Dark Between The Stars Production Notes
HISTORY OF THE PROJECT:
When I was very young I used to have dreams about coming across ancient ruins, not in some foreign land, but right here in America. I also had dreams of monstrous clawed hands reaching up out of sewer drains to grab hold of the wheels of your car as you drove by, and pulling the whole car through the pavement and into the black earth beneath.
In college I saw Peter Weir’s excellent film THE LAST WAVE and thought, why not do a film about Native American history's extinction myths and legends? Instead of the water, which was so pervasive in THE LAST WAVE as a symbol of the impending ancient doom, I’d use the sands of the west.
At the time I hadn’t written anything of feature length yet. This became my first feature treatment and the first thing I ever wrote on a computer rather than a typewriter. Back in those days….
Scott Spears wrote the first script from the initial treatment and we’ve both reworked it many times since. The original idea was completely made up, totally from imagination, but subsequent research into actual Native American legends and general shamanistic ideas actually confirmed certain parts of the script. Research also helped to flesh it out more deeply.
THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS is explained in the story as being the narrow part of the universe where we live, only at the mercy of the stars that surround us and decide our fate.
This is the story of a group of people, some trying to escape from society and others looking into the mysteries of the past. They live isolated in the desert not far from an old ghost town and begin to find bones in the ground that don’t match any known animal or human bones previously discovered. HERBERT, an archeologist, has been piecing these bones together and they are forming one massive monstrous skeleton.
One day a stranger, WILLIAM WHITE BEAR, comes running out of the desert and into their lives. This man, a Native American, has obviously been running from something, but won’t tell them what it is. Herbert shows the stranger his bones and White Bear's raw terror is plain to see. White Bear vanishes that night, the only trace of him being a strange sculpture of sand that the group finds the next day. Herbert believes that White Bear was a tribal Shaman who had been sent out to wage spiritual warfare against some unknown force to save his people.
Soon after that, Herbert finds the final missing piece of his skeleton and then it too disappears. The group is trapped and slowing being driven to hallucination and death. The key to their survival may be ALLY, the only woman in the group who is mysteriously connected to the ancient creation myths that are behind their plight.
DARK BETWEEN THE STARS is a complex and location-reliant film that needs more money than most of the other films I’ve made. The more money you need the longer it takes, but this project more than any others keeps rising to the top of the stack. A friend of mine in college actually made a 35mm short film from my treatment called SKELETON KEY. And this has had several near misses at getting going since then.
This project was completely cast and ready to start shooting in 2005 when a huge deluge of water, perhaps escaping from Peter Weir’s THE LAST WAVE, descended on the LA area. It washed away some locations we intended to shoot at, but also during that delay which lasted well into what would have been our original shooting schedule, the investor group behind the film also washed away on their own.
However the cast and much of the crew remains committed to this film being made. On the main film page you’ll find the cast members who I rehearsed with extensively and a number of photos and production design sketches by my longtime associate Marischa Slusarski.
I’ll let those images and information help you imagine what DARK BETWEEN THE STARS will hopefully be when it finally gets produced.