Bosoms and Neglect happens to be a very excellent play by John Guare, but I’m referring to something else. Every time I check out the latest “hot” web series (you know the ones that are getting millions of hits while Gemini Rising struggles to find an audience) I’ve noticed that there are a lot of shots where girls either take their shirts off, or they don’t even bother wearing any. Hmmmm, titillating concept, although personally I’ve always preferred the covered from head to toe allure of Garbo to the shove-her-skanky-crotch-in-your-face Madonna (now I ask you, who’s sexier?)
but, hey that’s me. I’m not a guy, although I do engage my animus once in awhile.
It’s a funny story. We were shooting the last episode of GR in that sleazy motel on Route 13 and while doing the poker playing scene, I recall almost telling Chris to tilt the camera down to get Cat Miller’s, the actress playing Miss Hershey, beautiful bustline in the shot, but I stopped myself because I questioned my motivation. I can’t honestly say that it was an artistic as opposed to a cheap, calculated impulse to exploit a situation. You see this stuff seeps into your brain even if you try not to let it. Later, when we were looking at the footage I told Chris about this and he said, “No, that would have been wrong.” “I know,” I said, which is why I stopped myself. Chris is very pure (he may have a dirty mind like the rest of us, but as an artist he’s pure) and he’s kept me on track before. You know a lot of people may say, “What’s the big deal? Show some T & A!” A lot of people do this, so really, I’d rather buck the trend and keep it pure. What I mean by keeping it pure is a bit difficult to explain, but I suppose for me the difference is in motivation. There is a difference between the artistic motivation and the calculated one. I suppose sometimes that line gets blurred, and most of these oafs who call themselves filmmakers today wouldn’t even know that line because they have as much sensitivity and artistic sensibility as a block of cement, but they’re are all about the “bottom line” which translates to the cleavage line most of the time. Little boys like to play with their toy cameras and stick them down girls’ blouses and up their skirts..haw, haw, haw. Clowns, man, fucking clowns! And us women? Is that temporary power you gain in that situation worth what you lose when you give into that shit? Take it from a once(still?) hot babe who’s now pushing 50!–Never sell yourself short. EVER!! Or to put it differently, don’t put out!
There are times when showing a character in a revealing outfit or no outfit at all is appropriate. For example, when we were shooting GR6, the same actress Cat Miller was playing Lizzie, the teenage runaway, and we set up the shot where she is talking to Robert on this wooden bench that had these rusty nails sticking out of it. Cat was kind of straddling those nails to avoid getting impaled and I really liked how her legs were spread in the scene because Lizzie would do that, unconsciously, so we kept it and it worked. Plus those nails became an image that underscored the sexual tension of the scene. Will most people pick up on that? No, but it’s there.
Sometimes an actor acts with his dick or an actress with her boobs or crotch. You use what you’ve got because we all do it in life. But an actor acting with his dick because the character would do that (his best acting job ever in my opinion)
is different from me being a sleazy filmmaker just focusing on his dick because it’s getting me off. That’s crossing into something else, like porn, or just shitty filmmaking. Like I said, it’s a fine line, and a fun line to dance along as an artist sometimes to find out where that line is. I suppose I found that line in that poker scene and I’m glad I held back. Like I’ve said before, there is sex in Gemini Rising, but mostly it is icky sex because that’s what we’re finding as we’re mining for truth. It’s not about making yourself feel good. Truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. I don’t know whose quote that is, but I like it.
I suppose the irony is that we have some really beautiful women (and men) in GR. Maybe we would have gotten more YouTube hits if we had the girls standing in the mud topless wearing only loin cloths instead of the guys, but that’s not what we’re going for. Neglected or not, we’re staying true. Life is short. Art is long. Stay true.