Meeting My Nemesis

Jul 29, 2018 9:00 AM

My Polycarp Movie Diary, Day Seven*

Monday, July 29, 2013. With Sunday as a day of rest, we returned to work Monday for another 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. schedule. All the scenes we shot today were in the "scroll shop" set. It's a small, compact set, and most of the scenes were not particularly complicated—so it was surprising that it required many set-ups and re-takes just to get the details right.

My workday was a "sandwich" day--I would be doing my scenes at the beginning and at the end of the day. In between times I stayed in costume and makeup, but spent most of the time in the "green room," working on lines and building relationships with others in the cast and crew. 

My early scenes were on the lighter side, although I had some very nice little bits that developed Polycarp's relationship with Anna (Eliya Hurt) and Elias (Curt Cloninger). Eliya was in all but one of the scenes shot today, and like me was on site from start to finish. She is an incredible trooper, and her work ethic inspires me.

During the day Gary Bosek arrived, who plays Polycarp's nemesis, Quadratus, the Roman proconsul of Asia. Since I had long breaks between my scenes we had a good opportunity to get acquainted, size up one another, compare character notes, and go over scenes we would share later in the day. Gary is very different from the arrogant, blustering Roman he plays on screen. A soft-spoken, dedicated Christian, he teaches film and television, and is a talented, conscientious, professionally-mannered actor. I was going to enjoy fellowship offscreen with him as much as the face-offs on screen.

At the end of the day we began--but did not finish--a crucial confrontation scene between Quadratus and Polycarp. It is a short scene, but contains a showdown, Rome vs. Christ, where obedience to the state impinges on religious commitment--the crucial conflict on which the plot hinges. It was one of the most dramatic scenes I have been in so far. 

The hour was approaching 4 a.m. and we still had not begun the set-up for Polycarp in that scene yet, so we wrapped for the day and would reschedule that for a later pick-up. [Note: As it turns out, in editing and post-production, there are surprises in this scene that no one anticipated at the time. The scene was reshot so that, not Quadratus but Maximus (Ryan-Iver Klan) makes the visit to get Polycarp’s response. That was shot during a secondary round of photography the following spring. Because of the tiny size of the scroll shop set, both actors never appear in the same shot. Seeing the film you would never know that the scene was shot in such a fragmentary way if I hadn’t told you.]

Top: Gary Bosek as Quadratus await the director’s call for action. Bottom Left: The scroll shop set with Polycarp’s writing deskalmost, but not quite, finished and ready for filming. Bottom Right: Asst. Prop Master Felicia Goebel, trying out Polycarp’s writing desk. Our properties staff was amazing with their ability to stock every scene with every necessary, authentic implement to make the film as realistic as possible.

*This is the fifth anniversary of the filming of the award winning Christian film Polycarp in which I play the title character. The experience of making that film proved to be far more momentous and impactful in my life than I ever anticipated. To celebrate this anniversary I am re-publishing my diary from those days which I wrote on the back of the daily sides.