Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 14 2006


One of the high points of the movie, at least in the script, has always been the big sword fight towards the end. As we have always tended to leave the toughest scenes for last, this was one of the last things to shoot.

In a way it was a relief after the week before, in that we didn’t have to deal with so many people, and the people who were there were all good friends and dedicated to the task of filmmaking, so that we didn’t have to worry (too much) about desertions.

Though it didn’t involve too many people, it did involve a fancy, involved, and hopefully exciting sword fight. Originally we were going to have Shirzi choreograph it, but Shirzi seems to have disappeared. So it was fortunate when we found out that April’s stunt double, Eddie Tsai, was also into swordplay and was willing to choreograph the fight for us.

Eddie, some of his fighting partners and someone’s girlfriend came over to Dean’s a couple of nights during the week before the shoot, to work out the layout and give Rowan and Dean some things to work on. Dean had bought four or five practice swords in case of breakage. I was more worried about sword shard-related injuries. I also wished we had more time to practice, but time was short as Dean’s departure date loomed.

Early Saturday Dean and I showed up at the university conference room and started setting things up. The others showed up later, and we got just about all of the non-fight shots done with April, Sarah, Rowan, Dean and Bill. Eddie, who was leading a team in a martial arts competition both days of the shoot, showed up at about 6 or 7pm. He and his teammate dressed in Rowan’s and Dean’s costumes and went through the fight for us and the camera a few times. They were very good, going after each other so fiercely that they even broke one of the swords, and I began to wonder how we could get Rowan to look that good. Dean’s character is supposed to be clumsy at swordplay, but Rowan’s character is supposed to actually be somewhat good. That night I shaved my head and face so that I could fill in for Rowan the next day.

Saturday had been a long day, but Sunday was even longer. I managed to subsist on Mr. Brown coffees in between McDonald’s hamburgers and salads. April came back and finished her crawling shots, and Dean got his makeup on. Who knows what the people in the hall thought we were doing in there, between the noise, shouting and the clanging of swords and Dean’s bloody appearance whenever he left the room. One shot required a blood spurt, and as a result fake blood got all over a couple of walls and wouldn’t come off. It looked good, but Dean wanted his room deposit back, so we had to do something about it. We called Paul and asked him to stop by B&Q on the way over to pick up some paint.

Although his shots looked great, Rowan had just caught a cold and was losing steam fast by nightfall. We got everything of Rowan which required his face, fighting against Eddie, and let him go. Then we got everything with Dean fighting against Eddie, and then, in order to get wide shots of Dean fighting, I put on Rowan’s costume and fought Dean while Darrell operated the camera. Throughout this entire dramatic fight, Paul was adding layer after layer of paint over the bloody wall.

We slogged at it until 11 or 12, packed up and went home. It was good to get the sword fight over with after waiting for so long, between all of the different ways we filmed it, it should look fantastic.

posted by Poagao at 2:51 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. Sounds cool. Do you have a sample clip or video you can post here? We would love to see a sneak peak.

    Comment by Heavenly Swords — September 7, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

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