"A middle aged foreign tourist appears – he is the genuine article and wants to visit the church – so security let him pass. He is very puzzled by what is happening in the square and ask if this is some religious festivity. “Well, yes and no,” I answer and proceed to explain what is going on. But the fact that he was believing it means that the film makers are doing a very good job."
read the full adventure below...
May 27th, morning.
The crazy extras’ managers have told everybody to be at 4:30 am in front of San Biagio Church, which is totally downhill and not inside Montepulciano. But Maliki is a smart girl, so she knows that the above applies only to those extras who are sleeping somewhere else and will come by car. They cannot park inside the town anymore , nobody can. Hell, my own car is parked also quite far and I have abandoned it there. In case, I use the public minibus ”Pollicino” that is still going up and down, if erratically. So Maliki will be able to sleep some more.
When she came back to my house very late yesterday night, she told me that she had gone to her hotel in Chianciano to collect her belongings and that Robert is in fact staying in that town too, but of course in a many starred hotel. Chianciano is a spa and has a lot of high class hotels. But nobody can see him, as the Mercedes goes in the garage before he comes out or in. So no fans have chosen to wait for him there.
Now, today is the day they will film the desperate run of Bella in the crowded square, crossing the fountain etc.
The entire square is off limits, mostly due to the fact that to manage 1300 extras is a nightmare and they don’t want fans added to the mixture.
I decided to be brave and march directly to the barrier and say that I am going to the Cathedral again. And I am let in, alone. Some of the security men tell me to pray for them also. It is a joke. It is obvious that they know now that I am not going there for religious reasons, but they have seen yesterday that I do not scream Robert or whatever, do not try to jump actors, do not ask for autographs, do not take photos and keep my cell phone silent. So I am allowed some latitude.
I am dressed in black with a loose red silk jacket, which means that I resemble the extras and, in case I was filmed by mistake from afar, I would not spoil the scene. But I have chosen a corner inside the Cathedral side door that keeps me invisible but allows me the view..
And so this morning I see everything. I now understand how they are doing this scene. It is not like a festival, it is really a religious procession to honor St Marcus. All the 1300 participants will follow the canopied Saint-vanquishing -the -vampire statue till the Cathedral entrance. All the faithful have red mantles, and the historical personages in the procession are dressed in red too. There is plenty of banners and religious symbols and props carried around. Impressive. The Director tells the extras that they have to focus on the Cathedral, not looking at the fountain at all, they must look ecstatic and wave small red flags. When Bella enters the square they must not make it easy for her, she has to struggle, poor girl. I cannot see her though, too many red mantles.
Dammit, the sun is gone, today is not a completely sunny day like yesterday. There is a pause for toilets and water and someone joins me. It is a non authorized free lance photographer that hopes to get something to sell. Of all things, he tries to stay concealed behind my back so that his enormous camera does not show. He does not know s***, who are the actors, what is New Moon about, he just hopes to make some money. Maliki also joins me and tells me that Bella shoved her and that was filmed, so she might feature in New Moon. Good for her.
The next scene is really rewarding and I see it perfectly. Bella reaches the fountain and stumbles. She is dressed in dark jeans with a bottle green shirt and is very pretty. They repeat the movement a few times and finally the Director is happy with it.
They will now film the fountain crossing, while the Saint’s statue reaches the Cathedral. I can see that, but not the fountain anymore, too many extras and flags in between. A middle aged foreign tourist appears – he is the genuine article and wants to visit the church – so security let him pass. He is very puzzled by what is happening in the square and ask if this is some religious festivity. “Well, yes and no,” I answer and proceed to explain what is going on. But the fact that he was believing it means that the film makers are doing a very good job.
Lunch break. They have to feed 1300 people and it is a total mess, security men are very nervous and they hasten to empty the square, herding everybody to the fortress garden, where a gigantic pick nick is spread out. I doubt if I’ll be allowed in the Cathedral again, so if I go back after lunch (I cannot eat here, of course) it will be only to learn what happens tomorrow. Nobody seems to know about the lovers’ reunion scene in the alley and the confrontation between them, Alice and the Volturi guards. There is plenty of suitable dark alleys, but the logistical organization might be difficult, I’ll try to discover more if I can. Surprisingly, I get an interview. I am becoming rather notorious and I am pointed out to the journalist as the oldest Twilight fan present. I take the opportunity to speak about Twilighted.net, that is not well known here. The journalist is very young and very superficial, so maybe nothing will come of it.
After yesterday afternoon debacle, when I missed the famous coming together scene, I missed Edward shedding his shirt and walking toward the sunlight, to be stopped and embraced by Bella, I feel like s***. I have been unable to get back to the square after lunch, security had been severely enforced and everybody was kept very far from Piazza Grande. And the internet is full of the images I missed seeing.
This morning I will be more determined. First of all, I know this town well, so I know a roundabout way to the square. I take with me 4 dejected teenagers, but admonish them that when we reach the security men, they are on their own and I don’t know them. And in fact they are stopped. I wait some minutes and approach the barrier. I must go to the bar, I say firmly. Again my white hair prove useful. An Italian policeman accompanies me to the only open bar in the square, making a lot of money this week. There is still some seat free (it is only 7,30 am) and I sit with the little crowd of onlookers and well informed fans. I get my cappuccino, but I know this is not a good option, because there will be a lot of sun right on my head, and because you cannot see from there the entrance of the Municipal Palace, which is supposed to be the official entrance into the Volturi lair.
So again I collar the next security man and announce that I need to go to the Cathedral. Now I am becoming notorious, but also accepted. I am the crazy lady who goes to church. I promise the man accompanying me that I will not be seen and I have no camera. I also say that I will go out for, hmm, human moments (toilets are one the side of the Volturi palace) and I will go back to the bar to grab a sandwich for lunch but always I’ll go back to the Cathedral. They agree, asking me to pray for them (they are joking). In fact I light the occasional candle, to repay the church for the hospitality and praying sinfully “let me see him”.
This morning they go on shooting the lavish procession in honor of St. Marcus, from different angles, some more takings of the run of Bella to the fountain and in it and, surprise, surprise, again Edward’s striptease and Bella catching him in time. It seems to me that she cries “don’t go out”. I am not sure, though. I have not a perfect view because there are a lot of extras in between. Very frustrated people, because they are told to look at the Cathedral, not at the actors. The big canopied mobile altar with the Saint vanquishing the vampire statues goes up and down the stairs an infinite number of times. The red clad extras carrying it must be dog tired. It is heavy.
Lunch break. All the extras are sent to the fortress for the pick nick and I go for my sandwich to the bar. I am greeted by the people there, I am becoming a sort of heroine and they ask me what I saw, that they could not see from their position.
When I leave to go back to the church, a guard who does not knows me tries to stop me, but his colleague intervenes and I march with determination, applauded by the bar residents.
There is very few people around in the square now, only the film crew and everybody is told to shut up. And again Edward appears and does his striptease and Bella arrives, they embrace and then retreat inside the Volturi palace, where there is more dialogue that I cannot see and hear. But the scene on the door I have seen perfectly this time. And they repeat it 6 times. Yes, the Brit must have done some body building. And he must be freezing. After yesterday night rain, a very cold wind from the North is sweeping the square. But it has also cleaned the sky, which is very blue.
So they have made a change in the story. No dark alley but the Volturi palace. And no Felix, Demetri and Jane here, they did their act in the vaults of Palazzo Ricci. I am more curious than ever to see the film in November.
It is now 2:30 and the Director asks the cameramen and crew to be forgiven for the late hour and then they and the actors go to their belated and short lunch . Rob waves to the bar people quickly and goes. He really has a difficulty with his admirers. But I can understand. Yesterday in Chianciano a girl jumped inside his car when he opened his window.
When the extras come back at 3pm, I receive a visit. (I am the Cathedral's only resident) One of the extra’s managers asks me to be an extra too. They need older people. I accept, sign a contract (no money, but what the hell, at least half of the extras are volunteers) and I get my red mantle. Very pleasant, seen the temperature.
The first scene I am in is contemporary at another shot of Edward. He comes on the Volturi door, has his shirt on, is alone and speaks to himself. Is this one of Alice’s visions? When he finishes being filmed he laughs. Mystery. I participate to other 4 scenes, one of them of Bella starting her run at the other end of Piazza Grande, while the procession unfolds and we onlookers applaud and wave little red flags. “Entusiasmo, entusiasmo!” (enthusiasm) says the extras director, Rocco, who speaks Italian.
We have finished now. Tomorrow maybe they will film some more inside scenes, only with actors. No way to see them. The extras are thanked profusely by Chris Weitz everybody congratulates everybody else and, while a little video of New Moon in Italy is filmed, we are told to chorus buongiorno, New Moon and arrivederci. Alan, who is Robert’s stunt man, gets a lot of applause, particularly because Rob is not here, and he does a little act, kissing Bella’s stunt girl and fake-biting her wrist. And then the yellow Porsche enters the square. Apotheosis.
Man, am I ever jealous of her. Wat to go, Camilla
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