BODY AND MINDHORN
Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby — writers and stars of Mindhorn — on the film’s standout looks
“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
CLIVE PARNEVIK BRUCE MINDHORN