Extra blogs entry about experience on W.E. set
“Its wrong to complain about a chance to visit a movie set and get the chance to be part of a major hollywood movie, but when the tinny mobile phone alarm pops his head up at 4:30 AM many would fail to see the sunny side. But within the space of the next three hours, there I was, on the set of Madonnas new film W.E.
Many claim that stars have a certain presence, a charisma that oozes out of their very pores, but today was not the day for me to search for such things. Madonna (or M as shes called on set) walked round the corner and there she was. She took off her shades and hat to reveal an interesting face, one that tells many stories. Susan Sarandon claimed that The history of women in popular music can, pretty much, be divided into before and after Madonna. This woman is the worlds top-selling female recording artist and the most successful female recording artist of all time, you can do a degree in Madonna Studies! This woman is big. But there she was, all little and wrinkled, standing about four feet from me.
However, by now there was very little glamour showing. Her face seemed old and strained. Her hair a faded and weathered blonde, tied into platted pig tails, and no cool, just charming smirk, which stayed on her face for most of the day. She wore a simple black hooded cardigan, and a pair of leggings which would no doubt be found on the legs of most British girls these days. On the index finger of her right hand was a ring, one diamond encrusted skull, staring up at her, a remnant of her past.
Contrary to what many might expect, M did not come across as controlling or mean, she sought to delegate most of her duties to others and at some points I began to wonder if she really was experienced enough to be involved in making a film. Most of the time, the only thing she would shout was ‘come on guys, what are we waiting for!?‘ whereas all the people on set who had been working in film for a while knew it was a no-brainer to stop filming while a plane went by. I began to wonder if she would be better suited to being a runner on the set, as the only work she was doing was rounding up the troops ready to film the next shot. But she wasnt out of her depth. She kept her cool and managed to keep spirits up with some gentle banter.
At one point a wasp flew into her face and she panicked as any young lady would in the circumstances, the cameraman quipped that we might want to get on with the filming ‘just as soon as M is back on planet earth’ to which she laughed, followed by the rest of her convicts. Her moments of humanity were when I was endeared to her most. I managed to lock eye contact with her for a brief second, I smiled and she returned the favour, she was nice.
We were mostly treated quite well, provided with a good and filling breakfast and lunch, the only downside was that I had no time to finish my breakfast and we didnt eat lunch until 3:30! The location held a similar juxtaposition, a room decorated tastily by fairy lights and minimalist art-work was matched by my realising that we were actually just in a big tent.
Filming wasnt easy either, my clothes were itchy and my prop camera weighed quite a bit (and the handle was broken). And there was no real procedure for when it rained either. At one point it got so heavy that we all crammed into this old dusty barn, we sat there for over half an hour, not being told anything.”
Click HERE to read more. Thanks to Floris.