"Losing my shit, and possibly my career."
I look back on 11-11-11 in a daze.
There was so much personal bullshit that I was dealing with at the time of accepting this job, that it followed me through the making of this film. I was convinced that not only was the movie cursed, but so was I.
The movie came to me in a phone call. One of those things that never happen anymore. My phone rings, and a producer by the name of Wayne Rice was on the other end.
"Darren, can I take you to lunch, I've got your next movie."
Of course I agreed, I love lunch (and making movies).
Wayne is one of the good ones. A genuinely nice, warm, and as I soon learned, trustworthy producer (those are hard to come by).
I asked what the project was, and Wayne pulled out a manilla folder and slid it across the table. I opened it, and there was one single piece of paper. It was a photo of a clock, with the time "11:11" on it.
"Okay?" I said. "What's the movie?"
He smiled. "That's the movie."
I was confused. And he started explaining... Wayne began uncoiling the conspiracy around the 11-11-11 phenomenon. Something I knew NOTHING about. In short, there are tons of people who believe the number 11:11 or 1:11, or 1-11-11, etc... are messages, codes, warnings, from something on "the other side" trying to connect with us.
I rolled my eyes, and he again smiled... "Sit on it, let's talk in a few days."
We left lunch, and almost immediately (no joke), I started noticing the number 11 appearing in my life, over and over and over. At first I wrote this off as nonsense and just coincidental, but after a few days, I started drawing connections that no coincidence could explain.
Enter the fucking rabbit hole.
I sank deep down into the deepest darkest parts of the web looking into groups of people whom held this number holy, and literally worshipped it like a God. The more I read, the more I started drawing parallels to myself, and the number 11. (my birthday 1-11-1979 1111) Old phone numbers I had... Important dates in my life. And I shit you not, almost nightly I woke up at 11:11 just in time to see the clock.
I called Wayne back and said, "Okay you jerk, you got me! I'm in..." Over the next few weeks I met with Wayne and we conceptualized a story. I was going to write it, and the best part... We were going to shoot the movie in Barcelona, Spain! The downside of all of this, though, was that the movie had a ticking clock on it. We had to write, shoot, edit, and have the movie out within the year.
My wife, Laura, and I packed our bags, drove up to Central California, and rented a beach front condo where I was going to knock this script out quickly.
Here is where I lose my mind...
I locked myself in this hotel, and became Jack Torrance from THE SHINING. I wasn't eating (but I was drinking), and I had the worst case of writer's block ever. So to beat the writer's block, I started doing a ton more research on the 11-11-11 phenomenon. I started to spend hours and hours reading the most insane, batshit crazy conspiracy theories... Now, let's mix the copious drinking, the lack of sleep, and the stress of hitting a date. I kind of snapped. I went to a dark place, but... dark places are where the best work comes from, right?
So let's cut ahead, I finished the script and got on a plane to Barcelona.
Almost immediately, strange, strange, strange shit started happening within the production. Looking back on this now, YEARS later, I hesitate writing what happened as it will look sensationalized and... well, fictional.
I have never believed in the supernatural. But Barcelona, and 11-11-11 changed that.
The production was a series of horrible events transpiring rapidly until we were wrapped. I couldn't jump on a plane out of there fast enough.
The long and short... The outcome of the movie is not something I am proud of. The acting is fantastic, the cinematography is stellar... But I wasn't in the right place to make that film. I should have slowed down... Should have taken my time instead of aimlessly rushing to make a date. I needed sleep. I needed perspective.
In the end, it was a movie I am glad I made. I think I needed to have that experience.
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