Anecdotes

The Making of Dirty Habit:    (buy it here)

BASED ON FACTS:
Reagan Dale Neis, Kirsty Hinchcliffe and Goran Pavicevic in Dirty Habit elevator
Reagan Dale Neis, Kirsty Hinchcliffe and Goran Pavicevic in the Hell-evator.
Yvonne Ortiz touches up the Bishop, Sam Anderson, on the set of Dirty Habit.
Yvonne Ortiz touches up the Bishop (Sam Anderson) on the set of Dirty Habit.

The working title of the film was “Stations” – as in “Stations of the cross” – with Leslie essentially participating in her own crucifixion.

But no one got the Catholic reference and they kept waiting for a train to arrive.

That’s when my wife came up with “Dirty Habit,” which speaks more to the content and timbre of the film.

In researching that title she found a news item about an Italian priest,  arrested in a raid on a brothel. He had been employing prostitutes in a similar fashion to my fictional bishop and gotten caught at it. We discovered this a year after principal photography, but it was happening just months before I wrote the script! Fiction can barely keep up with facts. And I can stop worrying about the plausibility of my character! 

BAD HAIR DAY:
Reagan Dale Neis, between takes on the set of DIrty Habit
Reagan between takes.
Kirsty Hinchliffe as Prostitute, Leslie, in DIrty Habit
Kirsty Hinchcliffe at reshoots. The blond hair was borrowed from co-star, Reagan Dale Neis.

Kirsty came to re-shoots with short hair. It wasn’t going to match what we’d shot. We had no wig, it was Sunday and we were screwed.

Reagan Dale Neis (brown-haired Sister Amelia) had restored her usual blond hair and was there to feed Kirsty lines. Since Reagan was off-screen anyway — she actually let our hair and makeup genius, Yvonne Ortiz (seen above, with Sam Anderson), CUT HER HAIR OFF and use it to make a blond fall for Kirsty (see photo). We all agreed that Reagan looked very cute in a bob, and that she’d earned her wings as a producer. 

WRITER/DIRECTOR/SECURITY GUARD:
crew of Dirty Habit on location
Robert Flowers, Jason Thirlaway and Bryan Root on location in Koreatown.

We were on location for seven days in an apartment building in Koreatown. It was only twenty minutes from my home but I always had some fire to put out and… well, who needs to pay a security guard when the director never sleeps? I was tempted to go home to my family a couple times, and I thought maybe I was being a little bit too much the low-budget masochist, until the morning I woke up with a total stranger standing in the room, appraising the sound cart. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or him, but he was gone before I could finish screaming “CAN I FUCKIN’ HELP YOU?” And, from now on, I will always sleep with the equipment. Unless someone else volunteers. 

THE BAG GETS A VOICE:
Talking handbag and Reagan Dale Neis in elevator
The talking handbag with Reagan in the Hell-evator

One day I was in the editing room, struggling with the weird problem posed by a talking handbag — pivotal in several scenes but just not working — when my daughter, Eloise, burst in declaring that SHE WAS BORED. I was about to get annoyed at her intrusion but I stuck her in front of a microphone instead. I had read adults for the role but the effect was always “Why doesn’t Leslie just throw that creepy thing away?” But with a child’s voice, it was a vulnerable thing that you couldn’t do that to. And it worked as Leslie’s unborn child — completing my wonderful picture of Hell. 

The Motherlode Pictures production office. (clockwise from top) Exec. Prod., Anna Root; costumer, Lisa Norcia; producer, Erica Steele; and prod. designer, Richard B. Lewis.
The Motherlode Pictures production office. (clockwise from top) Exec. Prod., Anna Root; costumer, Lisa Norcia; producer, Erica Steele; and prod. designer, Richard B. Lewis.
Will Dailyrest and producer, K.E.Tang, in the editing suite @ Motherlode Pictures. Does this room look familiar?
Will Dailyrest and producer, K.E.Tang, in the editing suite @ Motherlode Pictures. Does this room look familiar?

Thank you Eloise! NO, you can’t watch the movie. Sorry.