The Mural for the “Wild About Harry” Movie Set (a.k.a. “American Primitive”)
“Wild About Harry” …..the movie’s original name was “American Primitive”.
Above and below you can see some stills of the movie set.
In the above photo, you can see the actors who played Harry (Tate Donovan), Madeline (Danielle Savre), and Daisy (Skye McCole Bartusiak) in the movie, “American Primitive” (now called “Wild About Harry”) in front of the mural I painted. They are all incredibly kind and cool to work with! To the right, you can see the mural in progress.
The whole cast stayed at the Isaiah Hall Bed & Breakfast in Dennis, MA. It was really fun! Above, you can see Chloe cooking pancakes with Jerry, the wonderful Innkeeper. To the right, my kids were really excited to have their picture taken with Josh Peck from the “Drake and Josh” show on the Nickelodeon Channel. Josh played the character, Spoke, in “Wild About Harry”. He did a great job!
If you scroll down this page, you can see more of the mural I painted for the movie set. Further down the page, I also show the process I used to paint it. I painted it in the living room of a big house in Dennis in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in March of 2007. The movie’s talented director, Gwendolyn Wynne, asked me to paint it not only as a background for many of the scenes shot in the house, but also as a namesake of the movie since the mural was painted in the American Primitive style of painting made famous by the Puritans and the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. Gwen co-wrote the screenplay which is the story of two teenage sisters growing up in the 70’s in Dennis, Cape Cod who discover a secret about their father. The way the girls deal with the secret unfolds into a comical yet moving story wonderfully and artfully depicted by the director.
The main characters in the movie sell hand-painted American Primitive-style furniture. Stills of the mural were also used in between scenes to help direct the viewer through the plot, too. If you see the movie, you can see Mr. Gibbs painting the mural in the opening scene (but it was really me who painted it!) Here is the room before I painted the mural:
I had to draw the concept ahead of time and work with James Parris and John De Meo, the art directors. They let me design it how I wanted to. The director gave me a few guidelines, such as what design elements and themes she wanted. Then, when I finished, the room looked like this:
The following are some photos I took of the mural in progress:
Here I am teaching Gregory and Chloe how to do stencils on the wall. We hand cut a pineapple stencil, which is a sign of hospitality in American Primitive art, and we painted it with a sponge around one of the rooms. The kids thought it was really fun and loved seeing their art in the movie!
Whew…finally finished! It took me about 10 days of working 8-12 hour days of painting. There was also a lot of drawing work and other time-consuming preliminary drafts, preparation, research, and set-up early on. I hope you will enjoy the movie as much as I had fun painting the set and hanging out with the awesome cast and crew…and the fabulous director too!! Also, there is an interview where they interview my sister, me, and the other people who helped with or were in the movie at http://www.youtube.com/AmericanPrimitive10