China Diary

Day 50: Six lanes of traffic, three lanes moving slow…

Another one of those days which could be flushed down the toilet. Another wasted day in my hotel room bed, trying to make one decent video call to my wife to see her face for a bit, and another day of constant “poor connection”, “reconnecting”… I declined a room service since I don’t want my room to be cleaned, not today. I want my clothes stay in the corner I tossed them yesterday, I want my bedsheets messy and my tables flooded with petty cash and restaurant receipts from last night. I don’t want to see anybody. I also declined to visit the Summer Palace with Mika and his girlfriend, because I really can’t take a happy couple in a romantic park right now. I should work on the script a bit, but I can’t bring myself to open the damn file. All I do is lay here, smelling bad and feeling like shit, Mark Knopfler’s lonely guitar sounds as my only company. So, a typical Sunday mood these days.

This is my relationship these days…

IMG_0096Nevertheless, yesterday was not a bad day, work-wise. I got around the office in the noon and right away I was introduced to the actor Tank Dong who will play the character Uncle Pan in Iron Sky: The Ark; it was a costume fitting, and we had some fun time coming up with his look and picking weapons for him (the only one we had there was too small – he’s a big guy – and actually played a role in Skyfall, giving a good beating to mr. Bond himself. He’s an ex pro boxer, so finding stuff that fits his commendable frame is a challenge, but I think we managed to find a great outfit for him.

We’ve been working on the storyboards with Mika for quite a long time now, and they are starting to be in order. Jonathan from the office has been doing big sorting through all the boards, trying to match them to the script, and finally we have most of it done. The use of the storyboards is in many ways essential to our style of production. It’s easy to color with green everything that’s going to be made in VFX, and easy to explain to all the departments on what they need to build, what not, and what’s still lacking. I’m slightly worried, to be honest, with our art department – we have so much to build, and I think they haven’t really started on anything. I know once they are on the job, they are fast, but there’s still quite a lot of questions open in the air and we are about to shoot in less than a month, so I really hope next week the construction begins, otherwise we have nothing but green walls to shoot! (Which is pretty much the way we shot Iron Sky 1, so it would be nothing new…)

After the workday, we had a dinner with Mika and his girlfriend and some people from the production. The mushrooms were above everything, although it was just a terrific meal all in all, and not far from the hotel, too! I wish I would know the Chinese foods the way the locals do. Whenever I go to a restaurant and order for myself, I get absolutely the least inedible items on the list. Whenever the locals go, they order the table full of amazing dishes… I just have no idea how they do that.

Anyway, I’m a miserable shadow of a man myself now, but I’m happy at least one of us expats has company here. Hopefully Annika can come over here when we start shooting, right now we’re trying to aim for that. Crossing fingers!

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