Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 10 June 2012
Extra! Read all about it!
Another picture which isn't going to get a credit. All I can tell you is that the lad is supposed to be called Bruno - maybe you recognise him, but I don't, not watching T.V. anymore.
I went to visit a bank here yesterday, and found that the street where it is sited had been turned into a Victorian market. A handful of stage carpenters were sawing and banging away amongst various props including stacks of barrels, hoardings with Hebrew text, and trestles with real vegetables laid out on them.
The (real) cobbled road was strewn with fake dirt - 'dirt' which was brought in from somewhere else in the back of a truck by a man who spends his whole time transporting the stuff around the country, chucking it down on streets, then sweeping it all up again and taking it somewhere else. Modern dirt would be no use in a period drama - too many fag-ends and crisp wrappers - otherwise he would be out of a job along with the corporation street-cleaners.
All of the props were painted in a wash of sepia-tinted matt varnish, and had a dusty sort of look to them, as if they had been stored in the dark at Madame Tussaud's for the last twenty years. I suppose they look right when seen through the lense of a camera though.
I asked someone in the bank what the film was, and he told me that it is to be a children's period drama. Because the bank forms about half of the backdrop, they will all be held captive in it every time filming takes place, and this will continue until the end of thursday. Shame, it would be good to see a disgruntled Santander customer come out of the door in modern dress half way through a scene. They must employ a security guard to stay on set all night and stop the drunks from trashing it.
Bath offers itself up as a film set all year round. There is quite a lot of money to be made from it, evidently. Years ago, when 'Barry Lyndon' was made here and round about, I put up the sound technicians who wanted to save the money which would otherwise be spent at the appropriately named, 'Pratt's Hotel'. The B-list always stayed in Pratt's, and the A-list stayed at the Royal Crescent.
One of the sound men used to be a stunt-driver in films, but on his last stunt, his foot got stuck under the accelerator pedal of the Rolls Royce, and he ended up going over the cliff with it when he was supposed to jump out. He was in hospital for months, and all the stars came to visit him when it was touch and go as to whether or not he was going to survive. He became life-long friends with Lee Marvin as a result of his accident.
The Rolls crash was probably the best bit in a truly awful film - 'Gold', set in South Africa - but I expect it would have been just as impressive without the poor bloke being in it as it destroyed itself by falling down an 80 foot precipice.
The sound boys would return every evening and lay out all the huge amount of analogue recording equipment on the living room carpet, then we would go to the pub and they would splash huge amounts of cash around in the vain attempt to pick up girls.
Their life-style was what could only be described as bizarre for most of the time they were working, and involved climbing up underneath the skirts of famous actresses whilst pushing the cable of a crystal-sync radio-mike through the star's underwear until it protruded between her tits, and was hidden in the cleavage. What a job.
They spent the whole of one day at Stow-in-the-Wold, rehearsing a scene in which a horse-drawn carriage comes rattling into a courtyard, scattering dogs and chickens before pulling up outside the inn. When it came to the take, they did not notice that one of the dogs had wandered up to sniff the end of a long, directional microphone, and just as the scene was ending, it barked very loudly into it from about two inches away.
The stunt-driver was temporarily deafened through his headset, and the needles on his mate's level indicator all swung violently into the red. They had to shoot the whole scene all over again, because these were pre-digital days, and the British never followed the Italian example of dubbing the entire film from beginning to end.
I have often thought about registering myself as an extra for these events, but the procurement of extras for the whole of the Bath area has fallen into the hands of someone who I was extremely rude to once, for reasons I have forgotten, but he hasn't.
It's a shame really, because I reckon I would look good dressed up as an 18th century toff, wandering about in the background and doffing my hat at young ladies. It's what I do every day anyway, but it would be nice to get paid for it.