HBO’s Project Greenlight is nearing the end of this emotional series and the question people always ask me (as the main actor) is, how much of what they show is accurate and what has been left out? Well, inevitably, a few details hit the cutting room floor. With one week before the movie premieres, here are some of the main points I feel should have made the TV series…
- Marc Joubert believed we were making a silent movie
It was only after principal filming wrapped that anyone realised that at no point had producer Marc Joubert been offered a pair of headphones to hear the dialogue that was being recorded. He was thusly, quite legitimately, under the impression that the whole movie was being shot as an old school silent comedy. This further explains why he insisted a honky tonk piano player be on set to underscore the action as it was filmed. He has yet to comment on his thoughts since finding out the news there will be sound in the movie, although I did see him paint a sad looking tear onto his face before embarking on a series of complicated, downtrodden mimes.
- Pete Jones created a theme tune for himself and demanded people sing it to him every time they met
A sad moment in Project Greenlight was when co-writer and all round good guy Pete Jones left the show before principle filming commenced. What wasn’t shown was this was purely to save on the time it was taking to sing the theme song he had devised for himself and had everyone sing every time he entered or exited a room. Once the filming moved outside, away from the theme tune triggering danger of doors, Pete returned to the set in triumphant style to a rousing, heart warming rendition of the song…
“Let’s all hear it for the man that won,
Project Greenlight Season One!
He’s fought the mighty Goblin king
And regained the powerful magic ring!
So don’t let Marc Joubert have his headphones
And sing it loud for our own Pete Jones!”
- Most of the movie was shot underwater
Such was director Jason’s desire to return to the romantic, old school ways of doing things that he followed back man’s evolutionary train to the distant, romantic time we all lived as single cell organisms in the ocean and pushed heavily for as much of the film to be shot underwater as possible. The crew were force fed plankton and cameras were mounted inside the cavernous jaws of whales with the lens pointed out through the blow holes of these gentle giants. A lot of effort yes, but worth it for that extra special look that only underwater shots can produce? Only time will tell. Yes, two whales died and a full camera crew was digested, but some of the footage looked really nice!
- The acting occasionally became too powerful for non actors to withstand
Location drama played a big part of Project Greenlight Season 4 of course, but one fact that was sadly omitted was the need to find a location that could withstand the high levels of acting that would take place. In the end there were more than a few occasions when the acting became so good that it remained in the air after the scene was complete, causing real danger to any non actors that might foolishly wander in. In a room still hot from great acting even sitting in a chair can cause a non actor to weep uncontrollably for a year and something as simple as opening a window could trigger a lethal arousal. When the inevitable did happen and the acting became too strong, the rooms were, as standard practice dictates, immediately cordoned off. Once the level of residual acting had dropped to a safer level an amateur dramatics production of “Annie” would be staged to exorcise any last residual acting from the room and filming could finally recommence safely.
- Bruce Davison would wrestle a bear before every take
This one perhaps is fairly well known but deserves to be reiterated if you missed it in the show. All actors prepare in different ways, and the cast of The Leisure Class was no exception! Ed Weeks, of course, would open a suitcase, peer inside and scream “Surely Not!” before hurling it into an abyss, Scottie Thompson had her now trademark range of mannequins that she would dress as herself and challenge the crew to pick “the real Scottie” whilst Christine Lakin would act out the full scripts of every previous Project Greenlight winning film before the start of each day. But it was Academy Award nominated Bruce Davison’s preparation that really caught the eye. He dug a fighting pit in one of the bathrooms of the house and filled it with grizzly bears. Before each take, on the cue of an eagle taking flight above over the pit, he would glug from a barrel of mead, dive into the pit and grapple heroically with the ferocious beasts. Unorthodox perhaps, but the final results on screen speak for themselves! Sadly it turned out that the bears were non Union and were removed from the set for the last week. Crew and cast members then took it in turns to pretend to be a bear with starkly mixed results.
- Van Hayden played a sad lament on the harmonica every time the sun went to bed
Hazzzoooo Waazzoooo Hooooo MerWoooooaaaa…
Sleep well Mr Sunshine! We’ll see you tomorrow (hopefully!)