"Father" - In need of anything that connects him to his former life, Veil risks returning to the house and town he grew up in and, while savoring this small but significant part of his past, he unexpectedly meets the man who betrayed him twenty years earlier - his father, in "Nowhere Man" airing MONDAY, NOV. 13 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET/PT) on UPN.
His estranged father, known by the new name, Jonathan Crane, asks him for trust and forgiveness, but Veil is tormented by doubts that the man who says he is his father may very well be part of the conspiracy.
Bruce Greenwood stars as Thomas Veil. Guest starring are Dean Jones as Jonathan Crane, Donna Bullock as Beth Crane and Joseph Carberry as Morris.
The episode was written by Art Monterastelli and directed by Guy Magar.
Thanks to Larry and Stacey, I received a map that showed me how to get to Oregon City, which is where they were shooting the end of an episode that day. I arrived about 10:30 AM, (it wasn't raining yet,) and found Location 1 ("Bar"). Actually, it was outside, behind a bar.
I introduced myself to Joe Lotito, an assistant director, who was very welcoming, offered me an umbrella, and was expecting me (again, thanks to Stacey and Larry). I went down the alley to where they were filming. Walked around, looked around, talked to one of the drivers a for a while (he told me Harvey Keitel stories). During a short break I introduced myself to Nancy Green, another assistant director.
I really liked Nancy. She seems like a real pro and a genuine "person." Then I saw Bruce Greenwood and introduced myself to him. What a nice guy, and a little wacky (in a good way) I think. Bruce is incredibly good looking - much more so in person than on TV. I was kinda stunned, because he isn't my type at all. I didn't expect to be bowled over by him, but he seems to emit some kind of extra pheromone, IOW, he's a chick magnet. It was weird, it was wild - for those of you who watched "Northern Exposure," it was like the episode where Joel tries to figure out the biological source of why women are so attracted to Chris - it's like that with Bruce. Fortunately, it started raining so I had the equivalent of a cold shower, just in the nick of time.
Collecting myself, I went into the garage and watched filming through the monitor. That was neat - watching it live and through the camera's eye at the same time. I met the entire crew - female stand-in, the grips, the prop guys (one of whom gave me a NwM souvenir - a cigar and a pencil), the hair people, the makeup folks, the production assistants, Bruce's stand-in (same exact hair). Vinnie (make-up) was particularly nice and gave me the names of some good karaoke bars in Portland. I especially liked Glen the sound guy. He had worked for 5 years on "Northern Exposure."
The rain really started coming down, so they stopped and built a cover for the whole bar area. It was very wet and very cold. (Of course, the rest of the week in Portland was sunny, but I'm back in California and have finally managed to get my "core temperature" back to normal again.)
Everyone was really busy getting things done, so I tried to stay out of the way and just observe, which I did for several hours. I didn't get a chance to talk to the director, but he was extremely occupied. He did, however, occasionally explain something to me. Patience, the script supervisor, was also very nice and helpful.
The entire day was a real eye-opening experience. I'd never been to an episodic TV filming, just a billion talk shows and some 20/20 location stuff. This was completely different. At first, it seemed a little tedious, but once I figured out what everyone was doing and why, it was fascinating. I think I learned a lot about why they have to re-shoot so much, continuity, prop stuff (real gun or fake? The real one looked better), POV's, why Bruce's hair is always perfect, and all of that stuff that Larry & co. can probably do in their sleep.
I never realized that the revised script for the next day's shooting didn't arrive until the afternoon before, and that the location wasn't determined until the script revisions came in. They really fly by the seat of their pants, those folks.
I was really impressed by eveyone's professionalism and skill. It is a great crew with a lot of stamina. (They have to have stamina - they work 15-18 hour days, 6 days a week, and in Portland, that's mostly in the rain) Everyone seems to have a terrific time doing what they do, and they do it well (at least to my untrained eye.) They also seem like a good "team" - they enjoy working together. Many of them know each other from previous Portland/Northwest shoots. Many had worked on "Under Suspicion" and "Northern Exposure," as well as features and TV movies.
Other observations, trivia and notes:
I left at about 5, and everyone was off to shoot the next scene at Location 2, "Seedy Alley." They invited me to stay, but had to get back to babysit (from Nowhere Land to "Lord of the Flies" in under an hour.)
I won't tell you the title of the episode or who the guest star is. If you really want to know, tell me, but I think you'll be surprised on both counts. I didn't read the script, so I didn't completely figure out the plot. I think it will still be a relative surprise to me when it airs.
I was happy to see them shoot a cigar scene. Way cool.
The Portland area is the ideal place to shoot this show (although Tuesday, we were in "Missouri.") There is so much variety there - urban, rural, seemy, pastoral, strip malls, suburbs, declining lumber towns, ivied college campuses, etc. - and so many variations on darkness, shadows and light. I don't think I'll ever look at that place in the same way again.
After this experience, I can't tell you how much respect I have for Larry, his staff and what they do. Not that I didn't before, but now that I've actually seen it and some of what goes into it, I am positively overwhelmed by their talents and ability. It is a huge and wonderful production, and I appreciate every bit of blood, sweat and tears they pump into it every day. I also don't feel like any of the "magic" is gone, now that I've seen how they do it. I look forward to tonight's episode with even more excitement.
Sally Ann Berk