Caligula update 10-29-23

October 29, 2023


With the movie finished and moving into the ecosystem, I'm getting to wrap up the photo book. One major decision I've made is that I'm only lightly touching on the events prior to or following the filming window of August-December 1976.

Of course, there's SO much to tell about what happened outside of this window, but because the photographs are of filming experience, it's going to be better for me to stay narrow in my focus and make this a "behind the scenes" book. It also allows for the maximum number of images, which I want to make sure to maximize for everyone. I'll keep the text to a minimum, but also balancing that with making sure there's a lot of information in there that no one's currently aware of. Some of the information is from production documents, some are from private interviews I've conducted, some are from personal journals and correspondence I've been granted access to, and some are details from the mouth of Malcolm himself. I'm really happy with how it's coming together.

As of tonight, the book starts with a brief overview leading up to the first day of filming on August 3, 1976, and I'm currently about to start the entries for October 11, 1976–a notable date, because that's the day the shooting for the wedding banquet began. It's still a terrifying scene, certainly it's going to remain controversial but it's terribly important to establishing Caligula's character... or lack thereof.

The final date of shooting was December 30, 1976, I'll log back in as soon as I can to let you know how we're proceeding towards completion. I have the old version of the book open, and this new final edit is being created alongside it, so that instead of moving pieces around I'm able to move faster by dragging things over. I also have all my calendar notes laid out; it's very exciting to be reliving this in chronological order while looking at the photos, it's slightly different than I'd envisioned but I'm certain it's going to be the most exciting way to experience the images.

Embedded in this post are a couple of screenshots of in-process page spreads- the text (and captions) will certainly change, I'm just talking myself through the information–but I do think the right way to handle the material is to be a bit clinical; I wasn't there, and this film is generally buried under the weight of slanted opinions, so I'll stay as academic as I can without losing my voice. Things like Peter O'Toole and Tinto's mutual disdain doesn't require a stretch to establish; the former wrote about it in his journals, and the latter was very vocal about his feelings. The production notes are clearly trying to make sure that any information that support's the idea that Peter was a pain to work with was properly logged; in contrast, the actors Tinto brought on board were commended for their professionalism. It appears that even at this early point, Tinto (via the notes taken by his wife) was arming himself for potential arguments with his producers.

I'll go into a bit more detail regarding my work process at, I'm not sure how much discussions about InDesign and imaging/text construction people want to read on here! But the above give you an broad idea of how I work, and how the book is coming... it's all moving quickly, a lot of the design happens as I'm working and the amount I talk about each thing has a lot to do with getting a feel of how I want the book to flow. It's a process I spent a lot of time working out on the Mucha Le Pater book, it lets the book move at a pace something like a slideshow presentation–more talking around moments we want to linger on, moving more quickly past things that we can't spend too much time on. It's hard narrowing it down, I'd love to talk for an entire book just on the prosthetics for the Harem of Monsters! But it's all coming together really nicely for an overview, and these sample spreads above share how I'm making sure a few important details get shared with the world–as a "behind the scenes" book, this will allow people to really focus on things like what happened on set on a specific date, in conjunction with which scenes.

Thank you for your patience! More soon!