The man who cre­ated Spud

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOVIES -

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.

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