The man who created Spud
It’s tough that so much gets chopped and I am sure Spud fans are going to say, ‘No they cut out my best moment.’ But in the end I think we made the right decisions for Spud and for the story – and to make a good film was all we were really after. How did the making of come about? My long-time nemesis and friend, Ross Garland, called me the day after the book hit the shelves in 2005 and declared Spud had the makings of a smashing film. Naturally I assumed he’d been drinking.
A few other bids presented themselves but in the end I chose Ross’s because it specified my creative involvement. Did you have an idea of what the characters looked like when writing the story, and do these actors hold up to your original vision? They certainly all had some quality that embodied the original vision, although I wouldn’t say that the actors all look identical to those of the characters in my mind’s eye.
For example, Sven Ruygrok, who plays Rambo, is far smaller than one’s typical view. However, his personality was compelling and he had a cheeky flair for the dramatic that made him stand above those of a greater size.
That said, some of the actors appear incredibly close to those of my imagination. It was a coup getting John Cleese to play the Guv – did you have him in mind? He was on the shortlist of five British actors we were interested in, but our London-based casting agents led us to believe we had very little chance with him because he seldom, if ever, perfor ms in independent films. That’s why he wasn’t the first actor we pursued.
Ross Garland’s decision to involve a top-rated international casting agency at great cost turned into a masterstroke. What do you think of Troye as Spud? Troye is something special, no question. He carries the film on his shoulders and is in quite literally every one of the 200 scenes. He doesn’t act like Spud, he simply is Spud. In fact John Cleese was so impressed with Troye’s performance he offered to adopt him. Do you think the film holds true to the original story? There are diehard fans out there – are they going to be happy with this product? I think what the film achieves so successfully is to capture the tone and essence of the book. It’s probably impossible to appease everybody, but I would guess that most fans of the book will walk away from this film extremely happy with the interpretation.