All good things must come to an end. As do - thank the heavens - the frustrating/tiring/dramatic ones. After what seemed like 27 schedule changes, the Legion heavyweights decided June 1st would be the last day of shooting. What made this a little odd was that 2nd Unit (the crew that takes care of most of the stunt shots and anything the 1st unit can't fit) continued to work and a majority of our crew went on to join them. So the so-called "wrap" was bittersweet for most, considering they had to get up and head back to set the next day.
My experience with this film was a potpouri of emotions. It was, overall, a great experience and one, I realize, not everyone gets. The cast and crew were very cool on a whole, and I now have good friends in New Mexico and LA.
3 of my favorites making rubber glass
But even though I'm already entering the dreamy, nostalgic state of remembering only the good, there were definite frustrations throughout the show. For reasons we can't completely detect, there was a constant hovering negativity. It brought out ugly sides of many people. And as a PA, I got to field most of those complaints. I think everyone just felt overworked and underappreciated. Marry that with 15-hour days, and you have yourself a crabby crew. And if disappointment wasn't already abundant, our producers also expunged the idea of a wrap party in one final disconnected gesture. That didn't sit well with the tired crew, if you can imagine.
I had my own low points and days of flat out being "over" the drama of it all. I'm also very aware, now, that I'm not fully satisfied unless I'm using my talents.
Day 35: Steve vs. the cows
I loved being able to help people, solve problems and (in the words of my mother) anticipate the needs of others. But for the remaining time, I need more responsibilities than to yell "rolling" and "cut." I think my college professors would agree.
But back to the dreamy nostalgic stuff...
Behind the scenes wasn't all gloom and despair. We found (or created) humor in many situations. For instance, I found it quite amusing that we went from, one day, locking up cows in the desert (I didn't personally have to take care of the beasts, so much as Steve literally did) to the next night, posting up in an Albuquerque alley, directly outside of a strip club to keep the lovely hoochies and gentlemen out of our shot. Or trying not to laugh during our poor man's/green screen process of a speeding vehichle, which involved grips pulling wheeled bushes down a track.
Day 36: locking up strippers. (I really should be more mature than this)
One would run and pull, two were standing by to catch and stop it. Incidentally, the accumulated dust on the floor made traction quite difficult, and every pull ended with two airborne grips flying about 10 feet backwards. And of course, true to most movie sets, there's the added entertainment of everyday stunts, special effects and shameless, innocent flirting with every older man on set. What can I say...it gives everyone a little break from the seriousness.
As one last Legion hoorah (and to throw it back in the producers' faces a little) a few of us took the matter of a wrap party into our own hands. We searched for a venue (which proved to be quite difficult on a Sunday in a state where everything closes by midnight) and collected money for a liquor run.
I love stunties
In the end, Cayley generously offered up his place, which proved to be the best party house ever. Aside from the insane view from multiple decks, there was a swimming pool, hot tub, ping pong table, Rock Band (the game, not a group), arcade games and, of course, enough alcohol to kill a small African village. Considering we didn't finish work until 1am that night, the party easily lasted until 5am. And considering I had to leave for the airport in a few hours, I very much had to drag myself from the fun.
So I guess that's goodbye Santa Fe and friends. I'll see you at the premiere.