In Sebastián Silva’s Crystal Fairy, Michael Cera leads as Jamie, an American living in Chile, who’s determined to get high off of a San Pedro cactus. Jamie, his roommate Champa (Juan Andrés Silva) and Champa’s younger brothers, Lel and Pilo (José Miguel and Agustín Silva), make plans to track down their own cactus, camp out on a beach, and indulge seaside. But first, a night out is a must.
While at a local house party, Jamie isn’t only shocked to run into a fellow American, but such a unique one at that. With the help of some liquid and powder courage, Jamie overlooks her eccentricities, invites her to join them on their trip, and gives her his number. Sure enough, the next day, Jamie gets a call. It’s Crystal Fairy. She wants to come along for the ride.
The film may feature two outrageous main characters - on complete opposite ends of the spectrum at that - but Crystal Fairy is still exceptionally grounded and that might have something to do with Silva’s fluidity and choice to nix a complete script and shoot the film using an outline only. While promoting the film in New York City ahead of its July 12th limited release, Silva further explained:
“There were no improvised scenes. Like, all of the scenes that were written in the outline were shot. Some of them changed locations, that was part of the improvisation of the whole thing. A lot of dialogues were [somewhat] improvised, but talked through a little before we were gonna shoot it. But yeah, everything that you see in this movie was on a 12-page outline.”
In addition to the flexibility that came with using that outline, Cera also greatly appreciated the more casual, stress-free environment that felt more like a vacation than work:
“I think something that’s always helpful is getting together with the people you’re working with, and we did a lot of that on this. We just would all hang out and talk about the movie and not really be rehearsing, but just sort of finding things together and kind of finding the language of the movie just by talking and just by the spirit that we were creating.”
By following the routine of getting together, having breakfast, discussing the plan for the day and hitting the set without the responsibility of needing to memorizing lines of dialogue, as Silva described, “It was so fresh,” and as Cera added, they “didn’t know what was gonna happen.”
And because they didn’t know what was going to happen, you get a slew of happy accidents like pitch-perfect shot composition during a scene where Jamie and Co. first meet up with Crystal Fairy for their trip, during which the spotlight is entirely stolen by two stray dogs going at it. Silva laughed and explained, “That happens a lot in Chile. There’s a lot of stray dogs reproducing outdoors in front of children. They don’t care.”
Crystal Fairy will get a limited release on Friday, July 12, 2013.
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.
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