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LOCKE

Filming Locke
Just five weeks after Knight delivered the first draft, LOCKE started four days of rehearsals before beginning eight nights of principal photography on February 18, 2013.

"Those five weeks were a pretty exciting ride as we had to put the film together very 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 photography, the right editor, all the right heads of department."

"It was lean in some aspects and not in others," the producer continues. "There were three cameras on every set-up so there was quite a large camera crew to support but 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 props in it."

It was decided early on to shoot the film live to capture the progression of emotions rather than record the supporting actors' end of the conversations in a sound studio at a different time. Hardy spoke and responded to the other actors as if in a radio play. How to pull that off was the challenge. Hardy was in a BMW with its wheels removed on the back of a low-loader. Driving the actors in a minibus on the motorway behind 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 a 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 another phone line for Knight (also on the low-loader) to be able to talk to the hotel room and give direction to the other actors. Hardy had an earpiece to ensure his dialogue was clean.

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. "Given that on paper it was one of the simplest films I've ever been involved with, it was one of the longest production meetings I've ever been in."

The BMW was fitted with three RED Epic digital cameras in a variety of different positions, which recorded for 37 minutes before their memory cards needed replacing. This allowed Knight to shoot the entire film each night.

"I said to all the actors, including Tom," treat it as a play," Knight explains. "If something goes wrong, deal with it, as you would on stage. And they did that brilliantly."

The set-up has also enabled director of photography Haris Zambarloukos to give the 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 is 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 like a motorway.

Cast and crew started together at the hotel at six o'clock each evening. This gave Knight and Hardy time with the other actors before hitting the road on the low-loader. Also on board were the script supervisor and sound mixer.

"It was a traveling circus of the hero car being pulled by another truck," says Heeley. "We also had the police behind us to make sure it was safe and a couple of cars driven 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 challenge for sound editor John Casali during production. This is a film where what is heard is of 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," says Webster. "Around 98% of the dialogue is what we recorded at the time, which is unbelievably good."

"Fortunately we've got a nice car that's quite well sound-proofed, and we got him 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 Tom 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, either 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 up. "Steve wanted them to be able to act and have that received in a car," says the sound editor.

"There is a camaraderie that comes from when you do something that's so unusual," 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 just quite embarrassing, going 'moaaaaaaah', hoping people around aren't laughing."

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