Film ti­tle lives up to name for cast, crew

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About -

Brrr. Cold. To the bones. Yes I was sure even my bones were cold. You get the mes­sage. I have never been colder in my life than stand­ing in one of the main streets in Eltham, Taranaki in Au­gust, at 2am on the set of the New Zealand film, Predica­ment.

The main con­cern of course is how to keep ac­tors warm on set, never mind the poor bloody crew. So in be­tween takes, wardrobe as­sis­tants would rush in with hot wa­ter bot­tles and blan­kets for ac­tors, and es­cort them to chairs set up in front of heaters in lit­tle tents.

Even shoot­ing a scene the lucky ac­tors - Je­maine Cle­ment, Heath Franklin (aka ‘Chop­per’), Hay­den Frost, were all packed into a cosy old red tele­phone box.

It was in this scene that Je­maine (ful­fill­ing an old prom­ise to the di­rec­tor to star in the film) broke out the voice that would de­fine the char­ac­ter of the Spook. It was nasal and mono­tone, and cracked ev­ery­one up - it is def­i­nitely those light-hearted mo­ments you need on set in the dead cold of an Eltham win­ter’s night.

For my­self, I lived in ther­mals and my long black and grey coat, from Win­nipeg, Canada, which had the Eltham lo­cals con­vinced I was the pro­ducer due to the stylish­ness and warmth of afore­said coat. claireash­ton7@gmail.com

Ah, no that would be the lo­ca­tions scout and man­ager - pro­duc­ers mainly get to sit in a warm of­fice! On pre-pro­duc­tion morn­ing rec­ces, (short for re­con­nais­sance) we would stand in the street and try to dis­cuss the shoot but would get body then brain freeze, so I learnt to sched­ule vis­its af­ter lunch, when hope­fully the day had warmed up. De­spite the cold, lo­cal his­tory in Eltham was quite fas­ci­nat­ing. A lo­cal Chi­nese farmer, Chew Chong, prac­ti­cally cre­ated the dairy co-op­er­a­tive sys­tem, and also the ‘‘pound of but­ter’’ un­til un­der­mined by a lo­cal busi­ness­man, Wilkin­son.

‘‘I lived in ther­mals and my long black and grey coat, from Win­nipeg, Canada, which had the Eltham lo­cals con­vinced I was the pro­ducer.’’

Wilkin­son was also re­spon­si­ble for the first as­phalt street in New Zealand, one of the very roads we were film­ing on. So when Chew Chong found him­self in a bit of a ‘‘predica­ment’’ he turned to a tra­di­tional Chi­nese food source - mush­rooms and fungi for ex­port, which were pro­lific in the re­gion due to tree felling and the cli­mate. Predica­ment, or what a predica­ment was in­deed the catch phrase when­ever some­thing went wrong on the shoot - like when the greens­man drove a waratah through the gas main of our key house lo­ca­tion - re­sult­ing in me or­der­ing piz­zas for the fam­ily for din­ner that night!

Ac­tu­ally all-in-all we were kind of lucky, so that even Mount Taranaki ap­peared the day we needed to shoot it, or was it the savvy first as­sis­tant di­rec­tor who has a hot­line (or is that cold­line?) to the weath­er­man who sorted it? Keep warm and carry on! -Waikato writer and film-maker Claire Ash­ton grew up in Hamil­ton and now lives in Te Aroha.

Char­ac­ters from the movies Predica­ment, Cedric (Hay­den Frost), Mervyn (Heath Franklin) and Spook (Je­maine Cle­ment).

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