It may have been in Kosar’s draft…or Sheldon Turner’s re-write…or Michael Bay’s pass – though I’m guessing he merely added the sequence where the Japanese drop the torpedo through the roof…

I kid Michael Bay because I love Michael Bay. Sincerely.

It may have been Andrew Douglas’s call. It may have fallen to production designer Jennifer Williams – but whosoever is to blame for the bit of architecture that places the CHILDREN’S BEDROOM IN THE ATTIC – with the beds just below the eyes of the beast – well, they should be both commended and cursed.

It’s such a loaded thing. To know what you know about the home, and to know that kids will be cozily tucked in to the evil skull of the place is – best case – unsettling.

Worst case – something really bad is going to happen to innocent children.

I’d advise preparing for the Worst Case Scenario, having seen the writing on the wall (or, more specifically, the storyboards tacked there). Kids are screwed.

And they’re everywhere on this set. Melissa George is besieged by them.

I spent my only day off babysitting the producer’s kids!” she mock laments as the kids in question remain comically underfoot. “My only day off!”

At this point, her filmic daughter Chloe Moretz does a roughly twenty-five foot sprint and leaps into George’s arms. I remember thinking that if that little girl leapt at me like that, she’d take me off of my feet – but the fit Ms. George didn’t flinch as the kid snapped into her grasp.

It was fun though – we had a slumber party, and everyone danced to Britney Spears’ Toxic.”

I thought I might uncover tawdry on-set dirt – and there you have it. Filth!

You know, what with offering day care service, you should negotiate points.”

Oh – I have points.” She demurs.

I can’t even muster a “touché” in the face of her sly little smile…so I go away. Later, behind a bank of monitors, George and I watch Ryan Reynolds go very slightly mad.

He’s going to blow people away,” she tells me.

I think she’s right. He was quite a bit creepish.

We chat a bit more about Melissa…her designs on her career…married life – all that sort of thing. And when she excuses herself (she’s off to wardrobe) I can’t help thinking “That Melissa George is very nice” as she leaves. “Maybe I won’t do what the voices in my head tell me and try to assassinate her to impress Jennifer Garner after all…”

John grabs our Gang of Four and takes us outside, where a replica of the Wisconsin boathouse – complete with a boat sitting in about four feet of water – has been built in a clearing behind the building. Craziness, this motion picture magick. Just beyond that – a most absurd sight awaits.

The crew is erecting the second story of the Amityville house in the parking lot.

The whole second story.

 Pisani tells us that this is to facilitate the complex camera moves Douglas Also, it makes it safer for the principals to play on the roof… has in mind.

But they did have Chloe in a wire rig on the roof in Wisconsin…”

So…holy shit. That’s gotta’ be the life for a six-year-old kid. Clambering about on a rain-soaked rooftop some sixty-odd feet off the ground is one hell of a way to spend your summer. If you’re in young Miss Moretz’s first grade class, you’d better come with a little something better than a conch shell for show-and-tell, or you are fucked.

So I’m in line for grub, and Ryan Reynolds (and a man who would eventually be introduced to me as his brother) move in behind me. I offer them my spot in line. Reynolds politely declines.

“You don’t understand,” I tell him. “I’m not with the production – I’m press.”

Reynolds swipes the tray away from me with comically overwrought contempt. “Give me that!” he snaps.

It’s during lunch that we’re afforded our sit-down with Andrew Douglas.

I had it in my mind to do a little legwork on the man – he’s a Brit who’d been working in advertising for years. He is primarily affiliated with Anonymous Content – a bastille that also boasts David Fincher, Mark Romanek, Gore Verbinski and Wong Kar Wai (!) amongst its ranks. There are more than a few names you’re familiar with – and a few more you’ll know soon enough. The place seems not unlike Propaganda Films was some time ago (which is no coincidence, as both organizations were started, at least in part, by Steve Golin) – a home for razor’s-edge visual stylists.

Since many of the filmmakers there are not very far removed from their film school days, I expected an Andrew Douglas to be not far removed from that sort of club-cultured, too-cool-for-school twenty-something from the land of Pop Promos kinda’ guy – a British Joseph Kahn.

What I found was that I’m almost absurdly full of shit.

Andrew Douglas is a very calm, soft-spoken, and introspective gentleman from a working class background who began his career as a photographer, eventually becoming a purveyor of artful and impressive spots (none of which feature anthropomorphic animals with “brewskis” or the music of Basement Jaxx) for some top-drawer companies.

I will not deny bugging the shit out of him the entire day. Once I had a bit of a read on him, and a feel for where he wanted to take the picture, my interest in his method and motivation grew. That he saw the project as more than a stepping-stone into features really gained my admiration.

We hear so often about some ad/video guy who shoots some slick ad taking thick cake to shoot a mindless pile o’ shit action or horror or sci-fi flick – and the guy doesn’t care about the genre, or the piece itself – he sees it as merely an A to B scenario. So he takes that Children of the Corn/Prophecy/Hellraiser/Mimic sequel with the hope that Bob and Harvey’ll let him borrow Gwyneth for a few months someday – and so he can rip the page with that Lorenzo Lamas-in-a-trenchcoat flick out of his resume.


As the crew prepares a setup that requires the current set to be reconfigured, I chat with Douglas for a bit – before being led once more to what I had come to call the Recovery Room (it was the only place in the studio building that was well lit and air conditioned), where Pisani sat us down with Ryan Reynolds.

When we return to the soundstage, we discover that the basement set has been completely reversed. It was disorienting enough that I had to reacquire the location of the restroom and the exit…numerous times…

Douglas steps into the basement to discuss a bit of body language with the returning Reynolds. Once they’ve an idea of how Ryan will move through the shot, Douglas calls for action.

Douglas and Collister begin edging closer and closer to an exceedingly grim-looking George Lutz – who’s alone in the basement feeding the wood burning stove and inhabiting the frame in a simultaneously sickly and intense manner, if that makes any sense. He looks pale and gray and clammy – but he moves with speed and purpose. The head is dead but the body is moving with real ferocity. It would seem that at this point, he’s well on his way to self-destruct mode…

Part 3 Soon!