Sunday, January 04, 2004

insider information

Marc over at Misanthropicity gripes about special edition DVDs that aren't particularly special. His point, and it's an excellent one, is that too many special editions lack juicy details.

I concur. I couldn't make it farther than ten minutes into the commentary track for The Matrix because listening to Carrie-Anne Moss reveal a total lack of affect was breaking my heart, and recently listening to the director and writer/producer of The Usual Suspects was occasionally frustrating--while they let some good details slip (Pete Postlethwaite had only gotten three hours of sleep the night before they shot the first scene in which he appears because he was out drinking with the producer, for example, and the explanation of Benicio Del Toro's character was quite helpful), they also hinted at other sordid little stories which they did not then come out and tell.

Then it dawned on me, I was once an insider. I know some good stuff.

Leonard Nimoy is incredibly gracious in person, and willingly spent his lunch hours at the studio where he was shooting some bluescreen elements talking to technicians and signing a vintage copy of his album "If I Had a Hammer" for my old boss. Bruce Willis, on the other hand, so raised the ire of the same technicians for a comment he made on Letterman about the film workers' union that once, while he was wired up inside working on Die Hard, some of them went out to the parking lot and spit on his car.

This is fun. In the first Jurassic Park, the first time Sam Neill's character sees a live dinosaur, his fly is open. In the same film, an exterior (the T-Rex roaring at the fence in the rain and darkness) had to be worked on extensively in post because there was a grip visible in the shot, eating his lunch. We had to take him out a frame at a time. Everyone knows that the bantha in the beginning of The Return of the Jedi is an elephant wearing a bantha costume; in the special edition of the same film, there are many banthas, but they're all just copies of that first one.

In Jumanji, when the monkeys loot the electronics store, the brand names on some of the boxes have been replaced by the names of the people who worked in the same room I did.

Wasn't me...