GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Dead Right: Motorcycle on Mulholland

How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)--excerpt:

Remember the statuesque, blond motorcyclist (Vibbe Haugaard) who appeared on our first day of shooting Dead Right? She would return on a few more occasions to film other scenes.

One memorable day, we filmed her on Mulholland Drive where we mounted the camera low on the fork of her motorcycle and got a very interesting view looking up at her peering over the handlebars and leaning into the curves as she raced along this winding bit of road. It was a very exciting shot and she knew how to handle a bike; the motorcycle for her was not an affectation like Ian Faith’s cricket bat in This is Spinal Tap.

Going up to Mulholland Drive was, for me, a filming pilgrimage that began in the late 60s with my friend and fellow Ferrari enthusiast Peter Helm. He was an actor at the time who had worked for the likes of Darryl F. Zanuck (The Longest Day) and Robert Wise (The Andromeda Strain) and he always had his 16mm movie camera with him.

Since filming with Peter, Mulholland Drive has become one of my go-to locations when filming in Los Angeles because it is a road with splendid views of L.A.’s Westside to the south and the San Fernando Valley to the north as it snakes along the top of the hills dividing the two parts of the city. It is an iconic stretch of road for anyone with a fast car whether they live in L.A. or are visiting and want to claim the experience of mastering this challenging stretch of pavement.

: I filmed on Mulholland with a Porsche Turbo for Bleeder & Bates, the motorcycle for Dead Right, and on many occasions in a number of Ferraris for Elysée Wednesday: Drive! The experience with the Porsche was the most traumatic as I suffered a severe case of motion sickness from having to look through the lens while the Porsche was navigating the road at high speed and generating high g-forces with rapid directional changes over several miles. Fortunately, I lived in the canyon and was able to go home to recover.

The point I am making with this Mulholland interlude is that I think it is important for filmmakers to have locations that they know well and can use to maximum effect. I have a list of such places like Quintas Papagayo in Ensenada and various locations in Las Vegas and Palm Springs that can be relied upon to provide evocative visuals.

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