Thursday, January 22, 2009

DAY SEVEN – “Lady Sings the Blues,” or “Keep Dreamin’!”

Week Two kicks off on a musical note. We begin with the nightclub scene, where bloodthirsty chanteuse Sunny Day shares a (rare) serious moment with Stan Maxx before pouring her heart out in song. There are two jazzy numbers for Sunny to sing: the first is upbeat and sassy (think the opening scene from "Temple of Doom," which is exactly what Jeff was thinking when he wrote the script), and the second is a slow, sultry ballad that Sunny sings exclusively for Stan.

The songs were written and orchestrated by Matt Tate, who is also writing the score for the movie. Steve Foland - Stan Maxx himself - contributed lyrics to the first tune. Erica Highberg - that's Sunny Day to you - has already recorded the vocal tracks in the studio (which looks an awful lot like her bedroom), so this morning she just needs to lip-sync. And she does a job that would make Jessica Simpson's mother proud. As a matter of fact, she is so convincing that for a moment Ras al Ghul actually thinks she is singing live!

Speaking of Ras, he has apparently found his A-game this week. He adds a nice touch with a rimlight on Erica's hair, completing her transformation into a bona fide 1940s lounge singer.

In addition to New Ras, there is another presence in the soundstage we haven't felt much until now: Steve Tolin, our production designer and producer. We usually don't see much of Steve on this side of the building - he's more often found in the prop shop tinkering away at one of his amazing contraptions. But today he is in the studio, huddled beside the cameramen, eyes glued to the monitor, making sure everything is perfect. Oh yeah, did I mention that Erica is Steve's fiance?

Our crew appears to have picked up a stray this week. Or wait, I think I'm supposed to call her an "intern." Her name is Mia Dreamer. I know, it sounds even more made-up than Andy Blood. She seems to be making a dreamer of our grip Dennis, but that's for a different blog...

This afternoon we shoot the Office Attack scene, in which Chuckie gets to suit up and knock Professor Jack around his office. It's a pretty complex action scene, with Jeff getting to hurl himself over a desk in a Shatner-worthy stunt. The scene takes us to the very end of the night, and we end up getting our last shots of Professor Jack wrestling with a Bugman in the fireplace just as the clock strikes ten. We run out into the cold snowy night, and Aaron and Ras find that their car's doors are frozen shut. Ras runs back toward the studio to get a cup of hot water to melt the ice. But just as he disappears around the corner, Aaron manages to get the car door open. "Should I call Ras back here?" I offer.

"Nah," decides Aaron, closing the car door again. "Let's let him think he got it open. He deserves it."

1. Sunny Day strikes a pose
2. Mr. Tolin keeps an eye on things, over Jeff's shoulder
3. An interesting view of Sunny in action
4. Stan Maxx, Sunny Day, and... red wine in a martini glass?
5. Jeff directs Steve and Erica as Aaron waits patently
6. Professor Jack tinkers with some knobs in his office

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