Nadeem’s “Reversed” Diaries #2

Reversed Diary – 29th October 2011

My second day sees an early start and a relatively late finish. I meet Vince, Erika, Victoria Hopkins (Asia), Jade(O), Eirik Bar (Luca) and Hajnalka Wray (V) outside Brixton station and off we go. The distinctively voiced Anglo-German Eirik introduces himself as we climb Brixton Hill, revealing a rather interesting background. His father was an actor, specialising in fat villainous roles and his mother an opera singer. He only took up acting four years ago when he decided to turn a theoretical and intellectual interest into a practical one. He narrowly missed out on becoming the hands of Kindle and the filthy lucre that would have gone with it. Since then his adventures has brought him to a Brixton flat where he is to make love and be murdered.

Patrick (DOP) and his girlfriend Lee join us not longer after we get to Vince’s flat. On a warm October morning, in a cramped little flat with the heating on we all swelter. Soon the heat is lowered and pastries are proffered. Erika gets to work on making the girls look even more beautiful than they already are. There are a few nerves onset as this is ‘nudie day’, when all the sex scenes will be filmed. It is Jade’s first shooting day and the first time Eirik has met his co-stars. Mostly though things remain calm, casual and light hearted sharing stories and banter in the downtime. The passionate Victoria is an intense, fiery, ball of energy. She dances around, poses and gives her all to the film.

Vince, Patrick and Lee decamp in the bedroom ushering in an exotic combination of actors. Erika and I nibble on the pastries and chat to whoever happens to be left out of the shenanigans. Occasionally disturbing cackles emanate from the bedroom, resulting in spooked hush. As robed actors wander in and out there are discussions about the politics and morality of onscreen nudity. Including the importance of knowing what is needed and trusting in the director. All the actors are impressed and reassured by Vince’s handling of the scenes. Jade is impressed by the way Eirik and Hajnalka so confidently handled their own coupling.

After sex follows death. Today sees two of the characters killed off. Before that we get to see some monstrous special effects. Eirik’s left hand is to be transformed into a tentacled creatureish (but most definitely not zombieish) hand for a hallucinogenic bedroom scene. This involves the bizarre sight of Erika blowing Eirik’s hand to help the application dry. His pretty hand soon becomes a veiny, grey-green, latex atrocity; there is beauty to be found in its profound ugliness. Despite this Erika is not happy and repeatedly implores Eirik not to look at it. Soon Hajnalka and Eirik are killed off in a splatter of blood. The kitchen and the two actors are drenched in deep red blood. It is also Eirik’s final day with the Reversed crew. He leaves just as Zoe (Laura) and Dan (John) arrive, meeting them for the first and (until the wrap party) last time.

The once busting flat is a lot quieter with the departure of Victoria, Jade, Hajnalka and Eirik. This is merely the calm before the storm. Dan and Zoe’s scene is an emotionally and physically intense scene. As they rehearse the scene again and again, their performances become louder, stronger and increasingly visceral. What will the neighbors think? Especially those across the road who are getting changed into Halloween gear. Or those in the flat below as Zoe falls to the floor with a thud before Dan delivers the final blow. Despite Dan’s reservations about how much actual force to use, he acquits himself well as the brutal boyfriend. As on Sunday the couple get through their scenes rapidly, although not quite in one take this time. They leave early and happy. As do I.

–Nadeem Ali.

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