Crafting a Midnight Kiss - Behind-the-Scenes of a Lo-Fi Indie
The director and stars of In Search of a Midnight Kiss tell us about making the movie.
AH: The acting was kickass and the way it was looking and unfolding was just special. There was such a fucking energy charge when we watched that footage and realised it was working. We kept going over eight days without even thinking of stopping, because it was borne out of such frustration and hunger to make a movie again after being told no and waiting for ages and being told by agents not to go off and make this sort of movie.
SS: We all fired our management and agents, every one of us. They thought it was a waste of time. They didn't understand what was happening. It was fucking crazy!
AH: So we'd shoot all day and then we'd go home and work on what we wanted to do the next day. I'd rewrite it based on improvisations that we'd worked out and based on the way the script was playing when it was performed. We'd go into Brian's room - Jacob's room in the movie - and watch dailies every night. Most of the time we'd all crash at the apartment.
SS: In our wardrobe - I slept in that fur coat many, many times...
SM: We'd wake up at 6 in the morning, but Alex didn't sleep for the whole nine days, when we weren't working he was writing.
AH: We'd just get out of the house in the morning, hit the streets of LA and start over again. And we're in LA so we're terrified that at any moment we're going to get stopped or told we can't shoot. We were doing these really emotional scenes, saying, "Sara has to be crying on the subway in 45 seconds or the cops are going to come and kick us out."
SS: As an actor it was pretty hard to be in those conditions where you're scared of getting caught but you've got to do this really emotional scene and you've got to do it fast. With all these people staring at you thinking, What the hell is wrong with that girl? She keeps crying!
AH: So we shot about two thirds of the movie and Robert said he had to go back to Austin. When we began he didn't even know we were going to make a feature, he thought we'd make a short. "I'll go to the beach for a few days, I'll hang out, it'll be good."
SM: Robert saw a bowling alley one day when we were driving past the beach and he said, "This'll be great, I'll go to the beach all day, bowl all night!"
AH: At the point he left we'd shot enough that I was able to assemble something and get him back. We were able to pull most of the crew back together to do another eight days and the movie was pretty much done after that. There were a couple of pickup days over the course of editing. There were a couple of set pieces that we couldn't get in time. The theatre was the toughest.
SS: There were all these beautiful theatres that we wanted to use but some of them were being used by Spider-Man and others just wanted so much money. I remember we made friends with the guy who owned the Burger shack outside this one theatre and I said we should give him some cash and see if he'll let us in at 4AM to shoot. It was almost impossible to get into these theatres.
AH: It was the Tower Theatre, which was in the ending of Mulholland Drive, and I really wanted to shoot there because of that movie, but it was so hard. Seth Caplan, the producer, kept being persistent and finally got a favour from somebody that ran the Million Dollar Theatre which was made in the nineteen teens. It's a glorious theatre that's sitting there completely unused for the most part.
SS: Made of "fucking hard wood," which was a line that got cut out of the movie!
BM: The guy we spoke to at the theatre was a friend of ours, Justin Huen, who was in the movie and also got cut out.
AH: That's one of my favourite scenes that we cut. I can't believe we had to cut it, but time just didn't allow in the first act for us to put that in. There's actually a scene whereJohn Leguizamo; very charming and funny but in a really down-to-earth way.