Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 26 March 2010 00:00
Murder was the driving force at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum train yard, Friday, March 19. The closing scene of All God’s Creatures, an Indy film was being shot on location, inside the restored Ping Pong coach. The writer/actors Josh Folan and Adam Barnett; with actress Jessica Kaye; and a gallon of blood - were all coming together to create the finish of the film.
OBRM Chairman Ben Jankowski had spent the afternoon in Oyster Bay with the crew. He said, “It’s an Indy film. They reached out to us.” Nine people, the cast of three and the crew were dining at Canterbury Ales at around 7 p.m. The shooting would take place after dark and ended at 2 a.m. “It’s a romantic thriller film, a psychological drama,” said Mr. Jankowski.
“Our contribution is the Ping Pong car that was last operated in 1974. The movie has been shot all over New York City: in Riverside Park, in subways, and there is a train scene. Ours will be the final scene, shot here. We should have the first release of the film,” he suggested optimistically.
The shooting was done inside the car, on the stairs entering it and at the perimeter of the yard. That was where they began, at around 8 p.m. with actress Jessica Kaye (as Delia Maitlin) on the ground, near one of the yard gates, with Josh Folan (as Jon Smith) hovering over her.
The actors used the OBRM Preview Center on Audrey Avenue to get made up. There were the three actors, the makeup expert and a sound mixer.
Actor Adam Barnett plays the role of Sean Maitlin. He is an actor and screenwriter.
Jessica Kaye is the lead. Her face is framed with a mass of soft curls. She got her MFA at Columbia University.
Ryan Palmer, (blonde guy) the sound mixer was there.
Josh Folan, producer of Oberlin, Ohio, who has been in NYC for five years, is also an actor and has the lead role of Jon Smith, serial killer slash boyfriend.
“The production started in January,” said producer Folan. “March 1 was the first day of shooting. This is the 16th day of production and the last day of the shooting.”
The film is funded with both his and investment money. “People write us checks and it’s a little of my own money,” said Josh.
The post production work will be done in May to mid-June and Julyish, he said. Nitty Gritty Studio with two co-directors, Frank Licata and Ryan Charles, will be working with the film to fine tune the drama. The producers are Josh Folan and Matt Jared. Josh Folan is the writer.
The plot is contemporary, “Beyond contemporary”, said Josh. “It’s a love story between a serial killer, who I play, and a woman from a broken home. She suffered sexual abuse from her stepfather. She leaves home – and a little sister behind – and plans to pull her little sister out of the home as soon as she can. Meanwhile, to earn a living she turns to prostitution. The theme of the 90-minute film is everybody is entitled to love whatever the life they lead.”
The film has a website: All God’s Creatures Film.com. It gives the following synopsis of the play. “Jon Smith, a creature of habit, spends his days working as a barista at a local mom and pop coffee shop on the upper west side of Manhattan. When night falls he is a creature of a different breed, succumbing to his urge to savagely kill the “filthy” young women of the good City of New York. When Jon meets Delia, a good natured but troubled young woman on the run from her past, Jon is forced to confront something far more terrifying than anything he has ever before encountered in all the dark affairs of his life - himself. Brought to question his routine by the company of this mysterious and beautiful creature, Jon will examine the true nature of what it means to be a monster and ultimately discover that love is not only for a chosen few, but for all God’s creatures.”
While Mr. Folan is the original writer of the screen play, he had “Alan Smithy” polish it up before production.” Well-known writers often work on a play without giving their name to the production, although when it turns out successfully that often changes.
As the company works on the film, they are still considering the ending. The abusing stepfather is getting knifed, but he might not be the only one to be covered in blood in the Ping Pong coach. Jessica may decide that letting a serial killer live for a few more years might not be the thing to do. Therefore the final scenes will be shot with an ambiguous twist – that is until the directors finally look at the product and make the final decisions to create the piece.
Finding the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum took some work. Mr. Folan said he contacted the Film Commissioners Association and they referred him to the Suffolk County Film Commission who contacted Bill Bell, the development director of the museum.
Adam said, “She kills me tonight. This is my demise scene. I’m not one of the good guys, but neither is he [Josh who plays Jon Smith, serial killer]. She picked someone like her old dad.”
Josh said the challenge of the role is, “Being able to do something you can’t do in real life. That’s the thing.”
Currently Adam is working on a 15 minute short for – of course, A 15-Minute Film Festival. It’s about a young couple; the boy, who is abusive; and an older man; and the girl who is abused by the younger man and ends up in a relationship “with the older man whom she is better off with,” he added. He is also trying to raise money for a future film with a subject matter “that’s never been done before.”
He said he was hawking it in 1997-98 to a relative of Sylvester Stallone who got the actor interested in optioning it. This summer Adam plans on re-writing the script. “You put it away for a while and then it comes to life again,” he said.
[That was the story Quentin Tarantino told when he said his Inglorius Basterds happened. The script laid fallow for many years until he suddenly turned to it again, seeing it as relevant and worth finishing.]
By now, as they chatted in the Preview Center, Jessica was having her makeup applied by Aubrey Neal. The makeup is very subtle, nothing like stage makeup. “We’re shooting in HD, high definition, that’s what everything is being done in today,” said Jessica.
As for rehearsals, Josh said, “Indies don’t allow time for that. Jess and I did take one afternoon to go through the script.”
“It’s all very intuitive,” said Jessica. She studied at Columbia University, four years undergraduate work and three for her masters. She has appeared as Viola in Twelfth Night; Julie in Miss Julie; Nina in The Seagull; and Rebecca Lewis on One Life to Live, a soap.
During the evening, the actors were donning their own personal clothing – for the scenes. This is an Indy after all.
Josh said he was discussing the film with Bill Bell, telling him that his character was a meticulous individual. “I told him I was using a horsehair shaving brush. Bill and I were talking through emails. He told me ‘If Jon [the serial killer] was a shaving enthusiast he would be using a Bager Belly Hair Brush.’ So, Bill Bell will be listed as the Shaving Consultant.”
Were they nervous, getting ready in the Preview Center? “No,” said Josh. “At this point of the game, no. It’s the last day and we’re ready to wrap it up. Four weeks ago the answer would have been yes.”
Friday night they had three and 5/8’s of a page of script to complete. “That should take four hours,” said Josh. “I schedule an eighth of a page taking between 15 and 30 minutes.”
Bill Bell said the TV series Law and Order often shoots in Sea Cliff, where he lives. “Bodies can wash up on the shore there. They are rubber dummies, dressed. I got to see it a couple of times,” he said.
In spite of Josh’s saying he wasn’t nervous, there was a tightening of the air in the room. The truck was outside and they were beginning to exit. “Let’s go finish a movie, shall we,” said Jessica.
Makeup expert Aubrey Neal held up a plastic bottle with a dark red colored liquid inside – “It’s a gallon of blood,” she said.
About 10 minutes later, the actors had driven down South Street to where the crew had set up the camera and lights for the first scene that night. Jessica was getting down on the ground in front of the green hurricane fence entrance to the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum yard. History was being made.
There is a chance… a small chance… that the film might be viewed at the Oyster Bay High School Performing Arts Center. It’s all up to chance and the vagaries of creating something new, never before seen, and surprising and pleasing the public.
Matt Jared, producer of Sid and Nancy Productions had an added explanation of the film process in an email to Bill Bell, thanking him for the use of the OBRM. Mr. Jared said, “Once again, thank you for allowing us to use the Railroad Museum. The shots look beautiful and we look forward to sending you a copy.”
He added, “Please say (in the release) that NYEH Entertainment, Sid and Nancy Productions and Nitty Gritty Studios will be shooting a scene.
“The film is a result of the coming together of the three production companies and we want all the marketing materials to reflect that idea,” he said. It takes a lot of people working together to produce a film.
Add to that the work done earlier by the OBRM volunteers who recently restored the Ping Pong coach.
Bill Bell wrote of the car on the OBRM website: “To the average commuter on the LIRR during the middle of the 20th century, there is probably nothing that symbolized their hours spent riding the rails more than the inside of a Ping Pong coach. The P-54 class coach operated on the LIRR from 1923 to 1974. The nickname ‘Ping Pong’ was given to them due to the rougher ride they provided, when compared to the heavier wooden coaches they replaced.
“This car, #7433, was rescued from the scrap yard thanks to the hard work of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum leadership and the generosity of Island Rail, LLC, a corporate sponsor of the project. To the best of our knowledge, #7433 is the last of its kind to be preserved with original seating and equipment. This car is a very important piece of LIRR heritage, and the board hopes you are as excited about its preservation as they are.
“The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of Long Island’s railroad history. The Museum’s Preview Center at 102 Audrey Avenue is open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. [during Cruise Nights]. It features interactive, hands-on audio visual exhibits, an operating O-gauge train layout, descriptions of the plans for the Museum, and a gift shop. For more information visit the website at www.OBRM.org.”
Mr. Bell said a new and up-to-date OBRM website will soon be up and running.