Just five weeks after Knight delivered the first draft, LOCKE started four
rehearsals before beginning eight nights of principal photography on February
"Those five weeks were a pretty exciting ride as we had to put the film
quickly," Heeley explains. "Even though it's a film set in a car, it's still a
film and it's
still got every element of a film there. It still needs the right director of
the right editor, all the right heads of department."
"It was lean in some aspects and not in others," the producer continues.
three cameras on every set-up so there was quite a large camera crew to support
we didn't have standby riggers or chippies for example. And no art director or
production designer as essentially our only set was the car with a few hand
It was decided early on to shoot the film live to capture the progression of
rather than record the supporting actors' end of the conversations in a sound
a different time. Hardy spoke and responded to the other actors as if in a radio
How to pull that off was the challenge. Hardy was in a BMW with its wheels
on the back of a low-loader. Driving the actors in a minibus on the motorway
Hardy was briefly considered but almost immediately rejected. The calibre of the
actors involved suggested they might not entirely enjoy nine hours each night in
minibus on the M25.
Instead the actors were based in a specially-equipped hotel room in London's
Docklands, near to where the filming of Hardy in the car took place. There was a
phone line into the car, a phone line out of the car to the hotel room and
phone line for Knight (also on the low-loader) to be able to talk to the hotel
give direction to the other actors. Hardy had an earpiece to ensure his dialogue
With only eight days to shoot the film, and just six of those with Hardy, the
production team went through a rigorous 'what if' process.
"It couldn't go wrong. We had to cover every single base," says Heeley.
on paper it was one of the simplest films I've ever been involved with, it was
the longest production meetings I've ever been in."
The BMW was fitted with three RED Epic digital cameras in a variety of
positions, which recorded for 37 minutes before their memory cards needed
This allowed Knight to shoot the entire film each night.
"I said to all the actors, including Tom," treat it as a play," Knight
something goes wrong, deal with it, as you would on stage. And they did that
The set-up has also enabled director of photography Haris Zambarloukos to
film a sense of visual dynamism.
"Every night we would do a different angle on each camera, and every time we
changed the card we changed the lens," Zambarloukos explains.
Ivan's journey takes place mostly on the M1 motorway between Birmingham and
London. However the UK's Highways Agency, which runs the country's motorways,
now does not allow filmmakers to shoot using low-loaders on the motorway. The
production mimicked a motorway with a section of the North Circular road which
run by the Transport For London agency and a section of the A13 between the
Docklands and the M25 and from the North Circular to the M25 which is owned by a
private company. It is a three-lane carriageway on both sides and looks exactly
Cast and crew started together at the hotel at six o'clock each evening. This
Knight and Hardy time with the other actors before hitting the road on the
Also on board were the script supervisor and sound mixer.
"It was a traveling circus of the hero car being pulled by another truck,"
"We also had the police behind us to make sure it was safe and a couple of cars
by support crew so it felt like there were moving lights around us. We were
sometimes shooting at three o'clock in the morning when the roads were quiet."
Still, traffic noise and shooting on a noisy low-loader have presented a
sound editor John Casali during production. This is a film where what is heard
the utmost importance. Casali had worked on Hummingbird with Knight and Anna
Karenina with Paul Webster and Joe Wright. "John is the best in the country,"
Webster. "Around 98% of the dialogue is what we recorded at the time, which is
"Fortunately we've got a nice car that's quite well sound-proofed, and we got
close- mic'ed," says Casali of Hardy and the BMW. "We managed to feed an earwig
to him, so the conversations that come from the hotel room were only heard by
in the car, and we got the cleanest track possible for the cutting room."
In the hotel, the other actors were in the recording room with headphones on,
receiving a call from Hardy or making a call to him. Casali made sure there were
props in the room such as drawers to rummage through and mobile phones to pick
"Steve wanted them to be able to act and have that received in a car," says the
"There is a camaraderie that comes from when you do something that's so
says Andrew Scott. "We're all in this together and we're all here to support Tom
because his is the big responsibility."
As Bethan, Colman was presented with a particular auditory challenge. "It's
embarrassing, going 'moaaaaaaah', hoping people around aren't laughing."
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