Bookmark and Share Torchwood: Week Nine Production

3/13/2011 08:56:00 pm - Reported by Chuck Foster

It's week nine in the production of Torchwood, and the end of the second month of the shoot! However, there's still some three months of filming left to go so no time to wind down for the production team - as usual there was filming in progress by two or more units over the course of the week, both around Los Angeles (with scenes taking place at places like the beach and an old stadium) and on the Warner Bros studio backlot. Plus, a rather important birthday to celebrate ...

Cast highlighted this week included John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Mekhi Phifer, Ernie Hudson, Dichen Lachman and Alexa Havins - not to mention of course the silent majority of supporting actors, extras and stand-ins working on the production!

The BBC Production Office reported that this week would see filming commence on Jane Espenson's episode five. Two new directors were also revealed as working on the production, Gwyneth Horder-Payton and Guy Ferland. Horder-Payton's credits include Battlestar Galactica, Fringe, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy and The Shield; Ferland has also directed for the latter three shows, with other credits including The Mentalist, Human Target - IMDB reports him as working on John Shiban's episode six of Torchwood: Miracle Day.

It was also reported elsewhere that John Wells is one of the producers for Torchwood; his credits include Southland, Shameless, E.R. and The West Wing.


Times cited within reports below are in Los Angeles local time, except where indicated


Monday

Torchwood hits the beach! It was one of those rare occasions when the production was in an open place, with members of the public appearing in the background if they so wished (as long as they agreed to the conditions laid out on the notices!).

Eve Myles and Mekhi Phifer were on location today, with filming taking place by the DogTown skate park on Venice Beach. Tweets from Dichen Lachman suggested she was enjoying the beach, too!
16:00 AF  After thinking it was going to rain all weekend,
          the sun today feels SO good.  :)
11:03 AF  Hard at work! http://t.co/yTJcP8P 
11:08 AF  http://t.co/LVMiLg7
11:18 MP  shooting on venice beach right now...
          was supposed to rain but we been blessed with sunshine.
11:45 AF  The sun is warm and lovely, but wind is a bit chilly. :) 
14:53 AF  GAH!  Sandstorm!  O_O
14:55 AF  Pre-sandstorm! http://t.co/fgdTHQB 
17:52 AS  Cold, sun and wind burnt. Still its so beautiful. Yay for the beach.
18:37 AF  I miraculously managed to get thru it without any kamikaze grains
          going for my contact lenses! :D 
18:47 AF  I think this is my favorite photo I took of Venice Beach while down
          at the #Torchwood shoot today. ALIEN SEAGULLS!  :-) http://t.co/sxZMt3r

Paul Sauser was also on hand to see some of the action at the skate park, including Eve Myles apparently being filmed as Gwen on her mobile. Additional photos of her were published by Caught on Set.


Allyson Floyd, via Twitpic


Allyson Floyd, via Twitpic


Allyson Floyd, via Twitpic


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Paul Sauser, via YFrog


Dichen Lachman, via YFrog


Dichen Lachman, via YFrog


Dichen Lachman, via YFrog

Tuesday - Wednesday


Chazz Sutton, via Plixi
After such a public location on Monday, the production disappeared into relative obscurity once more. However, it was possible to infer that one of the units was present at the Inglewood Forum based on snatches of conversation on Twitter:
07 20:48 CS  Working a show for Starz called Torchwood
             tomorrow in Inglewood. I just Google searched
             it... seems very intriguing
             *scratches fake goatee* 
08 18:01 CS  I just shook Lonestar's hand #Winning
08 20:13 CS  The end to a long ass day which I so needed.
             It's good to be paid.
             So grateful to be called back for tomorrow.
08 23:11 CS  Yeah 14 hours on set was no joke.
             So exhausting but was awesome to be part of
             somethin so hush hush. 
             Also met great new peeps. Recall baby! 
09 13:07 CS  Adventures in extras holding. So exciting. 

Allyson Floyd chatted a little bit about the life of a stand-in:
08 14:53 AF  I spent more time wrangling with UPS today than I spent on set! :P  Oy.
08 23:07 AF  I'm literally not there at all, lol!  Stand-ins are only used to set up
             camera angles and lighting!
08 23:19 AF  I've done kind of a ridiculous amount of extra work though... 
             if you knew where to look, you'd see the back of my head everywhere!
08 23:20 AF  And a few places where I'm pretty recognizable, but it would be
             too tedious to look up all the episode #'s and movies.
11 01:15 AF  I generally stand in for one of the main cast, so that usually puts me
             there several days a week.

Meanwhile, the BBC Production Office were prepping for two kinds of activity later in the week ...
08 14:45 BBC We have a birthday coming up soon, 3 days to be exact.
             Mission #3 get JB the perfect gift. Are surprises still classy?
             Oh the possibilities!
09 18:38 BBC Wonderfully productive day! RTD is typing away and we're prepping two units.
             Phones are ringing! Carpal tunnel arising! Action galore.

Thursday


Matthew Arnold, via YFrog
Two locations were listed for activity Thursday, the James Oviatt Building (home to the Cicada Restaurant), and possibly the Yard, a kick-boxing club - however this address is also listed for the Willow Studios so their resources might have been in use instead! Reports also indicated other locations were visited throughout the day, with at least two units operating! Matthew Arnold reported that filming was taking place on a street at his uncle's, and this unit included Alexa Havins.

Meanwhile, another unit had to contend with a minor disaster on set:
09 17:18 AF  Then it's back to work on the set of
             #Torchwood: MD tomorrow!
10 09:56 AS  Another early morning. Yawn!
             But I have my honey with me today. :) 
10 12:22 AS  A water main just broken now there's a river
             running thru set. Too bad the waters nasty or
             I would run thru it like the 10 yr old I am. LOL 
11 13:00 BBC A water main broke at our 2nd Unit location,
             a cool looking salvage yard. Awesome location
11 13:04 BBC The water leak had nothing to do with us!!
             It was just a crazy random event.
11 14:27 AF  I missed out on that!  I had a later calltime.  ^_^ 


BBC, via img.mu


BBC, via img.mu


Alana Stone, via Facebook


Shawna Trpcic, via Plixi


BBC, via Twitpic
Another location in use turned out to be the Los Angeles City Hall again, with John Barrowman and Ernie Hudson present; John was later to receive two big cakes for his birthday on Friday (celebrated UK time!)
10 17:43 ST  A bit quiet here shooting a 6 page scene. 
             Amazing actor with John today.
             Both are intense. Really great writing too.
             Beautiful location too.
10 19:01 ST  Entire crew just sang @Team_Barrowman happy birthday
             and presented him a cake with candles.
             Lots of joy and laughter. Now we r on the move.
10 19:16 ST  A glimpse of vintage LA I love this city :-) 
10 20:00 ST  I can't say where til tomorrow when we r gone :-)
12 08:00 ST  LA City Hall

10 23:02 BBC Mission #3 SUCCESS! A surprise TWO cakes
             and we gave John the day off tomorrow.
             Happy Birthday!
10 23:54 JB  Hello from LA 
10 23:55 JB  Thanks for all the birthday wishes..
             6 more minutes till the actual bday
10 23:57 JB  Going to bed then of to Palm Springs tomorrow
             for celebrations with Mom and dad and family.
10 23:59 JB  been very busy filming and feel bad 
             I have not tweeted. hope to rectify that.
11 00:00 JB  Dont ask Torchwood questions as I cant answer...
             DUH!!!
             But get to Comic con if you can..

Friday


Daryl Crittenden, via YFrog
As mentioned above, Friday was a day off for John Barrowman as it was his birthday, but work continued for the rest of the cast and crew as usual.

10:32 ST  Concept meeting for episode 7.
          Creativity is not only coming up with a brilliant story
          it's bringing it to life on a budget. Oye!!
14:28 DC  Heading to set on #Torchwood today....
          time to make the doughnuts!
17:08 ST  Hint pink flamingo 
18:50 DC  This is a light post. Only a lightpost. #Torchwood
18:51 DC  Ps had a blueberry doughnut yum. #Torchwood

Filming also continued around the Willow Street facilities, as observed by Dina Kampmeyer:
11 19:01 Okay, trying not freak out, but torchwood is filming 20 feet away from me.
         If my bf can get me on set, i may just freak. 
12 14:45 I was having a drink at Villains & they were filming next door. 
         They were packing up, but I was there! 
12 14:47 The set was all dark & dank. Looks like maybe a basement or tunnels
         where creepy aliens would hide. 

Finally, we're pleased to include a special report on life as an extra, courtesy of Maria Zambrana:
I worked on the second unit of "Torchwood: Miracle Day" last night, (Ep5, I believe?), as one of about 150 people for the night shoot. We didn't have to sign a confidentiality agreement like I did in Episode 1 (two months ago), but common sense dictates that it'd be wise not to go into extreme detail, no?

We were shooting on "French Street" on the Warner Bros. lot (that's a street name not the location setting!), and our holding was this empty building on the corner. The room filled up pretty quickly so, despite it being a bit chilly, others took their folding chairs and lined up along the sidewalks. I found that the "store" next to this one was empty, so I simply went in there and had the place to myself. A props cart was set up right outside the door where we picked up a few items.

There were some background people there that performed two or three different roles and got there around 3pm or so, and another lump of people brought in just for the one scene (7:45pm., 8pm., etc.). We were ostensibly broken up into groups (Group A, Group B, etc.) but that's just a basic early-stage organizational thing; by the time filming takes place, you're just swept up en masse into the action. The only thing that matters is your call time... as in, the 3pm. call time allowed the earlier people to be dismissed earlier. Also, they got lunch - we didn't get any food on set, save for some people who scavenged their leftovers before catering threw them away (this food-raid done at the encouragement of one of the A.D.s, incidentally, who was rather put off by the fact that catering was not available to everyone).

(This is why I always make sure to eat before I go to a set, and to bring my own water. You can't rely on a production to take care of you. I was on the set of final episode of "24" and the entire building ran out of toilet paper. Guess who the only extra was that brought their own roll that day?)

Eve Myles was the only main cast member on our part of the lot; there were two units, ours and another over at Warner Ranch, but I've no idea what they were shooting or who with. At one point, upon finding out that one of our number was a big "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood" fan, she took a few minutes to pose with and take photos with the guy, which put him on Cloud 9! So sweet of her to do that.

All in all, though, the shoot went well. We all did one rehearsal walking around the block, past our holding area, and back to our starting positions. Then we made three or four more circles, wearing and carrying our props (aw, c'mon, why should I spoil what they were?). And we were done! Check-in to sign-out was about six hours, and a good four of those hours was wasted at wardrobe and holding.



Key to initials: AF - Allyson Floyd (stand-in); AS - Alana Stone (fashion designer); BBC - BBC Torchwood (production office); CS - Chazz Sutton (extra); DC - Daryl Crittenden; JB - John Barrowman (Jack); JE - Jane Espenson (writer); MP - Mekhi Phifer (Rex); ST - Shawna Trpcic (costume designer)



Next week sees the return of Kai Owen to filming ...
11 09:17(UK) Well our suitcases are packed, we're off to Los Angeles tomorrow for 3 months!! Crazy!
11 19:47(UK) Thank you all for your good luck messages, I'll try and keep you updated
             from the mad bad world that is #torchwoodmircaleday
12 19:12(US) Los Angeles beware!! We have arrived. 


Just a quick note that clocks go forward in Los Angeles this weekend, meaning that for the next fortnight Torchwood activity is just seven hours behind the UK!