ABOUT THE PRODUCTION: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE FILMMAKERS AND CAST
Sally Jo Effenson (Producer): “Josh responded to the material very quickly after it was submitted to him. He probably had the firmest grip on the material of everyone involved in production. The day we shot the exterior boat scenes in the snow was the most intense day of shooting more so for Josh, than anyone else on the production. We had finished shooting out the harbor, and were in the process of removing the boats out of the water. Only the Hesperus remained. We were shooting the sail maker shop across the street in a beautiful old barn when the snow began to fall. Josh called all of us together and said we had to go back to the harbor to shoot the snow and the solitary and emotional breakdown his character experiences. We agreed to shoot an additional day. Originally, it was to be only the camera crew, but after a late night meeting, the entire crew agreed they wanted to be there to support Josh. He was not part of this meeting, and did not know about the decision. The next day, he and the camera crew arrived to set very early in the morning. As they were filming, the rest of the crew arrived quietly and gave him encouragement with their presence. He was very moved, and said he felt the need to deliver a performance that would be reflective of the dedication and belief we all had in him. He and Elliot, our Director of Photography, were very highly collaborative on shot selections, and I think that kind of involvement and collaboration is like lightening in a bottle.”
Josh Lucas (The Young Mariner): “The film has really been this process of a tiny group of filmmakers trying to capture these different seasons and these different times and different levels of his degeneration my character goes through. It’s been a film that has been about capturing death in a way about capturing the ultimate level of human sadness and tragedy”
James Cromwell (Old Mariner): “It’s a gentle and deeply felt and examined story about a seminal event in life.”
Ayelet Zurer (Waitress): “When I read the script the first time I was terribly moved. It just had an impact, like a really good haiku poem or just a really profound piece of literature. It’s a journey that beings in one place and ends up in another. So you need time, you need space, and you need the weather to support that.
So the fact that I could be in the coffee place working, step outside and be in the harbor and touch the water then the snow came in and we had this wild day of shooting outside really supported that theme for me that the space had something to do with the story.”
Sharon Lomofsky (Set Designer): “The set is a working bond. We wanted it right on the ocean and we were fortunate enough to find one right across the marina, which was pure luck. We built in these cedar glass doors so you had views over the bay so we built those and it opens up this beautiful vista onto the water. One of the quotes the Old Mariner has on his wall is, ‘You can’t adjust the wind but you can adjust your sails.’ I think that’s become a running metaphor for this movie. We hung all of these beautiful sails that are going to be backlit and it’s sort of a guy who is here but who is the color of the movie and he has so much to give and so much to learn from.”
Susanna Puisto (Costume Designer):
A native of Finland, Susanna Puisto has brought her style and vision to the silver screen since the early 90’s. She started out styling music videos and commercials for many of the hottest directors including Gore Verbinski. Her leap into the world of feature films came in a Matt Le Blanc starrer called Looking Italian, Susanna’s other film credits include From The Rough (Taraji P. Henson, Michael Clarke Dunkan, Tom Felton), MacGruber (Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, Ryan Phillippe), Beyond A Reasonable (Michael Douglas) Doubt; Cleaner (Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Eva Mendes), American Venus (Rebecca de Mornay), Shade (Gabriel Byrne, Sylvester Stallone, Jamie Foxx, Melanie Griffith, Thandie Newton, Stuart Townsend), Under the Hula Moon (Steven Baldwin, Chris Penn, Emily Lloyd), Still Breathing (Brendan Frazer), Gunshy (William Petersen, Diane Lane), Primary Suspect (William Baldwin, Gregg Araki directed Splendor, Pilgrim (Ray Liotta), Fascination (Jacqueline Bissette) amongst others.
Susanna’s television credits include creating the looks for the stylish Body Of Proof (Season 2 Dana Delany, Jeri Ryan) Buffy the Vampire Slayer the ultra hip, Dead at 21 for MTV and the CBS hit How I Met Your Mother.
Elliot Davis (Director of Photography): The unifying factor for me in this film is nature, and I looked at the grieving process in more of a Zen kind of way, that the Young Mariner is working thought it as a meditation.”
Chris Eyre (Director): The most challenging obstacle we overcame was the weather in this movie, we dodged a few bullets along the way but we got extremely lucky with the weather. If you look at the end of the movie and you see the sunsets and you look at some of the middle of the movie and you see the snow that was purely the karma of the movie and that was probably the biggest challenge of us interfacing with it.
Chris Eyre (Director): “I became a filmmaker when I started taking pictures as a teenager. I photographed everything -- people, animals and many landscapes. For this film, we use landscapes as atmosphere to help tell the characters stories. Those are the type of movies I like best, one’s that could come from a lost photograph.
“Given the atmosphere of the script and the organic nature of the character’s journey over the course of a year in the harbor with the elements, I was very aware I didn’t want it to feel staged or over-rehearsed. I wanted it to feel real, spirited and weatherly. After planning our shots and some rehearsing, we came up with a solution that was recited on set in situations that either weren’t working or when it seemed we needed more. We would say, “Let it reveal itself.” And, it always does. The approach was to let the film speak.”
Sally Jo Effenson (Producer): “Thematically, from a filmmaking perspective, I was intrigued with exploring communicating a story driven visually as opposed to reliance upon dialogue. Cinema is a visual medium. Classic mis-a vis is rarely scene in filmmaking today. Creating a visceral reaction without conventional and overused formula of contemporary independent films was the opportunity. The classical themes in the story of redemption, the importance of self-forgiveness and the human need for connection and community were presenting themselves in a unique format. I also was excited to find a script where every creative department, from cast to sound design had a real contribution to making this film work.”