THE NEW KING, PART 1
Written by Kara Lee Corthron
Directed by Ed Bianchi
While shooting my KINGS episode, the first part of our two-part finale, something rather odd happened on the fourth day.
I'm totally new to the world of television. This is the first episode I've written for any show, so the whole experience has been a fast-moving education. But pretty quickly, I learned some of the rules of set. The phrases "checking the gate," and "moving on" tend to make everyone happy. However, lunch delays tend to have the opposite effect. Nothing too shocking about that. And, as one might expect, time is always a pressing issue, because there never seems to be enough of it. So, understandably, the crew of approximately a hundred people give or take a few, is more often than not, under tremendous stress and suffering from sleep deprivation.
Back to that interesting fourth day of shooting. We'd had a morning of exterior scenes--quick moving scenes without dialogue, but of course, these things always take time and in this case, it was about four hours--so we were all relieved to finish the day indoors. Did I mention this was the last day of January and we were shooting near Battery Park? Yes. We were cold indeed. So we moved inside and it was a good hour before we realized that the building we moved to was barely heated. But it was a still an improvement.
Early in the afternoon, we filmed a particularly intense scene. Princess Michelle is mourning a great loss and being comforted by Paul Lash--a man in love with her despite her inability to reciprocate the sentiment. During this difficult scene, which was performed beautifully by Allison Miller and Michael Stahl-David . . . a panda bear walked on set. No, not an escapee from the Bronx Zoo, a human in a giant panda suit. Fortunately he wasn't close to the cameras and we were between takes when he made his entrance (now that I think about it, he had impressive instincts), but the best part was the reaction of everyone who witnessed this occurrence. Stressed-out crew members, stand-ins, guests, actors--everyone laughed! I still have no idea where the bear came from or why he decided to show up at that moment on our set. It seemed to be a random little message from out of nowhere reminding us all to lighten up! And after that, we all certainly did.