Sunday, June 22, 2014

You're doing it wrong, Tommy

"After shooting Lisa's tryst with Mark, Juliette had to film her love scene with Tommy. This took several days. A lot of productions close their sets during love scenes. Not Tommy's. He opened the set, asking every member of the production to come in and "help out with lighting." It started to feel like Tommy didn't want the love-scene-shooting process to end. He delayed things for no reason and stayed naked far lonnger than was necessary. (When Tommy, wearing a towel, watched some playbacks with Todd Barron, he pointed at himself on the monitor and said, "Look at all these muscles.") He made no secret of the fact that he was enjoying the physical contact with Juliette, who was obviously suffering between takes. I think half of the guys on the crew had to suppress every chivalrous impulse they had during filming to keep themselves from pulling Tommy off her - especially during the shot in which Johnny appears to be impregnating Lisa's navel. In the end, Tommy was so pleased with the footage he shot of his love scene that he felt compelled to use it all in the final film, even going so far as to add an additional Johnny-Lisa love scene using recycled footage. Tommy assumed this would go unnoticed by audiences. It didn't.

In the love scene's final shot, Johnny gets out of bed and walks bare-assed to the bathroom. Tommy thought long and hard about his decision to show his ass. "I need to do it", he told me. "I have to show my ass or this movie won't sell." Yes, Tommy dedicated an entire scene to his ass. He drew inspiration from the example of Brad Pitt, who unveiled his own rear end in Legends of the Fall. Tommy's butt is visible in the love scenes, of course, but there's never a full-on unmitigated ass shot until he walks to the bathroom. Tommy insisted on doing numerous takes of this moment; it felt a little bit like he was aiming his ass at us, like the whole scene was an excuse to moon us over and over again. 

Tommy stopped shooting only when Byron demanded he end it. "We can't stop," Tommy said, "until we know we get it."

"Tommy!" Byron responded, somewhat desperately. "We definitely got it.""

("The Disaster Artist", pp. 234-235).

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