Filmmaker Garth Davis and his crew were spooked while filming an exorcism scene in the new movie Mary Magdalene when a storm appeared out of nowhere as they started work around an ancient text.
The director was battling with winds as he started shooting the scene in Italy but as soon as his actors started quoting from the exorcism prayer, it was as if God had an issue with what they were doing.
“We all had a copy of one of the ancient texts as we were preparing for the scene and almost the minute we started walking into the water, the wind just stopped. Completely. There was no movement,” he tells WENN. “And then lightning started breaking all around us. It freaked everyone out!
“It was an interesting moment of life mirroring art.”
The filmmaker also tested his cast, including Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix, by taking them for day-long hikes in their costumes, so they could get a feel for what life would have been like in Israel during the time of Jesus Christ.
“We gave the actors as much access to the costumes and the props and we asked them to prepare a meal from the times with the ingredients that would have been available and then eat it together,” Davis explains.
“Spending a bit of time in the real location, in the house, and finding out how they would sleep, and letting them own the worlds, and just discovering and bringing that to life, that’s really great for an actor.
“How would you sleep the night with just this costume, because that’s all they probably would have had? There were a number of problem-solving, practical issues that confronted them and those really opened up their minds.”
The director is also famous for asking his actors study one another before filming: “There’s a painting exercise I get them to do, where I put the actors whose characters are close together and ask them to trace each other on large paper and they created paintings of each other from that tracing. The process of painting helped them forge a deeper relationship with each other and when we looked at the paintings, they actually say a lot about their relationship. The actors love that process.”
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