Ju­lian Bar­ratt and Si­mon Farn­aby — writ­ers and stars of Mindhorn — on the film’s stand­out looks

Empire (UK) - - RE.VIEW - words CHRIS HE­WITT

“IF YOU GET the look of a char­ac­ter right,” says Ju­lian Bar­ratt, co-writer and star of Mindhorn, “you don’t have to do much. The com­edy is baked in by the cos­tume.” And when it came to putting to­gether the look for Mindhorn, the hero of an ’80s TV de­tec­tive show, Richard Thorn­croft, the ac­tor who plays him and Clive Parnevik, Thorn­croft’s for­mer stunt­man-turned­neme­sis, Bar­ratt and fel­low writer/star Si­mon Farn­aby were do­ing a whole lot of bak­ing.


BAR­RATT: That’s a wig. A good wig for the early days, and a bad wig, which was sup­posed to look like a wig, for later Thorn­croft. we didn’t want to get too Ja­son King. I shaved my head for the part, not that it was nec­es­sary. I found that out later.


BAR­RATT: It’s Mag­num P.I., ba­si­cally. we thought he could have a beard, but I can’t grow a full, thick beard. Mine’s a bit strag­gly. But the mous­tache is fine, and I could bulk it up to give it the req­ui­site mas­culin­ity.


BAR­RATT: He’s gone dou­ble denim. It’s a clas­sic look from the ’80s, based on a lot of ad­verts about rugged men who go their own way. And he tucks them in. You wouldn’t trust a man who doesn’t tuck his shirts in.


FARN­ABY: If you took sylvester stal­lone and dolph Lund­gren, the great en­e­mies of Rocky IV, uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged as the best one, you might find a hair com­par­i­son there. There’s a bit of Has­sel­hoff in there too.


FARN­ABY: suzie Har­man, our cos­tume de­signer, came up with that. Clive is sporty and ac­tive, and there’s a bit of Bruce Lee in there. The trim­ming is very Game Of Death.


FARN­ABY: when I was 15 I got into a bit of trou­ble at school, for some­thing in­nocu­ous. I got hauled in front of a vice squad for the North York­shire dales, and they had noth­ing to model them­selves on ex­cept Mi­ami Vice. deck shoes with no socks, and short trousers. That stuck with me.


BAR­RATT: As high­waisted as you could get. we had trou­ble get­ting those old­fash­ioned high-waisted cuts. You need to have a long zip, so you can proudly strut about.


BAR­RATT: They were slip-ons. Very com­fort­able. Maybe too com­fort­able. There was a scene where richard wouldn’t do a scene with­out his shoes, “be­cause my char­ac­ter doesn’t stop at the knees”. One day I did a shot and I had some train­ers on and it just felt all wrong. I had to go and get the shoes. You could see peo­ple look­ing at me, think­ing, “He’s gone over the edge.”


FARN­ABY: The eye­patch sees when peo­ple are telling the truth. Ini­tially, it was a nose that could smell the truth, but that lasted about an afternoon. It’s not very cin­e­matic to go around sniff­ing peo­ple.

BAR­RATT: It’s not great wear­ing an eye­patch. You for­get how much you rely on the three-di­men­sional per­cep­tion of the world.


FARN­ABY: A rollneck is a very ’80s thing. And we thought Mindhorn wouldn’t be both­ered with a shirt. He’d be too busy for but­tons.


BAR­RATT: In the script we wrote “a beige jacket” and we ar­rived at tan. There were a lot of con­fer­ences back and forth, get­ting dif­fer­ent swatches of colours to look at. We fought to keep it tan. They pushed us to­wards a muf­fin and we pushed back with faun. It was pretty close to the knuckle.


FARN­ABY: From day one we wrote, “Mindhorn wears Farah slacks.” I was ob­sessed with Farah trousers in the old days. They were very thick and had a line down the mid­dle and were ever so slightly flared. MINDHORN is OUT NOW ON dvd, BLU-RAY AND DOWN­LOAD



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