) This, of course, upset the cast and crew, most notably the Director of Photography (DP), Tom Callaway. Gulager wasn’t sticking to the plan exactly as written and this was driving everyone nuts. You’d think with all of Gulager’s experience – oh, wait a minute, that’s right, IT’S HIS FIRST TIME DIRECTING A MOVIE. I’m not about to defend Gulager, as he is a complete mess, but geeze, go a little easier on the guy.
Now would have been a good time for Gulager to stand up for himself and make his presence felt. Go get ‘em John! “I get my feelings hurt a lot.” Um, not exactly what I had in mind… Let’s try that again. John? “I’m pretty uncomfortable with any kind of human interaction.” Sheesh, this guy puts the “sad” in “sad sack.” And the “sack” in “ballsack.” Okay, that made no sense, but it made me chuckle. Making matters worse for him, by day 5 the actors were starting to get antsy. They weren’t getting the direction they were used to getting, and they were forced to sit around and wait a lot. How dare anyone make the Eric Dane waste his precious time. Poor Jason Mewes, forced to wait a whole day and going through severe withdrawal, resorted to ripping his face off. And even poor Grandma (the Eileen Ryan) complained about being treated like an extra… An “unimportant extra” at that. You’d think she’d be used to feeling unimportant by now – seeing as though she’s Sean Penn’s mom and despite being well past retirement age with a multi-millionaire son, she still needs to work – in a gimmicky B-movie no less.
First Assistant Director, Stephen Maloney, gathered all the actors together, turned up his Irish accent in a lame attempt to appear wise, and tried to calm the brewing actor revolt. He reminded them that they happened to be getting paid for their time, so could they please, just STFU. Sensing the tension, the director felt the need to remind us that “it’s a sad day in Gulager-ville.” He went on to explain how the sky is blue and that water is, indeed, wet. At this point in production, about a week in, they weren’t “making their days.” Over and over we heard various crew members drone on about not making their days, making their days, possibly making their day, etc. (This is the part in the recap where wacky Feast writer Marcus would “bring it home” thusly: “Where was Dirty Harry when I needed him? ‘Go ahead Gulager, make my day’” What a douche bag my hypothetical wacky writer Marcus is!)
After a week of filming, Kirk Morri the editor showed up to view the rough cut with Gulager. As expected, Gulager hated every second of it suggesting, “Make it a little more exciting… Y’know?” The look on the editor’s face was pure, “With this morose corpse directing? Riiiiiight.” Just then, the crushing weight of all the clinical depression stored up in his brain, caused Gulager’s head to fall to one side and just lay there throughout the entire editing process. “I got into a funk,” he said, followed immediately up with, “I’m just gonna go home.” To his depression tub, no doubt.
The final scene was a grainy long distance shot of Gulager and his girlfriend (or wife, depending on his mood) recounting the day’s events. It must be said that Diane is a very supportive woman – and it’s obvious she really loves John. Looking like a henchman dockworker from a 70′s cop drama, Gulager mumbled, “I get embarrassed, frustrated, and I feel like a failure. I’m full of self-doubt, and I let everybody down.” In case you are retarded and didn’t get the point, Diane added, “John seemed morose.” And the sky is blue and water is…
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go buy some flowers and and a puppy. Which made you want to binge drink more – the show or the recap?