Update June 2009

London Calling

We’ve just gotten back from London where we filmed our actors Neil Morrissey and Richard Huw in their real and fictional home town. As a result of our test screenings, we wrote a couple of extra scenes – to better set the stage for their collaboration on the documentary.

We decided to give Richard a “Mom” – played wonderfully by British stage actress Eileen Page (Eleanor of Aquitaine in Mother of the Pride, The Secret Garden) Eileen came to us through Sonya WIlliams a friend of Barry’s Mom, Sara Gregory, herself a soubrette of London’s West End in the 40’s and 50’s. Eileen, a vibrant octogenarian, is an intelligent, wiley force with dancing blue eyes and a spritely step. As we walked to Neil’s local for lunch, she told me of her role as Eleanor of Aquitaine and cited Eleanor’s history and speeches as though she was channeling the historic queen herself!

Neil was a brick as he returned home on the first night of our arrival to discover that Barry and I had completely switched the furniture in two of his guestrooms to transform one of the rooms into a set for Richard’s “bed-sitter.” He just glanced at the chaos and suggested we pop out to the pub. So we did, and enjoyed a delicious pint of bitter (or two) – all jet-lag aside!

We put the kids to bed while we hit the pub.

We’re grateful to our British friend and camera-man Ian Clark and his gracious colleague Martin Scanlon for scouting locations in London and arranging to augment our video camera with various pieces of equipment that were too bulky for us to bring over on the plane. Richard came up from Beckenham armed with a funky collapsible bike he’d borrowed from his neighbour. Cast and crew spent a whirlwind day on and off the London tube following Barry around like the Pied Piper of Hamelin; tripods, bicycle and camera equipment on each of our shoulders. (No permits either, but the London bobbies just nodded and turned a blind eye – as we held our collective breath.)

Our photographer friend, Brigitte Cavanaugh, joined us from Paris to shoot some publicity stills too. Next morning, when our serious filming was through and we’d gotten Neil’s house back in order, Barry and I donned the dog masks and Neil took up Barry’s video camera to shoot some “making of” while Barry and I posed for Brigitte. I’ve decided that it’s not so easy being an actor – dog’s head or no. It was hot in there, and after a while I ran out of ideas for ways to embody a dog having a conversation with his ‘mate over a paper and a cup of tea … Turns out Neil’s camera footage wasn’t so hot either. So much for switching it up.

Neil wields the camera while...

Barry and Kim act like dogs.


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