In the 90’s action pictures were all the rage. As a woman, I was fed up with them and I initially thought that the script was just another action film dressed up as a period piece.
I genuinely liked all of the cast members very much. Steve had a wicked sense of humor. I remember Russell coming to my rescue, once. I watched Eric evolve before everyone’s eyes. Maurice loved what he did, so. He treated his character with respect, down to the costuming.
Saving Milly was a break from this effort because I felt that it was time to be part of something that could shed light on a disease everyone feels they know, when most know so little.
My driver Kellie Frost and I would race these fellows home and they were always faster on the highway. We did the same with Daniel and his driver, and thus began a long series of jokes and competitions to alleviate the impossible hours and tensions this film provoked.
Sometimes I’ll turn the channel and there’s the movie and I can honestly say that those last few minutes always fascinate me. It’s one of the rare instances when image, music, and drama work effectively.
Because of the tension and difficulty, I remember trying to do the silliest things when we weren’t rolling cameras, anything to lift the spirits. But once on set, it was important to have full concentration.
The scene was attempted a second time, up on top of the fort, and cameras didn’t even roll. Michael, though he wasn’t admitting it, wasn’t sure how to shoot the scene.
Part of Michael’s uniqueness, I think, comes from the fact that he worked with music. He had a tape which he gave me with many different compositions, really eclectic. These pieces of music were sources of inspiration.
I remember feeling that Michael was extremely sensitive when it came to that moment. Most directors are and they usually rely, at least in my experience, on the actress to take over. And Michael is a gentleman.
I remember nearly having a fit of the giggles during the reading because dear Daniel was SO respectful and serious and I was finding the whole situation funny because I was speaking to his profile.
For the first two weeks of filming, I remember bristling at some of the occurrences on the set, none of which directly involved me. Then I surrendered to the environment, to Michael’s method, and became much happier, even though no one knew what to expect.
We were all so different, temperamentally from one another, it’s impossible to believe that we were together for so long. The cast and crew. How could we be more different from one another? It’s difficult to imagine. But something lovely came of it.
The weather was turning cold and I remember that Dante was using nothing but natural light as his electric department was away, prepping the scene in the cave. We stayed on that rock for the whole day.
I phoned Joe Roth, who was head of the studio at the time, and told him how beautiful the film was, and that I was fully ready to support it, that Michael’s work was wonderful and I imagined that Daniel would feel the same. He listened quietly and read between the lines.
He also didn’t like a lock of my hair and said that he couldn’t get into the moment without the hair being just right. I quietly knew that he was anxious and that the hairdo wasn’t the real issue. But we all let it go and came back to the scene sometime later.
I’ve never returned to the locations. I do remember certain days more clearly than others and certain locations with a sense of nostalgia. Perhaps one day, I’ll bring my daughter to see them, if she’s interested.
As we were leaving the Huron camp, it was awkward filming. I think that the Huron watching us was there to create tension – maybe we wouldn’t get out. Nothing complicated.
There came a point in time when Michael was under a great deal of pressure to alter the film in a way that was just disturbing to him. I had not seen the movie, yet. He phoned me in July of ’92 to look at his version.
It was exactly what was released two months later with the exception of a couple of reaction shots which we went back in to get. I liked the movie very much and asked him what the studio’s problem was. I felt that he was at a point where they might have worn him down.
The Kiss scene was attempted three times. The first was in a peculiar spot of the fort on the ground level. It felt forced to me, and I knew right away that, in spite of what others were saying, it was dead wrong.
Michael is a funny character, for whom I have a great deal of affection. He sat across his desk and seemed to be a bit of a blunt fellow. We began talking about the characters and he opened up about his vision.
There were mornings in the make-up trailer where I’d have fits of laughter because of the extraordinary daily events of the shoot. Sometimes, it was all too much to believe. But the wildest things happened.
I’m reticent to say much more, but we would like to begin in the coming year. We’d like to shoot through the seasons because of the passage of time. This project is the great love of my life.