Fab four head to Sydney
IT’S a Thursday night in mid- January. The Sydney Opera House is lit up and a full moon hovers over the landmark. “Not a bad place to be shooting,” Iain Morris says. “But there’s a lot more salsa music in this scene than we’d envisioned.”
Indeed, the Brazilian vibe fl oating across the water from an event at the Opera House wouldn’t really fi t with any scene in the movie Morris and his fellow writer- director Damon Beesley are shooting: The Inbetweeners 2.
The sequel to the biggest British comedy fi lm of all time, 2011’ s The Inbetweeners Movie ( which grossed an impressive $ 9.2 million locally), the new fi lm follows geeky, sex- crazed English teens Will, Simon, Neil and Jay on a “mental gap year” backpacking Down Under.
Rest assured, lovers of crudity and debauchery, there will be “bush” jokes.
This night at Circular Quay marks the last hours of a shoot that started in early December at the Gold Coast’s Wet’n’Wild water park, then moved to Byron Bay and the South Australian outback town of Marree.
The scene being fi lmed involves three of the gang – Will ( Simon Bird), Neil ( Blake Harrison) and Simon ( Joe Thomas) – asking for directions to a nightclub where their DJ mate Jay ( James Buckley) is “rocking da house”.
After a few takes, Morris and Beesley ask the lads to take it to a “higher level”. “A higher level of acting?” Harrison asks. When they go again, Thomas ventures a little too high.
“OK Joe, none of that,” Beesley chides. “How much coffee have you had today?”
When they fi nally get the level just right, Morris sidles up to explain how he gets the best out of his cast, who have been playing these characters since 2008 – across three series of their cult TV show and ( almost) two fi lms.
Morris says on the fi rst season of the show, he’d tell the actors they needed “energy and pace”.
“Now it’s all shorthand, but they know what’s needed and how to be funny, so it’s just reminding them to keep up the energy,” he says.
While there’s a lot of love between the creators and their cast, there’s little respect on display – especially since Morris and Beasley are directing for the fi rst time on this new movie. “We keep reminding them of that,” Bird says. “They don’t really know what they’re doing. I don’t think they know about focus, for example. And will the characters be wearing the same costume inside the car as they are outside the car? They’re not trained directors, that’s a fact. They’re not trained at anything.”
While the actors take very little seriously, they are a long way from the awkward school- leavers they’re playing.
The youngest, Buckley, is married with two kids and turned 27 last week. Harrison is 29, Bird turns 30 this week and Thomas is nearing 31.
When Bird was asked about the possibility of a sequel while plugging the fi rst fi lm three years ago, he said the clock had ticked beyond that: “We were already too old for the characters when we started the series.”
Yet somehow, Morris and Beesley convinced the lads to do it again, Down Under.
“They missed us terribly. Their lives were empty without us,” Harrison says.
Added Buckley: “I was just sick of the phone calls. They were not saying anything, just breathing down the phone.”
So will the fi lm offi cially be the last we’ll see of these characters?
“This is the end of The Inbetweeners,” Morris says.
THE INBETWEENERS 2 Opens at Village Cinemas on Thursday