Lois Lowry's Blog
I seem to need to apologize once more for Failure To Post. I think Facebook has sucked some posting energy from me but I am aware that many, many of you are not my Facebook Friends...I reserve that for family and real friends...and I should be more attentive to this broader, less "exclusive" site.
At any rate: here I am again. And part of my silence, actually, has been the result of...as usual...too much travelling. But fun travelling! I whooshed off to Cape Town, South Africa to spend a few days on the movie set; they are filming "The GIver" there.
Cape Town is a fabuous city and I had been disappointed by the fact that although I had been in South Africa before, I had not had time to go to Cape Town. And sadly, though I was there..and loved it...I did not have time, this trip, to do the usual toursty things. No visit to Robben Isand. No trip to the top of Table Mountain.
Instead, I spent all my available time watching the filming of the movie. The movie folk (for lack of a better designation) were kind enough to let me roam behind the scenes...and behind the scenes of filmmaking is the thing that interests me the most. Perhaps because I am a highly visiual person who once worked as a photographer, I am fascinated by the process of visual images re-creating a story that existed only in words.
"The Giver" is a largely introspective book. Not much action. A movie has to approach the story differently. I knew that from the get-go and so was neither suprised nor disappointed that they had to add scenes that are not in the book, had to put in action and action-filled suspense.
They are doing it well. The thing that mpst impressed me during my tome there as observer was the care and meticulous attention being paid to the creation of the film. The time each scene takes! Rehearse. Set the lights. Rehearse some more. Shoot. Cut. Re-set everything. Shoot again. Cut. And again.
The director, Phillip Noyce, has seemingly limitless energy. There were days they worked for 12 hours, and in the 12th hour...as the first...Phil was on his feet, thinking, suggesting, changing, explaining, groaning, laughing, showing, and checking on details. (They were shooting the scene of the father and the newborn twin. Important scene. Tough scene. The question arose: Where exactly should the needle be inserted? I put in my two cents, remembering I had asked the question of my physician brother when I wrote the book. But Phillip double-checked by getting on the phone to a local doctor.)
This , wiht his mom, is one of the twin babies who plays Gabe:
And here I am with Jeff, at dinner
I am not allowed to post a photo of it but I will tell you that the set design for the interior of The Giver's dwelling is absolutely magnificent. Dazzling. And I think it is okay to tell you that they (the movie people) bought 22,000 used books in Cape Town to create that set. (Later, they wllbe donated someplace)
They also have built several dwellings...the places where Jonas, Fiona, and others live...which are quite substantial and will later be donated to become housing for the poor.
The actors, also, worked tirelessly, but much of their time (unlike the director's) was spent waiting. Doing the same scene again and again. ("This time tilt your head a little to the left") The actors playing the three kids—Jonas, Asher, and Fiona—are wonderful young people. In fact, all of the actors who were there (Meryl Streep was arriving after I left; and Taylor Swift had already filmed her small role and was gone)—Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skaarsgard—could not have been more pleasant. No one made me feel as if they were thinking: Oh God, what is SHE doing here?
The exterior landscape scenes...after the boys takes the baby and runs away...will be spectacular because of the South African landscape which is so vast, so beauitful, and so varied.
The months to come, after the filmingis complete, will deal with the editing process, which to me is the most interesting. I did get to sit in the editing room in Cape Town and see a bit. But most of it will done in New York, later.
I'll add a few photos that don't reveal any scenery or costumes:
This, of course, is Jonas, with Gabe:
And now I am shortly (tomorrow) off to Cuba. No, no movie stuff happening there, exvept the Cuba FIlm Festival.. Just a vacation with an adventurous friend.