This was originally published at Reel Opinions 14th December 2014.
“What do you mean lights?”
“Lights…. I thought you could use them” replies producer Alexander Aja.
“So that people can see.”
“I’m not following.”
Director Grégory Levasseur isn’t in the mood to argue over mere technicalities, he had bigger concerns on his mind, whether or not his audience could see ANYTHING AT ALL ON SCREEN didn’t matter. They’d got through it so far without worrying about it. No. His mind was elsewhere. For a start, he’s on the final day of shooting and has yet to acquire a script. So far he and the crew have been working with some crayon jottings they found on a napkin at a Burger King. “It’ll do” he shrugged when setting up the camera on day one, and it had been the production ethos ever since. But maybe now was the time to make a change. Dialogue such as “We’re like food in a bowl” and “Can you stop being Archaeologists for 5 minutes and act like human beings!?” can only get you so far.
He mulls on this thought. Plays with it, loses himself in it. Then out of the perpetual dessert ahead the assistant director approaches, asks him why they’re doing a wide shot featuring all of the cast in this found footage movie. Oh damn, found footage, he had forgot. Had he made this error more than once? Days were starting to blur together, nothing was certain anymore. The A.D asks if this means they’ll have to get rid of that shot where the camera tracks up into space and looks down on earth. So he had forgotten before. Oh well.
“Are you kidding? That’ll take… effort”.
No. He has more pressing matters to attend to. The visual effects people are on the phone asking if he really wants his monsters to look like the rabbit creatures from the 2002 Scooby Doo movie. Amateurs. Why can’t they understand his dream? Out here, a man has to come to terms with who he really is. Who is Levasseur? A visionary. They might not see that now. But they will. They will. He looks up to the sky. There are no clouds. Just the vast expanse of infinite space. No one to tell them what to do. Here everything plays by his rules. He returns his gaze down, walks onto set.
Let’s just get this over with. The heat is baring down too hard. Overwhelmed by the stress of the job, the pressure, it’s all too much. One final push. Then home.
“And action!” His mouth makes the sound, but his mind doesn’t comprehend the words. Then it begins. Indistinct noises. Confused inept actors running around in the dark. He doesn’t listen. Everything around him is a blur. Eventually the murmuring stops.
“That’s a wrap.”
Sighs of relief. People talk at him. Pay cheques are taken. Flights home are boarded. A trailer is cut. Distribution. Exhibition. Ticket’s purchased. Projection. Cinema dies a little.
The Uttermost ends of the earth flow sombre under an overcast sky. Leading into the heart of an immense darkness.
The Pyramid (2014), directed by Grégory Levasseur , is distributed in UK cinemas by Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 15.