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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Saving Mr. Banks

Wednesday September 05, 2012
Booked
I got a call from Bill Dance, asking after my availability for four days of background work, with a 2pm fitting the next day, for the feature film titled Saving Mr. Banks. Every online posting on that project across which I'd come had been seeking 1960's picture cars.
The film's scene/s in which I'd be participating were set in 1906 Australia, which I was to research for The Look thereof, though my hair had been trimmed a couple of weeks earlier so if the production Hair Department wanted to Do anything with it, they were welcome to do what they would.
Bill instructed to call back on the 20th for the next day's information, as well as calling another number for the fitting information, which was easy enough, my having been to Western Costume for several various project/s in the past.

Thursday September 06, 2012
Fitting
I got to Western Costume about twenty minutes before my calltime, and thankfully was given the paperwork on which to work instead of sometimes being forced to wait until calltime to be given the paperwork, as though I'd apply the pre-calltime as calltime as my doing the paperwork.
I was escorted farther to the back than ever before, and fitted with a nice super-dark (darker than navy) blue pin-stripe suit and vest and black leather mini-boots, similar to Star Trek TOS boots, but without a zipper and only coming up to the ankle.
The top hats either were too big or too small; eventually I was given a brown derby of sorts.

Monday September 17, 2012
Re-Confirmation
When I was on set for the Chelsea Handler promo (so obviously my phone was on Silent), I got a call from Bill's office, re-affirming my four shoot dates and the number to call the day before, on the 20th The message had cut off, and I was not entirely sure if they wanted me to call back to re-re-confirm, so Bill called me tonight to re-confirm the information I'd previously been given.

Thursday September 20, 2012
Information
At the stroke of 2pm I called and spoke with Bill who provided me with the number to call that evening between 7-8pm for the next day shoot information, politely pointing out right from the off that it would not be in Simi Valley, but on Universal Studio's backlot (early in the week my friend Maria Olsen had indicated she would be working similar dates, having done a day in Simi Valley).
At 7pm I called the number and obtained the recorded information for the next morning.
I would not know about this until July 2013, but Disney's site announced the film starting production the day before.

Friday September 21, 2012
Shoot, Day 1

(As always, I do not believe in providing storyline spoilers myself [such generally already readily available Elsewhere notwithstanding]; in my report/s I only convey indications of and implications as to where I can be seen.)

I arrived at Universal Studios at 5:30am for my 6:15am calltime; shuttled to the basecamp, I had a nice eggs/bacon breakfast. Today's background wrangler Franny had us go through wardrobe, hair and make-up (a nice set of mutton-chops for this one), and we really didn't have to wait long before going to set. I worked with AD Clark who set up the bank activity; essentially I simply exit as others enter. Meanwhile, between set-ups or such, On his own, Colin Farrell quite graciously introduced himself to us, myself and Frank, another banker backgrounder (whose bald head and handlebar moustache gave him the appearance of a stereotypical circus strongman).
During the shoot, we had the Shuttle Endevour do its fly by, its second pass far clearer; everything stopped. Everyone on the crew with a Smart Phone and otherwise took photos of the historic event.
While there was more coverage of the bank to be handled on Monday, at lunch we broke, afterwards doing a few takes on the famous and instantly recognizeable Town Square set, since rebuilt since the June 2008 big Universal fire of a few years previously, which nearly destroyed the famous Clock Tower building.
We were shuttled over to there from base-camp; as we reached the van, a tour tram was going by (several went by during filming during the morning), and dozens of cameras snapped shots of the ten or so of us in our respective early 20th century garb.
By "a few takes," btw, I mean just that: we were done at 3pm for the day; with all the wardrobe and make-up hair removal we were signed out at 4:15pm. Franny seemed absolutely panicked and desperate to get us off back to the front gate.
Shuttled back to the gate, as I was foresightful enough to have with me my Universal Studios Theme Park Annual Pass, so scooted up and managed to catch one of (if not) the last tram tours of the day. The tour guide mentioned Saving Mr. Banks as we passed the set from the morning.

Saturday September 22, 2012
Monday calltim
Bill Dance called to convey my Monday calltime was 8:30pm.

Monday September 24, 2012
Shoot, Day 2
Considering the roaring high temperatures of the day before (touching about 90° and feeling much hotter), and many of us wearing wool, it was prayed that Monday would be far cooler, as meteorologists claimed.
I arrived at Universal Studios a full hour early for my 8:30am calltime. Arriving at basecamp, Franny notified me I could start getting ready; modifying my calltime to 7:40am. I went through hair and make-up and got my wardrobe, as did others who began to arrive early and closer to calltime.
Today was more of a handful of us as compared to Friday, I think about or less than ten. We filmed coverage on the bank entrance in the late morning up until lunch. With my bit complete, I was closer to the main pavement at the top of the street, allowing myself (along with the shoot and crew around and beyond), to be photographed by the tram tour tourists. After we were wrapped and we awaited the shuttle-van, I took some photos and video of a passing tram heading into "Soundstage 50," the Earthquake presentation.
While it was an early day wrapping the shoot at Universal, at 2:45pm, once back at the front gate I realized with horror that the book I'd brought with me to read I had left at holding. Being part of a series, and only having obtained it, I had to walk the half-mile or so back to basecamp to retreive it.
Thankfully another shuttle-van was available to return me to the front gate, again, from which I went into Universal Theme Park for the tram ride, and took some video of the area from the point of view of the tram-sters all day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012
Shoot information
I had been able to learn before we wrapped that the Simi Valley Monday and Tuesday shoot location as being Big Sky Movie Ranch.
On finding out some interesting historical background on Simi Valley, I hoped that working out there was safe. Not still safe or safe after all this time: but... safe at all (I'd later learn it was quite a distance from where we were shooting)...
Bill called with the Monday information. I mentioned Maria car-pooling me, which caused some brief confusion as she was utilizing her legal surname on the list.

Monday and Tuesday, October 01 and 02, 2012
Shoot, Day 3 and 4
The Simi Valley calltime was 5am... for me; for Maria it was 4am, so obviously we had to leave at 3am to get her there first. The drive was easy enough, the highways were predictably all but empty. The weekend work on the 405 was completed early enough it caused no one else any issues who had to come from that route. I'd brought my GPS which guided us, as best it could.
We arrived in the middle-of-nowhere Big Sky Movie Ranch, thankfully never getting lost also due to becoming essentially part of a caravan of sorts as we approached: other cars heading to the location. We actually got to background-parking at about 3:30am, and hopped onto one of the large buses being used as a shuttle to the main base camp, which departed at 4am.
Although I was an hour early, I was able to sign in and acquire my paperwork which I could fill it out in advance, as well as have a leisurely hot breakfast. Still pre-5am, around 4:40 I decided to forego the eventual queue and got my outfit on, and my mutton-chops, so by 5:10am-ish I was actually fully camera-ready.
The large buses were used again to take us to the set of the County Fair; we had what's called a Lunch-Box: a large single-room trailer (sadly, barely air-conditioned), in which we could relax between set-ups when we were sent back there.
Along with Frank and other bankers, I sat up on the dais behind the podium (looking at the screen I'd be sitting to the left of the podium). The day wasn't so bad: while the temperature was high, we were relieved via all-day strong breezes that kept us cool. Plus the authentic, non-synthetic outfits were able to breathe and while remaining hydrated all day, there was not a whole lot of sweating going on.
To the west of us, near the top of the tall hill there, stood a large, single tree which looked strongly familiar, but I could not place in what television program or movie in which I'm such I have seen it.
We wrapped on Monday at 7:30pm, which meant we arrived in pre-dawn darkness and departness in post-sunset darkness. To our horror, everyone's calltime for the next day were all the same as Monday! We would later learn that the concept of the twelve hour turnaround no longer applies to background (thanks, Screen Actors Guild!), so many of the background had been a few hours' sleep that night (though at least the same went for much of the crew and a few of the principals).
Tuesday completed about 99+% of the scenes (at the end of the day they still needed a hiccough of coverage for which a few people nearer than spot got recalled for Wednesday). Throughout the day it seemed far hotter as our friendly breeze from the day before was nowhere to be found. Both days we were all super well treated; ADs and PAs made sure we got water, and the catered lunches were delicious. And again, our outfits, though heavy and layered, didn't really make us seem hot as such.
We wrapped on Tuesday again at 7:30pm, so Maria and I never really got a good look at "anything" apart from the main base camp and the set location.

Thursday July 11, 2013
Trailer
After viewing at YouTube a trailer for an upcoming thriller to which my friend Sheldon Sturges sent me a link, I noticed within the Other Recommended Videos, there was an Official Trailer for Saving Mr. Banks. I also noticed I'd happened to see it the very day it was released.
While I'm not in the trailer, nor did I expect my scenes as yet would be, it conveyed enough to reflect a great movie to expect.
Having come across the film's Faceboook page, I came across a link thereon to an article in which Director John Lee Hancock Says the Film Isn't a 'Sugarcoated' Portrayal of Walt Disney, and on which the trailer is embedded as it is here below (though there it's strangely enough embedded via AOL), as well as a link to an online Time Magazine article on Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson and the film.


First Official Saving Mr. Banks Trailer

Friday December 20, 2013
Viewing
I had already received reports from people that I was Quite Visible, their having attended preview screenings (each invitation of which I receieved fell on dates I was not available). When the film hit theatres wide, I saw it at the Los Feliz Theatre, it being disappointly relegated to one of its tinier screening rooms.
The film itself was brilliant and online I voiced my hopes it at the very leave be Nominated for Best Picture.
Of the scenes on which I worked, I was visible in two: most noticeably so as Colin Farrell spoke at the fairgrounds; my entire in-focus head is at his right elbow, at the bottom left of the screen, cutting to that shot numerous times. The other was earlier, as I exit the bank on Universal backlot. As young Annie Rose Buckley as Ginty arrives at the bank, the bank owner opens the door for her as the camera dollies from them to the window where we see Colin. Just as I was thinking there went my going through the door shot, it cuts to the interior looking at the door; Ginty allows me to pass as I don my hat, and one can just see my face at the top of the screen as I pass them.
I looked forward to the DVD at which time I could get frame-grabs.

Wednesday January 01, 2014
Locations
What with the film's wide release, I came across a December 24th, 2013 http://beyondthemarquee.com/category/about-us/articles-by-author/kevin-sternKevin Stern article The Filming Locations of Disney's Saving Mr. Banks ~ An East Wind Trip to the West, extensively listing in detail the various locations used in the filming.

Friday January 10, 2014
Saving Mr. Banks on DVD/Blu-Ray
I got an email from Amazon that coming soon to DVD was The Practice: The Final Season, being released on April 15, 2014. As this was the season in which I had my Day Player gig, I noticed my Facebook Group about it.
While I was putting together that information, I noticed a tiny reference that albeit without yet having an official release date, that Saving Mr. Banks was pre-orderable on DVD and Blu-Ray, I provied to my Group the links to that/those as well.


Saving Mr. Banks
Blu-ray + Digital Copy

Saving Mr. Banks
DVD

Thursday January 16, 2014
Snubbing Mr. Banks
In the early morning the 2014 Academy Award nominees for 2013 were announced, and Saving Mr. Banks was viciously passed over big time, only getting one nom, for Thomas Newman's Best Original Score.
As it was, Tom Hanks was also strongly ignored, not even nominated for Captain Phillips, which got nominations for Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Role, and Best Picture.
Why was it so overlooked? Was it due to their not sending out DVD screeners?
The only true Too Close To Call race will be for Best Actress in a Lead Role between Meryl Streep for August: Osage County, and Cate Blanchett for the unforgivingly dismal Blue Jasmine (I could see no rhyme or reason for the lovely and talented Amy Adams winning same for the comical American Hustle at the Golden Globes; she's brilliant, but character-wise this year, Meryl flattens her).

My tweet after learning of the ''nominations''...

March 10, 2014
Deleted Scene
Entertainment Weekly posted an article:

'Saving Mr. Banks': See the deleted scene that explains everything
Most deleted scenes are superfluous or rough edges that were sacrificed for a smoother narrative. It's the rare deleted scene from a movie that captures the entire story in a single sequence, but that's exactly what exists for Saving Mr. Banks. Walt Disney's decades-long courtship of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to adapt her stories into the 1964 musical was belligerent and difficult, as Travers refused to sign over the rights for fear of seeing her heroine "cavorting and twinkling" like one of Disney's cartoon creations. When Travers reluctantly travels to Los Angeles to meet Disney and his writers, they eventually — but barely — begin to win her over. Until she finds out about the dancing penguins.
Furious at the prospect of undignified animation, which Disney had specifically promised her would not be used, Travers (Emma Thompson) storms into Disney's office, essentially calls him a liar, hands him the contract back — unsigned — and heads back to England. Disney ultimately follows her there for the climactic heart-to-heart… but there was another scene filmed that originally served as a bridge between these two crucial moments.
In the deleted scene, available on the Saving Mr. Banks Blu-ray, Disney (Tom Hanks) follows Travers outside, where she's sitting on a bench waiting for her driver (Paul Giamatti) to take her home. Disney pleads for her to reconsider and help him understand why this process is so difficult for her. She chastises him again for his deception, and then blurts out, "The books weren't written for the children. They were written for the promise breakers."
Promise breakers, like Disney. Promise breakers, like Travers' Aunt Ellie, who promised her everything would be okay when she came to help their crumbling family in the Australian Outback decades earlier. Promise breakers, like her beloved alcoholic father (Colin Farrell), who promised that he'd make his family proud again.
You can almost imagine the insightful scene was one of the first ones written — and the last one cut — because everything the audience needs to know is there. It captures everything. Perhaps that's why it was nixed: the clues were ultimately deemed too concentrated in one place. Or perhaps the content and tension were too similar to the subsequent sit-down in London. Still, it's a great scene that underscores Travers' deep emotional attachment to her literary characters, and allows Thompson another opportunity to shine.


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