11:04 PM - Fri 8.29.14
Well, the big "Shameless Chicago Adventure" is history.
Got into LAX around 12:30 or so Wednesday afternoon.
(Somehow I got really confused about the time-difference, and thought I'd be getting back later. But anyway...)
I was kind of bummed about having to come back so soon - with a little "wave of melancholy" hitting me Tuesday night, then again Wednesday morning, as I waited to get picked up at the hotel - because I just wanted the fun to keep going.
And it kind of did.
When I was feeling sad about "the fun being over", I consoled myself with the idea of another nice plane ride, and in one respect, the flight back was even better than the flight to Chicago; the in-flight movie on the way to Chicago was The Amazing Spiderman II (With CBS sitcoms filling out the flight time after that), while the plane back to LA had screens on the seat-backs (Instead of a couple hanging from the ceiling), with a half-dozen Direct-TV movies to choose from.
So I ended up watching The Lego Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, two of my favorite summer movies this year (I liked ASM II better than some people, but it's definitely the lesser of the three movies...by far).
And it definitely "eased the pain" some more when I arrived at LAX, and had a chauffeur waiting to take my bags to the car, and drive me home.
But back to Chicago...
Never having done the Chicago trip before, I wasn't sure how things "worked", particularly whether people "hung out", or if you were on your own when you weren't working, or what (Which is one reason I wished my friend Mike - who's also on the show - had made the trip).
But I thought since the Emmy's were that night, and Bill Macy and Joan Cusack were nominated for awards, there might be a little "viewing party" planned...and there was.
A group - including the director, a few actors (But not Macy, because he was at the Emmys), and some of the crew - watched the show together in "The Library" at the hotel, at least till the categories "our people" were in came and went with no wins (Which I was, frankly, expecting - Shameless has never gotten much Emmy-love); after that, the party dissipated pretty quickly.
I played a game of pool with Cameron (aka "Ian Gallagher") - we were both lousy, but he won - then retired to my room and watched tv (The tail-end of Kick-Ass II, which was pretty terrible).
(Actually, I did go out briefly, at one point, but I basically just walked a half-dozen blocks or so and back. I just wanted to "walk around in Chicago" for a little bit.)
My call on Tuesday wasn't till 2:15 pm, so I got up around mid-morning, and screwed around in my room (Re-watching the last Masters of Sex at one point), then hopped in the shower, and went out for lunch.
Didn't know where I was going initially - just that I was looking for either a steak place or a pizza place - but ended up passing, then going back to, Pizzeria Due, a block or two down from the hotel (I had an individual deep-dish pizza, the Numero Uno, which I realized, when it came to my table, I'd confused with "thick crust pizza". But in any case, it was lovely).
The van picked me up at the hotel right on time, to take me to "base camp", which was by the exterior of the Gallagher home (Due to the logistics of shooting, the location where we were shooting my scene was actually closer to the hotel than "base camp". But anyway...).
The ride to base camp, then waiting around in my trailer after I'd gotten dressed and signed my contract, then riding to the location (near Grant Park), made it seem like it was "taking forever" for things to actually "happen", but when they did, it was a pretty brisk affair; the scene takes place in an enclosed space, with just the two of us, so it wasn't like there was a lot of blocking to work out (For me and Macy, or for the cameras).
Aside from a small level of discomfort - from the aforementioned "enclosed space" (Which, in addition to being tight quarters, was pretty warm) - it was one of the easier things I've had to do on the show.
Without having to worry about anything but the scene (Didn't have to worry about hitting marks or the timing of a specific action or anything like that - it was just a page of close-quarters dialogue with Macy), I actually felt like I was just "talking", which, to be honest, is not a feeling I've had very often in my television career so far; I'm usually just too worried about "getting it right" for that to happen.
And I liked "having Macy to myself"; I can't bullshit and say we're "close" or anything like that - I still feel like I'm trying to work out how to talk to him (We live in such different worlds, really) - but we did chat, and even joke, a little bit (Particularly in the van on the way there), and he was very solicitous of me while we were shooting.
(I joked afterward that my "discomfort level" had been perfect; things looked uncomfortable enough for me to get a lot of sympathy, but weren't actually uncomfortable enough to be a problem.)
We were done around 5:30, so then it was back to the hotel, where a dilemma presented itself: "Do I go out with someone I know in town (A friend from ArcLight Cinema days, who now lives in Chicago,
Monday 9/1/14 (8:35 am)
So where was I...?
So on Tuesday after I shot my scene, I asked a crew person, "Is anything happening tonight?", and he said, "Yeah, we're going to Joan's. We're meeting in the lobby at 7:45".
As I posted on FB, when I heard this, I wondered, "Okay, is 'Joan's' a restaurant, or is it Joan Cusack's house?".
It was Joan Cusack's house.
Due to the fact that it was dark, and I don't know anything about architecture, I can't tell you much about the outside of the house, except that the neighborhood looked pretty "tony", and it was old enough and big enough to have an attached "carriage house", for a horse and buggy (Near as I could tell, however, she does not own a horse and buggy).
Initially, I felt tremendously awkward - as I often do at parties where I don't really know anyone (And I don't really know anyone on the show; I only work with a handful of actors on the show on a regular basis - none of whom were there - and I've worked on the show about a total of two weeks, spread out over four seasons, which makes "making friends", or even remembering names, pretty tough) - but when the party moved into the back garden area, and people were sitting around a long table, chatting and drinking and having dessert, I started feeling more a part of things.
Dermot Mulroney was sitting across from me, with his fiancee (Or were they married? I forget), along with Noel Fisher ("Mickey"), who I worked with once this past season, and had chatted with briefly at the table read for the episode.
Emmy Rossum was on my side of the table, with a person between us, and John Levey (The Casting Director) and Paul Abbott, the show creator (I think it was him, anyway - We were never formally introduced), were on the other end, along with the episode writer (An attractive woman, whose name I wish I remembered from when I'd read the scrip), and some production folks.
The conversation was at times funny, gossipy (The tone taken towards show-runner John Wells felt like kids talking about their absent father. And apparently Justin Chatwin has developed a crush on Miss Rossum), and even personally gratifying (At one point, JL and the Writer referred to me as a "Shameless success story", because my bit could have just been a one-off, and now I'm a recurring character).
Then one of JC's sons took Mulroney, his girlfriend/wife, and myself on a tour of the house; It's trite, I know, but it really did strike me, as we looked at the bedrooms, the gym, the "meditation room", etc, that "my entire apartment could just about fit into any of these rooms...".
But it was nice - It didn't feel gaudy or ostentatious, it just seemed like what you'd do for yourself if you could afford it (Talking to Brett afterward - who's from Chicago - I opined that "Whatever Joan Cusack makes as an actress, I imagine it goes further in Chicago...", and he informed me that the Cusack family was well-to-do even before John and Joan became name actors).
And shortly after the tour, the party broke up; as we filed out, Joan gave us all the little party gift of an "Emergency Clown Nose" (Which you can be sure I'll be wearing in a photo on Facebook very soon).
I hadn't interacted with her at all at that point, beyond a very quick "hello" early on (Which seemed appropriate - after all, we only worked together the one day, so it's not like we're BFF's or anything), so I took the opportunity to thank her for hosting the party, and to tell her I'd enjoyed getting to do a scene with her.
I rode back to the hotel with Mr Abbot and Mr Levey (Using Mr Abbot's Uber-X, which is like "Uber for rich people"; we were picked up in what I think was a Cadillac Escalade), and I retired to my room, wrapping up my night watching Comedy Central).
And that was basically it for me and Shameless and Chicago.
At least for now.
(I do want to write about the hotel - The James -partly because a friend on Facebook was particularly interested in my accommodations, and partly just because there's some stuff I want to write about regarding "me in a hotel"...but I think I'll save it for next time...)
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