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کتاب: زندگی در چند بخش / فصل 45

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توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Lance

My dad never gave up. He was always writing another screenplay, another novel, dreaming up another business venture. His dreams kept him alive. To achieve a dream would be great, but what was important was to have a dream. That’s where hope came from.

It’s more important to have a dream than to achieve a dream. That theme was at the heart of a movie I wrote and directed in 1998. Last Chance. I intended the movie as a kind of love letter, a gift, to Robin. I wrote a character I could imagine her sinking into and exploring. I loved the idea of collaborating with her, creating something together. I knew she could give a poignant, riveting performance, and she did.

Robin’s character was a woman who felt powerless and without choice in her life. She’d been buffeted by disappointment, so she’d lost hope. She was married to my character, Lance, a high school football star whose best days were behind him, who never made good on his potential, an underemployed, immature man-child. Perfect role for me. They lived in a remote section of the California desert, the fringe of the fringe, and my character always leaned on his small town’s lack of opportunity to justify his inability to succeed or move forward. My mom, in part, inspired that facet of my character. She was one of those people always looking outward to find comfort and joy, and excuses, rather than looking within. Mom would point at this boyfriend or that happenstance to explain why her life had ended up in such tatters. Someone or something was always to blame for her disappointments.

Robin’s character was a waitress at the Last Chance Café. She worked hard and bore the burdens of waning possibilities with a quiet grace. She didn’t see much hope for change, but she was pragmatic: “I don’t know what daydreaming does. It doesn’t help you get your work done. Daydreaming gives you false hope.”

But things changed for her when a truck driver’s rig broke down and he had to stay at the motel where she worked. He told her, “I don’t believe hope can be false—you either have it or you don’t.” That simple message shifted her perspective. And a shift in perspective can change a life. Hope can create possibility. Options are always available to us if we stand back and look at things differently.

I believed in this movie and worked hard to get it off the ground. The shoot got pushed back several times. We had some great actors lined up and then a few had to drop out because bigger jobs came along. We were set to do the shoot in the spring, and then I got a job, a commercial, a big payday, so we moved the dates again. April is tolerable in the desert. July is a bitch. But we couldn’t delay it any longer, so at the height of summer we headed to Pioneertown, an Old West motion picture set built in the 1940s on remote, sun-scarred, desolate land in Yucca Valley, California. All the actors stayed at the one motel there, and Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace catered our meals. The motel and the bar also became our main sets.

We were on the tightest shoestring budget: $300,000. That might sound like a lot of money to some, but it’s crazy low to get a movie made if you’re shooting on thirty-five-millimeter film. We bought short ends (partial rolls of unexposed film), leftovers from big-budget movies. We’d load those in the camera when we knew the scene was short. We economized in every way we could.

Robin insisted on staying apart from me because she thought it would be good for her character. Plus, given that I was acting and directing and producing, my hours were insane.

Robin’s room was immaculate. Doilies. Tea. That’s what her character was: orderly.

My room was the opposite. I was grinding, up at all hours of the night, sleeping here and there, completely immersed. I was joyful in chaos. And my personal dishevelment happened to be perfect for the character.

It turned out to be perfect for something else, too.

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