I was recently sent some unpublished behind-the-scenes photos taken by Maeri Hedstrom and wanted to finally tell you the tale. Shooting the video for “Pulling Your Insides Out“ was a strange and magical affair…
Director Jeremy Carr envisioned scenes of me walking down desolate mysterious alleyways in Red Hook, Brooklyn (once neighborhood of horror icon H.P. Lovecraft.) We had spent an already action-packed day shooting in front of jade velvet curtains in a mirrored piano studio, had taken a dinner break, ready to head down to Red Hook when all of a sudden the thunder struck. A freak unexpected storm— intense lightning and giant HAIL— in a matter of seconds had flooded the streets, ripped branches off trees onto cars, and New York quickly issued a strong traveler’s advisory. They cautioned everyone to stay put. You could hear people in the streets shouting.
I was looking forward to the alley scenes most of all. I imagined them being the noirish anchors of the entire erotic, nightmare-induced imagery. We sat devastated in Jeremy’s living room and listened to the hail pound. It was my last night in New York. We had to do it now or forgo the idea. Still unsure, we got in the van and made a slow, treacherous journey— pulling over several times, stopping, wondering how insane we really had to be to try to venture out in this weather in a vehicle full of crew and camera equipment. It took seemingly forever to get there. And then we just sat in the van, waiting. Not sure for what. We just waited, in the wee hours of night.
Suddenly the rain calmed. The hail stopped. It transformed into something balmy and invigorating. But because of the storm, the alley was full of puddles reflecting the moon and amber streetlights, ephemeral mist hung in the air, water gushed down gutters— and lightning still played in the sky! The Universe decided to give us a magnificent gift. We could not have imagined a more perfect set. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more grateful for anything.
Jeremy later interviewed me with some great unseen footage from the storm. Watch this video:
The crew worked under umbrellas as I walked through the rainy alley. That’s me with assistant director Dawn Fidrick.
The mist gave the lights and street this gorgeous dreamy glow. At one point, a police car approaches, curious as to why a spontaneous film shoot is going on in the rain at 2:30am. They began questioning us, but the cops actually ended up loving the song and thought it looked “really cool,” so they gave us their blessing, but warned not to stay too long.
FUN FACT: at 1:56 in the “Pulling Your Insides Out” video, you can see the police headlights swirl on the scene as they drive up while we were filming. Thanks NYPD! You made the scene even better…
The piano scenes were shot in a mirrored rehearsal room in Manhattan. I had no idea the piano was also acting as a mirror as the crew lit the scene.
Here’s what the room looked like once lights were set. Director Jeremy Carr gets some test footage.
The BW nightmare scenes were shot in Upstate New York — a decrepit old house in the woods full of trap doors and secrets. Much of it was shot on Super 8 film. The eerie and erotic bedroom scenes were shot at an apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Restless sleep amidst candles and shadows.
Talking to director Jeremy Carr on set in the bedroom. As you can see, we had hung brocade fabric on what were actually painted walls.
That’s a wrap! One of my favorite shots of all. The crew posed with me in front of the camera after we had successfully achieved our magical shoot in the late night storm. I remember just how completely quiet and warm it felt outside. We were totally exhausted— but giddy.
From left: Maeri Hedstrom, Corey Boutilier, Me, director Jeremy Carr, Dawn Fidrick.
“Pulling Your Insides Out” is one of my proudest moments thus far in my career. Such a joy to work with the brilliant Jeremy Carr and such talented artists and friends. And it only makes me more honored to know it was funded partially by you through Kickstarter. If you have not seen the finished work, here it is below!
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in mystery, Jill Tracy xox