Two Astoria musicians are slicing their way into Hollywood.
The musical piece titled “Lullaby for the Forgotten,” written by composer Scott Munson and performed by Natalia Paruz, also known as the “Saw Lady,” is featured in the upcoming film “Time Out of Mind” starring Richard Gere.
The film follows Gere, who plays a homeless man as he tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, according to a description on IMDb.
According to Paruz, the director of the movie reached out to her years after having seen her perform at Grand Central Station. Paruz filmed a scene with Gere in Grand Central, but the part of the scene in which Paruz appeared was later cut from the film because of time constraints.
The song by Munson, who won the 2014 NY Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Original Music for his piece in a play last month, is still heard in the background of the Grand Central scene that made the film.
“It was really cool, [Gere] is so sweet and the nicest, friendliest person,” Paruz said. “He is so approachable and it’s really easy to talk with him.”
For the musician, who has been playing the saw as an instrument for the past 20 years, the subject of the movie hit close to her heart after she spent a long time performing in subways and train stations and met many homeless people.
“It felt more involved than the other movies where I just go into the recording studio and then get out,” said Paruz, who performed and appeared in a scene alongside Adrian Brody in the 2002 film “Dummy.” “This movie feels more personal to me because of the subject.”
Each person involved in the film had to give a dedication that appears when the credits roll. Paruz chose to make a dedication to Joe Lumis, a homeless man she used to run into daily at the Union Square subway station.
“The aim of the movie was the focus on homeless people and for me to participate in something that is trying to make awareness of the plight was important,” she said.
Paruz’s interest in playing the saw came after an accident destroyed her dreams of one day being a professional dancer.
“All of a sudden it was taken away from me and all of a sudden I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Paruz said.
Later, after going on a trip to Europe with her parents and watching a man play the saw, Paruz returned to New York and began to teach herself how to play the tool.
“The reason why [the saw] attracted me so much is that it’s the only instrument that the entire instrument moves,” Paruz said. “It’s kind of like a dance.”
Today, Paruz teaches others to play the saw and, for the past 11 years, has been hosting the NYC Musical Saw Festival in Astoria, which started with four players and now features over 50 musicians from all over the world. The next festival will be on May 30, 2015, at Trinity Lutheran Church.
“It’s an affordable musical instrument,” Paruz said. “Anyone can afford a saw, if they don’t have it in their toolbox already.”
Paruz will be playing the saw and also the bells together with the bell choir at Trinity Lutheran Church, located at 31-18 37th St., this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.