It’s 9:00 p.m. and The Burnside’s have jut pulled into Abbeville with their stallion Bobby, Friday evening May 25th. Carolyn and Jerry Miller of Miller’s Miniatures welcome Bob and Sara and Bobby on the eve before the production filming of “Sleeping with the Enemy” being filmed on Saturday in the center of the town square in Abbeville.
Bobby is bedded down in a stall and the Millers and Burnsides spend the evening chatting about what else but minis and the filming the next day. By the time we finally crawl into bed ourselves it’s already 1:00 a.m.
The following morning came before we even had a chance to shut our eyes. Jerry started the coffeemaker and went out to take care of the 24 horses that needed feeding and turning out while Carolyn banged at the Burnsides bedroom door to crawl out, eat breakfast and start loading up horses and carts. The organization went smoothly, though sleepy eyed and the Burnsides and Millers were on the road with two carts and three stallions just pulled from their fields of mares by 6:00 a.m. We pulled our little horses into a parking lot behind the old Livery Stable where all the other big horses were also being off loaded and getting ready to start a parade through Abbeville that will open the movie, allowing the audience to get a feel for the people that live in this little town in Iowa. By 6:30 a.m. Red and Bobby were harnessed up and their carts were decorate with red, white and blue as the timeframe in the movie was the 4th of July parade. Mike was last, trailing along in-hand with Carolyn while Sara walked with the carts to keep an eye on the breeding stallions and their possible upheavals. Our little movie crew guard armed with her walkie-talkie told us she had been assigned to us to let us know where and when they wanted us placed in the parade. By 7:00 a.m. we were off, with clowns dancing around us. We marched up Trinity Street and around the square through the cameras and back to the parking lot again for a total of approximately 1 mile. The word was it was a cut, which in movie land means it was not a TAKE. They moved us around and this time they placed the BIG horses behind us, for comparison I’m sure. The little horses were not bothered at all except I do believe we had a big mare in heat behind us, although we found it interesting that the big horses could not take their eyes off of their little counter-parts.
By noon we had in seven of those trips with the breaks being slim to none and the big horses not faring too well. If you add that up, the little horses and women did over seven miles on hoof while the men drove.
Lunchtime was on the Green with various grills and drink booths while the production crew handed out tickets for food purchases to all parade participants. Over seventeen hundred spectators were also on site to help add to the reality of a town celebrating and waving flags as the parade went by.
Red and Bobby stayed harnessed at the Green while a spectator offered to take Mike to eat grass. People swamped us with cups of water, apple pieces and watermelon to feed our little guys. Sara and Carolyn ran after food for everyone and snapped pictures of the set, the crew and the star, Julia Roberts. The men left to appease the crowd that gathered around the horses and to assist in all the pictures that the mothers wanted taken of their children with the little horses.
I want you to know that these little stallions who would otherwise be extremely competitive on the home front constantly checked each other out to make sure that they were still all together in this mess behaved like perfect gentlemen. We could not fault them for anything and even with the children who came up to love and touch the little stallions it was as if they knew that they had to be kind in return. People didn’t even ask what were they good for; their driving and manners said it all. By 1:00 p.m. we figured we were close to the end, ahahah..I was informed that when you have a big money-backed movie there is no end to retakes and when they told us from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. I thought they were kidding, but it looked like they might be right!
We started the passes through the cameras by segments. First the cloggers, who were the Dancing Darlings, then the old cars, then the clowns and horses. Not one cut but twenty cuts later we prayed to hear “TAKE”. The crew and production site manager were always checking on us but by 4:00 p.m. we were done for. During takes Sara, Carolyn, the clowns and the horses got foolish and Bob and Mike went to sleep while Jerry was still pacifying the small crowd of “mini lookers”. The cobblestones got hot and the feet were sore. There was always something that needed correcting but it wasn’t the minis. First it was town names on certain parade vehicles that didn’t belong in the town and timeframe, then it was the crowd wasn’t showing enough excitement or the crowd was paying attention to the filming and the star and not the parade, but finally at 6:30 pm. Bobby and Red and Mike were off, headed back to the trailers.
The horses knew they were home and were glad to be in the safety of the 10 x 10 stalls provided while the Burnsides and Millers trekked off to the local Fire station BarBq and auction. The men turned in early while the women hashed over more horses and it seemed Sunday morning came way too fast again. Bobby boarded the trailer knowing he was headed home and Mike wouldn’t even look at a mare the next day, while Red said “all in a days work” never knowing what next. Life is normal again except now we wait to see whether or not the minis really make it past the editing department at 20th Century Fox for the release of the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy” due out February, ’91