Diablo Cody’s letter from ”movie camp”
I am writing this at a hotel in Vancouver that’s completely infested with showbiz types. (The term showbiz is due for a renaissance, don’t you think? It has a certain ’40s charm, as if it should chiefly refer to productions that involve Judy Garland and/or a trolley.) When multiple ‘Couv-based shoots are under way, this particular hotel is not unlike a tony summer camp for movie people. All the classic camp archetypes come into play: the Cool Kids (actors), the Rich Kids (producers), the Laptop-Toting Geeks (writers), and the Sick, Exhausted Kid With a Rash Who Just Wants to Go Home (most directors). The hotel bar is akin to a mess hall, except the bug juice is a little more potent and no one’s singing ”On Top of Spaghetti.” Even the wardrobe is appropriately matchy, with crew jackets standing in for teepee T-shirts. One almost expects each shoot to conclude with a raucous game of capture the flag in which the second AD gets pantsed by a grip.
The best part about bunking here at Camp Per Diem is all the random free-range celebrities roaming the hotel. Where else are you going to see Hayden Panettiere, Gillian Anderson, and Mini-Me all just existing? It’s not like spotting famous people at an awards gala or a benefit for Tanzania — a celeb in a formal setting might as well be a hologram. They’re obviously on their best behavior, and in some cases, they’ve literally been airbrushed to resemble their own magazine spreads. But at a hotel, over a series of weeks, you can actually observe the person behind the brand. I tell people I choose to write in the lobby and common areas because I like the ambient noise. In reality, I just want to gawk at famous people and track their movements. ”Day 6: Will Smith still supernice. Adam Brody wearing the black pants (refer to Day 2).”
This is my second time in a year doing a movie in this misty, blossom-strewn city. I’m stoked to be back, since Vancouver is truly a cornucopia of wonders: Mountain ranges! Lush arboreal vistas! Ketchup-flavored Pringles! My God, they put gravy on their French fries. Also, I keep hearing about this thing called ”B.C. Bud,” which must be a friendship outreach program or something. Perhaps it’s the Canuck equivalent of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, since I’m told it’s more prevalent in blighted areas. Either way, you can see why so many productions have been mounted here in recent years. It’s arguably cheaper than Los Angeles, the traffic is lighter, and you don’t have to worry about a palm tree sneaking into your establishing shot of ”Cleveland.”
NEXT PAGE: ”I can’t wait until the effects guys start dousing the place in Argento-red goo. That’s every little girl’s dream, right?”