Polycarp Speaks

Jul 24, 2018 9:30 AM

My Polycarp Movie Diary, Day Three*

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - The first couple of days our shooting schedule was a “regular” daytime schedule: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Today we had a transitional schedule, 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. My call time was 12:30. It takes almost an hour to apply my makeup, but makeup artist Mary Smit is a pro, and I can already tell how she’s building speed in applying it. Hair stylist Ashton Ballinger’s challenge is to make sure my wavy hair always waves the same way every day in every scene. She has it figured out.

Today I spoke my first lines before the camera, which happen to be also the first lines Polycarp speaks in the movie—an unusual occurrence considering the non-linear nature of filming scenes. The set was incredibly realistic, truly transporting us all back to the 2nd century Asia Minor city of Smyrna. It truly was a marvelous thing to walk through the door of the set and take a step back in time. The claustrophobic streets, the clatter and roar of a slave auction, the smell of a streetside fish market—I was sold.

This was also one of the few scenes in which I got to have a direct interaction with Ilse Apestegui. Ilse is a fascinating actress and individual. Most of her acting background is from the stage, and in particular, opera! A native of Costa Rica and now a Kentucky resident, her name speaks of her Basque heritage. Her role is vital in this film, and she is the perfect actress to play it--not only for her authentic look, but for the deep emotional well from which she draws to develop her character. I value the time I had both onscreen and offscreen to share with her.

There was one thing that was particularly noteworthy to me today, and that was how deeply moved and angered I became as I watched our slave auction. Of course I was not angry that we were depicting this, but at the realization that throughout history and still today in even the most civilized parts of the world, young souls are trafficed in such a callous manner with no regard to their worth as persons. 

It was a successful day of filming, and we even wrapped early—before 9 p.m. Later on we would put a premium on the time saved, because we would definitely use it up.

Top Left: It took less than an hour in the makeup chair for me to age a decade or two under the expert hands of makeup artist Mary Smit. (Also note the banana clips in the hair, courtesy of stylist Ashton Ballinger.)  Top Right: Garry Nation as Polycarp, street scene between takes. The figure to the left is Ilse Apestegui.  Center Left: Ilse Apestegui as Melina, the Christian woman who becomes a mother to the orphaned slave girl Anna. Center Right: Dave Moak as the slimy slave owner, dragging around his unfortunate slave played by Audrey Cornett. Alas, most of Dave’s scenes got cut in the final reel. Bottom: My first mark in this scene was next to the fish table. This was the second day for these fish to be out there and, well, they were no longer fresh.

*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.