Day 2 of 70

January 26, 2015

Last night I went went for a run in my new Vibram toe shoes for the first time. I barely made it two mile before my calves began to ache. It was a deep, foretelling ache, rich with the promise of perambulatory difficulty to come.

And indeed, walking wasn't the easiest thing to do today, our second day of the shoot, which was fine since it was all spent indoors, in our vintage hospital location. We had much ground to cover today: a major beat of our young hero waking up, followed by two conversational scenes amongst five grown-ups and one child taking place in a long narrow corridor that quickly became jammed with equipment, personnel and the wafty commingling odors associated with both. Minus some second-ish unit material, we shot everything that transpires at this location. It wasn't the most auspicious beginning for our adult actors, who were often at the receiving end of directions shouted from down the hall, but we powered through and knocked out about three pages and roughly two dozen set-ups. I'm in awe of how agile this company is. No one bats an eyelash when I ask to swap a lens. Which is one of my favorite things to do.

It was Bryce's first day, and Isiah Whitlock Jr's (he's in the role of Sheriff Gene Dentler, which was played by Robert Longstreet in Ain't Them Bodies Saints ). Both were exceptional. Isiah now leaves us until April. His return will be light at the end of our tunnel.

I'm reading Of Human Bondage as we shoot, in the mornings and evenings; I'm hoping to finish it by the time production wraps up. This morning I was stuck by a passage at the top of page 160, which contains the most marvelous arrangement of semicolons and colons I've ever seen in a sentence, bookended by two self-contained clauses that scarcely qualify as independent. It made me want to get to diagramming!

Tomorrow: nature.

Posted by David Lowery at 2:51 AM

Day 1 of 70 (afterwards)

January 22, 2015

I wonder if I can keep up a brief recount for all seventy days?

Call time today was at six, which means I had to get up at four, which means I'm extremely tired at the moment, which is nothing out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary is that we wrapped thirty minutes after lunch. If that's a precedent, I'm happy to set it.

We shot a lot of stuff of the kid running and splashing in the river, and also a scene of a car pulling into a driveway. It was a ton of fun. It's to my crew's credit that it all felt effortless, pressure-free and simple. It didn't feel all that different from when we were shooting St. Nick six years ago (six years!). We admittedly had a technocrane, but we went out of our way to make those shots feel less technocrane-ish.

Tomorrow we're jumping back into prep for one more day. We start shooting scenes with dialogue on Monday.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:26 AM

Day 1 of 70

January 21, 2015

Although I scarcely write here any more, I'd be remiss if I didn't post something tonight, on the eve of production on this big studio movie I've somehow found myself at the helm of.

I started this blog the summer after I got out of high school. Back then, I'd have been surprised and thrilled to know this is where I'd wind up. A handful of years later, I was so entrenched in auteurism and fierce independence that I'd have been surprised and mildly aghast at the suggestion that I'd be directing a Disney film a little ways down the line (and a remake, no less)! A few years after that - two years ago this very day, in fact - I was packing for Sundance, where my latest attempt at a fiercely independent film was about to premiere. Ain't Them Bodies Saints was meant to be an estimable cinematic declaration; it didn't quite wind up that way. My feelings about it remain massively conflicted; most days it's best if I don't think about it at all, and in its wake I found myself unsure of what exactly I wanted to do next. I wrote a bunch of things. One of those things happened to be Pete's Dragon.

One thing lead to another. There was a point last spring where I had to choose between directing this movie and another script that I'd written. That other one might have made more sense on paper, in terms of budget and theme and content and scale. It was a natural choice. It also didn't feel completely like it came from me - which strangely, maybe ironically (although not really), this Disney movie did. This big kids' adventure movie (that happened to be a remake) felt personal. It also felt like a good challenge, and a lucky opportunity.

And it felt like fun! That's something I care about more now than I used to.

So I went with my gut, and now we're a few hours away from rolling cameras. I made the right choice. I'm very proud of the fact that Toby Halbrooks and I are the only writers to have touched this script; that it feels like our film as much as it is the studio's; that we've managed to keep it personal and strange and weird and fun. I'm excited for people to see it. I'm even more excited to make it.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: here we go.

Postscript: this movie is scheduled to open on August 12th, 2016, one week shy of the three year anniversary of Ain't Them Bodies Saints' theatrical release. If all goes as planned, by that point I'll have also wrapped production on two of those other movies I wrote - a period crime movie starring a living legend and a sci-fi film from the producer of Under The Skin. Who knows what will actually happen between now and then, but in as much as there's a track to be on, this one feels pretty right.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:31 AM

Watched & Read in 2014

December 31, 2014

Regardless of whatever timestamp might appear on this post, it's already 2015 here in New Zealand, which means its a fine time to make a top ten list! Except that instead of a top ten list, I decided to just list every single movie I watched in 2014, and throw in the new fiction I read and what little television I watched as well. It all counts! It also never feels like that much when you write it all down.

MOVIES
(Titles in bold were seen on the big screen; x2 = watched twice)

  1. THE MATRIX
  2. THE DEPARTED
  3. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES
  4. TROUBLE EVERY DAY
  5. WHIPLASH
  6. FRANK
  7. HELLION
  8. LAND HO
  9. OBVIOUS CHILD
  10. 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH
  11. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (x2)
  12. A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
  13. WETLANDS
  14. LISTEN UP PHILIP
  15. THE YOUNG ONES
  16. HAPPY CHRISTMAS
  17. LIFE ITSELF
  18. FULL METAL JACKET
  19. COME AND SEE
  20. RESTREPO
  21. STRANGER BY THE LAKE
  22. FAULTS
  23. ENEMY
  24. THE LEGO MOVIE
  25. DRUNKTOWN’S FINEST
  26. BEFORE I DISAPPEAR
  27. GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
  28. NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 1
  29. LA RONDE
  30. EARRINGS OF MADAME DE…
  31. LOLA MONTES
  32. THE 400 BLOWS
  33. NOAH
  34. THE PRESTIGE
  35. UNDER THE SKIN (x2)
  36. JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME
  37. SORCERER
  38. ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD
  39. GLASSLAND
  40. THE DIRTIES
  41. UGETSU
  42. THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY
  43. THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA
  44. PING PONG SUMMER
  45. BARBARELLA
  46. NEIGHBORS
  47. GODZILLA
  48. SWEETIE
  49. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
  50. THE IMMIGRANT (x2)
  51. THE DOUBLE
  52. NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 2
  53. THE BLACK STALLION
  54. WESTERN
  55. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
  56. MALEFICENT
  57. DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
  58. DANCE OF REALITY
  59. WE ARE THE BEST!
  60. EDGE OF TOMORROW
  61. NIGHT MOVES
  62. ON THE WATERFRONT
  63. THE ROVER
  64. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
  65. 22 JUMP STREET
  66. BOYHOOD
  67. NEVER TAKE CANDY FROM A STRANGER
  68. GHOSTBUSTERS 2
  69. THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
  70. BORGMAN
  71. COHERENCE
  72. BOTTLE ROCKET
  73. RUSHMORE
  74. THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS
  75. THE LIFE AQUATIC
  76. THE DARJEELING LIMITED
  77. THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX
  78. MOONRISE KINGDOM (x2)
  79. ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL
  80. OLDBOY (2013)
  81. BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE
  82. DAZED & CONFUSED
  83. ME AND ORSON WELLES
  84. ROBOCOP (2014)
  85. JODOROWSKY’S DUNE
  86. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
  87. TIM’S VERMEER
  88. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
  89. CALVARY
  90. RUBY SPARKS
  91. THE OUTSIDERS
  92. THE NOTORIOUS BETTY PAGE
  93. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
  94. STALKER
  95. JOHN CARTER
  96. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)
  97. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990)
  98. KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER
  99. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2: THE SECRET OF THE OOZE
  100. WE WON’T GROW OLD TOGETHER
  101. THE MIRROR
  102. NOSTALGHIA
  103. SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS
  104. MIRACLE AT MORGAN’S CREEK
  105. BOY MEETS GIRL
  106. SOLARIS (2003)
  107. LOCKE
  108. MAUVAIS SANG
  109. SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY
  110. PULP FICTION
  111. SANS SOLEIL
  112. JEUNE ET JOLIE
  113. GHOSTBUSTERS
  114. GOTHIC
  115. STRAY DOGS
  116. LOS ANGELES PLAYS ITSELF
  117. DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE
  118. THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE
  119. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: THEM
  120. TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT
  121. THE DROP
  122. THE GUEST
  123. JEALOUSY
  124. ERASERHEAD
  125. MARGARET
  126. THE VANISHING
  127. McFARLAND, USA
  128. FORCE MAJEURE
  129. WHAT WE DO IN SHADOWS
  130. BORAT
  131. GONE GIRL
  132. PREDESTINATION
  133. BROADCAST NEWS
  134. JIMMY P.
  135. LEON THE PROFESSIONAL
  136. DIGGING FOR FIRE
  137. IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE
  138. BIRDMAN
  139. UNEXPECTED
  140. GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA
  141. THE WICKER MAN
  142. PSYCHO
  143. BLUE VELVET
  144. AN AMERCIAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
  145. BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
  146. BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO
  147. LOST HIGHWAY
  148. SUSPIRIA
  149. THE ZERO THEOREM
  150. THE BETTER ANGELS
  151. QUEEN OF EARTH
  152. NIGHTCRAWLER
  153. THE INNOCENTS
  154. THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL
  155. POLTERGEIST II
  156. NEKROMANTIC
  157. ROSEMARY’S BABY
  158. THE WITCHES
  159. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
  160. DEAR WHITE PEOPLE
  161. CADDYSHACK
  162. INTERSTELLAR (x2)
  163. THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN
  164. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO
  165. THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA
  166. COLD IN JULY
  167. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PT. 1
  168. ALTMAN
  169. THE BABADOOK
  170. IDA
  171. A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME
  172. REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG
  173. WINTER SLEEP
  174. WHAT HAPPENED WAS
  175. INHERENT VICE
  176. NEVER GOIN’ BACK
  177. FOXCATCHER
  178. GIUSSEPPE MAKES A MOVIE
  179. MR. X
  180. DAVID HOLZMAN’S DIARY
  181. A CHRISTMAS STORY
  182. ELF
  183. A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
  184. TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT
  185. THE INTERVIEW
  186. MR. TURNER
  187. DINER
  188. BIG EYES
  189. DESERT RUNNERS
  190. SWEENEY TODD
  191. ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA
  192. THE GRADUATE
  193. THE ROAD WARRIOR

TELEVISION

TRUE DETECTIVE, Season 1
SILICON VALLEY, Season 1
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, Season 2
LOUIE, Season 4

FICTION

THE SUN ALSO RISES (Ernest Hemingway)
ZEROVILLE (Steve Erickson)
STONER (John Williams)
THE GOLDFINCH (Donna Tartt)
BUTCHER’S CROSSING (John Williams)
PORNOGRAFIA (Witold Gombrowicz)
AUGUSTUS (John Williams)
LILA (Marilynne Robinson)
THE DEAD GIRLS (Jorge Ibarguengoitia)
EVERYMAN (Philip Roth)
THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS (Michel Faber)

STILL CHIPPING AWAY AT

THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV (Dostoyevsky)

Posted by David Lowery at 5:02 AM

Where I'm Writing From

August 11, 2014

I've been struggling to get back in the habit of writing things that aren't scripts lately, and while that hasn't brought me back to these pages of old, I have been writing reviews for The Talkhouse.

The Immigrant

The Rover

Boyhood

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Talkhouse, in general, is rife with great film writing by filmmakers, and has become, along with The Dissolve, one of my favorite daily sites for quick doses of film discussion. Thanks to Nick Dawson for inviting me to participate.

Posted by David Lowery at 4:50 PM

For Pete's Sake...

November 2, 2013

You'd think it'd be easier to keep up with posting a list of movies I see every week.

Posted by David Lowery at 10:09 PM