I do love going on set to see the movie Limestone Cowboy being filmed, admittedly it’s one hell of an experience. For the most part it’s understandable for my simple little mind to comprehend but eventually they sink into stuff like camera lighting and lenses and all that technical mambo jambo (it’s akin to me telling them how I can arms tank dungeons from level 60 to 75 because warriors are over powered killing machines bladestormbladestormbladestorm). So I find myself hanging out with the production design team for the most part and boy can I tell you folks it’s entertaining to no end. The production design team back then consisted of basically 2 people and everyone that Carlos could rope in with his child like enthusiasm (HEY GUYS THERE’S A MASSIVE WALL UNIT AT ST. LUKES WANNA GO THERE AND CARRY THAT THING DOWN TWO FLIGHTS OF STAIRS WOOOO AWESOME GUYS C’MON IT’LL BE GREAT). I have quite a few stories to tell you about these guys but I’ll settle for one which really had me rolling on the ground with laughter when they told me about it , much to their hateful looks.
So the story starts when they get a guy to set us up with a winch to bring up a plethora of things, such as 10 foot olive trees, 20 foot banners and a bunch of other ummm normal stuff you’d carry up with a winch. Now I don’t know exactly what a winch would look like, me being a bookish stay at home sort of chap but apparently there was something going on with this winch. Production design manager, Carlos Debattista described it as ‘a whole lot of steel like steel bars and steel cables and steel everything man’ and going as far as calling it a ‘possessed, maleficent winch from hell’. Needless to say he managed to convince me that the winch was some sort of Lovecraftian horror. (Winch: The forgotten demon of Hell who lords over all things, you might think it’s the seven great demon lords in charge down there but nope , it’s a winch. Also insert pun about the Winch-ester brothers here for supernatural fans)
Now that you have a general idea about this satanic winch try to imagine 5 guys lifting it up a narrow winding apartment staircase unto the roof. From what I could gather it was a gruelling back breaking experience. So they set up the winch and they go downstairs again and start bringing the trees and other assorted items to be lifted up into the courtyard of the apartment block all happy and stuff like wow it’s soon over bugger this, bugger that I want to get to bed.
The moment of truth is nigh, as Jon and Carlos eagerly await their job to be over the winch’s cable starts coming down slowly, and coming, and coming, and coming then nothing. The cable stopped 2 arms lengths away from their heads, Carlos once again commented saying ‘it was like God giving us the finger’ (try to imagine the facial expression of a poor little puppy being told it’s a bad dog and you’ll nail the look on Carlos’ face).
However in their dauntless Take 2 attitude, they rose to the challenge and by rose I mean they made a few phone calls and by challenge I mean brought in a massive crane, bigger is always better. So eventually they loaded everything up and I got there in time to see the scene being shot and watch Jon and Carlos look like they just came back from ‘Nam. Kinda makes me feel bad for showing up fresh from a shower and an air conditioned car.
So remember folks, it’s not just glitz and glamour. Making a movie, sometimes you have to do voodoo rituals and chant Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn to summon winches.