YOU ARE NOW UNDER OUR CONTROL

P R E D A T O R

 

“Coyle and Baxley,” or Baxley and Coyle? We just might have to shoot each other before we figure this out…

 

Thought I’d take a few minutes of precious life to offer up, to you, a personally curated, guided tour of what a typical day shooting the new PREDATOR looked like. Buckle up, Yautja fans…

 

SHOOT DAY 44:

The day started at about 5 pm. We piled into the transpo vans and headed for the black hills, watching the sunset, usually arguing along the way about who was going to get killed that day. (“Me, me!”) We hit base camp around an hour later, grabbed some grub and coffee and then pile into the trailers to don our gear. Our Predator gear.

Here we have Baxley’s necklace, (no, he’s not into the Skydaddy, but a woman he had a very brief affair with put it on him one day and the twitching stopped, if only for a moment. Baxley thinks it was just a coincidence, but the sex was pretty good, so he leaves it on. How’s that for backstory?), some kneepads, boots and socks.

 

The red doohicky keeps appearing in my boots at the beginning of each day. I’m not sure why. Whatever it is, it looks state of the art.

 

After a brief but tortuous ordeal with the lady with the scissors and the man with the brush, powder and paint, we assemble outside our trailers and begin the long journey to set. Everyone has to stick together because some of us have a tremendous knack for getting lost (ok no names, no names Olivia).

The path is serpentine. The air is misty and cold. Hooded figures wave red lanterns and chant under their breath. I’m not sure but it sounds a lot like, “Madness… madness….”

 

Soon we approach the gate. It is littered with the detritus of those who have tried and failed to enter here.  Woe to thee.

 

Lone figures wander through the mists and then disappear. Moaning is heard, but faintly. Just the wind… The long walk leads deeper into we know not where.

“That’s because we are lost,” whispers Trey. “Again.” This from Sterling. We ask our handler how much longer. Silence.

 

Finally, a clearing. The woods. Ah yes, the woods: this is where we will make our final stand. For weeks. Or was it months? In the cold and dark… stark staring eyes frozen with confusion, tinged with rage; this is what I see in my fellow thespians (rhymes with lesbians) faces.

Now I know why they keep putting those red things in my boots. To keep me from going insane.

 

Roll call. Yes, someone is missing. You know who. We are all hoping our handlers won’t notice.

They don’t.

After briefly considering sacrificing Jacob (the little stripling in the middle) to Nephthys, goddess of death, we continue on, into the woods.

 

Here’s a tree. Boyd says he’s pretty sure we passed this one before. I say that was yesterday. I take a snapshot to be sure. I’ll check it with the others later.

 

These people have nothing to do with us. Backpackers from Sweden, it turns out. They’ve been lost in the woods for several years. Augusto offers to lead the Swedes back to chocolate, watches, the first hardcore porn film and ABBA. They refuse.

 

“Now this one I know I’ve seen before.”

 

Larry Fong. Master of Light. Larry has asked me, yes me, to take his portrait today. I told Larry he would look much cooler if he raised his arm like that.

Obviously, I was right.

 

This guy is making airplane noises as he glides along (you can kinda tell, right?) all the while barking out complicated instructions. But no one else is around but me. He looks at me. I look at him. Suddenly it dawns on me: it took me eight weeks, but I finally figgered it out. Funny noises, barking orders, sometimes just barking? This guy…

This guy is our director.

(How we see Shane:)

 

(How Shane sees himself:)

 

Now, honestly, I’m not sure what’s going on here. No, it’s not that it was too long ago and I can’t remember. It’s not that it’s a very complicated technical piece of equipment requiring years of patient training and great skill. It’s not that I’ve never seen one before, I have. Lots of times. It’s that one dude down at the end there. What the fuck is he touching?

 

Finally, daybreak. I haven’t done a damn thing except wander around, get lost, find my way back to set, finally find the latrine, (the outhouse, the head, the Taj Mahal), get lost, hope no one finds me, they find me, stumble into the cast tent, (the palace, the mansion, the Taj Mahal) listen to Keegan tell that fucking joke again, try to convince Shane that maybe Baxley should die in this scene, and wonder, as a philosophical question, exactly how deep into the woods I’d have to go in order to jerk off without being seen.

It’s time for me to get angry. Really angry. So angry that I forget exactly why I am angry. But I am.

 

And then this happens.

 

End of day. We stumble back at dawn, exhausted and not really sure why. This is when the thoughts come, racing through my addled brain: What is becoming of the human race? We make movies about aliens invading our planet to hunt us for sport and steal our precious women – women who now demand equal pay, women who won’t stand for the abuse any longer, women who refuse to stay at home and make that baloney sandwich with mustard, hold the crust (good on ya, women!) – but while we fight the freaking aliens, and the religious fundamentalists, and the terrorists, the immigrants, the minorities, the Other, along with D. John Trump (and goddang it ‘mericans, we gonna have fun doin’ it, too!) – while we save the world from various invaders both foreign and domestic, perhaps we should be beginning to wonder: who is going to save us from ourselves?

Probably not this guy. Another day in movieland concludes with a goddamn selfie. Really, Jane?

I’m not even sure where that blood comes from, but it isn’t mine. This time. And that is good.

 

So shut up and dance. If we didn’t have rockin good movies to blow off some steam, to ease some of the pain, to blow some shit up, kill some freakin bad guys and win one for the Gipper every now and again, we’d have blown up ourselves a long time ago.

That’s right, I just said that movies have saved the world. And I meant it.

 

Meanwhile… a lone figure mutters instructions to himself. The crew is long gone; the bone-shattering explosions, just a distant memory. He thinks about what he has done. And he is proud.

 

 

 

art:

Vitalii Smyk

Admira Wijaya

9 responses to “P R E D A T O R”

  1. Geoff says:

    Brilliant. Can’t wait to see this even more now. You ever thought about writing for a travel guide? I think thata be funny af!

  2. John Weber says:

    Looking forward to it, Tom!

  3. Amy Schoofs-Rahne says:

    Nice Twitter pix. How did you get the halo/god light effects with just a cell phone or is it luck, light and location?

  4. HANNAH says:

    A FEW OF THE PHOTOS YOU POSTED HAVE SUCH AN EERIE BEAUTY THEM. THE WRITING IS AUTHENTIC , HUMOROUS AND EVEN POETIC AT TIMES. THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME OUT OF WHAT I’M SURE IS A BUSY SCHEDULE TO SHARE WITH US. MOVIES DO SAVE THE WORLD, AS YOU SAY, THEY GIVE US A BREAK WELL NEEDED BREAK FROM THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE IN WHICH WE ARE ALL INHABITING. PRETTY GREAT TO READ “ONE FOR THE GIPPER!” TOO. KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK!

  5. daniel zirilli says:

    Very interesting and well written tj!

  6. Christian Paugh says:

    Very beautiful well done shots you have taken sir.
    Sounds like a blast of a film . Can’t wait to see it. Thank you for sharing

  7. Darcy says:

    Yay! Love seeing your updates! It’s cool to get inside look at your work! Can’t wait to go to the movies and have a blast with predator!

  8. Sheila Buchsbaum says:

    Looking forward. You put everything into all your roles . you deserve and have my attention.

  9. fascinating stuff as always, Tj. It feels like you have all of the answers to the questions that don’t even exist, yet. & apparently know how to take a great mirror selfie. 😉 Thanks for sharing!! <3 <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *