Sean Gullette,

Sean Gullette,

A weeklong electronic journal.
July 30 1998 3:30 AM

Sean Gullette,

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       I run errands and see friends today. I stop by Plantain, a brownstone on 13th Street, which Tyler Brodie and Jonah Smith have converted into a beautiful state-of-the-art production and post facility, recording studio, and work space that will one day be the next Shooting Gallery or Good Machine. They were co-executive producers of Pi and have become friends; now they are helping and hosting the production of Rob Schmidt's feature Saturn.
       Walking through Plantain makes me happy. It would make a good Scorsese-style dolly shot: the whole place buzzing with the activity of a low-budget production a week away from shooting. Focused young kids are on the phone everywhere, locking up locations and talent, figuring out what to do with trash from the set and where to get folding chairs. Several of the filmmakers from Pi are bringing their considerable talents to Saturn--genius Director of Photography Matthew Libatique, tack-sharp Assistant Director Lora Zuckerman, and the Yoda of sound recording, Ken Ishii. My childhood friend James Chinlund, a truly great aesthete who art directed Buffalo 66, is the production designer. I talk to Lora about my possible day-player role as an overworked psych ward doctor and soak up the good energy of a new movie.
       Upstairs in the office, Eric is on the phone to L.A. For the three years we've been friends, Eric has been on the phone, but nowadays he is always OTPTLA. In addition to hard work on promoting and legally delivering Pi, he and Darren (who has just left to bring Pi to the Melbourne film festival and to do some writing) are starting work on two new movies. They're doing an adaptation of Hubert Selby's novel Requiem for a Dream and a sci-fi thriller called Proteus, which Darren is writing with our friend Lukas Sussman. I'm excited about both projects.
       I get back on my bike. A person in space is the fundamental unit of meaning. Riding through Manhattan fast on a nice day--on any day, really--is one of the purest pleasures I know. I go feed the cats. I stop at Kim's Video and get Boogie Nights only to watch the great Julianne Moore.
       I ride into Kinko's to make scripts for a Joe's Day reshoot. This 30 minute film was written and directed by Nicole Zaray, who is also a hugely talented actor (she's the star of the upcoming Good Machine movie The Sticky Fingers of Time) and, on a good day, my best friend. She edited most of it on the Avid at Plantain and has decided to re-shoot one scene for technical reasons. I co-produced and acted in it along with Deborah Harry, Jason Moscartolo, Nicole, and a bunch of great New York actors. The film takes place in a gender-inverted reality, where women are the historically dominant gender.
       I go home and call up a couple of agents. I don't have one. I've talked to some good ones, but people tell me that with Pi doing so well I should be judicious and patient and wait to hear from a few more before making a decision. Some Pi reviews have come in the mail from Karen Sam Fillippo, the wicked cool head of publicity at Artisan. I speed-read through them, my ego growling hungrily today: me-me-me-me. Kevin Thomas in the L.A. Times: "Bold, brainy thriller ... blah blah blah ... a brilliant intellectual adventure." Ah, there we go: "Sean Gullette, an actor of formidable resources and concentration." That's pretty damn good. My ego curls up happily to digest, and I do a few hours' work.
       Then I sit down to watch Moore as Amber Waves, "the foxiest bitch in the world." The second she comes on the screen my ego goes back where it belongs. It's not just that she's a great actor. I see in her acting, and especially in Safe, a poetics of expression that confronts you with a complete brave, fucked-up, partly self-aware human who is one day going to die. I fall asleep still pondering her ineffable and translucent realness.

Sean Gullette is a New York-based actor and writer starring in Pi. He built and maintains the film's Web site.