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PIRATE RADIO

About The Production (Continued)
Reaching back to the past in a more personal manner, Ralph Brown (of Withnail & I), who plays the wee-hours deejay Bob, sought to craft his portrayal as a tribute to the late John Peel, "who was on Radio London – ‘the Big L' – back in 1966-67. His broadcast was named The Perfumed Garden, so my character's named The Dawn Treader – which, indeed, we did have to get permission from the Chronicles of Narnia people to use. "‘Peely' was my inspiration, and I hope my performance has some of his spirit. For the hour-long broadcast, I reached out to an appreciation society he has; they sent me CDs of actual shows of his from the pirate station.”

Curtis assesses Brown as "the most Method of our actors. He just transformed into Bob. At first, I thought ‘Well, I don't quite see how that can turn into this, although he's such a good actor,' but he grew his beard like barnacles at the bottom of the boat!”

To further prepare the actors for life on Radio Rock, Curtis shanghaied them to 4 days and 3 nights of "boat camp,” which involved living and rehearsing on the boat on which they would be filming. Cast and crew rehearsed throughout the day; practiced deejaying in the studio; surveyed song playlists and listened to iPods that Curtis had curated; watched documentaries that Curtis felt would inform their performances; and slept in small cabins on the boat.

Of the stint, Freud remarks, "It was just like being in student digs in the 1960s, including the smell of socks.”

Bevan Jones offers, "We did make it a little more comfortable with some rather nice white duvets.”

"Soft Egyptian cotton,” as Frost fondly recalls.

Bevan Jones notes, "‘Boat camp' was invaluable in terms of giving the actors a chance to get to know each other better, as you are meant to believe that most of these guys have lived on this boat together for years.”

Curtis reports, "During rehearsals, all the actors realized that they had to re-interpret the film; when we would do a reading of a scene and they would only have one line in it, that didn't mean it wasn't a big scene for them. Everyone got used to the idea of being in these scenes together – and working out what their characters would do at any given time.”

"I think it was as much for Richard to see how our dynamic was,” says Frost. "While going through the lines and the scenes, we also got a sense of the geography of the scenes – where things were going to be taking place. Some things we uncovered during these rehearsals were written down and put into the shooting schedule.”

In the evenings, when not watching movies, everyone would eat, drink, and play darts or table football. "It really worked as a bonding exercise,” states Ifans. "We got very close.” Nighy comments, "I was the old guy who stood around and tried to keep order, but these younger guys all worked together beautifully and everyone allowed each other moments to shine.”

Curtis had made sure to screen M*A*S*H for the troupe one night during "boat camp,” and Brown admits that "it stayed in my mind all the way through shooting. There's a feeling of communality among the characters in M*A*S*H similar to what we were trying to achieve. Richard also wanted that added texture of overheard conversations and moments of interaction, a sense that the camera is watching something happening in front of it rather than it being staged.”

For the first time on one of his movies, Curtis welcomed and encouraged improvisation. Rhys Darby (of Flight of the Conchords), who plays deejay Angus "the Nut” Nutsford, confides, "Richard let us do different takes. This was like putting a band together; the members have all got to be individuals, and have their own looks. But when they play, there's got to be synergy – and I think that's what we had

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