Saturday In The Backyard...
outside the hospital.
(l to r, Derek McCaw and Scott Zakarin)
an intense week of filming, you'd think that writer/director
Scott Zakarin would be able to enjoy his Saturday, especially
since he had to be up early on Sunday for the next location.
his morning was spent in a business meeting, taking care of
some issues relating to his role as CEO of Creative Light.
Then he needed to do some rewrites on the script before the
toughest job he has: Dad. That afternoon he hosted his five-year-old
son's birthday party. Yeah, that's relaxing.
found some time after lunch to sit down and run down an update
as to how things were going.
McCaw We're two weeks into filming, this is supposed to
be your day off, but you late last night you said you had
to do re-writes today or "the production is screwed." I know
you were joking, but what is being re-written? I know it's
common on a movie, but with a production moving as fast as
this one, what do you have to fix?
Zakarin: Once you start making the movie, things become
more apparent. You imagine something one way, and then the
best location you can get, which might be better than you
imagined, or may not be as good, brings different challenges
to it. Ultimately, you have to change the script on the fly
and that then has a ripple effect on the rest of the script.
find that I'm rejustifying certain things. Sometimes you also
realize on a low-budget movie that you're too ambitious in
certain areas. You have to figure out how you can moodge scenes
together to get the same information across without it seeming
slow. Then you need to reduce the original intent of the scenes.
re-writing for many reasons.
you're getting a certain level of performance from your actors.
You see different strengths, and you want to adjust to that.
I always look at the last draft of the script as being when
you've finished mixing the movie. The shooting of the movie
is almost a rewrite in itself.
One of the techniques I saw you using yesterday was having
Matt Keeslar improvise as Jekyll, playing around with the
Matt Keeslar and I spoke a lot about the character and about
the science fiction of this in preparation for the movie.
We were doing research, and he was sending me very involved
emails about what he had discovered. He had been picking my
brain. I'd obviously been looking for an actor who would own
the character that way. I was more than happy to do that.
to me that it would be nice to carry this motif of him talking
to a tape recorder. It's the equivalent in the original story
of this letter that he had left to Utterson, his lawyer. That
was ultimately his will.
tape recorder device is a nice way of bridging the Utterson
character and the Jekyll character's relationship, and help
bring some naturalness to the science fact of the story. You
could do it in dialogue, but then it sounds like dialogue.
But if you're actually hypothesizing, then it's very interesting
to just speak that out loud.
at some point since we were shooting high def, to just sit
down and have a discussion about the plot points and the science.
Matt described that letter to Utterson as almost a love letter.
And now you've pointed out that Utterson is now a woman in
your version. Why? Now it's even changed from the draft that
I had originally read into more of a love triangle involving
Ubach as Michelle Utterson
The idea was that Utterson was the only person in the original
novella who really loved Henry. His fiancée, yes, but in my
version of it it's more about marrying a doctor who's cute
than it is about marrying a researcher who could change the
thought a person who is making these experiments, and is actually
trying to do something good, is a different type of hero.
He's a hero who is trying to buck convention and common thinking
to make a difference. The only person who really understood
that, or was patient enough with Jekyll to give him the room,
that's the tragedy: that Utterson gave Jekyll the room and
it ends up being his destruction.
version, there's that moment where Michelle Utterson confronts
Poole, Jekyll's lab assistant. You get the sense that Poole
wants to tell her, and she's fishing for it. At that moment,
if either them had cared a little less or had a little less
loyalty, shown a little tough love, they would have stopped
Jekyll. It wouldn't have led to his destruction.
other hand, then you would have no story, and we wouldn't
be making this movie based on a great novella written over
a hundred years ago.
Let's talk about your Jekyll, now that I've seen his performance.
He's taken a lot of his Hyde from Charles Manson and his research.
Now I've been hearing about a scene that we shall politely
dub "the taco incident" that comes straight out of his research.
Can you talk about it?
I don't want to get too specific because I don't want to ruin
the surprise, but sure.
and I would hang out and actually go to strange places together
a couple of times before the shoot. We were kindred spirits
in that we thought that the odd nuances of character should
be part of the story.
(l to r, Jonathan Silverman, Alanna Ubach and Scott
to him from the beginning that I didn't want it to be just
black and white, that Hyde was just evil and Jekyll good.
They both needed to be striped with shades of each other.
really into that idea. If I can use this as a phrase to describe
it, we had this Twin Peaks sort of feeling about the
oddness of the Hyde character, where his lust and manipulative
nature would drive him.
came to me one morning and said "I have this idea about eating
he explained, I thought okay, but let's contemporize it a
little bit. We both fell onto this idea and everyone looked
at us cross-eyed when we were doing it. But it's become legend
in the offices and on the production set. Whether that will
translate past that to audiences will depend on how the movie
sitting in Video Village (a little area off the set for
the monitors) saying this is sort of like when in Rocky,
Stallone drank the raw eggs. Everybody remembered that moment,
so maybe this is our raw eggs moment.
discussions with Scott on the Making of Jekyll: