Half-Way Through Shooting
(l. to r. Derek McCaw, Scott Zakarin)
Light Entertainment invited me down to the set of Jekyll,
at a time when they were doing a lot of filming in the basement
of the Linda Vista Hospital.
Evidently, my trip was book-ended by shooting in strip clubs
just before and just after I would be in Los Angeles. Thanks,
least I got to see some dailies.
a fifteen-minute break, director Scott Zakarin sat down with
me to continue our ongoing conversation about the production
of Jekyll. I had to follow up a little bit from the previous
week, when I had been introduced (by phone) to Siena
Goines, the actress playing the seductive stripper Christy.
the time, I hadn't had a chance to actually talk with Scott
about her casting, remembering only that the role was not
cast without controversy.
Knowing who was originally cast as Christy, and then seeing
Siena Goines ending up with the role, they seem very different
physical types. The difference in physical types among all
the women in the movie was an important consideration in the
casting meeting I sat in on back in December. How did you
end up with Siena?
Zakarin: I think I got lucky. Physical types are how sexy
they are. If we're just talking about physical types, but
Siena is much more than that. When I look at Christy, she's
got to be somebody, as written in the script, who looks like
Satan has crafter her himself. If Satan had crafted sin, that
would be Christy.
in bed for a tender moment with Hyde.
Click to see how tender.
is a work of art. She's stunningly beautiful, but on top of
that she completely has the acting chops. I was thinking that
I would cast a Broadway dancer, because I really wanted the
dancing number to be super-special.
we had Kay Cole, who is a Broadway choreographer and created
the role of Kate in A Chorus Line, work with her. Siena
can certainly move. Siena's "show-stopping" striptease is
truly that. She's just wonderful and beautiful.
She told me that you had spent a lot of time discussing the
life of the stripper and the psychology of the stripper. Just
what insights do you bring to that?
Well, you know, I 'd worked for Playboy for a few years, so
I was exposed to it in that way. But more, it was exploring
a person who, before they even got out of the gate to see
all they could be, suddenly had it taken away from them. In
the case of this character, it's because she had a child when
she was a teen-ager. Now she had to go to work and make her
way. And that is similar to a lot of stories that I have heard
from strippers. By no means am I disrespecting them, by the
way; it's as noble a career as anything.
does seem to be some of the humble beginnings in that area.
At my own bachelor party, one of my producers, Eric Mittleman,
had insisted that I get a table dance at one point. And I
said, sure, I've never gotten one before, and by the way,
I've never gotten one since.
I got brought into the room, and I started to get my lapdance,
I started asking the stripper questions. This was when I got
married years ago. She told me she had a kid and we talked.
Basically, Eric paid his twenty dollars so I could have a
conversation. What we didn't realize was that that would become
great research. Christy was born from that.
Everybody keeps commenting that this is shooting so fast.
Why are you rushing through this?
We're a modestly budgeted, very ambitious little movie. Part
of what's helping us shoot fast is that we did a very thorough
pre-production. Part of it is that we're shooting with two
cameras for a lot of the scenes. We're allowing specifically
done multi-camera television, I'm very comfortable having
to concentrate on two cameras at the same time. I've also
had great rehearsals with the actors, and my Director of
Photography, Bill MacCollum, is just outrageous. He's a
guy who jumps right in there and does whatever it takes.
He's a total warrior. We also have a terrific gaffer, Jenna
Perkins. She's just sensational.
amazes me how much credit is given to the writers, directors
and producers when all we really do is nudge it in the right
direction. You need a really great crew to pull it off. And
I am blessed this time with a tremendously talented crew,
who are pouring everything they have into this. Mark Teague,
who we've talked a lot about, has been working day and night,
using all of his innovative abilities. Evan Unruh from our
offices is doing graphics and has been here, making sure that
everything goes well.
watches in mute horror as the evil bunny does something,
(Paquita Parks, 2nd AC at camera, and Donn Dean,
FX Supervisor in Hawaiian shirt.)
really just the fact that the machine is working incredibly
well that's helping us. And also necessity. We're modestly
budgeted, so you need to move fast. Everybody is thinking
several steps ahead at all times.
Were there any stumbling blocks once you reached actual filming?
Yeah, we already fell behind schedule, and had to add an extra
day to the shoot. It's just so ambitious. This movie is loaded
with stunts and special effects, plus very delicate intense
performances. All those things take time. Good lighting takes
time. Good sound takes time.
ourselves at the end of the day having shot most of
what we needed, and try not to compromise. It's pretty easy
to fall behind, and then you have to figure out a way to make
it up. Fortunately, being the writer and the director, I can
sometimes push a couple of scenes together. I can get the
same information, or eliminate scenes that now, in the filming,
don't seem as necessary.
I heard that there was an accident on the first day of shooting.
Yes. When you do stunts, there's always that risk. Banzai
Vitale, who's our stunt coordinator, watches out for everything.
accident came from a non-stunt performer doing a slight fall
and getting hit. He slid into the matte-box on the camera,
which is really not what you'd expect to happen. It's partially
from moving fast; that can happen. He got a nice little slice
on his head, but he came back and did a take right after that,
then came back the next day.
sort of payback, I did a stunt myself where this big burly
bouncer, the guy who got hurt, and his hand is the size of
my body, threw me down the stairs. I realized that was the
last scene for him, so he could really have done anything
he wanted to me.
more concerned for my safety. Nobody could figure out why
the director was getting thrown down the stairs, but why should
I let the actors have all the fun?
So you're doing your Hitchcock cameo?
as falling down...
No, I'm not into that type of cameo. But in every movie, my
thing is to do a stunt. I'll make it a little more dangerous
each movie. I'm setting that up with the stunt coordinator.
As a kid, I had a dream of being a stuntman, which I outgrew
when I realized that it hurt.
now, I'm finding that it's a little bit of a childhood fantasy
to go into a very safe, protected environment and get thrown
down the stairs. I recommend it, by the way, for other directors.
I think George Lucas should be thrown into a wookie or something.
People would agree with that for different reasons. Since
your last directorial effort with actors, The
Adventures of Cinderella's Daughter, was nowhere near
as effects-heavy or stunt-heavy, are you finding any particular
challenges in doing this film?
Daughter was really a broken TV series that we sewed
into a feature. And that came out pretty good for what it
was. People seem to have liked that movie, though not enough
actually saw it. You can go order it over at the Creative
It does have a Stan Lee cameo.
So it's perfect for Fanboy Planet. And Shirley Jones is actually
the Fairy Godmother, so you do have the pulp cult attachment
for fans of The Spot, Laurie Plaksin, formerly Laurie Shiers
who was Tara on The Spot, plays Cinderella. But that was years
film, a whole new set, a whole new thing. I like kids' films;
I like horror films. And I'm also doing a very personal film
at this point.
Yes, but is it a greater challenge?
I'd say it's far less of a challenge than I anticipated.
Not having that much experience, especially in stunts, I thought
it would be impossible.
Banzai Vitale as stunt coordinator, he just knows his shit.
He's such a comforting presence on the set. Literally, I feel
safe and secure, and that gives me a little mental break.
All I have to do is work with him and watch magic happen.
next up on my tapes is Banzai
Vitale. So watch for that next week, as well as conversations
with Jonathan Silverman,
Matt Keeslar, and Scott.
discussions with Scott on the Making of Jekyll:
discussions with Scott Zakarin on the Making of Jekyll: