The Mikaelson family is extremely complicated, and who better to untangle that drama than Julie Plec? The Originals showrunner will blog each week’s installment throughout the season exclusively for EW. From answering burning questions to giving behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched.
Well, hell. That was sad.
Thank you for watching “No More Heartbreaks,” written by showrunner Michael Narducci & writers’ assistant Celeste Vasquez, and directed by Millicent Shelton.
Death terrifies me. I find it scary and cold and lonely, and I have kept myself up many a night worrying about it. I don’t jump from planes, or race my car, or shoot up heroin, or any of those things that might invite death sooner than it is meant to come. As a result, I love writing about it. Death is my favorite kind of story to tell. In writing, I am able to find beauty in death. The peace, the kindness, the love, and the elegance of an eternal goodbye. Is that real life? Not really. But it’s nice to think about. It makes the night a little less scary.
In this episode, we were faced with the highly emotional task of saying goodbye to Leah Pipes and her character Cami. Leah is a champion among champions. One of the most dedicated, professional, enthusiastic, fun, prepared, intelligent, and talented actors I have ever worked with. Also an excellent wine buddy. I never like killing off actors I like, and yet more often than not that’s the task I’m faced with (Exhibit A: TVD‘s Matt Davis and Kayla Ewell, to name a few). The hardest thing for a showrunner — well, a showrunner like me — to do is to separate a connection with the actor from a connection with the character. The responsibility of the storyteller is to recognize when a character has run its course. And when that time comes, your love for the actor can make you continue to try and try and try some more, sometimes for years, to keep the character relevant. Or you can end their journey, respect the integrity of what the story is telling you you need to do, and hope your former co-worker and friend will still want to drink wine with you every now and then. RIP Camille, and Godspeed, Leah Pipes.
What about Davina, you ask? There’s still a little more story to tell for our young witch. Stay tuned…
Tidbits from set:
This week’s tidbits are brought to you by Narducci, who experienced the greatest hazard a crew with a tight schedule on a night location shoot can face: rowdy lookie-loo’s.
“The final Klaus-Cami scenes, set in the French Quarter’s Jackson Square, were shot in Madison, Georgia, which is over an hour away from Atlanta. We were shooting in front of a beautiful, historic inn where there was a wedding party celebrating. We were trying desperately to finish the scene before lunch without taking a meal penalty (we ended up taking four). Leah was giving it everything she had and it was an exquisite, heartbreaking performance, with tears streaming down her face take after take. And then as we got in tight, a large gathering of festive folks started to exit a nearby reception hall, and literally every five seconds someone new would shout out, hooting and hollering. At one point, Leah politely stopped and asked to wait it out, knowing that the footage was unusable and, regardless, that it was impossible to stay in the moment and be authentic given the noise.
Meanwhile, some of our crew had asked politely for quiet and been confronted by some rather rude, rather inebriated party goers. Our AD, Franklin, told me that legally there was nothing he could do, and he would not put any of the crew in danger by confronting people who were growing belligerent.
I was beside myself at this point, so I walked over to the big crowd hanging out across the street at the first floor balcony of a local hotel. Six guys drinking on the balcony, another dozen dudes standing in front on the sidewalk calling up to their friends. ‘Hey,’ I said, ‘I’m a writer and a producer on this show, and my friends are giving this great performance — it’s the death of a character, a really emotional, difficult scene, and unfortunately we can’t use any of this footage while you guys are yelling. Do you think you could just please be quiet for five minutes and then literally our entire crew will get to go to lunch and you can be as loud as you want?’
My voice was all over the place. Angry, scared, stressed, and just annoyed enough to lead the collected frat brothers to mistake me for the entitled Hollywood jerk I no doubt presented myself as. The collection of guys raised eyebrows in my direction and shrugged with a simultaneous hive-mind look of disgust. One guy smirked and said: ‘That sounds like your problem.’
Another guy, who I remember as seeming like a suited Van Wilder type, asked me what the show was. I told him and he looked some combination of confused and disappointed.
‘What the hell is the Originals?’ he said. My heart sank.
But then this lovely young woman came out onto the balcony wearing a formal dress, maybe just shy of outright tipsy, and she seemed legitimately happy as she called out: ‘The Originals? I love that show. Who’s dying? No — don’t tell me.’ And then she eyed the Van Wilder guy with a look that made the entire crowd disperse.
I turned around to leave and there was a dozen members of our crew watching, and I had the sense that if someone would have taken a swing at me then everyone from the key grip to the make-up department was gonna start circling the wedding party, snapping fingers like in West Side Story. I admit, it was a relief, and I was genuinely grateful.
After that, I raced back to video village, where Millicent called ‘action,’ and from that moment on all anyone could think about were Leah and Joe and how they were crushing our hearts into a very fine dust. One of the best scenes I’ve ever watched being filmed.”