Finally the exciting day arrived in September 2009. The first person from the film that I met is my now wonderful friend Shaun O'Banion (my man!). Shaun and I had a few days to get to know each other before filming started which was fun.
Amanda Plummer came a couple of days before we started filming so we could get to know each other better. We had costume fittings, and just spent time together in town and at our hotel. She is an amazing actress who knew from her experience that this would be very important. I am so grateful and think she was wonderful to take that extra time for us to get to know each other better so we would be better prepared and natural as mother and son when filming started. I am so lucky for all she taught me, but also because now I consider her a good friend.
Working with Jackson Rathbone was so much fun! He came to Boston to film GIRLFRIEND when he was also filming ECLIPSE in Vancouver, so he was on a plane flying back and forth ALOT. He is one busy guy!
The first day Jackson arrived to begin filming his role of Russ was very exciting for me. I actually called it "Rathbone Day!". He worked very hard since he had a lot to do on the days he could be in Boston. I think his performance in GIRLFRIEND is amazing. His character Russ can be a jerk, but in real life Jackson is a really nice and friendly guy, and now I think of him like a brother. I loved working with him. I've also had alot of fun when Jackson and our wonderful producer Jerad Anderson have had me introduce their amazing band '100 Monkeys', who play wonderful, fun music. (They also scored GIRLFRIEND!) I am so glad and grateful that Jackson put so much time and energy into GIRLFRIEND. I know he had to drink a lot of coffee to do it and had to get his sleep on the airplane trips to Vancouver and back to Boston too.
Shannon Woodward is a person with a good heart and is also a talented young woman.
Shannon arrived a day or two after Amanda, so we had a little time to spend together also, so we could get to know each other a little bit, like going out to breakfast with Amanda and to Dunkin Donuts alone. During filming, before our scenes together, Shannon would talk with me about how her character, Candy, was feeling in the scene, in general and also her feeling toward my character, Evan Grey. This was helpful to me when I was acting in the scene with her. I wish her the best on her new show, RAISING HOPE, and on any other future projects too.
The night before filming began, Justin and his family hosted a dinner where all the people who would be working together on GIRLFRIEND got to meet each other. The dinner was so much fun and everyone was so nice. Boy, was I excited for the next day, when filming of GIRLFRIEND was actually going to start!
The first day arrived and I was driven to the set, went to see June Suepunpuck for my costume and then Jill Sanders for my makeup (Jill had also done my makeup on THE REPLACEMENT CHILD). I was prepared for my scenes and I couldn't wait to get started. Every day was so much fun. Everyone works very hard when you make a film. Sometimes the days can be long and the weather can be bad, but I don't mind it at all because I love acting so much! I loved the experience no matter how long the days were or how bad the weather was.
I would like to talk about some of the other actors I enjoyed working with very much, besides my co-stars.
First, in a smaller role as a friend of Evan Grey's named Andy, is my lifelong friend in real life, Dan Turnbull. Dan and I met each other in kindergarten and he has been such a wonderful friend who has done so much for me in my life. I value his friendship very very much. Another actor in a small role has been my friend in real life since 5th grade. That is Darren McDonald who plays Andy's brother, Darren. He's a great guy and a good friend too. I think Dan and Darren did amazing work in GIRLFRIEND. Their roles may be small, but there is a saying in acting..."there are no small parts, only small actors". They were so good together. I don't want to give too many details to spoil it, but I know people will see what I mean when they see the movie.
I also got to work with Dan's real life dad, Joe Turnbull again. Joe actually played my dad and boss in THE REPLACEMENT CHILD. I think Joe did a wonderful job in both films. It was very comfortable for me to work with Joe since I've known him in real life for a long time.
Playing the role of my Uncle Jeremy in GIRLFRIEND is Seth Chatfield. It was fun working with Seth. He is such an amazing and kind person. Besides acting, Seth is a talented musician and singer. He was also the Production Designer for GIRLFRIEND.
I first met Harrison Lees, who plays my boss in GIRLFRIEND when I acted in THE REPLACEMENT CHILD, where he was the Production Designer. As my boss in GIRLFRIEND he is not very nice, but in real life Harrison is a very nice person.
Then of course there is Nate Krawshuk who played Simon, Candy's son. I first met Nate when I came to read with the different children who were auditioning for the part of Simon. Everyone did a good job, but I was very happy that Nate was cast. Nate did a great job as Simon and was very well behaved and professional on the set. He is a sweet little boy. We got to know each other a little more in makeup. I learned he likes to play Star Wars and other games as well. Nate and his family are all very nice.
Making a movie takes a lot of people, not just actors. Some people work on a film way before filming starts, a lot of people during filming and others once filming is done. Everyone's job is important, so I wanted to mention some of the other talented people who worked on GIRLFRIEND. Of course there is my friend from junior year of high school, the talented director, Justin Lerner. Our wonderful producers Jerad and Kristina Anderson, and Shaun O'Banion, and Co-Producers Sarah Steinberg Heller and Jackson Rathbone. Associate Producer Scott Kirkley, but there are so many others too. Sweet and loving June Suepunpuck (costumes); wonderful Jill Sanders (makeup); nice and amazingly talented Cinematographer Quyen Tran; Sound Mixer, Eric Bautista who had worked on Steve Carrell's 'Evan Almighty' and was so funny because he'd call me Evan Almighty on the set; 1st Assistant Director Mike Whitecar who I would call Dr. Whitecar because when I had a cold he made sure to get my medicine; gaffer, Tom Clancy who is a really nice guy and would joke with me asking me to sing the morning song ("Oh What A Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma); sweet and caring Nicole Rivera and Cecilia Chapman; and of course wonderful Kathy Conzen, Kristina Anderson's mom who was in charge of craft services. Not only did Kathy make sure I had nice warm drinks and warm noodle soup on cold days on the set, she became like a surrogate mom to me on set, making sure I got my cold medicine on time. She worked hard and took such good care of everyone.
When filming wrapped there were more people who helped make GIRLFRIEND, like our amazing editor Jeff Castelluccio; Daniel Perlin who did our Sound Design and Mixing in Brooklyn. He also did ADR with me and of course the 100 Monkeys wonderful music. There are so many more people who helped too. Too many to list. I just think I am so very lucky because everyone was so very nice.
Check back for Part III.