• Chris Banks

Summer Of Unrest con’t

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

I knew who she was, and after the first day I had to read up on the riots in Detroit in the late 60s, essentially engulfing race relations at the time and setting the stage for what we, as a nation, were experiencing that summer. Michael Brown, Police abusing their power targeting people of color- these were the topics talked about that summer. And Katheryn was going in for her 3rd Oscar, already the first female director with two. She wanted to make a statement with this movie, and the temperature was such on set. Serious, measured, aware. That’s how I would describe that set. All of us who were core on it were really into it. I didn’t even know what core was.

Between Katheryn and her AD, we had plenty of direction and plenty of action to do. The only thing that was missing for me were lines, but just to show you how this business works - someone who’s first day it was was also given lines and thrown on top of a tank because he was the only one with military experience. And so it goes, His first day, his first lines - and now he was SAG. I didn’t understand what that all meant.

I worked in a hotel in Boston since I was 21. It was always slow during the summer, so this literally saved me. Every day, for 3 weeks. That was Detroit. First we filmed in Brockton MA, then up near the New Hampshire border for some more and in Lawrence to wrap.

My first night on set I was approached by John Boyega, arguably one of the hottest young actors at the time right before Star Wars came out. He just said hi and shot the shit, introduced himself. Obviously I already knew who he was, and I was genuinely taken back by his own genuineness. He asked what my name was and when I told him it was my first night on a film set he looked at me with this look that I still don’t forget.

To be honest, it was this moment, coupled with my first minute there when wardrobe people thought I had a bigger role in the film than I did. This was the first place where from the first day I showed up, I just belonged. Or at least I felt a sense of belonging. This was when my neurons sparked to start thinking about actually NOT retaking LSAT and instead commit to this creative new path. I always was creating anyway, either writing or playing my instruments in my basement. Now I just found a whole new medium to create.

But first I had to make it through a 13 hour day on a film set. Their not easy, they don’t get any easier, they just get a lot more fun (the bigger the part you have and the team you’re working with). The funniest day of the whole shoot had to be towards the end when I actually got a closeup and we had to film shooting off the tank. The sound of it rang every persons ear drum, and some people even wore protection. There was something about the end of the night, or the end of a shooting day. You’re exhausted but your energized, you’re tired but there’s so much love bursting from your seams - a sense of fulfillment. And this was BEFORE I was ever given lines to actually say in front of a camera. I loved it from the very first day, all of it, the madness of logistics, the exhaustion from the long hours - felt much better then standing behind a bar. When you get to stand next to Katheryn Bigelow watching her do her job you don’t realize how much you learn and pick up on.

I loved every component of it, and - it was fun! Man, I could keep going and going lol but I won’t! That’s what started me on this journey, and what a journey it’s been since...

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