The Reeler

FILM ON THE WEB

A Girl and a Gun
A_Film_By
Ain't It Cool News
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Anne Thompson
Art Fag City
ArtFlickChick
Better Than Fudge
Big Picture Big Sound
Bitter Cinema
Blank Screen
Blogumentary
Brian Flemming
Bright Lights
Celluloid Eyes
CHUD
Chutry Experiment, The
Cinecultist
Cinema Confidential
Cinema Eye
Cinema-Scope
Cinemarati
Cinematical
CineMe
Coming Soon
Cool Cinema Trash
Cyndi Greening
Dark Horizons
Defamer
Drew's Blog-O-Rama
Errata
Esoteric Rabbit
Film Detail
Film Experience, The
Film Journal, The
Film Journey
Film Stew
Film Rotation
Flickhead
GreenCine Daily
Greg.org
Hacking Netflix
Hammer to Nail
High Sign, The
Hollywood Elsewhere
House Next Door, The
IFC Blog, The
In the Company of Glenn
IndieScene Movie Marketing Blog
indieWIRE.com
indieWIRE Blogs
Jay's Movie Blog
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Kaiju Shakedown
Kamera
Kinoeye
Like Anna Karina's Sweater
Last Night with Riviera
Light Sleeper
Long Pauses
Looker
Masters of Cinema
Matt Zoller Seitz
Midnight Eye
Milk Plus
Mind Jack
Metaphilm
Movie Blog, The
Movie City Indie
Movie Hole, The
Movie Poop Shoot
New York Cool
NY Post Movie Blog
News of the Dead
No More Marriages!
Notes From Underdog
Out of Focus
Persistence of Vision
Pullquote
Queer Film Review
Reel Roundtable
ScreenGrab
Screen Rush
Screener (Film Journal Int.)
Screening the Past
Self-Styled Siren
Short Sheet, The
Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine Blog
Still in Motion
Stranger Song, The
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
Tisch Film Review
Twitch
Vince Keenan
World Film (at About.com)
You Know, For Film
Zoom-In

The Reeler Blog

Chop Shop Actor Gets Rich Quick

(L-R) Alejandro Polanco and Ramin Bahrani discuss Chop Shop last weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image (Photo: STV)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Without much fanfare, Ramin Bahrani's Chop Shop had its hometown debut Saturday at a preview at the Museum of the Moving Image -- mere miles from Willets Point, Queens, and the blown-out rows of auto body shops where Bahrani and Co. shot in the sweltering summer of 2006. After a Cannes premiere and Toronto bow in 2007, the director and his young star Alejandro Polanco dropped by Astoria for a glimpse in advance of opening Feb. 27 at Film Forum.

I'm a Bahrani follower from way back but never tire of hearing stories from his informal yet wildly rigorous sets, where he'll never say "Action" or "Cut" but will run through scenes as many as 50 takes at a time. Polanco, portraying a homeless orphan hoarding cash by working odd jobs in the neighborhood, earned money between scenes by enticing cars into his movie boss's shop. Bahrani's rehearsal process is equally exacting and -- to hear him and Polanco tell it -- was almost as lucrative for the 13-year-old actor.

"I don't really know how, but we did get permission to shoot on the G train,' Bahrani said, responding to a question about a scene featuring Polanco and his friend Carlos (Carlos Zapata) selling candy in the subway. "The [Mayor's] Film Office has really been nice to me, and they got it for us somehow. But we shot that scene on Handicam in advance of making the film, so Ale and Carlos and my cameraman and I would shoot them selling candy on the train. We would film them this close --" Bahrani held his palm inches from his face -- "so they would forget all about us by the time it came to making the film. They kept the money from that time."

"Were those real people in the scene?" a viewer asked.

"Yeah," Bahrani replied. "That's the great thing about New Yorkers: They've seen so many cameras that they don't really care. I'm amazed. That woman in the scene never once looked into the camera or even cared. They never asked any questions, either; 'Why is there a camera following these kids selling candy?' It's amazing."

"I never sold candy on the train," Polanco added. "I'm not shy, but when you're talking to people and you think they're going to say something because we have a camera, I was scared. So that was the first car, but then people were buying candy without saying nothing. I was making my money, so it didn't really bother me. Then when I went to the second car, I was more comfortable. The first time, when we were shooting on the Handicam, that's when I made $35. I was like, 'I wanna do this again!' "

"They were really excited for that," Bahrani said.

Posted at January 28, 2008 12:46 PM

Comments (3)

Didn't CHOP SHOP play at AFI FEST 2007?

Hey! Yeah! Didn't ... oh, sorry. Thanks for the correction, Josh.

Sorry for only writing when something is wrong, love the site! :)

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.thereeler.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb-AjOOtIAl.cgi/1526

Search The Reeler
Join the Mailing List

RSS Feed

Archives

Send a Tip