When Mädchen Amick lastly acquired her probability to step behind the digicam to helm an episode of “Riverdale,” she anticipated her challenges to be capturing a excessive quantity of brief scenes that ate away on the manufacturing days and having to juggle sporting a number of hats when performing in scenes she was additionally directing. What she couldn’t have anticipated was that she was going to have to complete modifying the episode remotely after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the trade, nor that her episode would all of the sudden be changed into the fourth season finale of the CW drama.
“You need to have a look at each episode as its personal mini-film, so that you all the time have to ensure the top of your episode carries the burden and provides to the drama to the purpose the place your followers are dying to tune again in, whether or not it’s the subsequent week or the subsequent season,” Amick tells Selection. “You’ve acquired to hope for the very best.”
Fortunately, she continues, nearly all of her small-screen directorial debut was capable of be performed in-person, within the “enterprise as ordinary” vogue. It was solely on the ultimate day of modifying that they had been shut down.
“The primary three days, it was nice to be within the room and have the ability to work collectively and join,” she says. “However then that fourth day, often you’re sharpening every part up, you’re laying in your whole music temp work. The editor was despatched dwelling with gear he needed to get arrange so he may edit remotely, after which we communicated by calling one another or sending hyperlinks with notes. It was undoubtedly difficult, however it will have been a lot tougher if I needed to do the entire thing that means.”
Amick has starred on “Riverdale” since its inception, portraying Alice Cooper, mother to Betty (Lili Reinhart), who’s a former journalist and editor, in addition to previous member of Riverdale’s gang, the Southside Serpents. Amick’s small-screen directorial debut, “Chapter Seventy-Six: Killing Mr. Honey,” airs Might 6 and sees Jughead (Cole Sprouse) writing a revenge story towards Principal Honey (visitor star Kerr Smith). The episode switches forwards and backwards between the true world of him writing and his “fantasy,” as Amick places it, of murdering the person Jughead and his buddies really feel has unnecessarily difficult their senior 12 months at Riverdale Excessive.
“Jughead’s fantasy gave us the license to push issues a little bit additional, visually, than a traditional ‘Riverdale’ scene,” says Amick.
Amick shares that she pitched showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on capturing these scenes on an anamorphic lens — to make them really feel “like a movie model of ‘Riverdale,’” she explains. That felt “too far for him,” she recollects, however it led to a dialogue about seeing the truth and the fantasy mixing collectively so “the viewers doesn’t all the time know what they’re watching.” That gave Amick new inspiration for transitions between the 2 worlds, together with, in a single particular case, following a background participant from one into the opposite. However, as a result of as an episodic director “you’ll want to honor the world you’re in and convey a contemporary look to it,” Amick additionally designed the fantasy scenes inside Jughead’s story to incorporate homages to “Citizen Kane” and a few of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies as a result of “I really feel like Jughead is a really basic novel author,” she says.
Amick, who first got here out to Los Angeles to chase leisure goals at age 16, acquired her massive break on “Twin Peaks” simply two years later. Working with David Lynch on that collection taught her about approaching filmmaking from a “intestine feeling” and never being resigned to being put in a field, she says. Though she considers herself as “all the time very visible” when studying scripts, it wasn’t till the “previous six to eight years” the place she says she felt sufficient confidence to wish to step behind the digicam to “have the duty of bringing a imaginative and prescient to life.”
Amick directed a number of music movies and a pilot for a docuseries she is at the moment buying round, however in preparation for her “Riverdale” episode (one thing she says she requested Aguirre-Sacasa to do starting within the second season), she additionally participated in a workshop with the Administrators Guild of America.
“I checked the entire packing containers that studios require and made all people really feel comfy that I had sufficient expertise and will deal with an episode,” she says.
Lynch, with whom Amick reunited for the “Twin Peaks” revival in 2017, stays an affect. Particularly, Amick factors to her penchant for doing something she will be able to virtually in manufacturing (fairly than counting on “fixing it in put up”) as one thing she discovered from Lynch.
Doing issues virtually turned essential in “Chapter Seventy-Six: Killing Mr. Honey” for a fantasy sequence during which a personality is murdered. Slightly than ask the post-production workforce to take away the actor’s respiratory digitally, she labored intently with the actor to inform him when he needed to maintain his breath, after which cue him when the digicam was far sufficient away that they wouldn’t have the ability to inform if he was respiratory.
“I don’t know easy methods to die on digicam and I don’t know easy methods to play useless. However simply realizing that that’s a battle for me, I used to be undoubtedly very delicate to it,” Amick says. “There’s simply nothing just like the practicality of doing results. As a result of in put up, you simply hope they’re going to erase it however did they miss it or did they run out of cash? I didn’t wish to take that probability!”
Equally, Amick labored with the props and particular results division to discover a chest piece to placed on an actor who was going to wish CPR in a scene.
“An enormous pet peeve of mine is watching faux heart-pumping CPR as a result of you may’t actually compress the chest on a residing particular person, so it all the time finally ends up wanting so faux,” she says. “I introduced it up on Day 1 once I knew I used to be going to shoot this, they usually discovered a chest piece that we placed on the actor after which Veronica was capable of actually go to city.”
Along with filming the truth timeline and the fantasy timeline, which incorporates a number of methods during which Mr. Honey may meet his destiny — and fairly a number of choices for the varied characters’ reactions, too — Amick additionally needed to movie a few new voyeur tapes.
All through the season, characters have been receiving surveillance-style VHS tapes, more-than implying that there’s somebody on the town that’s gathering everybody’s soiled little secrets and techniques. Two such tapes are essential elements of “Chapter Seventy-Six: Killing Mr. Honey,” with considered one of them upping the ante significantly on who could be behind them and serving as a key cliffhanger for the episode and now additionally the season.
“I felt numerous duty as a result of this may now set the tone for future tapes,” Amick says of directing the motion in that new tape. “However even past that, how far are you able to push the violence? Stands & Practices got here in; I acquired a full doc that was very particular with what you may present and what you may’t present. I designed a shot that I felt was creepy and would increase the stakes however not one thing you’d have to chop round.”