A romance on a movie set comes to a mysterious end.
|Danny Moyer was a talented actor/director. He had a gift some directors are blessed with. As an actor, I was able to become the character he needed me to be using unique techniques. He had this ability to strip away the real you, layer by layer, until he found exactly what he needed. He would reach down into your memories, from life's traumas and joys, and have you crying or laughing. He was a psychologist and director rolled into one. He is gone now and no one is sure what happened. We became too close and now my heart is shattered.
Danny said his life changed when he saw me the first time. After introducing himself, I watched in awe as he casually sat on the blanket where I was going over my lines.
I put out my hand, "Amber Fontaine, I've been dying to work with you. This is a dream come true!"
I sounded like a silly fan.
"I know who you are, you're as beautiful as your name."
Like old friends, we sat on the coral Bermuda beach facing each other. He gently put a conch shell close to my ear.
"You're listening to a sea melody, written just for you."
I felt heat cross my face as he touched my sandy, unruly hair.
“Your hair is lovely....yet, wild. I want to run my fingers through it...to capture ocean breezes, coconut essence and hibiscus blooms.”
My heart quickened, 'This guy is really good'.
“The sun god has blessed you.... perfect honey blush on your cheeks, lips that glisten as you run your tongue over them? A woman doesn't realize how alluring that is. You, my love, are a rare jewel."
He went on with this fantasy assessment of me.
"You give the impression of an innocent child.... not needing to please anyone. Perhaps you still believe in White Knights and Princesses...Sir Galahad ... I want to be that for you. I wish to sweep you into my arms.. safe from rising waters, to slay evil dragons."
I wonder if he said these things to all women he deemed to impress. It was corny yet I felt my heart and pelvis stirring.
I remember when I arrived in this exotic paradise. It truly was the most beautiful place I had ever been to. Tropical plants surrounded me, exotic colors and scents that natives had special names for; sunrise sensation, paradise passion, and tangerine temptation. It was intoxicating.
Looking out at the beach from a luxurious bungalow, I was staying in. It was easy to skip my five mile run. I sipped the strong native Kola coffee. It was the beginning of another enjoyable day for local people. People here believe Americans live crazy lives; fast paced, cram everything in, and work endlessly. The natives enjoy talking about "the movie people." They would watch us with curiosity as we shop and seldom relax to enjoy the beaches and serenity.
On the island, people speak of how they enjoy all aspects of life. Working is a passion. From the time they are children, I was told most find a craft they like and excel at it. If they tire or become bored, often they choose something else and adjust their own hours. My friend, Juan, says serenity is a better indicator of personal satisfaction. People here live modestly, but with joy. Most don't even have a car. Walking through paradise is considered a privilege. Many older people have electric carts or even three wheeled bicycles. Many young people make their money escorting tourists to see the beautiful gardens and unique shops. These young people were in great shape.
When I first arrived, the cast were all celebrating the film about to be shot on location with the unmatched pink beaches and crystal waters of Bermuda.
It is an action film concerning "The Bermuda Triangle" a mysterious place where ships and planes disappear. It is an area between Florida and Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean. Thought of as a "limbo of the lost," the legend began with lost ships before the Civil War. There are many discussions on the set about whether the stories are true, planes that suddenly lose transmission and they never find the crew, passengers or ship. Some believe there is a vortex, a black hole said to transport people into a third dimension.
After only three weeks of meeting, I began having a love affair with Danny Moyer. He had made himself well known on the Broadway stage and in films as a respected director and actor.
I feel so fortunate to be selected for this role. It is a chance to learn. He makes the role his own and yet is known to be very generous with those he is sharing a scene with. I have never worked with a director that actually listens to changes I want to see in my own character.
Then there is our personal relationship, our bodies fit and he still gives me the space I crave.
"Is that good for you?"
I have never had a man ask before.
Lovemaking is the wildness of white caps, and then as waves gently wash to shore I feel a blissful climax. No fireworks that we have to discuss just the calm chi of the moment.
Danny spoke of what was next, a possible ski trip, from the surf to the snow. It sounded so sincere. We ran our lines together almost every night. Directors love chemistry that translates on screen. They encourage it, even feed it to the tabloids. It is hard to fake. Between us, it feels like the real thing.
I whisper, "Let's climax to my dressing room." His smile makes rainbows without the rain.
Each morning I watch the sun rise. Seagulls dive and play among the waves. The intensity of waves crashing during a storm is a warning. King Neptune does become very angry. He can toss ships like matchsticks.
I have always loved the water; since I was a toddler. My parents really had to watch me. I was drawn to waves, running for shells, ignoring danger in spite of the constant movement of everything. Nature is an amazing contrast, from savage to serene in a matter of turning an hourglass.
Shells on this coastline are extraordinarily vibrant colors; as if they're made on the ocean floor only moments before for your personal delight. You gaze at them with awe, reluctant to pick them up because they might crumble and anger the Mighty Neptune, mischievous maker of the Bermuda Triangle. One made about as much sense as the other.
People here talk of one thing they have seen that terrifies them and it only happens every ten years or so. Some believe the "monster in the clouds" must be fed.
One of the local merchants, a sweet woman that is usually laughing, is afraid of this monster. When the sky becomes very black, all people take shelter. It appears like a black hand has come out of the sky.
"I saw it reach down and take a small child."
The woman notified the police. No one knew who this child was. This is a place where the locals know their own. So did it really happen? People, both locals and tourists, love stories like this and embellish them. Their attitude seemed to be unanimous, "More tourists, more money, yes?"
There was only six more weeks of shooting. My scenes are over but they pay me well to be available. Then the junket starts with morning news shows, night comedy shows, and any variety shows that will book us. You smile until your face hurts and say the same things over and over. It does sell the movie and that is a portion of your paycheck. It also attracts other directors or producers that might notice you.
Each film or show is different and you never know what it will bring. A new project means a whole new cast, crew, and director and producer that might be new to you. You have preconceived ideas of the cast members and the director, but most negative ones aren't true. I have genuinely liked most of the actors and even if the chemistry isn't quite right on, I have learned from them. Each actor comes with their own suitcase of techniques.
None of us can ever predict an audience. From the time I read the screenplay and find out the choices for the roles and the director, I try to be positive that this will be successful.
So, I enjoy the view, shopping in quaint antique stores, reading, and long walks. The lovemaking was an extra special bonus. Now that the end of the movie is close, Danny has been acting distant so I don't push. I tell myself 'things are what they are'. This isn't my first screen romance.
I began feeling the crippling depression. I have been off my medication and should have called the psychiatrist to reorder. I should also be seeing a therapist while I was here.
I believe I am in love with Danny, really "in love."
I have a bad habit of doing this and I know how it usually goes. I am my own worst enemy. Bipolar Disorder can be a killer. The manic phase is like being on cocaine where you stay up for days. It is feeling I crave, the boundless energy is an asset when it comes to a love affair. But then you rely on a substance or combination to bring you down like alcohol, pot or tranquilizers. This chemical combination is abundant on movie sets. A unhealthy combo for anyone but could be lethal for me.
The elevated mood wasn't always great. I could become extremely irritable and anxious, talking too fast and too much, and having an unusual increase in energy and a reduced need for sleep didn't help my attractiveness. I know I was manic much of the time we were filming.
Our mornings off the set were sun kissed with our mouths eager for each other. Danny and I took china plates to bed with champagne, feeding each other fruits, making love, and then sticky with juice, we ran naked to the beach. We splashed, laughing like kids.
A depressive episode for me could mean an overwhelming feeling of emptiness or sadness, lack of energy, a loss of interest in what I love, trouble concentrating, sleeping too much and either not eating or over eating. Sometimes I feel like life isn't worth living. It is a bummer to deal with.
My shrink is always after me, "If you would only stay on your medication, it will equalize your moods. You would be normal". But being "normal" isn't always conducive to acting or love affairs.
Danny had one more scene where he takes off in a small Cessna and disappears over the "Devil's Triangle."
The last thing his character says from the cockpit is, "I see the Aurora. It is stunning."
Then his radar is gone from the screen. That is the end of the script leaving the audience wondering.
They shot successfully with Danny as the pilot and a veteran pilot along. The weather and lighting was right. It was a beautiful blue almost cloudless day. The landing went perfectly.
Danny walked away to his Harley. It disappeared over the dunes. He didn't tell anyone where he was going. Nothing new.
Danny didn't come back to me that night but he always "needs his space after a dramatic scene".
The next morning I hear sirens and there is a Rescue Unit on the beach. My heart beat quickens. I didn't remember anyone swimming in this area of the beach. Only a strong swimmer could survive the undertow.
I see Susan Ebbs, our producer, speaking to a lifeguard, then sink down to the sand, a collapsing puppet. I see her mouth wrench open but am too far away to hear her screams. I grab a robe and hurry to the area. Everyone pushes me back but I see something. Suddenly everything blurs and I am behind a curtain, lost in a cobweb nightmare.
When I come to consciousness, an antiseptic smell lets me know I am in a hospital. The medical staff think I have only fainted. I know what I saw on the beach were the clothes Danny had on. I am released from the tiny hospital with pain they cannot repair.
In the movie, his character is not found, no trace of plane parts or a landing; just gone. In real life he is not found either.
I imagine him at a bar, getting off his bike in chaps. He's on a vacation for himself, playing a new part as a Private Investigator, looking for the murderer of an actor in Bermuda. The trail has gone cold and only he can find this person. She didn't mean to kill her lover but she has some mental problems no one knew about. She truly loved him with all the heart she had.
I think it was two weeks ago police officers were standing by my bed. They ask about my relationship with Danny and questions about the last time I saw him. I begin to cry and can't stop.
It remains an open case. The screenplay is being changed. I am trying to move on. The different possibilities of what could have happened are all over television and talk within the industry. The tabloids offer me money for a story I don't have. I barely remember anything now.
I miss Danny. I have decided to stay here a while. My agent has sent me scripts. They lay in a pile on the floor untouched.
By Kathie Stehr