One of the scenes we are in!
Rock and Roll and I playing our parts, they get to play their ancestors but I get to be a man.
Cassie escorting Pete, the horse, and Chip, the driver, out to their places on the set. There is nothing quite like driving a 19th century horse drawn vehicle, in the clothes that would have been worn, along the streets and amidst the buildings that were built with the horses ancestors that shared the set with us.
Kimmy Hart, one of my long time good friends and teachers of urban driving and living with horses. Kimmy has done this type of thing countless times before. She is a long time movie shoot veteran and loves playing the part of a man. She requested a mustache at wardrobe but everyone was too busy to hook her up, she was only a little disappointed.
We worked alongside another carriage company called Allegra Farm from East Haddam, Ct. The gentleman sitting up behind his coach is driving a Hansom Cab, with one of their beautiful white Standardbreds. This company of professional drivers are amazing and in lots of scenes throughout the movie. Behind him is Dave Hebdon and Vic, the Belgian of Philadelphia. Dave is a long time friend and fellow tour guide carriage driver at 76 Carriage Co. I recently met Vic on my last visit driving in Philly on Presidents’ Day week-end. He is an awesome little powerhouse who puts his head down and does his job just like he was plowing a field, most likely what he was doing before he found the job he has now. Mike Slocum, owner of 76 Carriage Co. has quite an extensive collection of antique driving vehicles . These two companies have worked in dozens of big budget movies through the years. A big part of the reason they are called on for these amazing period pieces. We loved working with such amazing professional horse people and made a lot of new friends who we hope we will see more of!
Me and the Landau, one of the most expensive pieces in Mike Slocum’s collection. I drove Rock and Roll and we were part of a scene where Hugh Jackman, Michele Williams and the little girls playing their daughters got in and out of the coach. We took countless takes, from every angle, giving a whole layer of meaning to tedious….for me anyway. Rock and Roll stood still and noble and barely shifted their weight, quietly settled down to wait….forever it seemed.
Chip being Chip and this picture is a keeper for sure. It might be that Chip is a combat veteran or that he is just naturally self disciplined but he has always been able to do new things and be right in the moment with it. None of us from Blue Star knew what working on a set like this would be, we now know and I think that through that long cold night of holding ourselves still helped us appreciate all kinds of things about the special lives the horses have brought to us. Chip didn’t complain, he didn’t suffer, he just sat there for all the hours it took and they were many and he still managed to strike a pose as though to say “I could do that again and again and again…..I am a natural.” I think Chip is a carriage driver at heart….
Every one knew their place, their part, their purpose there. When the director yelled cut a whole new wave of plain clothed extras would come on the seen…fixing hair, make up, moving positions or equipment all like busy bees, highly organized and choreographed. Our own crew made up of the blue star girls and 76 carriage stable hands would also swoop in to check on us, check on the horses, do what was needed and then as fast as they all arrived they would leave when the loudspeaker would order everyone back to their designated places. We did this all night long, the final call being made at nearly 5am. Finally we were able to walk our horses back to their trailers, get down, move our legs, go to wardrobe and get our clothes and basically come back to earth little by little. The sun was rising and the magic was fading and we were all too tired to really comprehend just what an amazing time we had. It took a few days.
I thought every scene was shot perfectly but what do I know. This scene probably took about 30 takes. Then the whole family would get into the Landau I was driving. Over and over and over again. Our big 5 seconds of fame was very exciting. I had to remind myself a lot that Hugh is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He is even better in person. He is brilliantly bright and energetic with a happy demeanor and natural pride and self confidence that is very very attractive. I saw him the most that night, not so much the other stars but there were also a couple hundred extras that also did their part to transform the landscape in small takes measured in seconds at a time
Chip Pinder (Stockbridge driving class alum and Blue Star long time volunteer) and Dave Hebdon (76 Carriage Co. tour guide), two natural born carriage driving tour guides through time.
Below are the Blue Star girls. This is how they looked just before they became world class, movie star horse wranglers on the set of the “The Greatest Showman” They wanted to meet to Zac Efron or get an autograph from Hugh but I think they got way more than just meeting them would have. They share a part in helping make their movie really spectacular in their own unique way. Everyone that meets them wants to keep them…..for their horses and stables….Kimmy called Zoe a “world class wrangler” and I don’t think even getting a hug from the stars would have meant as much to her!
Don’t forget to Join the Herd and help us take care of the horses that are in our care. Each and every one of them deserves the appreciation and care that even the most famous movie star horses get! While we can’t give them quite that we can show up and be there for them because we love them that much.
Or simply help with our Hay Drive, any amount helps especially now as we face a new season and our winter hay runs low.
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