You have to be very square or uptight to dismiss Devil Deal Blues as yet another take on the never-proven “deal with the Devil” Robert Johnson made before becoming arguably the most influential bluesman ever.
In fact, the Robert Brink-directed short, which begins shooting in San Antonio in October, is a free “re-imagining” of Johnson’s story centered around his recordings at San Antonio’s Gunter Hotel in 1936. It's neither a documentary nor a faithful recreation of his life. Instead, Brink uses the basic facts of those recordings to launch his own take on the man and what may have happened on those fateful days when a handful of recordings changed the history of the blues forever.
Fortunately, the San Antonio Film Commission understood that, and awarded Devil Deal Blues its first Student Film Project grant. Shooting begins in October, and Brink needs the following:
40 African American extras for the club
40 extras (white and other ethnic groups) for the street, hotel, and jail scenes.
A Gibson L-1 archtop guitar, 1920's style, in playable condition.
Brink also needs help in the wardrobe department:
“If anyone lends us 30s wardrobe ... [they] will be photographed, insured, and we'll pay for the cleaning bill," Brink, who lives in New York, told the Current (the grant is open to "graduate-level thesis and pre-thesis student filmmakers who will ... produce their student film in San Antonio," not necessarily local filmmakers). "We'll also probably need 30 full 1930s outfits and a bunch of 1930s hats.” Needless to say, 1930's furniture, props, and cars are also welcome.
“We would love it if people could upload street photos of the exteriors of well-preserved buildings in San Antonio from 1930's and earlier,” Brink said. “Just attach them to the email form on our website under ‘Get involved/Contribute,’ with the address of the building.”
There are other positions available, and Brink admits “it is a big crew, but not everyone will be called every day.” He did say, however, that “all actors (speaking and not) and all crew will be paid an honorarium.”
For more info, go to devildealblues.com. — Enrique Lopetegui