I’m going to end up repeating myself ever-so-slightly here. Just like our main characters, our supporting cast was equally wonderful! Naturally people tend to focus on the main roles, supporting roles never fully get the recognition they truly deserve. This is very unfair and I can honestly say we spent as much time finding the right people to add texture to the piece as we did finding our central characters. How could we make a story about a person with a phobia about meeting people without having him meeting some wonderful characters? What a wonderful bunch we found for them too!
All had the patience of a saint, in particular I have to single out Layla and Mike.
In retrospect we probably should have shot Mike’s scene on the Saturday afternoon, but then everyone has a degree in hindsight! It was the last scene we filmed before calling a wrap. Unfortunately we had fallen quite a bit behind schedule getting the “Joanna’s friends” scenes finished. This meant by the time Mike was brought on, the light was failing and we were really up against it. Despite the rush against the poor-light, the challenges of confined space and a last-minute prop changes (the crew wouldn’t allow me to waste whiskey – for which I now thank them!) – Mike performed brilliantly. Mike wasn’t a fan of the particular whiskey in question, but even-so it’s nice to meet another person who appreciates their single-malts! The one thing which stuck both Sherilee and myself about Mike (aside from his awesome audition) was his superb time-keeping (unlike mine). He was always on set with plenty of time to spare. I still can’t wait to see his scene in the final film as it’s pivotal to the way it ends.
Hope originates from London, Ontario (I told her the story when I thought I had secured a really cheap flight from London to Calgary – not realising it wasn’t the same London I had in mind!). Her character was going to be dressed differently, but Rachael decided to make a small costume (in-joke) adjustment based on a line in the script. Hope needed to bring in a few additional driving skills/hitting her mark – we hadn’t originally planned on this.
She was also extremely apologetic that she needed to leave a little earlier to return to her family (of course there was absolutely no apology needed), and this actually helped focus my mind on the time which was beginning to ebb away.
Lindsey (middle in above picture) was great fun to be around. She plays a slightly icy character, but this could be further from the truth in person – where she was warm and engaging. We changed the description of her in the script to “Northern lass” in the rehearsal because she hails from the Liverpool region. We began discussing how harsh to make the accent or if we wanted to use an alternate one. I really liked the accent personally, so we kept it in. This wasn’t all that changed after some of Alex’s earlier improvising, so Lindsey really had to think on her feet (as did Hope and Tracey).
Tracey (second from right in above picture) plays the final guest at Joanna’s party called Sharon, who also happens to be Joanna’s sister. Tracey was a great laugh, Alex kept winding her up about the fact she is from Birmingham. To be honest I would never have guessed this, she sounded completely Welsh to me (and she has the singing voice to prove it so I believe)! She was really game for the character and we improvised a bit to give her what I think is an even funnier scene than originally scripted. Her role was by far the most physical out of all of the friends, so I really curious to see how it cuts together.
Filming the friends took up the majority of the day as we had a number meticulous timing cues which we needed to hit whilst were filming the scene in wide. This also resulted in quite a few takes. Thankfully all of the girls were clearly having fun in between takes. Actually the one thing which struck me this was “Joanna’s friends” seemed to be hitting it off in real life too.
Joanna McKerlie (above – with “in character” shot on the right) was in the first very first scene we shot – the Aunt Ethel scene. So naturally I have a bit of a soft spot for it. I also had great fun creating and sourcing props for this character who I love – Joanna played her perfectly. We had to make her look much older for the role – thankfully she let us tint her hair a shade of grey for this and dress her up in stuffy old clothing. There is one scene in particular between her and Alex which I just love! She was lovely and we ended up chatting a bit about cooking and acting (she is playing the role of “God” next week, that sounds a pretty intimidating role to tackle).
There were two cameos roles. The first is Josh Hall who is Tracey’s real-life partner. Apparently his folk live just down the road and he was in the local pub the same evening we were in the house watching X-Factor. He thought we might have popped in there after the shoot, we would have had we known. Anyway, he got to give us a review on how the local was!
His onscreen partner is Layla Mirmalek who played Joanna in Dan Collier’s original version. We were hoping to get Ross (the original Trevor) also, but sadly he was unavailable on the shooting dates. Layla was such fun. In order to avoid offending the locals on an early Sunday morning we decided that she should mime an expletive she says. We would then record the audio in a more secluded area away from the children next-door who were by this point watching us out of their bedroom window. “Close your ears guys” said Alex. I am definitely going to make a remix of this at some-point Layla! Even though these guys only had a cameo they stayed around all day. Layla even very kindly stayed and helped us tidy up at the end of the day.
I absolutely loved every single one of the casting choices we made and every single one of them was totally brilliant!