“SAVAGE GRACE” director, Tom Kalin
You can’t always get what you want, especially shooting a movie. I’d have loved 10 percent more of every resource — what director would say no to that? But since we shot entirely on location in and around Barcelona, I discovered unknown 10 percents along the way. I learned the standard shooting day in Spain is 10 percent shorter than what I knew and that six-day weeks are rare. (I also learned some new things about moving fast while looking good from my superb Spanish crew.)
I wish I had at least 10 percent more facility with language since nearly everyone spoke a mixture of Spanish and Catalan and put me to shame with their English fluency. Though I eventually picked up some slang and learned to fumble around with my fourth-grade vocabulary, I could never follow the intricate dance of language on set. This linguistic bubble was both crippling and useful; it encouraged a heightened awareness.
Sometimes you get what you need by the proverbial happy accident (which is really just a disaster in disguise or what my producer Katie Roumel calls a “shit storm”). One shoot day included three scenes set at two different locations: Brooks and Blanca’s tastefully rustic villa in Mallorca and Tony and Jake’s hash-infused Cadaqués lair. Finding something that worked for both proved difficult. We finally settled on a remote house in the mountains and the Art Department went to work transforming the interior — walls aged and layered with drawings, the room resplendent in velvet and fur. Two days before shooting, they returned to find the props and every scrap of set dressing scattered by the dirt road in front of the house.
After some prodding, the owners curtly informed us that they sensed diabolical vibrations in the decoration. So we lost that location on suspicion of witchcraft. Scurrying to fix the crisis, we jumped into that nail-biting high-wire act particular to filmmaking and miraculously found and redressed an even better replacement. Sometimes what you need creatively is 10 percent more chaos, to fly without a net. In the words of the great Robert Bresson, “My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.”
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Sunday, Jan. 20, 9:30 pm — Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City]