If you’ve read The #1 Rule on The Set of a Film, you know that something always goes wrong.
One of the things that went wrong (but turned out to be right in the end!) was that, a few days before production began, the parents of the child actor we had hired to play the part of Teemah in The A.R.K. Report, would not sign the waiver form. We needed this form to film, especially since we were filming in an abandoned coal mine, and in an abandoned factory. We could not secure the locations without a signed waiver from everyone who would be on set that if they were to get hurt, neither we nor the sites would be liable.
We would have freaked out, except we had something similar happen during production of A Tribute to The Jewish Mother, and we had found someone at 11PM the night before we had to shoot. What I learned from that is: it always works out for the best, but you have to open your mind to new connections to find the new actor.
We were skyping with our screenwriter & creative director Asher Crispe (more on him in an upcoming post) and he suggested trying his daughters out for the part. They were all superb; what helped us decide on Ayden in the end was that she was the same age and size of the girl we originally had for the part. I didn’t have time to deal with shopping, sizing, etc. all over again.
Ayden Crispe is 8 years old and a third grader who loves writing, dancing, acting and puppies.
Boy does she like puppies. In return for her sitting still for three hours every day while Bruna Mebs, our mask designer and wardrobe assistant, applied gems to her face, Bruna had her husband bring in their puppy on the last day of shooting. Ayden was thrilled.
I also gave her and her sisters some green slime as a reward for making it all the way through.
These are her sisters, Nava and Nessia, all decked out as child soldiers.
They could also play both severe and silly equally well.
The main direction that Ayden was given was “Be Darth Vader.” I think she did a great job.
Here she is screaming for the camera:
You can watch a video of Ayden beating up a grown man on set here.