The ninth episode of The Third Age features the first really extensive action sequence we’ve done in the series to date, a tricky scene to execute for a variety of reasons. The scene as it plays now works well for me, and hopefully for you the viewer, but it was not an easy journey to the screen.
Filming on the scene mostly occurred in September 2008, when we had all four principal actors, Brian, Hallie, Misti and Scott together in the location we were using for Leo’s apartment. We shot elements in chunks, the scene with Hallie and Zinone in the shower, then the stuff with Morning and the guards, but it was tricky to piece it all together. We wanted to do an extensive search, but with such a small location, there wasn’t that much searching to be done, and it was hard to build suspense.
We were running low on time on the shot day, so we basically went nuts with lights and a newly purchased smoke machine. It was a lot of fun to do, I was yelling out directions as our extras in masks walked in place and lights were panned all over them. It looked very cool and we got some of my favorite footage from the whole film that day, particularly the shots of Morning.
However, it didn’t quite tell the story. Some pieces were there, but not everything, and as I worked to edit, the scene hung together, but didn’t quite work as we wanted it to. So, Jordan and I worked off the cut and decided to shoot a few pickups to flesh out the story, and try to add in suspense. To do this, we shot the entire sequence that takes place outside of Leo’s house at the start of the episode, and establishes the mercenaries that have been sent to capture them.
I also came up with the idea of linking Jerrod Woolf more directly to the raid. I used a piece of footage we had shot for the scene that closes the episode, where Jerrod is drugged out, and added it in at the start to convey that he’s overseeing the mission. That linked the two stories together in a more dynamic way, and sets up some future plot developments.
Then, we went in a shot a few scenes of a mercenary walking through the space to cut in to the existing footage. That mercenary was actually played by Steve Deluca, who plays wire wearing experimentation victim Steve in the series. He’s our utility guy, and has played four roles over the course of the film.
That footage fit seamlessly with our existing footage, and was edited together with Zinone and Holly’s conversation to build tension there, and hopefully make for a better scene. The scene still isn’t quite like I imagined it, but I think it works, and taught us a lot of lessons about how to execute action sequences that we’ve used on future shoots.