Created on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 19:27
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
The Shooting of the Elder trailer
by Owen Oakeshott
(producer / actor)
Friday 20th July 2012; 10pm.
Seb & I are in the Black Boy (a pub, not a vulnerable young man, I feel it crucial to establish) interviewing Tom. Let me intoduce you to Tom. Tom is a lovely old gent in a fairly permanent pin-stripe suit - and is a regular in the Black Boy. He also happens to have a mad glint in his eye. (The one that's able to focus.) Perfect then, for "the white-haired, white-bearded old man who lunges out of a car door and stabs someone in the leg" – a character who pops up towards the end of the promo. First though, we have to convince Tom of the merits of appearing in said promo for nothing. Seb is good at this; indeed, so persuasive is he that, after we shake hands with Tom and tell him we look forward to seeing him on Sunday morning to film his moment, Polly (landlady of the Black Boy) has to drag him back to the bar in order for us to be left alone to continue planning our weekend. Once her back is turned however, Tom sudenly reappears and silently stands by our table, boring into us with his one focused eye whilst noticeably perspiring. Polly guides him back to the bar once more. This becomes a disconcerting routine for the rest of the evening. Tom is sweet, but a little strange. Mind you, he used to be a choirboy, so he's a total dude in my book.
Following his dismissal (one of them at least), Seb & I continue planning the shoot. I advise Seb (for the umpteenth time!!) that he'll need to film a whole bunch of different angles & takes rather than just the one basic shot in order to "give himself options", as they say. (Aswell as to keep the piece moving at a fair lick. Pace is all in movie-making.) He says he knows what he's doing, he's gonna shoot one shot per scene, that's all it needs and tells me to get another fucking round in. I entreat him to benefit from my twenty years experience of acting in the occasional crap programme for British television. He threatens to sack me. I sigh. And proceed to buy some Guinness for us both.
When I return, Tom is back & gurning once more. Polly drags him back to the bar. I say loudly I cannot possibly work under these conditions and storm out. Seb follows.
We pick up some NHS hypodermic syringes from someone's front garden for use over the weekend. I assume their owner has consented to their removal but choose not to press the point, as it's late and one of us could kick off.
Saturday 21st July; 12:30pm
So, my first scene for the promo of The Elder: a country-lane on the outskirts of Winchester, suitably decorated with extra twigs, branches & tufts of grass (for that extra dash of end-of-the-world encroaching wilderness) - and me, lying in the middle of the road, with one trouser leg rolled up.
"Left a bit," says Seb.
I move my naked leg fractionally. It is a pale, thin, unattractive thing, but it's mine – and I'm proud of it. I tell it so in my head.
"Yup, that's perfect. We'll have that. Let's go for a take. Owen, nice & still."
Silence. I can feel the breeze purring through my copious leg-hair.
Ian, our demon camera-maestro, records. I stay stock still, imbuing my lower leg with all the emotional truth of a limb lying lost & bereft in post-apocalyptic Hampshire. Perhaps still attached to a corpse - you decide. (The rest of me is out of shot.)
"Cut!" says Seb. Job done. It's a wrap.
Ladies & gentlemen, my first ever nude scene.
Saturday 21st July; 5:30pm
St Cross Church. My big Father Morpheus scene – the 'spine' of the whole piece. I am enveloped in a parabola of light outside of which in the darkening church stalls I can vaguely discern grinning faces. Sceptical faces. Irreligious faces. Faces of the DAMNED!! (Actually, the faces of a few of our hardy young production assistants, Rob, Josh, Levi, Dan & Tamara. Children of the Damned, then.)
I've spent the last hour or so being made up to look like a cancer patient by Tamara in the vestibule. My character, Father Morpheus, is a tricky sod in a dog-collar who likes a tipple, has a few skeletons in the cupboard, and has the power of life and death over his terrified and greatly reduced flock. Father Ted if he'd joined the Taliban. Seb has given me a fat old fucker of a speech to learn – involving Noah, the Flood, words like 'centralised' and 'infrastructure', and a passage that I swear he's nicked from Handel's 'Messiah'. It goes on for AGES! And I started learning it on Wednesday. I'm all over the shop.
In the end, I get my lines out and in the correct order in what, I'd like to point out in my defense, is a bastard of a long tracking shot (with Ian in a wheelchair being inched backwards by someone grimacing while he hugs his camera like the resident of an old peoples home). However, in a move that foxes everyone, Seb decides to do another take from a different angle! Then another, then another! He says earnestly, as he does so: "We can't edit what we haven't shot, guys. This gives us options."
Must have got it from a book somewhere.
Further snapshots of a great weekend of common endeavour: Billy – our gorgoeus young hero – pegging up & down an A-road dodging traffic with an Uzi sub-machine gun swinging round his neck. A younger version (Seb's eldest, 6 years old) standing in his boxer shorts being filmed by his father holding that same gun. Megan – our gorgeous young heroine – stuck in a cage trying to put out a burning newspaper with her plimsoles whilst being observed by a bunch of sweaty blokes. Josh floating down the Itchen fully clothed at seven in the morning. Dave looking like he's torn someone's innards out in the New Forest - and clearly pleased with the result. Filming a naked bottom down a hole (but whose??) - we called this the Moonshot.
It was fabulous. Cheers guys.
Ian Williams – camera, sound, brilliantly salty quips.
Andrew Calloway – 1st AD, guru, calm voice of reason.
Clive Tagg – technical assistant, guerilla film-maker, gorilla.
Steve Webster – documentary maker, chauffeur, indispensable Top Motherfucking Dude.
Polly Perry – wig, local popstrel, landlady of the Black Boy, beers (NOT - Ed.) on the house.
Tamara Strode – hair & make-up, then the actors' hair & make-up.
Dan Strode – production assistant manager, Tamara's brother, sandwich king.
Levi De Sousa – production assistant, gobshite.
Josh Wake – production assistamt, floating corpse (see above), hero.
Robert Branigan – production assistant, naked bottom, another hero.
Owen Oakeshott – producer, bag-carrier, twat.
Seb Hunter – director, writer, producer, bigger twat.
And the cast:
Owen Oakeshott – Father Morpheus, scary voice of doom, hairy white leg.
Billy Mackie – Grigorss, heart-throb, ripped to fuck.
David Knox-Williams – Father Cerberus, bleeding hands, scariest moment on film since that
Japanese bird crawled out of the telly in Ring.
Meg West – Isabel, Lara Croft, long-suffering totty in all-male production.
Alistair Thomson-Mills – Boris, Russel Crowe lookalike, completely unprompted decision to immerse himself in a filty New Forest lake.
Steve Webster – Blackwell, sweaty wig, test-tube.
Reuben Hunter – very young Grigorss, boxer shorts, Uzi, please don't tell his primary school.
Tom – Stephen, pin-striped suit, beady eye, Polly ... Polly!...WHERE'S POLLY??!!!