Taking aim at Reunion's Megan Lacki!
Megan, the last cast member to join the cast, took the long way to grab her role. Full disclosure -- she's director Jeremy David Bell's cousin AND producer Matt Ralston's sister. Before you scream nepotism!, here's the riveting backstory.
When Megan informed us she wanted to audition (she had been on an acting hiatus) for the part of Sarah we made it clear to her that she would be going through the same audition process as everybody else. We told her to be prepared if she did not get the part.
And she didn't. It was sad.
While Megan had an awesome audition, at that time our only real lead on a leading man was an actor who was quite tall. Megan, on the other hand, is very short. Because she would have been playing that gentleman's brother, it would have been a literal stretch to believe they were siblings. The lovely and talented Trin Miller was cast as Sarah at that point and we continued on with our preproduction.
Megan was still onboard with Reunion. She was brought on as our wardrobe/costume designer. And she was amazing! That red dress you see draped all over Tessa Marie Archer? Megan made it. She. Made. It.
When we were literally three days from our first shooting day with (basically) the full cast, we learned Trin Miller was covered in henna tattoos from another project she was involved in. Trin felt terrible about that and had been scrubbing herself raw to try to rid herself of the terrible affliction. The dress Megan had made for Trin to wear was pretty revealing (the movie is set in mid-July) and, while we tried a cardigan to cover up Trin's arms and back, it just didn't fit the look we were going for (or with what Alison and Tessa were wearing). With just days until we were due to shoot Jeremy had to make a decision and Trin was informed we would be going in another direction. It was a hard call to make and we, like we did at the time, want to stress again that WE LOVE TRIN MILLER! And we totally hope to work with her in the future. But sometimes, in filmmaking, things happen.
As you might imagine, with the clocking ticking until we rolled camera, our options to recast the Sarah part were limited. Fortunately for us, we already had Megan on board. She had given a great audition, she knew the part, and she was already scheduled to be on set for all the days where we would be shooting Sarah scenes. By that time we had cast Brian Sutherland as our lead and he's not nearly so tall as our earlier option, making it much more believable that he and Megan could be siblings.
Megan took the part and doubled down on familiarizing herself with her lines, all while continuing to work on wardrobe. She was busy (she's also a mom!).
Megan was absolutely great. Not only did she nail her performance, she also gave us a moment that will live in Reunion lore forever.
For roughly ninety percent of our shoot we were holed up in a house we rented in Normandy Park, WA. It was in a quiet little cul-de-sac and, before we started shooting, all of the neighbors were informed that we would be shooting a movie, during the day, and entirely inside. They were warned there would probably be some screaming. But when Megan beats on a door and screams for help, apparently people take it very seriously because after one (excellent) take there was a pounding from the other side of the door. The door swung open to reveal a Normandy Park PD officer with his gun drawn. Naturally, with all of us standing around, lights going, camera in view, it quickly became apparent to him that we were telling the truth about being a movie set. But by then hearts were pounding. Nice job, Megan!
Megan was game for everything we threw at her. She ran around barefoot, heaving chairs at windows. She traveled back and forth from Bellingham and Seattle. And, she was spoon-fed Corn Pops on camera by Jesse Lee Keeter. It was amazing.
Thank you, Megan, for all your hard work. You're an inspiration!
Last photo ©2011 Adam Smith (www.theadamsmith.com). From left to right, Alison Monda, Tessa Marie Archer, Megan Lacki, and Jacob Rosen.