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Winter weather perfect for Geordie film director

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Winter weather perfect for Geordie film director

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:11 pm

http://www.sundaysun.co.uk/news/north-east-news/2009/12/27/winter-weather-perfect-for-geordie-film-director-79310-25465801/

Dec 27 2009 by Coreena Ford, Sunday Sun
Neil Marshall takes charge of filming for his latest movie

AS blizzards and sub-zero temperatures swept in last week one North man was rubbing his hands with glee.

For those were exactly the conditions Geordie film director Neil Marshall wanted when he set to work on his new movie. The temperatures had plummeted when cameras first rolled in the Highlands of Scotland on the Pictish and Roman battle movie Centurion.

For the first scene, the cast and crew were 3,000ft up a mountain in -18C temperatures and a snow storm that would test a polar explorer.

Neil said: “It was all downhill from there, especially for the actors. They all had to do a scene floating down rapids in an ice-cold river.

“They were in agony afterwards and one of them even went into shock, turned green and projectile vomited everywhere . . . but he soon recovered and was back to work the next day.

“The whole shoot was physically and mentally draining, but at the same time I thoroughly enjoyed being out in the driving snow, howling wind and often horizontal rain. I don’t like to make things too easy for myself, or the crew!”

Film fans will have to wait until next year to see Centurion, an epic about the Romans’ Ninth Legion, who are said to have vanished after heading into battle with the Picts.

The gruesome, exciting thriller, set in AD117, is set to be the fourth blockbuster crafted by Neil, who shot to fame with the werewolf horror Dog Soldiers, which he followed up with The Descent and Doomsday.

The story centres on a soldier – played by Michael Fassbender, who is the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort.

After managing to return to the Roman forces he’s then sent out again, with orders to wipe out the Picts and kill their leader.

As well as starring Bond femme fatale Olga Kurylenko, Michael Fassbender and Dominic West, Neil’s actress and writer wife Axelle Carolyn also plays a big role.

Neil said: “We’ve worked together a few times now. She made a couple of all too brief appearances in Doomsday, and she was on set virtually every day documenting the making of the movie.

“She has a much bigger role in Centurion – as Aeron, a Pict warrior woman who’s lethal with a bow! She’s great fun to work with and incredibly professional, so I hope we’ll get to do a lot more together. You’d have to ask her what she thinks about working with me!”

As it’s set in Roman times, horses figure prominently in Centurion, and both Neil and Axelle became quite attached to the equine stars.

“Axelle rode the same horse throughout the entire shoot, and became a really confident rider,” said Neil.

“He’s called Mr. Dibs and she totally fell for him. I’m sure she’d love to keep him, but unfortunately he already belongs to Sting!”

In between putting the final touches to Centurion, Neil and Axelle have managed to squeeze in a few trips to Los Angeles where, as well as “chasing work” they spent a very memorable second wedding anniversary, which quite suitably for two horror writers, falls on Hallowe’en.

Neil said: “Hallowe’en in LA was an astonishing experience. They really put us to shame out there. Everyone, and I mean everyone, in LA gets dressed up.

“We went to a few parties, saw a bunch of friends, went to the Universal Studios Horror Nights, hung out with horror writer Clive Barker and bizarrely got invited into Larry King’s house for a bowl of chilli. The whole trip was a wonderful, surreal experience.”

While in the US, Neil was officially signed up as director of a new 3D movie, Burst, a gory horror about people who spontaneously combust.

The 39-year-old said: “It’s being produced by Sam Raimi, who directed the Evil Dead movies, so it’s a privilege to work with him. I can’t give anything anyway about the story just yet. Suffice to say it’s going to be terrifying and shocking.

“The new 3D process is a lot more user-friendly because it doesn’t involve those hideous red and green glasses. I think it’s great fun and a useful tool for directors to play around with, but it can’t possibly replace a good story and great characters. I can’t see it ever replacing 2D altogether, but it’s nice to have the alternative.”

While he’s excited at the prospect of working with Mr Raimi, Neil is just as excited at swapping directing for producing, on a project he is working on with Axelle.

He said: “Axelle and I are trying our hands at producing.

“She’s written a great script, partly out of a desire to satisfy her own creative urges, and partly out of frustration at the lack of decent acting roles out there.

“Instead of waiting for the work to come to her, she’s decided to create her own work. It’s incredibly tenacious of her and I have nothing but admiration for the amount of work she’s put in.

“I’m acting as executive producer, which sounds very high and mighty, but actually I’m being fairly hands-on. Really it’s just a question of everyone involved mucking in.”

For now, however, the pair are planning as little as possible in terms of New Year celebrations.

He added: “After the year I’ve had, the plan is to kick back and take it easy!”
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