Alexz Johnson’s songs are going to be all over the soundtrack of The Wasting. But they also feature big in the soundtrack of so many people’s lives. That’s why there’s a lot of excitement this week over the release of her gorgeous new music video for Heart Like That.
Like the songs that punctuated the coming of age of countless Canadian teenagers when she sang them as the eponymous lead in the hit TV series Instant Star, the Heart Like That video tells a story about leaping from one stage of life to another.
The leap isn’t just a metaphor – Alexz hurls herself off a pier and into one frigid looking ocean. That’s not some stuntwoman making the jump, it’s Alexz, true to her trademark, going at this story full tilt with passion and soul and that voice that melts like a chocolate chip in a blob of hot batter.
Remember what I said in March about badass?
So there we were at the Spar, Inch and I, buying cheap Cornish pasties that were probably not Cornish at all, given that they were full of cheese. Inch was chatting up the cashier, because that’s what we do in Upton-Upon-Severn, in our quest for excellent locations and the small-town support that is defining The Wasting. We stop to talk to everyone about our film.
As Inch chatted, I suddenly noticed that a queue had formed behind her. At least ten people, all waiting patiently to pay, while my producer yakked to the cashier.
How embarrassing! How mortifying! My Canadian blood kicked in like a Saskatchewan tornado. Horrified at our rudeness, I politely and shame-facedly announced to the queue, “sorry, sorry, we’ll get out of your way. We can continue this conversation after you’ve all paid. ”
They looked surprised. They shuffled uncomfortably. A few stared at their feet. Then a woman carrying dog food – clearly the unofficial leader of the queue – spoke up.
“Oh, no,” she smiled. “Don’t stop. We don’t mind waiting. We want to hear about it too. “ Seriously, can you even imagine that response in London, or Toronto, or Los Angeles? That bag of dog food would have been chucked at my head by now.
Then a man halfway back in the queue raised his hand. We’ll call him Pete, because that’s his name.
“Excuse me,” said Pete. “Are you looking for a spooky cottage to film in?”
In fact, Spooky Cottage was the only thing left on our locations list. Like some kind of Uptonian wizard, Pete must have read our minds. When I told him so, he offered up that he lives in a cottage that is rife with spookiness, and he’d be willing to vacate the premises to leave us with the demon in the basement for a few days while we shoot. We made arrangements for me to go the next day for a look. It’s always good to make sure that the director’s idea of “spooky” and “cottage” jive with the spooky cottage provider’s idea.
As it turned out, I couldn’t be happier. The kitchen is exactly what I’d pictured in my head as the place where much of the Kai/Liam/Grace drama plays out. It even has an Aga. Not that anything happens with an Aga in the film, but man, do they look nice in the background.
Wizard Pete is wonderfully helpful and endlessly fascinating as he gives us coffee and regales us with tales of the house and the area, including one story about demons trapped in the Malvern Hills that had my hair standing on end, until he admitted he was making the whole thing up. What a great storyteller!
And this is just another joy of making this film in this town. We are meeting the most awesome people, that we would otherwise never have met, and my world has been expanded
I'm the writer-director and more or less the mother of this film.