Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Playback Tuesday: Sense and Sensibility (the diaries)

There are few things more personal than journals. I feel forever indebted to individuals, artists in particular, who take it upon themselves to document their experiences in the arts--and then decide to share them with others. Robert Rodriguez and Spike Lee both did that with two of their first films. Both men shared experiences that were harrowing, entertaining, soul wrenching, and honest. Emma Thompson does the same with her writing, but from an actor/screenwriter's perspective. Sense and Sensibility was Emma Thompson's first screenplay and she shares the agony of writing, "I go to West Hampstead and switch the computer on. Another draft...I spend the rest of January in tears and a black dressing gown. During February and March I revise the script constantly but the basic structure remains the same. Half a dozen new drafts hit the presses but by 2 April we settle on the final shooting draft." Her sense of humor is endearing, and the way in which she explains the epic part of filming that few know about (the waiting and waiting for the weather to change, for Kate Winslet to recover from fainting after shooting a scene for long hours in the rain and cold, for lights and sound to be set up, for sets to be changed, for sheep to be herded, for horses to wake up and stop farting loudly during takes, for babies to stop crying, etc.) is a lesson in humility and the reality of work. Often she worked 12 to 15 hour days in all sorts of weather. Quite a job indeed. She also manages to take some of the glamour out of filming (in a good way of course). One of my favorite entries was Thursday 18 May in which she writes, "Managed to pee on most of my underwear this morning (trailer loos are very cramped) so I'm in a very bad temper." I am the kind of twisted individual that would never call that too much information. How often does one get the chance to peer inside the mind of Emma Thompson? I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure.

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