Saturday, November 10, 2012

I Was A Bond Girl, Kinda Sorta

My time on the Skyfall set was mostly fun, though I did moan a lot about my “costumes”. It all began with a little error in translation – I was told to wear ‘pastel’ to the set and to me that means baby blue, pink, maybe even coral. Soon I got a dressing down from the wardrobe mistress who threatened to send me home for my totally inappropriate outfit.

“Have you never been on set before?” she asked angrily.

No, actually, I haven’t and as often happens when people start yelling at me for reasons I don’t quite understand, I got all deer-in-the-headlights and froze.

Erica, my soon-to-be on-screen wife, who had also been yelled at for wearing inappropriate clothing charmed the wardrobe bitchtress mistress and off we went to get our costumes.

It was about 7 in the morning (and late by film crew standards), most people were already on set so all of the costumes were already picked over, but the wardrobe mistress noticing perhaps my dazed-and-confused expression decided that she would now be nice to me.

“This is your lucky day,” she said. “You get to wear the Joseph jacket.”

The Joseph jacket was yummy, except for two things. One, I cannot wear the color stone (that’s beige, folks) and two, the extra 75 desserts I had had the month before prevented the wardrobe mistress from being able to zip it up. Goodbye, Joseph jacket, it was nice knowing you.

What I ended up wearing made me feel like a (male) New York City cab driver. I am not a girly girl by any stretch of the imagination, but really I need to feel at least a little bit feminine. Everyone assured me it didn’t look so bad, but I felt awful in it – but it lent itself to my first storyline.

Erica, my partner in wardrobe inappropriateness became my on-screen partner. Here she is (out of costume).
In the scene we filmed near the Halkbank, we were a lesbian couple from Brooklyn on our honeymoon. She was the Julianne Moore to my very macho Annette Benning. Our two kids (are all right) at home in Brooklyn. We stood on that street corner consulting a map as a Land Rover with Daniel Craig’s stuntman zoomed by. Here is a photo our fan John took of us.
The next day I was called to the set I had gathered that what was meant by ‘pastel’ was actually neutral, as in beige, grey, black and brown. Since I have black and grey clothes, the next time I was able to act in my own clothes. In that scene I spent the afternoon with my former roommate Gennady. I told him to first look at the camera, then look at the zooming Land Rover. It was a word to the wise and he kept looking in the camera’s direction in all the shots. We, of course, had a backstory too. I was his professor’s younger wife and he was a Ph.D. student and we had run off for a romantic weekend in İstanbul. In the scene we were standing near a cart that had cleaning supplies and rope and other strange odds and ends for a pazar in the heart of Eminönü Square.

“Should we get some rope and a feather duster to take back to the hotel room?” I asked.

Gennady knows me well and didn’t answer, he knew I would just run with whatever he said so he just conserved his energies for looking at the camera.

I don’t have pictures from that day, and that was also the day that a seagull sent a load of good luck raining down on us – and our own, personal clothes.

This is how the Daniels (that’s Daniel Craig and the stuntman also known as Daniel – but is Freckles to me) remember me. By this time I had made friends in the wardrobe department – and since they liked me, I got to wear something that actually was feminine and gave me a waist. I wore this outfit when I was crouched near Daniel Craig's...well, more on this soon.

The last outfit I wore was this one.
And here I am with my on-screen husband James. (I am nothing if not versatile.) James was everything you could ever want in an on-screen husband – kind, patient and not easily thrown. We did the scene 50 or 60 times and he was always in character, good naturedly asking if I was hungry or if we needed to get anything else for our kids at home. (We had three. Will, 14 and the twins, Rebecca and Lisa, 12.)
Really, there’s a lot of time between takes and standing around can get boring. That’s why it was fun to play fight with the Iranian stuntman behind me.

“Hit me. Hit me.” I told the Iranian stuntman.

“I cannot hit a girl,” he said.

“Dude, you’re a stuntman. Pretend to hit me and I’ll pretend to hit you.”

My on-screen husband patiently watched me karate chop and play kick the Iranian stuntman until they (finally) called a wrap for the day.

So that is a brief look at my time on the set as a Bond Girl. Now that you know what I look like, keep your eyes peeled for someone with short brownish-reddish-blonde hair somewhere in the opening sequence in Skyfall. If you see me, let me know.

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