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An Unconventional Film Set Shapes Guests Latest Mascots

first_imgBut it’s not like the actors don’t have much to work with. These descriptions are incredibly detailed, and each scene is sketched out. There’s just no dialogue. Before filming begins, Guest also sits down with each of the actors and talks over the characters. The hope is that the actors will have embodied the character before they get in front of the camera.“It’s quite unnerving, and it’s really a lot of fun,” said Mike Hitchcock, who plays Langston Aubrey in Mascots, and who has worked on a number of other Guest films. “The best part about it is, since there is no rehearsing, you have absolutely no idea what the other person is going to say. And sometimes it goes the way you think it will and other times it’s just completely off the wall. And you have to react to that. “A lot of the fun of these movies is in the details, along with the research he puts into the subcultures he’s attempting to represent. In terms of Mascots, Guest did his research, studying for six months before writing anything down. He even brought on a Mascot Consultant to make sure even the extras were behaving appropriately.Mikey Navarro, who is a mascot for the big-time teams such as the Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors, also shaped the mascot program at the University of Oregon. He said that Guest’s portrayals of his world were authentic, and Guest wanted to ensure that it stayed that way, hence being hired.Fred Willard as Greg Gammons, Jr.“When you see someone in a suit, just standing there, they’re not acting; they are just standing there. I always tell people, you are just a person inside the suit until you get into the character you are portraying,” he said, adding that the focus is on body language, attitude, and movements to get a distinct personality across to fans.“He created characters, personalities, and routines –professional mascots do these on their own, and he has created dozens of original, believable and amazing acts.”He did this with the help of a team of costume designers. Each mascot was made with the input of the actors and with comedic moments in mind. For example, a particularly bulky mascot was created with the idea that it would have to get into a tiny car. It was an interactive process that costume designer Christine Wada says made for a more challenging but interesting set. She said that while everybody ended up inspiring each other–since everybody was working as a group–it meant that there were no rules.Chris O’Dowd as Tommy ‘Zook’ Zucarello“A period movie, for instance, is a lot easier because it has boundaries, it has limitations,” she said. “Something modern without a script doesn’t really have boundaries. Without a script or a period, there’s an enormous range to cover.”It makes sense that Guests’ films would have a nontraditional working environment since that’s what many of his mockumentaries are about. The people portrayed are mostly normal people, sometimes with odd jobs or strange hobbies. Spinal Tap was about as unconventional as the characters got. In Waiting for Guffman, a humble community theater troupe in a small town goes out of control. In For Your Consideration, actors become corrupted by Hollywood and greed. The improvisation that holds the film together only emphasizes the more realistic nature of the characters.It helps that many of these actors are also super funny. Guest works with the same actors often because they understand the workflow and can work under the director’s style. In return, the actors keep coming back because the films are fun to work on, the humor is unique, and the workflow actually, well, works.“I think these movies are loved by a lot of people and his way of working is the secret sauce behind it,” Posey said. “There are so many different kinds of humor–there’s wit, and then spontaneity and you can be off-­the­cuff. You prepare and then that goes out the window, and you play with your fellow actor and you just–see what comes out.”Mascots is now streaming on Netflix. The Christopher Guest mockumentary has become a genre of its own. Since This is Spinal Tap in 1984, Guest has spearheaded a number of faux, realistic films that take on specific human subcultures. Often using the same cast, which includes Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Parker Posey, and others, Guest has captured some of the weirdest eccentricities of culture.He’s tackled metal heads, dog show competitors, and Oscar contenders. Nearly ten years after his last effort, For Your Consideration, Guest has returned with Mascots, a mockumentary that takes a look at the misunderstood world of team mascots. In this film, a group of furry professionals compete to win the Golden Fluffy, the most prestigious award through the World Mascot Association.While it’s been years since his last movie, Guest put in the effort like he was never out of practice. The people who worked with him on Mascots spoke highly of the director as they watched and collaborated in his unique style of filmmaking.For one, there are no scripts. The movies are held together by improvisation. The rest of it is set with an outline and some details.“It’s about 30 or so solid pages of an outline, which the actors get, plus character description, which is probably another eight pages–about a third of the length of a normal screenplay,” said Karen Murphy, a producer who has worked with Guest since Spinal Tap. “It’s more what people will say rather than how they say it.”last_img read more