This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Life Imitating Art: Transcending Grief

A quiet moment on the set of "Transcendence" last year.
"Transcendence" was a much-anticipated movie even before it was finished being made.  Wally Pfister,  Christopher Nolan's longtime DP took a leap of faith and chose the ambitious project for his directorial debut.  Johnny Depp took a risk by showing his face on screen without elaborate make-up or costuming.  It's sci-fi meets A.I. meets scary technological neuro-science shit of which I don't know much about.  It questions the ethics and warns of the dangers of technology in the not-so-distant future.  In other words, "Transcendence" had alot of big ideas to cover.  But so far the critics haven't been kind.  And that's a shame.  It's not nearly as terrible as they would have you believe.  It's not without issues, but it's certainly a valiant effort.  It's entertaining, has some truly exquisite visuals, and there are some good performances in it.  

That aside, I had some personal moments on "Transcendence" -- moments when life interrupted art in a massive way.  I spent some time on the film last year in Los Angeles.  I met some great new friends on-set-- people I spent a huge amount of time with and people who were supportive when I had some rough days I hadn't been anticipating.  The very first day of filming last year, I was on-set in Los Angeles when I got a voicemail from an unknown caller.  Then, came another call.  And another voicemail.  From my mom.  It was one of those phone calls I'd been dreading for years...  the call that informed me that Grandma (probably my most favorite person on the planet) had had a massive heart attack and had been immediately rushed to the hospital.  It didn't look good.

I was immobile.  I couldn't even think straight.  I didn't even know what to do.  Quit the film?  Leave immediately and jump on a plane?  Or would that be useless?  What can you do when something like that happens and your family is literally thousands of miles away? On a movie set of all places?  I didn't know.  All my grandma ever wanted to do was be in show business.  She was like Lucy Arnaz in I Love Lucy, always wanting to find some way to wiggle her way into a chorus line.  But she never did.  Never came close to living out that dream of hers.  But I'd succeeded in getting considerably closer to what she had dreamed for herself.  She was tickled pink that I ended up working in the entertainment business.  She lived vicariously through my stories about film and TVprojects.  

I decided the best thing I could do was to wait a day and hope for the very best.  As my mother reaffirmed to me, Grandma would've wanted me to keep working on this "Johnny Depp" film, as she called it.  She would've been disappointed if I'd missed that opportunity on her behalf.  It turned out to be the best decision.  The next day, while surrounded by a line of movie trailers outside, I was told that "Grandma was gone." I took a few moments alone, seeking solace wherever I could find it amidst the carnival atmosphere of everything going on around me.  But that carnival and the positive atmosphere of the people on that film crew is what prevented me from collapsing into despair that afternoon.  I was able to get through that day and that week. I was able to get through that movie.  And that summer.  And now a whole year without my grandma.  And although, I miss my grandma terribly, more and more each day, I will always remember her as I remember my experiences on "Transcendence."

Miss you Grandma!

© 2014 by KLiedle

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