Today, while running routine errands in and about the house and the subsequent trips to town for toilet paper, dog food and a run to the dump… I decided I was in the neighborhood of one of my shooting locations from Cold Winter. I thought I would pop in and see how the site was faring eight years later. (Oh dear Lord, has it been EIGHT YEARS since I shot a feature?!)
So here, is the scene in particular:
The scene takes place about two-thirds of the way through the movie. The American and German have spent a few nights, one without fire, the other without food. When all is lost, the German makes a break for it and collapses here against this lovely scenic backdrop.
This is the turning point in this storyline, as the American and German are about to come to terms in order to foster their own survival.
Shooting this scene like any other in Cold Winter was a little treacherous. It was cold. It was wet. There were days on the shoot where it was far colder but much dryer. THe dry days felt a hell of a lot warmer than the wet days. When it was wet, the snow would soak into your clothes and chill you to the bone. We were young and fearless. We didn’t know any different. Besides, once you are working and running around, you never felt it.
In this scene Matt and Harold share a cigarette, and you can see it on screen how wonderful that cigarette tasted. They were both looking for a fix at that point in the day, and I believe we nailed this in one, maybe two takes. It was pleasantly smooth.
This was one of the scenes where there was heavy german dialogue. Matt, not speaking any german, would take his cues from Harold who would do his own lines, then do the German’s lines right back at him, so Matt could just echo and repeat tone and inflection. Yeah, I probably should have cast them in each other’s roles, but Harold was my Clint for this spaghetti western of a war movie.
It was a difficult day. A lot of dialogue. A lot of screaming and emotion on screen. But the weather, and the ice beneath our feet held…. as you can see, this river, as it is today, holds a lot more water than what’s seen on screen.
And, as it turns out, natural locations like this… really don’t age. It looks the same now as it did eight years ago.
…and yes. It’s time for me to stop sulking about lost writing partners and get off my ass and do something about it.