Behind the Scenes of Planet of the Dead - Part Six
Excerpts from Benjamin Cook’s set report in DWM 408:
[on trying to film during a sandstorm] “Not only was what we were shooting looking horrible,” James tells DWM, “because we had no light… and this massive desert landscape, you couldn’t see it… I mean, we could have been in a car park at Upper Boat… but also sand was being blown in our faces constantly. The actors couldn’t open their eyes.”
“Problem is,” says make-up designer Barbara Southcott, “it’s on high-def, so you’ll see every bit of sand on their skin.”
“You’ll have to paint it out,” make-up artist Steve Smith teases The Mill’s Dave Houghton.
“Frame by frame,” nods Dave, “grain by grain.”
“I know it’s not easy, guys,” calls out John [Bennett, First Assistant Director]. “Let’s just do what we can.” But David’s hair has turned blonde. (Daniel [Kaluuya, who plays Barclay] dubs him “Barry Manilow”.)
The sand is sticking to everything. Worst hit is Tracie Simpson, whose lips are actually yellow. This is her first episode as Doctor Who’s producer. It’s a baptism of fire - no, of wind! Of wind and sand and lipstick.
Forgetting that Dubai is four hours ahead of the UK, DWM decides to text a message of support to Russell T Davies in Cardiff - you know, something encouraging and inspiring. But somehow we manage to send one that says: “SANDSTORM! CODE RED! ABORT! ABORT!” Surprisingly, Russell messages back: “I’ve got you texting with ‘SANDSTORM!’ and Julie [Gardner, executive producer] phoning with ‘SANDSTORM!’ I’m hooting. Save yourself, Ben.” Perhaps we should hide in a Portaloo until it’s all over? (We don’t last long. It stinks in here. Besides, a queue was forming.)
Back outside, the majestic crane shots intended for this morning are abandoned. The crane is dismantled and taken away. “I thought, let’s shoot everything that we can against the bus,” James explains later. “…but the actors all looked like they’d been tarred in sand and dragged through a hedge.”
1. First of all, why??? 2. Did you really write a 442 page novel to prove Twilight isn’t sexist? 3. Is it literally just Twilight over again with different pronouns? 4. How does that prove a point? 5. It’s just the same story? 6. Is the dialogue the same? 7. Is girl-Edward’s name really Edythe? 8. Is boy-Bella’s name really Beau?? 9. Is Beau really short for Beaufort??? 10. Is that a real name? 11. Are there really no other B-names? 12. Bradley? Benjamin? Barry? 13. Are other characters in the novel going to be gender swapped? 14. If so, can Jacob be named Jansport? 15. Will there be a movie? 16. Will the same actors be cast? 17. Can Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart just switch lines? 18. Can girl-Jacob be played by Taylor Lautner in that same wig? 19. How great would it be if Kristen Stewart sparkled? 20. How do you think RPattz and KStew feel about this book? 21. Do you realize how many interview questions they’re going to hear about this? 22. Will you ever let these actors forget Twilight? 23. Does this mean you’re never going to finish Midnight Sun? 24. How many more versions of Twilight do you think you’ll write? 25. Do you realize you’ve basically written your own fanfiction? 26. How long did writing this take you? 27. How the heck did you keep it a secret? 28. Did you really just pull a Beyonce? 29. Will you write sequels? 30. Will Renesemee become Charlisle? 31. Does the title mean someone’s actually going to die in this one? 32. Does the cover mean green apples are the gender-opposites of red apples? 33. Do apples have genders now? 34. How is this real?