As you’re reading this column today, I’ll be standing on the sidewalk in front of the Sampson County Courthouse, knees knocking, lips dry and camera rolling, doing my best to pull an Alfred Hitchcock, making a cameo appearance in my own movie.
Yep, you read it correctly — a cameo in my own movie. Sound surreal? Well it is, at least to me, and no matter how many times I say it, rehearse the lines or pinch myself, it still doesn’t quite hit home. Perhaps after Take 3 and the director’s final call of action, I’ll get it through my skull that a movie, based on a novel I wrote, is actually getting under way this week, and that I actually get to speak a few lines in it.
In truth, my bit of acting is the most real thing that’s happening on this wild ride right now. It’s everything else that is hard to believe. I’m humbled and blessed by this incomprehensible occurrence, but it still seems like a wonderful dream and not an actuality. Maybe, just maybe, when I hear “that’s a wrap” for the last time later this month or sit in my producer’s chair and watch a scene being filmed, I’ll get it through my thick skull. I’m exuberated, without question, but somehow living outside myself. I see it unfolding before my eyes, but I blink a lot, thinking when I look again it will all be gone.
So far, that hasn’t happened.
Monty Hobbs, the line producer for “Tarnished Notes,” keeps assuring me movie magic is about to happen, and that the characters I based on a true story that happened right here in Clinton will come to life right before my very eyes.
On one level, I know that’s true. I’ve met the lead actors and developed a rapport with them (see a story on them Tuesday, Oct. 13), and I must tell you, they are phenomenally talented individuals and great human beings who have already immersed themselves in Sampson County, walked our streets, attended church here and begun to transform themselves into the main characters in this love-triangle turned murder. I cannot wait to watch them bring these characters to life.
The two main characters are veteran actors, with real film credits to their name; one has won a Grammy and a Dove and has worked with director Steven Speilberg on the film “Lincoln;” the other has been in a movie with Richard Gere, “Nights in Rodanthe” and had a recurring role on “One Tree Hill.” The third is a newcomer with talent as big as the whole of Sampson, a find that I, no doubt, believe will someday soon become a household name.
Now they are all preparing to breathe life into the characters from my novel. Hard to believe? You bet it is.
Yet as surreal as all this is, I get glimpses of a reality that excites and overwhelms me, too.
I can see the flurry of activity going on around me every time I walk into the Production Office. Thousands of pieces of 1980s clothing are being hung on racks inside the warehouse; paint-stained production assistants are transforming one room of the facility into a prison conference room; the choir has been pre-recorded and is awaiting word on when they will rehearse their roles; cast members are being scheduled for appearances; actors are being fitted and going over their look with our key makeup; and everyone is crunching numbers to ensure that every dime that has been invested in this movie is being spent wisely.
We have amazing professionals working every angle of this movie. I am beyond impressed with their abilities and thankful they are giving this film their time and attention.
Sitting at Ted’s Steakhouse Sunday night with the director and all the key departments heads, I realized I was among some of the most talented individuals I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting, and once again I had to keep reminding myself that this, in fact, is real.
As I listened to them talk about camera angles, what the actors will wear, how their makeup will look, what they will say and how they will deliver it, I could feel the magic that Monty had talked about just a few days earlier.
It is my hope that this movie magic is contagious and that everyone will enjoy watching this story unfold right here in our home town.
Reach publisher and editor Sherry Matthews at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.