On day two of the shoot for “The Pit and the Pendulum – a musicabre” there was blood on the floor. My head got conked. A gash opened just below my hairline. And droplets of blood rained onto the floor of the set.
Below is the culprit that did me in. A metal helmet, the kind Spanish soldiers of the 17th century wore.
The vicious helmet was being worn by Gonzalo Trigueros, who along with Mathew Gnagy plays one of the soldiers arresting my character to bring him before the judges of the Inquisition. That’s Mathew and Gonzalo above. You might remember Mathew as one of the on screen cello players in “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre“, my first short film musical Poe adaptation.
Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story “The Pit and the Pendulum” begins with the judges of the Inquisition sentencing the protagonist to death. In my film we have a prolog showing the protagonist’s brutal arrest in his garret.
It got a little more brutal than intended. The brutality’s consequences got a little more real as well.
Here I am, as seen in the on set monitor, getting ready for shooting the soldiers’ entrance into the garret. Sami Eddy is checking my hair ribbon.
This will be the last time we would be able to shoot my forehead with my hair pulled back like that. After this upcoming shot we will be required to cover up the wound on my forehead with hair strands. Luckily the plan always was for the soldiers to pull the ribbon tying my ponytail back out of my hair when they assault me in this scene.
Our one take from this angle. After the accident we would need to rethink how we shoot and edit this moment…
Me getting into character, a composer in the 17th century. We have already shot me hearing the commotion of the soldiers entering the building and coming up several flights of stairs to reach me in my garret lodgings. I know they are coming for me and I am feverishly trying to scribble a few more notes on parchment paper before I am dragged away.
The soldiers enter the garret. We had practiced this entrance plus the subsequent action of me being grabbed, thrown to the floor and kicked, multiple times. What we hadn’t done was practice it with the soldiers wearing their headgear. Turns out the metal helmet was not fitting tightly enough on Gonzalos’ head to stay put during fast violent movement. As soon as he burst through the door he had to adjust the helmet. Which basically already ruined the shot that was originally intended to flow from entrance to manhandling to kicked on the floor in one unedited take. But no one called cut – I the director certainly didn’t since I didn’t see the helmet wobble – and frankly, it all happened so fast, no one could have been expected to call cut in time.
The soldiers grab me and pull me off my chair away from the desk.
And this is the moment the helmet falls off Gonzalos’ head and hits me on the noggin.Continue reading