Beyond the Mask: The Official Illustrated
By Sara and Shannon Burns
Published 2015; Paperback, 168
book, authors Sara and Shannon Burns detail the stories behind the Christian
historical-fiction movie Beyond the Mask.The book is divided into 6 main sections: Secrets of the Past, The
Production, The World of Beyond the Mask, A Colonial Cast, Masquerade, and The
its 1776 setting, history played an important part in Beyond the Mask, and “Secrets of the Past”details some of the true stories incorporated into the movie.It discusses the East India Company, the
assassination plot on Washington, Mr. Franklin’s experiments with electricity
and even an island off Philadelphia known as Windmill Island.This section has an excellent blend of movie
stills and original paintings to illustrate it.It ends with a piece by screenwriter Paul McCusker about his work in
helping write the story.This section
has graciously been shared by Burns Family Studios and is available at: http://beyondthemaskmovie.com/downloads.
movie’s plotlines written, the next section “The Production” contains
interviews with some of the key crew members like the director, producer, and
composer.Each heads a different
department responsible for a different piece of the movie.This section is lavishly illustrated with
“behind-the-scenes” photographs, showing how a movie set actually looks.One entertaining picture shows a jump between
two non-existent “rooftops” with a neon green panel as the background.
Beyond the Mask is a historical-fiction movie, recreating the world of the
1770s is an important part of making the movie.In the section titled “The World of Beyond the Mask”, the authors
describe and illustrate the process to create many sets.This section describes the creation of the
Philadelphia street, the windmill, the ship and several other sets, whether
physical or computer-generation.The
pictures show the progress from concept sketches to finished movie scenes, and
illustrate this section well.This is
the most fascinating section to me, as I had the opportunity to help construct
many of the sets shown, including the windmill, Philadelphia’s street, and the
ship.In addition, I am in one of the
photographs!This was an exciting find
when I first paged through the book.If
you would like to find me, I am on page 62, wearing an olive-drab coat and a
gold-laced tricorne hat, while standing next to a man in white.
course every movie needs actors, and the book’s next section describes some of
them.Entitled “A Colonial Cast”, it
begins with interviews with the casting director as well as the acting
coach.William Reynolds is the hero of
the movie, so his section comes first.It is an interview with Andrew Cheney on how he relates to the character
and the journey of William Reynolds.This
section is illustrated mainly by groups of photos showing the various “masks”
(identities) that this character wears throughout the movie.
the Mask’s leading lady, Charlotte Holloway, is played by Kara Killmer (spelled
with two L’s) and her section is next.It
is mainly a narrative of her time on set with quotations from Miss
Killmer.This section also contains an
interview with the wardrobe designer and concept sketches for costumes.
book would be incomplete without a section on the movie’s villain Charles Kemp,
played by John Rhys-Davies.This section
describes his time on set as well as Mr. Rhys-Davies’ views on Western
Civilization and the character of Charles Kemp.“I have no brother, I am like no brother…I am myself alone,” he quotes
from Shakespeare’s King Henry the Sixth to describe his character. This section is illustrated by photographs
and a description of Mr. Kemp’s elephant-headed cane.With the three main characters covered, the
next several pages describe supporting characters such as Basil and Jeremiah
section “Masquerade” provides a good look at the many different pieces required
to make a movie.Various departments
such as Location, Wardrobe, Art, and Camera are all covered sequentially, that
is, in the order they would be required to create the scene.Behind-the-scenes interviews with different
people in each department, from set-dressing to catering, allow the reader to
see just how much work goes into making a movie.
the book are two short sections: “The Studio” and “Conclusion.”These two sections go hand-in-hand; the first
shows how Burns Family Studios came into being and the second highlights the
main message of Beyond the Mask: “It’s not what you do that defines you”.
conclusion: this book is an engaging, full-color look into movie-making and the
world of Beyond the Mask.I would highly
recommend it. 5/5 stars.