China Diary

Day 88: Welcome to the Hope Island


The first big set we shoot for Iron Sky: The Ark is a location called Hope Island. We have been scouting for the location for the most part of the year, visiting a volcanic beach in Yunnan province and scouting all over Qingdao area to find the right kind of a place. When we finally did, the location turned out to be nearly impossible to shoot at: it’s covered in water for the most part of the day, only popping out during the low tides. We did fall in love with the look of the location, so we decided to replicate it to the Wanda Studios backlot – and today, finally, we would start shooting there!

All in all, it’s a tricky day: many of the main cast actors had their first actual day of the shoot there, and although they didn’t really say anything, it still creates a bit of an aura of expectations, seeing all new faces and getting a feeler on how everyone works together. Of course, many of them are already known to me thanks to table reads, and they know each other from the stunt rehearsals (and sometimes even through school…), but now, when we turn the cameras for the first time, we see how they look on screen.

The sun is shining bright and beautiful and the set looks really nice. It’s the last warm days of the summer and I’m enjoying working with the cast and creating the scene. It’s not a simple scene, many extras and problems with languages makes the day quite exhausting, but we manage to get some good material on the tape.

In the evening, Max calls me up for a meeting. We discuss some of the issues of the production and also turns out he’s an avid reader of my blog, mentioning few passages in it which makes me feel uneasy. I was really thinking it’s only my family and few Twitter friends reading this, but what did I expect, of course it has a larger reader base.

Also, the writer Dalan has arrived! I signed him to play a small side role, but he wrote him to be close to some of the key characters for most of the time, so he’s pretty much involved on screen quite a lot. This time around, he’s here for a week, which I decide to use also to work on the script as much as possible. We have a dinner in the evening and then get ready for the shoot next day.

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I met Dalan through a project called Jeremiah Harm several years ago. That film never happened, but we stroke a good writing partnership and since wrote together Iron Sky The Coming Race and later on worked on the script of Iron Sky: The Ark. 

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