Sarah Polley may not be one of the most present faces on the current Hollywood scene, but she is undoubtedly a well-known figure in the field of cinema for her roles in films such as ‘My Life Without Me’, ‘Dawn of the Dead’ or ‘The Possible Lives of Mr. Nobody’, as well as small but notable projects behind the camera, such as directing the documentary ‘Stories We Tell’ or writing the script for ‘Alias Grace’.
Recently, Polley has told the details of one of his most iconic works, ‘The Adventures of Baron Münchausen’, and the tough experience working alongside Terry Gilliam.
“It was all planned”
Sarah Polley began her acting career very young and He shot ‘The Adventures of Baron Münchausen’ when he was only eight years old. In her new book, ‘Run Towards the Danger’, she talks about her film career and the opportunities that this film directed by Terry Gilliam brought to her, which, however, was one of the worst shoots she has ever experienced.
Terry was erratic, a daydreamer, someone who doesn’t live in the world “of logic and reason” like the Baron himself. I heard the crew complain that plans, which had taken months to put together, had been altered at the last minute by wild and ambitious impulses that ultimately put enormous pressure on the crew, the budget and the shooting schedule.
But what worried the actress the most during this shoot was a specific scene, in which she considers that Gilliam did not take special care with her safety. In it, Gilliam showed her the route she had to take on a set where she simulated a bombed-out city. The director assured him that, although they would use real explosivesIt would all be perfectly safe and they gave him some ear plugs.
Debris began to explode around me along with deafening bangs that made me feel like I was exploding myself. A log I had to run under was partially on fire (…) I ran in terror straight to the camera, tripping over the rails of the dolly.
After this experience, Polley’s first thought was that something had gone wrong on set, only to discover later that Gilliam had planned it exactly like this:
It didn’t seem possible that that had been the plan, instead of everything going terribly wrong. But it was, that’s how it was planned from the beginning. I had just ruined the take and was embarrassed. It took a long time to redo the shot, a delay that didn’t seem to bother Terry, nor did he seem to notice how terrified I was.
Years later, Polley discussed it with Gilliam, who He apologized for scaring her although he denied putting her in danger. Something that Eric Idle and Richard Conway, in charge of the special effects of the tape, do not share, which coincide with what she recounted.
In his book, Polley describes his effort to balance the creative talents he admires in Gilliam and his inconsiderateness on set: “Though he was brilliant and magical, and made pictures and stories that will live on forever, it’s hard to calculate if he was worth the hell he put himself through many, over the years, to help him get there.