Yikes – it’s come up so fast!
Tomorrow Jennifer and I leave for Europe. We’re going to Spain via Munich for a couple of days to see a dear friend who has swung his support behind the movie. Then on Saturday we fly to Madrid to meet up with Line Producer Annie Kinnane and Transport/Unit Manager Dave Suttor.
We’re spending a few days in Santiago de Compostela – the end point of the Camino – spending some time with Camino legend Johnnie Walker, who has very kindly swung his support behind our endeavour which, as the Mastercards ads say, is priceless.
Then we’re driving back to Burgos to meet the second wave of our team coming in.
Then we kick it off seriously.
I’d forgotten how difficult it is to make a feature film.
For the past several years I’ve been working on these theatrical feature documentaries – PGS and Facing Fear. And the next film in the series, on Hope as well. And whilst they’ve required all my skills and experience as a filmmaker, they’re go-karts in comparison to the Formula One of feature films. (If I can use an analogy from my recent newly acquired passion – F1.)
Making a feature film is a privilege.
Unlike television which comes and goes,
I take that seriously.
I’ll have my name on this film and I take that very seriously.
Added to that is the complication that this is a film about myself.
I’ll write a separate blog later about how I didn’t want this film to be made, and how it came into being anyway – but for now let me just say that I don’t want to even think about the personal consequences of this film being poorly received.
I’m putting myself out there, big time.
I stand to be ridiculed as a filmmaker and as a person.
And I’m fine with that.
If you don’t step off the edge you can’t ever know what it’s like to fly.
But back to the production.
I now have the most perfect group of people to work with to make this film something very special. Each one has been handpicked not only for their technical expertise, but also for their “energy.” What they bring to the show energetically. And I don’t mean their enthusiasm, or vigor – I mean what they bring as spiritual beings.
And the cast is perfect too.
Like Nomadland, this is going to be a mix of actors and “actuals,” the actual pilgrims that I met along my way, and who have agreed to come back and play themselves in the movie.
Again I’ll talk more about the casting in a later blog, but just to say that the actors that are in this film will have to tailor their performances to the actuals. To the real people, if I can call them that. That’s going to be a huge acting challenge – to hit that level of truth and naturalism. But again, all the actors in this film are up to it.
Frances McDormand did it beautifully in Nomadland, and won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.
This is the first feature film I’ve made in thirteen years. And it was ten years before that, that I made The Nugget, starring Eric Bana. I don’t make a feature film unless I feel absolutely committed to telling that particular story. I’ve never been a director-for-hire. I’ve always generated my own material.
Actually, no – that’s not true. I was a director-for-hire on the Sandra Bullock movie I did for Warner Bros, but that was only because the producers who hired me originally were Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. I really wanted to work with those guys. But then the film went into turnaround and they stepped back. Such is the merry-go-round of Hollywood.
Jean Luc Godard famously said: All I need to make a film is a girl and a gun. (In fact that’s the common belief, that he said that – but I’ve done a deep dive and he was actually quoting from the legendary DW Griffith, director of Birth of a Nation.)
But that aside, I have my girl, I have my gun –
That’s all I need to make a film.
Can’t wait, excited for you!
Kathryn Schlesinger Sent from my iPad
I have all confidence that you’ll make something special.
And have fun in Santiago during the final days of gearing up !!
Hi Bill, Good luck with filming, I hope it all goes well. Linda and I will certainly be part of the audience when the film makes it to the cinema. Your book was one of the books we used in preparation for our first Camino.I liked your observations on The Way. We like James Nesbitt but if his charachter was a true Irish writer he would not have made it past the wine fountain!Also we did not meet the happy Gypsies portrayed in the film. They ignored our friendly greetings but at least they didn’t steal our backpacks.We will be touring UK and France in our campervan this winter to visit our son in Antibes and enjoy some warm weather but unfortunately do not have time for Spain this year otherwise it would have been good to see you at work.Don’t get chased or rather caught by bulls.CheersGarySent from my Galaxy
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