July 21: After an entire day of walking through downtown Toronto -- the most interesting thing I saw was a store near my hotel called Not Just Condoms! -- I was almost ready for bed when my hotel phone started ringing. I checked my watch -- 10:15 P.M. The unit publicist for The Rocker had warned me, of course, that the production had recently switched to night calls, meaning each day's filming would begin at night and go through the morning. She had told me to try to sleep during the day, but I've never been able to do that. I can't make myself fall asleep at will, so I knew I'd just have to accept being tired. I grabbed my bag and headed out of the hotel, into the waiting car. A few minutes later, we were rolling into what would seem to anyone like the yard of an auto mechanic shop, with cars and vans parked willy-nilly, tools and machines lying around, and one small door providing the entry point to a large, spacious interior the size of a high-school gymnasium.
"So, what do you want to do first?" the publicist asked me after I greeted her inside the set, and luckily I had an answer. Since it seemed that I had arrived before filming was ready to commence, I asked her if would be possible for me to meet Anthony Richmond, the film's DP who had shot one of my favorite horror films, Candyman. She escorted me into the back rooms where the crew hangs out, and we located Richmond, holding court in an out-of-the-way lounge. A gruff old Englishman with long hair, we hit it off immediately; we talked about shooting Candyman, the squandered genius of Bernard Rose -- seriously, what happened to that guy? -- and the twists Richmond's long career has taken. He's lately garnered a reputation as a DP with a knack for shooting starlets -- Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba, and Jessica Simpson vehicles have all employed him -- and we talked about working with some of those actresses. At some point, business interfered and Richmond was called to the set -- the cast was ready to shoot.