We had a couple of scenes to film on Saint Croix:
…the Andy-Red reunion and Tim driving a new convertible down the highway, wind blowing in his hair, with the ocean as a background. There are not a lot of 27-year-old, new-looking convertibles on Saint Croix, none to be exact. My search led me to the island of Saint Thomas, about a half-hour flight from St. Croix. A fireman on Saint Thomas owned a bright red, 1965 Ford Mustang convertible that looked like it just had rolled off the showroom floor. It was perfect. After a little back and forth of island bartering, we agreed on a rental deal.
I hired the captain of an old, World War II Navy landing craft to pick-up a couple of motorhomes in Puerto Rico, then sail to St. Thomas, load our grip and camera gear and the Mustang, and deliver the cargo to Saint Croix.
The next morning, my phone rang; it was the captain. “There’s a problem. The Mustang owner changed his mind; he won’t release the car.” I called the fireman and offered more money, my first-born, a foot massage, a couple of tickets to the Universal Studios tour. Nothing worked. Bye-bye Mustang. I instructed the captain, “Set sail without the car. I need the rest of the cargo.”
Not having the car was a big, big problem. I was weighing my options, which were none, when a random, unrelated event flashed before my eyes. A bright red 1968 Pontiac GTO convertible flew past me on the highway. I jumped in my car and followed.
The owners of my red-headed salvation were a middle-aged couple from the States who had moved to Saint Croix to get away from it all, which might be code for the witness protection program. (I’m just saying?) The GTO was her “baby,” a family heirloom they shipped down from the States. I needed that car; I wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. I promised them Hollywood, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, and all the free food they could eat. I had her at Tim Robbins, her husband—at free food.
Frank Darabont is a car nut; he knows his way around automobiles. “That’s a 68′ Pontiac GTO,” mused Frank. “This scene takes place in 1967; the car is one year too new.”
I pointed out that according to the script the scene takes place in October of 1967. “Back in the seventies, all the car companies introduced their new models in September. Theoretically,” I said, “Andy could be driving that car.” I don’t know if Frank was buying it, but he didn’t have much of a choice.
In the end, it all worked out. I got the car; the company got their shot. Mrs. GTO got to flirt with Tim Robbins, and Mr. GTO ate the last frigging donut, a fitting end to a film about hope and redemption.
EXCERPT FROM IT TAKES MORE THAN A DONUT TO MAKE A MOVIE
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