This past Monday we filmed a new screentest with Victoria Hay as Titania. It’s been over three years since she’s stepped into this character, when we shot the prequel in 2010. But now that we’re on track for production in 2014, we’ll be doing a lot more in the way of photos and screetests to help get all our resources on board. It feels great to be back working with this cast on this story, I’ve missed TITANIA dearly. And here she is:
The photo is by Keith Chandler who also shot and edited the new screentest. The scene is from the film’s script in which Titania takes a moment to let her guard down and enjoy a moment by the ocean (after a rather raw start to her time of exile) – of course, it doesn’t last long. But I won’t fill this post with teases (which I’m not fond of myself).
What I do want to talk about is Titania – and working with a character like her. Earlier this year, author Alex Bledsoe interviewed me for his blog about the difference between women and girls in fantasy film. You can read the full post HERE. I’m sure everyone has an angle on this , but here is my take, being someone who puts women in front of a camera on a regular basis:
Always have respect for your character, your story, your audience, and yourself. In the last week I’ve seen a lot arguments come across my computer screen about women and how we’re portrayed through a camera lens. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of it all anymore. The noise of these postings, and grand-standings, and soap boxes, seems to be distracting us from the tales we’re trying to tell. To me, our stories are more truly us, than a viral video or magazine article talking about us. TITANIA is not my life-story, but it holds so much of my life in each of it’s frames, and I’ve always believed that it’s a story everyone will relate to.
So, is it fantasy? Not really. There’ll be no magic on screen at all, except the kaleidoscope visions of her dreams. She doesn’t fight anyone with a sword, or own a pair of bullet reflecting bangles. I think this is why I’ve always loved “The Mists of Avalon” – the four main characters are priestesses of a mythical isle, but the journeys they take are very human. The filmmakers focus on well-drawn women (all actresses over the age of 35 at the time the film was made) from Marion Zimmer Bradley‘s book, and scale back the special effects in favor of deeper emotional and physical connections to each other, and the audience.
In Victoria Hay, I’ve found an actress who can hit all the emotional marks in TITANIA and bring them across as an “every woman”, while portraying an other-worldly being. I don’t think I’ve watered down any of the challenges in life by filtering them through a magic-realist lens. If anything, Titania tackles wounds and hardships more violent and uncertain than I have – but plot and actions are also metaphors for internal emotion. Her biggest adversary is herself, but so is her strongest point of defense. What makes her unique, and shapes her identity, has literally been torn from her back. Her home and everything familiar now denied to her. Therefore she relies on who she is at her core to get her through. As a woman, this isn’t her first time across the coals – and she can call upon all her resources from past experiences and mistakes to overcome her wounds – both physical and emotional.
So many layers to her story, so many dreams to peel back and reveal. The next year is going to be very exciting! All I can think to say is – Welcome home, Titania, it’s good to have you back.
Please follow our progress at www.TitaniaFilm.com