The script is written.
The cast is assembled.
The schedule is set.
The crew is standing by.
Tomorrow, we begin rehearsals for Narrow Street Films new movie, The Dinner Party: a musical comedy without the music set in the first decade of the 1900s. It's sure to be a blast.
I'm taking the director's chair on this one, which is always a fun challenge. Right now, the producer and I are knee-deep in location scouting, costume conjuring, and the endless search for coffee and crew (any hairstylists wanna come and join us? Pretty please?).
This isn't the first time we've done a historical movie (see The Man Who Wasn't Tex Magru) nor is it the first time I've directed (see Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness, coming soon to Amazon Video), but every movie, every script, is unique and present both problems to solve and opportunities to explore. You get to really flex your creative muscles working on projects like these: from losing locations (a problem we're currently trying to solve) to last minute casting changes (Michael Lawrence had a number of these!) to technical issues like lighting and sound, film making is both overwhelming and a rush, like a triathlon, where you're doing all three parts - swimming, cycling, running - at the same time... while juggling kitchen knives.
But the absolute best part about film making is the people that you get to meet and work with along the way. I've met some of the best people working in Indie films: tough, smart, hard-working, team-players who can still laugh after long days on a hot set, trying to remember lines. Want to know a person, really know a person? Make a zero-budget movie with them. It's an eye-opening experience for sure.
We haven't been on set since the wrapping of Chance back in 2017. Now we return, with a new script, a new plan, and a great cast. As the director, I don't know how everything is going to get done - I just have to make sure it does. But I can guarantee one thing: the film is going to be a blast, both to make and to watch.
Stick around, guys. You won't want to miss this!
I am super lucky and awfully blessed to be surrounded by awesome and talented people. One such group is Narrow Street Films, the company started by my brother. Thanks to all our projects - and my brother's knack for throwing together a reel - I now have an awesome new acting reel! Check it out and let me know what you think!
Dear Barbara Broccoli,
There have been some disturbing talk going on around the internet. Specifically, people have been saying that it's time for a female James Bond. 'Its time to show men that women can do what they do!' I think is the rallying cry. Women are cool. Women can fight. Women can shoot. Women are Dr. Who. It's time James became Jane!
Look, I know we're all supposed to jump on this bandwagon and wear the pussy hats and hold the Feminist Banner high in honor of our (reportedly) oppressed foremothers, but I can't. I just can't. In the name of all the bad feminists out like me, I beg of you: please, please, please, don't take my fantasy away.
I know, I know. You're going to say I have the narrative wrong. 'It's a guy's fantasy, not a woman's,' you'll chide me. 'James Bond is for boys.'
'If that's so,' I'd reply, 'then why did you hire Daniel Craig and put him in a tux? Because guys are the ones fantasizing about that?'
James Bond isn't supposed to be politically correct. He isn't supposed to get with the times. He isn't a form of social commentary. He doesn't have a backstory (or a consistent one, anyway), he doesn't age (unless he's Roger Moore, but if you're Roger Moore, age doesn't matter), he doesn't slow down, and he doesn't get tired. He's a fantasy figure in a fantasy world. He is what a lot of guys would like to be, true: handsome, debonair, irresistible to women, and always ready with a gun, a smart remark, and a cool car.
He's a guy's fantasy, yes, I get that. But he's ours too.
You see, for most women, life is... well, kinda dull. We go to work. We buy groceries. We work out and pick up the kids. We pay bills and talk to friends and occasionally go out on the town. And while life is generally good, it's also mundane. Regular. Boring. And sometimes, we just want a hunk in a tux with a gun and an Aston Martin to swoop in and take us away on an adventure.
I know, I know. You're going to say something like, 'That's horribly backwards, Killarney. Women are strong and self-assured. They don't need a man to save them.'
Of course we don't. We are strong. We are smart. We can save the day and frequently do. But, frankly, it gets tiring. Sometimes it's nice to have someone else do it. Especially if that someone looks like Pierce Brosnan or has an accent like Sean Connery or smiles like Timothy Dalton or can beat the tar out of seven or eight bad guys with his bare hands like Daniel Craig...
Sorry, got distracted there for a minute. Where was I?
Oh, right, so the point is that, yes, women can save the day. And, yes, its cool to have action women in movies. Charlize Theron, Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Rodriguez, Zeo Saldana are all talented, fierce, fun women to watch. Rogue One was awesome. Atomic Blond looks like a blast. Wonder Woman was, in my opinion, the best superhero movie since the second Captain America movie. And lest you forget, these films built on others that came before it: A New Hope, Alien, and Silence of the Lambs all feature strong women who, in one way or another, save the day.
We can do it. I get it. But sometimes we women just want someone else to do the dirty work. And sometimes we want that person to be Roger Moore on a remote island, saving a girl (who is really a stand-in for us) from a man with a golden gun.
Is that really too much to ask?
This week leading up to the June 23rd premiere of Michael Lawrence: The Season of Darkness, we're highlighting characters from the movie. Try to guess who-dunnit!
Name: Dr. Klugman
Played By: Robb Buckland
(Excerpt from the book)
The coroner was sitting on one of the five chairs that lined the wall, a clipboard in hand.
“Lawrence!” he called, when Lawrence lifted his head from his examination. “You look like something the cat dragged in.”
Dr. Klugman had worked in the state coroner’s office almost as long as Lawrence had been a cop and his signature caustic wit was legendary among his peers. He was a big man, with a shelf full of awards achieved through various martial arts competitions. He was thorough, competent, and unflappable, though his humor was not always in the best of taste. Lawrence often thought that his tactless front was Klugman’s way of keeping sane in what had to be an emotionally trying job.
Lawrence nodded wearily and rose to his feet. “I feel like it, too.” He gestured. “What have we got?”
“A dead woman.”
“I can see that.”
Klugman grinned, then turned to the victim, placing his hands on his widespread knees. “It’s impossible to determine what she died of here, but whatever it was, it wasn’t a pleasant way to go. You can see here, where her back is arched and the distension of the jaw line. Horrendous agony.” He grinned when Lawrence shuddered. “We are feeling skittish today..”
Robb Buckland is an actor, stuntman, martial artist, and Army Veteran. He's a veteran of over 40 years in martial arts, holds master level in multiple styles, has been awarded the title Kyoshi (teacher of teachers), and his expertise has lead to numerous film, TV, and magazine appearances. He founded Fearless Family Martial Arts and directs a stunt team for area film makers. He has also appeared in Narrow Street Films' Not That Guy and The Man Who Wasn't Tex Magru.
Get Michael Lawrence: the Season of Darkness