Monday, June 26, 2006

What's cooking in Captain Abu Raed land

I've been in Jordan for a week now, and the first thing I wanted to get to work on was casting our actors. I didn't think this would be the standard auditioning process, so we're going to take our time finding the right people for the right roles. Laith and I spent the last few days meeting with local theatre actors and doing some screen tests, and I have to say, I was very impressed by a couple of people, one of which we cast in one of the most difficult and important roles in the movie.

So we've cast three of the main roles and have several prospects for some of the other roles. In total, there are over 40 speaking parts in the film. And as we are waiting to get the right person for the role of Abu Raed, we have decided not to rush this film and wait until the right person fills Abu Raed's shoes. We are in talks with a couple of name actors outside of Jordan. This pushes our shoot time into the spring, as I have to be back at AFI to shoot my thesis film in January. But I am also glad. We now have more time for preproduction and that's the most precious time to set up so that mistakes can be avoided during the actual production.

So I'll be in Amman for the majority of the summer anxiously itching to make my movie, but the lesson here is to not rush when something is worth careful planning.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


So I'll be heading to Jordan on Thursday to do preproduction work for Captain Abu Raed. Since wrapping up the AFI year, I've been meeting some wonderfuland amazing people who will head the various departments for the film. We haven't decided on the production designer yet, but I've met people who've done Steven Spielberg's latest films, and I am honored that they want to be part of our team. We will be making all sorts of decisions really soon.

Our cinematographer is the wonderfull Ray Peschke. He did all the lighting/gaffing for the Oliver Stone films JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street along with other films like The Usual Suspects, Wag the Dog, and Spike Lee's Summer of Sam. He's an amazing person who's lived in all corners of the world and loves life and the experience of people and cultures all around the globe. He's the perfect cinematographer and partner to tell Captain Abu Raed's story with us.

The people who are coming together around this film are surrounding it out of love for the screenplay and I feel that it's a great honor to be working with them and we're going to make a very passionate film that will affect the world in its own special little way.

I will also announce that we've found our leading lady who will play the female pilot, Nour. I cannot announce who she is yet. All I can say is that she is a stunning and confident/charismatic Jordanian who will shine on the big screen. As soon as I arrive in Amman I will begin meeting kids from all over to start casting the neighborhood children.

We've brought on board a terrific line producer from Morocco. She's a machine and I know she will drive our film forward and make things happen.

Finally, regarding Abu Raed himself. Well, like a good filmmaker should, I'll leave you in suspense for now...