It wasn't until around 8PM Los Angeles time - 11PM, Atlanta time - when I called my parents to discuss the last day of shooting that I completely (pardon my french) - totally lost my shit as I was getting off the phone.
It suddenly became real to me - that the show is over.
I was there for most of the day. And I was sad when I left. But it didn't HIT ME that I wasn't going to be seeing these guys every single day until I passed through Hollywood on my way home from Trader Joes. I was just getting off the phone with my mother when I started crying and didn't stop for nearly two hours.
You know the kind of crying where tears are just rolling down your cheeks and then you let out a blubbering scream/ wail/ moan/ shriek - that seems to somehow mimick the way a beached whale sitting on top of a dying cat would sound. With like a hungry coyote in the distance.
I never say good bye.
I always leave a show, a situation, a relationship, a city - whatever - I always say "see you soon." That way you never say the words "good bye" because then it's final. Well, tonight I actually realized - it's final.
I've said time and time again, working on "Alias" was like getting an Ivy league of education in story telling. I learned more about writing and producing in five years on that show than I could in any other situation. It was always, always an atmosphere in which every one was open to ideas. Wanna know how Lena Olin's name got thrown out as Momma Bristow? Thank a late night screening of "Queen of the Damned."
I remember right after 9/11 and how we all thought the entire show was going to change.
I remember walking into that production office the very first day and meeting with Brian and Noga.
I remember shooting in the cemetery in Compton. Three times. For three different seasons in three different countries.
I remember reading the season finale of season one and thinking, "200 sex club fetish people!"
I remember Faye Dunaway. And I will never forget that week for as long as I live.
I remember blowing up the SD-6. I remember being detained by security at LAX for them overhearing our plans to blow up the SD-6. And I learned never use the words "blow up" in the airport.
I remember the day we learned Tricia died in a car accident.
I remember the first time reading the script in which "Francie, YES! OUR FRANCIE!" as the script read - was dead with a bullet hole in her head. I remember the first time reading the lines, "Sydney, you're mother... she's alive." I remember the first time reading line "Syd, you've been missing for nearly two years." I remember remember the first time I read the lines, "I've waited nearly 30 years for this moment." "Mom!?"
I remember the first day I met Melissa George. I remember months later, the day we had lunch together after she was revealed to be evil - Melissa was on a green vegetable fast of some sort and she played with her wig and asked, "have you noticed how much prettier I am, now that I'm evil?" I remember the night we shot her death scene - when Ken Olin asked the stunt people, "now where is she shot?" and Melissa piped up: "once. In the arm. And it's more of a flesh wound." And I remember every time "cut" was yelled, she would leap up and immediately check to see where the squibs went off.
I remember dancing with Sonia Braga. I remember Sonia's very elaborate pitch to JJ so she could come back this season. "Elena would be far too smart! She would have doubled herself! The camera starts on a cigarette... and it pulls back... and I am watching fake Elena with a bullet in her head in a moniter!" (But you have say all of that with an accent.)
I remember planning a luau for Jen in four hours. Complete with flame throwers. In the middle of pilot season.
I remember the day I met Michelle Forbes.
I remember feeling the heat of the explosion when we blew up the dummy of Olivia D'abo at Paramount.
I remember standing in downtown Los Angeles at 3 in the morning with a white horse that was very friendly to me - which we would later learn - was only after the peanut butter on my fingers - at the end of last season.
I remember the feeling I had when I stood in the club (the one that airs Wednesday night) and thinking - "this is it. THIS is the hottest club scene ever cast in the history of television."
I remember the day it took three people to get Jen into that blue rubber dress. I remember the beauty of the masquerade ball. I remember the day I went to the WRONG Standard hotel.
I remember walking with Victor, the cast and crew for the Alzheimers Memory Walk for two years. I remember talking with Victor about theatre at four in the morning.
I remember the challenge that if the crew donated $1,800 for the AIDS Marathon I would dye my hair red. I remember being thankful they missed it by a few hundred.
I remember the day we sat around discussing a club scene - and I brought in pictures from "masking" parties - where people essentially look like porn dolls and mannequins. And I will never forget the look of terror on Ken Olin's face.
There are obviously HUNDREDS of stories. I was there for five seasons - with the exception of the two episodes that aired last week. My mind is so fried right now and my eyes are so swollen, but I knew if I didn't write down my thoughts now, I would lose them.
After Jen's last shot, Tucker Gates said, "print that" and Richard Coad said, "Ladies and gentlemen that's a wrap on Jennifer Garner." Most of the crew was in tears. Jen was in tears. She went around and hugged every single person on the stage and told them she loved them.
And hour later, it was Vartan's last shot and it was the same thing.
It was a terribly exhausting afternoon. But all the while, it wasn't real to me, because I never said good bye.
The picture above - is one of a bunch I took. Most of them I can't publish until after the finale, because of what some of the actors wardrobe. But the picture above is what represents to me what a typical day was like. Being with a family who you loved, supported you - and encouraged you to grow and be better. The girl in between Rachel and Mia is Sarah, who is amazing. She's the double of Jen that I cast that worked this season. Below is with Amy Acker - this year's ubre villain.
I am so lucky, and so blessed to have been a part of this show. I hope you continue to watch the remaining episodes, even if you've never seen it before.
My mother asked me, "so what are you doing tomorrow?" I hadn't even thought about tomorrow. I have no clue.
But truth... it takes time.