Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

December 20, 2011 at 10:52am

MOVIE BIZ BUZZ: Making a killing

Director Randy Sparks slates up for another take on the set of "Rose Colored Shades." Photo credit: Christopher Wood

Recommend Blog Post
Total Recommendations (0)


I creep up the creaky, flame-emblazoned steps as silently as I can, not sure whether the audio guy will detect my approach through his boom mic. Director Randy Sparks has pretty much the entire floor above Tacoma's Stonegate Pizza and Rum Bar to himself this Sunday afternoon, shooting a scene from his newest picture, Rose Colored Shades.

Known up to this point for sunny comedies, Sparks has opted for something darker in this tale of cold-blooded gangsters and hit men, which he wrote with Rod Long. Today's scene summed up what viewers can expect: the not-so-angelic character Gabriel (Don MacEllis) rubbing out his latest victim as she sleeps in bed.

Too brutal for the holidays, you think? Gabriel's gravelly rendition of "Silent Night" during his kill should put you in a festive mood! (Maybe if you're Alex from A Clockwork Orange.) 

Most of the small crew I don't recognize, except folks like photographer Gerry Collen, who seems a fixture on every Sparks production. He hurries around the confined space, made to look like a bedroom, snapping photos while Sparks slates each take himself. A director should never have to do this job, but then I realize Sparks' need for a minimum of onlookers here. Besides murder, Rose doesn't blush at the sight of nudity either; I couldn't enter the set until actress Crystal Canales was (semi-)decent.

Sparks began shooting Rose Colored Shades in late August of this year, and says he has only about twenty percent of the script in the proverbial can. Used to wrapping short films in a matter of weeks, Sparks realizes, "I have to be a little more patient (on features)."

Others have had to adapt to new experiences as well. Canales, a member of the local roller derby outfit Dockyard Derby Dames, finds herself in front of the camera for the first time. She tells me she agreed to join the cast before even reading the script. Then she discovered her character appears slightly in the buff.

Canales laughs. "It was nerve-wracking."

Fortunately the breathing exercises she learned in yoga keep her calm between take after take of thrashing in terror - while a nearly all-male crew looks on. Also at her side (and on top of her) is 48-year-old veteran actor MacEllis, who plays the attacker. He based the unstable Gabriel in part on a former boss he had years ago as a bouncer at a club in San Diego.

MacEllis describes the owner like a movie cliche: "sleazy, icky, gold chain, open shirt...he was that stereotype." And wouldn't you know it, this shady cat supposedly got in too deep with the Mob and met his end by some very un-natural causes...

Stonegate has of late served as a resource for other filmmakers. Tacoma producer-director Rick Walters not only held a screening of his short Scamp at Stonegate in 2011, early last month he used the space to host a fundraiser for his upcoming horror flick, The Resolution. (Posters of both works still hang on the walls upstairs.)

Before leaving the Rose set I bump into Stonegate owner Jeff Call. What does he think about the rising cred of his place as a haven for film artists?

"I'm all about local. I'm a Tacoma boy," he says. "I just want to support these (artists) ... whatever I can do to help the community, and hopefully it helps me out."           

Filed under: Arts, Screens, Tacoma,
comments powered by Disqus

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

Recent Comments

Walkie Talkies said:

Thanks for posting! But I want say that Walkie Talkies are really required while organizing fun...

about COMMENT OF THE DAY: "low brow’s" identity revealed?

Humayun Kabir said:

Really nice album. I have already purchased Vedder's Album. Listening to the song of this album,...

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

AndrewPehrson said:

Your post contains very beneficial content. Kindly keep sharing such post.

about Vote for Tacoman Larry Huffines on HGTV!

Shimul Kabir said:

Vedder's album is really nice. I have heard attentively

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

marble exporters in India said:

amazing information for getting the new ideas thanks for sharing a post

about 5 Things To Do Today: Art Chantry, DIY home improvement, "A Shot In The Dark" ...