BAFTA Premier - continued....
Feature from 2010After the film some of the cast and the writer Peter Bowker, came on stage and took questions from the audience.
“I thought,” began Victoria, “that it would be a story that people would be interested in. A story perhaps people didn’t know about, and a story I would like to get out.”
“I didn’t think about the hard things like casting, I just thought of them as kids and about their story.”
“It was a long process. The whole thing, from pitching the idea to the BBC to this point in time took about two years.”
Writer, Peter Bowker, tells about how he tackled the script; “I started with the act and worked backwards.” He says, “I had memories of their sketches like the Andre Previn routine, and I took that and began to look at the ingredients for it.”
“How much of them is in that routine and how they got to that moment after 40 years of being in the business.”
“I had to watch vast amounts of Morecambe and Wise shows to try and capture that rhythm they both had, and get that into the characters.”
A question about Sadie’s role and her attributes was answered by Victoria;
“Sadie, from everything we found out, was absolutely for Eric. She was determined to get him the life that she knew suited him better. I would not call her pushy, that is not the right word. She was very bright and very sharp, and did everything she could to get Eric where she knew he needed to be, and she was absolutely right.”
On Eric’s father, Jim notes;
“I was playing Vic Reeves,” and then continues after the laughter dies down, “No, I was playing my dad. Maybe a combination of my dad and me. I was shown the script and was very thankful to be shown it. I liked the words of the character...”
“It’s called dialogue Jim.” Victoria reminds him.
“Yes, and the result is what you saw. Thank you.” He replies, as the audience laugh along.
“Jim and I had a rapport,” recalls Victoria when asked about casting, “and that is something you either have or don’t have with an actor. I saw In Jim a good solid actor that was right for the part. I felt he would understand the role and trusted him to do it justice.”
When asked about the humour in the role of Eric’s father, Jim explained the problems they had getting the facts;
“We had a few books, “ he says, “but there was nothing in there.“ More laughter from the audience.
“He was a hard working man but wasn’t the boss in the house, that was Sadie. In those circumstances I think he would have needed humour to survive.”
“Just like you own marriage?” asks Victoria, much to the delight of all present.
“I was being me,” he replied, “ and when the families (of Eric and Ern) came down to watch a bit of us filming, they sat and watched the monitors and then said, Yes, that’s George
. So I must have got something right.”
“Had I got it wrong, it was too late by then anyway....” he jokes.
Back on a serious note now and Jim recalls one of his memories from the shoot.
“The first scene we filmed, or at least the first scene I filmed was in Morecambe. We had to do a scene where Victoria and I were sat on a bench looking out over the bay at a beautiful sunset, but it was pouring down, absolutely torrential.”
“I suggested we move the scene to a bus shelter or something, because we just couldn’t do it in that weather.”
“We sat down on the bench to start and suddenly the rain stopped and the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life came out. I think that set the scene and the feel for the rest of the film for me.”
After the QA session we managed to grab a quick interview with Jim Moir ourselves;
“It was great to be a part of this film.” He told us, “I really enjoyed working on it and loved playing Eric’s father.”
“I wasn’t apprehensive about the role, mainly because there was no preconceived perceptions about who he was or how he should be played. Unlike Eric and Ern who everyone knows, not much is known, by the public at least, about George.”
“That meant I could invent the character to some extent, which as you heard in the QA, was loosely based on my dad.”
“Even though the role may look easy, it was all very strict and we had to stick to the script. There was no ad-libbing and no room for adding your own material. The script was so good anyway that I don’t think it would have benefitted from any changes or additions by me or any of the cast.”
We would like to thank Jim for giving us his time.
We have a special feature about being an extra in this film coming very soon.
Eric and Ernie can be seen on New Years Day on BBC2.
© morecambeandwise.com 2010