Behind The Wilderpeople’s scrap
"I was trying not to shake, I mean, I'd just met Stan Walker and I was like, 'I love him, it's Stan Walker!" Cohen Holloway
Each week we talk to an artist about their best-known work. This week, actor Cohen Holloway reveals how his fight scene with Sam Neill in the DOC hut in the modern Kiwi classic Hunt For The Wilderpeople came about.
‘‘That was quite a big scene. When we first went to Auckland, Taika loves to keep secrets, I didn’t even know who was going to play [the male lead] Hec, so we were told we had a rehearsal that day before we even started filming and in walks Sam Neill, and I’m just going, ‘Sam Neill’s here, oh my goodness’.
‘‘I was trying not to shake, I mean, I’d just met Stan Walker and I was like, ‘I love him, it’s Stan Walker!’ And Mike Minogue I know, who’s the other hunter. I said, ‘Hi Sam, I’m a big fan’ and he cracks up. We got on really well, me and Sam, but I think I said something really cheeky about his movies, and he said to Taika, ‘‘I think Cohen should wear shorts for most of the movie’, and Taika goes, ‘Great idea’. So I had to wear shorts for the whole movie and sometimes it was -4C. So if you ever re-watch it, just feel for me.
‘‘We practised all the screaming, there was a lot of moves, and Julian (Dennison) is doing his ‘Sh.. just got real’. We were in a hut filming around Auckland and it was a really tinny noise in there so we did all the filming and I said to Taika, ’when Sam attacks me I should scream really high’, and he goes, ‘give it a go’, and I was like, ‘ahhh’ really loud. Sadly because of the hut, we couldn’t use any of the sound so we had to do a thing called ADR (automated dialogue replacement/ additional dialogue recording), which is basically lip-synching. It’s where you watch yourself on a big screen and you’ve got headphones on at Park Road (post-production studio) and you have to mimic yourself perfectly for those lines. It’s a lot of hard work. Most of my Eagle Vs Shark work is ADR as well.
‘‘I go to Taika, are we keeping the high scream in there? And he goes, yes. So I loved the fact that the high scream is in there. Sam is the most generous, beautiful, awesome New Zealand star that I’ve ever worked with, and so fit for his age. We were doing lots of beating him up and he’s fighting us and he was right in there. The only thing with Julian on set, is you have to mind your language, so there was a little swear jar.
‘‘I won’t tell you how much I had to put in.’’
- As told to Dani McDonald