And I am not kidding when I said sleepless nights, with the exception of last night, I have not slept more than 4 hours for the whole bloody week. My temper was pretty fiery, I was hallucinating, I wandered around campus like a zombie, my female friends were so sympathetic of my sudden vulnerability that they offered to give me major huggy wuggies, which I politely declined, saying that I still have my 'mysterious and cold' image to maintain. The life of an artist, after all, is a lonely one.
What happened to Vertical Distance? Everything was fine... sorta. We had a trained stage actress, Rachel, for the lead female role, and she brought in her best buddy, Ryan, for the lead male too, and Ryan, despite not having any experience in acting, did seem pretty damned photogenic and charismatic onscreen (actually, he might have been a bit too hardcore-looking for a role that was originally meant to be a geeky Woody Allen-ish character, since the protagonist of the film is some dude who makes references about Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express). Some major accident happened during filming two weeks ago, and we lost a huge amount (almost all) of the crucial dialogue for the film.
And because of that, I had to rethink methods of presenting the story in Vertical Distance. How can things work without dialogue? Ironies of irony, I ended up emulating Wong Kar Wai's method of improvisational shooting, and presented the story with voiceover narration from both the main guy and the main gal. Something like Ashes of Time and Days of Being Wild. Although in truth, I was more influenced by the anime short, Hoshi No Koe, which was done by one person, Makoto Shinkai, couple of years ago. But like Justin had said, damn it, the inevitable has occurred, despite everything I've tried, I AM transforming into a Wong Kar Wai-style director, with my constant recurring themes of regret and lost love! (Yes, Vertical Distance, which was originally meant to be a cheery little romantic comedy, has turned into another meditation of hearbreak and lost love).
More and more, I find myself relating more to Wong Kar Wai than most other Hong Kong directors I can think of (and even my most worshipped Johnnie To!). It's not that I don't work with a script, it's more that I tend to feel that everything I've shot seems to have MORE potential without following what I have written entirely, and thus I would make some drastic changes upon it. In The Mood For Love is originally conceived as a comedy, then it turned into an elliptical tale of repressed emotions and unrequited love.
... well, bad news, the same thing had happened with Vertical Distance.
(I'll review The Da Vinci Code when I have the time, I promise!)