I did it with Lange in Baltimore in 1989 and I remember the experience fondly.
Doing it with two-time Academy Award winning actress, Jessica Lange was fun. While I enjoyed the time; she was extraordinarily intense about it.
After working it for nearly eleven hours, I was exhausted. She was just catching her second wind. Lange was a year older than me, yet she had so much more stamina. I guess that comes from experience. She was a pro. I tried to learn from her.
It felt a bit strange to do it with her in an actual, working hospital. It was especially strange to do it in Baltimore’s most historic and venerable hospital: Johns Hopkins on Wolfe Street.
Now then, just so you know, I’ve done it in other hospitals with other women, including Molly Ringwald. However, doing it in Hopkins was off-the-charts crazy.
I walked in the front door of Hopkins and looked up at the beautiful Carrara marble statue of Jesus—arms stretched out—staring down at me, welcoming me. Just then, three Catholic Sisters walked toward me, touched their Rosaries, nodded and said, as they passed, “Good morning, Father”.
I was dressed in working clerical dress and collar, had a Bible in my hand, and didn’t know how to properly respond. I smiled and nodded respectfully at them and walked on. Apparently wardrobe had put together a convincing outfit.
Yes, Jessica Lange and I did it together. We worked on the feature film, Men Don’t Leave.
Now then, what’s wrong with the two scenes that appear in the movie back-to-back? (See production stills, above.)
Apparently, Men Don’t Leave‘s film editor, Richard Chew, was asleep at his Moviola when he marked these scenes to be cut together.
Background players, extras, and atmosphere are often used in multiple scenes, in different wardrobe, over the course of a work day. But they are never used in two scenes where they can be identified with any principal actor and they are never, ever used wearing different wardrobe in two scenes where they could be identified with the star. I was and it was fun.
By way of closing out this post, here’s a thanks to the State of Maryland: Thanks for keeping the incentives and tax credits meaningful to production companies.
When Maryland loses production work our state and cities lose income. We also lose the bragging rights that bring future productions to our state. We lose visitors who come to see locations and movie history.
When Maryland loses production work, Maryland loses many of our local creatives—who bring so much to Baltimore and Maryland—to other states and other cities.
When Maryland loses production work, Maryland loses the respect of local filmmakers, both seasoned and up-and-coming.
Thanks Maryland, for keeping our state such a sought-after location for film.