So what is an ‘assistant producer’? Our reviewer in…, Maysa Moncao, worked as one on the soon to be released sci-fi epic 51 Degrees North and lets us in on what she did when she did a stint as an ‘AP’.
About three years ago, I joined a group of people who were involved in the production of a sci-fi movie. Mariangela Suma, one of the assistant producers, was an old friend of mine from Rome and she explained to me that 51 Degrees North would be about the end of the world.
Not quite my cup of tea, but what drove me to the project was a particular scene in Piccadilly Circus. I would be assisting the 1500 extras into a mad running out of the tube into the streets. Extras would suddenly stop, scream and cry imagining there was a huge asteroid hitting the Earth.
We took about 5 hours to shoot the scene repeated times. And Grig had the permission for only 50 extras.
We also had to control all of the inevitably messy situations that happen when you are not allowed to block the street just for a movie. Scorsese can commandeer a whole street in West Village, New York and characterize it for the 70s, with cars and advertising boards from that time. But we couldn’t. We had to consider the huge amount of passers-by and tourists that would ruin our footage with that staring look of what the hell is going on here?!
Fun, yes. But that was three years ago and I had completely forgotten about it till last week, when I received an invitation for The Asteroid Day at The Science Museum.
Grig and his crew had convinced the astrophysics and Queen guitar player Brian May to compose the soundtrack for the movie. Plus Grig, May and other scientists had put together the first Asteroid Day, which is a global awareness movement to protect Earth from asteroids impacts. From what I understood, it is not something that should disturb my sleep, but at the same time there is a real probability that we all are going to vanish in the air, hence research should be funded.
The movie has a particular sense of humour and it is not all dark and gloomy. Damon (Moritz Von Zeddelmann) is a filmmaker who was chosen by a space foundation to shoot the last days of man on Earth. When the penny finally drops, a drunk Damon jumps into the fountain in front of Buckingham Palace. This was another of those risky scenes that we ‘punk crew’ had to simply get on with and do.
As Brian May states: “There is no Bruce Willis to save us all. It is a very serious threat”.
51 DEGREES NORTH
UK, FICTION, 2015, 115 MIN
DIRECTOR: GRIGORIJ RICHTERS
WITH MORITZ VON ZEDDELMANN, STEVE NALLON, JAMIE DOYLE, DOLLY-ANN OSTERLOH
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Richters was born in Hamburg, Germany. He had an early interest in film and theatre. He became a professional child model at the age of 2 and did his last professional job at age 14. He worked with the producers of “Hostage” (Bruce Willis), Sony and the script inspired such films as Click (Adam Sandler) and the recent George Clooney & John Malkovich Nespresso commercial.