SHH! Elektra Set Visit – Part 2

In my last report, I described how the actors were setting up for the scene to be filmed. As you may recall, Natassia Malthe (aka Typhoid Mary) was laying on top of Jennifer Garner on a pile of dead, black leaves.

A fan started blowing air and leaves across the women and Bowman yelled, “Action!” Typhoid Mary then got up off of Elektra and started walking towards Abby. As she approached the tree stump, Kirigi stepped out in front of her and stopped her. Bowman yelled, “Cut!” pparently the timing or camera position was not quite right. They then told everyone to get back into position and do the scene again. Malthe then went and laid on top of Garner yet again.

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They ran through the scene again, and once more something was off. (I’ll admit I didn’t see what it was.) Malthe then returned to Garner and laid on her again. And again. And again. It got to the point where I jokingly asked if they were doing it repeatedly for our benefit. They did it so many times that I not only lost track of how many takes it took, but it got to the point where Malthe laying on Garner was no longer interesting. Yes, that was a lot of takes. This entire time Jennifer was simply lying in the dirt unmoving.

As the crew adjusted cameras and lighting, Jennifer continued lying in the dirt. Eventually Terence Stamp walked over, laid on the ground beside her, and started chatting. It was an amusing sight and another clue that the two seem to be good friends. Even Goran Visnjic came over at one point to lie down in the dirt and chat with the star of the film.

As they continued to shoot take after take, Bowman and his crew started wondering if they were going to have to use a green screen to get everything to sync up right. As all this went on, Bowman continuously puffed away on cigars handed to him by an assistant. Meanwhile, Garner continued to lie in the dirt. I asked at one point whether or not she was still awake. Not long afterwards, as everyone was busy doing their jobs elsewhere, the lonely Garner lying in the dirt jokingly called out, “I’m still here, Rob! I’m OK!” Rob Bowman then walked over to her and lovingly called out something to the effect of, “Oh, Jennifer, you’re my star. I never would have forgotten you!” The whole crew then mockingly said, “Awwww…” Bowman walked back to his chair pretending to wipe the brown off of his nose. It was quite funny to see that everyone still had their sense of humor and that Garner was no diva.

Once they finally got the scene right, they moved on to the second portion of it. As Kirigi stops Typhoid Mary from attacking Abby, the young girl whips out her beaded bracelet like a whip towards his head. As the scene was filmed, the whip was not really there. Abby would mimic lashing out with the whip and everyone would freeze in position, then the whip was placed in Abby and Kirigi’s hands. When they started up again, Kirigi wrapped it around his arm and faced Abby. Just then Stick’s bo would come down from off-camera and knock the whip out of Kirigi’s hand and to the ground. Stick then would stand between Kirigi and Abby. One of them said, “The war is over.” The other replied, “The war has just begun.” Just then, the assistant director yelled out, “Aaaannnnddd… neenjasssss!” as he put his hands in the air and waggled his fingers. It was an amusing sight, but it’s the cue to Typhoid Mary, Kirigi, and Stick to react to Hand ninjas descending from the trees to kidnap Abby. (The scene was shot the day before.) Everyone looked up into the trees at the imaginary ninjas. As the camera zoomed in on Stick, Mary and Kirigi stepped out of the frame. Stick then turned around to see them mysteriously vanished. Then he and Mark Miller approached the seemingly dead Elektra lying on the ground. And yes, Jennifer Garner has been lying there in the dirt the whole time.

The scene was reshot a few more times as Bowman played with the timing and setup. At one point he even decided that he wanted Typhoid Mary’s eyes to change from black to blue in the scene. Her eyes are apparently black when she attempts to kill Elektra. It takes quite a while for Natassia to get the contact lenses in and she’s obviously uncomfortable when they are in place, but they proceeded with shooting.

Not long after they got the scene shot, our handlers from Fox told us it was time to head back to the “base camp” for lunch. With that, we left the main location of filming. After a nice lunch and a lot of geek conversation with my fellow visitors, Larry Lam and Marcus Young, the assistant stunt coordinator & assistant fight choreographer, treated us to a martial arts demonstration. (Larry also happened to be Kirigi’s stunt double for the film.) These guys have worked on Matrix, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and a lot of other cool films. We were shown a couple of basic self-defense moves and some exercises with the bo stick. Needless to say, if we were attacked by a group of ninjas, we would have been screwed. We really stank.

To be continued…

Source: Scott Chitwood