More CRIMSON PEAK behind the scenes info, still no photos though

CRIMSON PEAK, Wednesday, April 23, Day 12: The first of three days shooting a ballroom sequence at Casa Loma, a substantial little castle in the middle of Toronto. The men are in white tie and tails, the women in ball gowns. It's crowded. There are over 130 extras, all in formal wear, with the most well-groomed selection of facial hair since the court of Kaiser Wilhelm. It's chilly outside and quickly rather stifling inside the ballroom (really the library of the castle, complete with floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled largely with fake books). Mountains of mouth-watering cakes and delicacies are carried in, but they're just for show. For all I know, they're wooden. The order of this first day is for all of us to watch Jessica Chastain play the piano. Jessica doesn't play the piano, but she has learned to play two pieces for this sequence -- months of work, and it shows. I complimented her on her playing and asked how long she'd played, and she thought I was kidding her, as she'd had no experience before this winter. I can tell that she's not a flawless pianist, yet I am dumbstruck that she has learned to play so well in such a short time. I studied piano for years and can play almost nothing beyond the barest rudiments. I would be proud to play half as well after those years as Jessica plays in the length of time I've been growing out my beard.

My new pal Leslie Hope and I have a lot of fun on the set. She's playing Charlie Hunnam's character's mother, and she is a great asset to the company, funny, acerbic, lovely, charming. We discussed the differences between shooting movies and TV, particularly the speed at which things are done. This is a 2 or 3-page scene which would be shot in perhaps less than a full day if done for television. But on a big movie like this, the scene will take every bit of three very long days. Movie-making allows time to finesse a scene, to get myriad colors from it, to shoot it in a wide variety of ways. But the scenes have to be played over and over again, maybe a hundred times, and it grows wearisome, especially if you're corseted up in a fin de siécle ball gown or high starched-collar penguin suit in a fetid ballroom crammed with people. In TV, you can't do as much or as well, usually, but at least there's variety, as the scenes move on, from one to the next, in relatively rapid succession.

Guillermo is the most painstaking director I've ever worked for. We do many takes, and he makes tiny adjustments. He is always energetic and high-spirited, and the atmosphere is never tense, not so far. Between shots is a great deal of time for conversation, and I've really enjoyed chatting without agenda or pressure with Mia, Tom, and Charlie. Jessica isn't around as much when she's not on camera, but she's a good egg, with a sweet disposition. This is a good company of players. I've no doubt the next three days will be physically exhausting but just as enjoyable otherwise. Whether there will be anything of new interest to say about those days is another question. They will likely be almost interchangeable.