Thursday, 28 March 2013

#Setlock - A normal set reporting day.

I suspect you've noticed we've had a couple of really good set reporting days since Sherlock started filming exteriors. This is quite unusual. It'd be more par for the course if it had been raining, there'd been nothing to see, and nowhere to hide from the elements. #Setlock caught up with itself yesterday.

Driving into Cardiff my boyfriend commented, "Is that blossom?" "No, it's snow." I replied, flicking on the wipers. Snow is pretty but the cold and wetness is rarely appreciated when you stand on the same spot for four hours straight. We met up with friends and eventually drove off to see the location. We parked, and wandered up to a building covered in scaffolding. Some lights were rigged to shine into the flat. A couple of fans were outside, and a lone security guard. Not the normal hustle and bustle of a filming location. It was clear they were filming inside the flats.

Interior filming is rubbish. The only time you can see the stars is when they're leaving, you won't see the actual filming and how that works (one of my absolute favourite things about set reporting) and obviously there's nothing to see when it comes to spoilers.

So we left. We were tired from two late nights, cold, tempers were high, and we didn't want to stand out in the snow for very little reason.
I've only blogged this so you can see that Monday's filming at Bristol is absolutely amazing but not the norm.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

#Setlock - Newport, Kebab Shop

Just a quick post today, seeing as not much happened and I'm absolutely shattered.

Location: Adonis Kebabs, Commercial Road, Newport.
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Amanda Abbington.

Yesterday's filming was a surprise. It's rare we find filming two days running so I was enjoying a restful day. Then SV signs (standing for Sue Vertue, the producer and Moffat's wife) were spotted all over Newport and that was that. The first location was St Woollos Cemetery but unfortunately by the time we were aware of them they were already packing up.

Up next? A kebab shop in a busy, grimy bit of Newport. Obviously because they were filming inside it was harder to see and hear what was going on, although voices did float on to the street quite clearly because they were shouting. They'd also taken over the hairdresser's next door and were using that as a base. This was where all the monitors were and where cast and crew hung out between takes.

From what we can make out, John and Mary were stopping off from a night out for a kebab. From their attire I'd speculate they'd been to a black tie event, opera, the theatre or the ballet. Martin was wearing a tidy suit (with a dark scarf strung around his neck) and Amanda was wearing black tights, a sparky black dress - about knee length, black heels and a large, furry, black bolero. Martin was also sporting a moustache. Obviously fake seeing as he was clean shaven yesterday and I doubt he has werewolf genes. He kept fiddling with it between takes. In the scene John and Sherlock are angry, shouting at each other. The only really audible word was "..secret.." Towards the end of the scene John headbutts Sherlock (full force, the first time I saw it I gasped because I wasn't expecting it.) Sherlock starts dabbing at his nose as if it's bleeding, after that.

They then filmed what was presumably the following scene. Sherlock and Mary are stood outside the kebab shop, amicably chatting, while Watson stands a little way away trying to hail a cab. They had to use the police to stop the roads at this point, because even past midnight there was a fair bit of traffic. They had a proper, shiny London taxi cab for this. While they wait Mary is apologetic saying to Sherlock "I'm so sorry." He replies "Don't worry, this is normal." Mary: "I'll have a word with him, if you like." They seem quite pally and friendly, and continue to chat inaudibly. The cab drives along and Watson hails it, talking to the driver a moment before opening the rear door of the taxi. He looks across at Mary and Sherlock and waits a while. Eventually he shouts a clipped "Mary!" and she says her goodbyes and rushes over. They get in the taxi and it drives off. Sherlock looks into the distance for a long time and then turns and walks down the street, still dabbing his nose. End of scene.

It was bitterly cold out again. I felt very sorry for them all just to be wearing costume. They'll have gone home with frostbite. Between takes they had coats wrapped around their shoulders, and Benedict and Martin waited outside for a while drinking hot drinks and having a laugh. Benedict was also bouncing up and down, trying to keep his circulation going.

Eventually the cold got too much for us and we headed home. I'm so cold and shattered I doubt I'll be desperately looking out for filming today. Besides, I need more bloody petrol.

Re photos: my computer is still awaiting parts. This good because I can let myself write my blog warm in bed, but rubbish for adding pictures. I'll try and borrow the boyfriend's iPad or his mother's laptop later and add some. I'll tweet an update if I do, I'm @tlchimera on Twitter.. @ryanfarrr has tweeted some lovely pictures as it is.
There's also now a video, also by Ryan, it's brilliant and can see it here.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

#Setlock - A Night of Adventure

[With newly added pictures, taken before Benedict's request.]

Wow! Last night was amazing. We'd heard Sherlock was filming in Bristol (an hour's drive from Cardiff) and as we were becoming rabid with excitement (they'd been filming for a week, and other than a small scene in Grangetown that we missed, we hadn't really heard much and being still pretty new to set reporting, I wanted to earn my Sherlock cap.) We drove down a little after midday to see what was happening at Portland Square (like Doctor Who? It was where some of the scenes in the Christmas Special were filmed, have a look here.)

Not much (was happening), if we were being honest with ourselves. There were some buffet tables out and little white, ball-shaped lanterns strung up from the trees in neat squares. They were obviously going to be setting up for a while. So being seasoned set reporters we buggered off to the nearest pub. And then we speculated madly. There was food, there were pretty lights, it was set up in a beautiful green park in front of a church, one of the key words announced was 'Wedding' - clearly they were setting up for a wedding reception! Maybe it would be John Watson's! We'd find out who his wife was! Cue much excitement.

Then we went outside and saw a massive bonfire. Not the usual kind of festivities at a wedding. We had to dump that idea. So sorry if we confused you a little on twitter at the time. The bonfire was constructed of a large metal cone-like frame and then they layered old furniture (wooden table tops, old chairs), dismantled wooden pallets and twigs until they had created an impressive bonfire. And if we were suspicious before, spotting the Guy (readily stuffed, sitting on his own chair, wearing a hat.) on the ground was enough to confirm this was likely to be set on November the 5th: Bonfire Night!

More fans were turning up by this point, although we were still quite few in number. The lanterns had been moved so they were strung along above the food tables. At this point we moved the car to an empty parking space in Portland Square because - to be honest - it was horribly, horribly cold and the idea of being able to sit inside at the quieter moments, but still be able to catch the action in the rearview mirror, greatly appealed. I fell asleep on the pavement wearing my boyfriend's coat watching Doctor Who; I wasn't going to be so abysmally prepared this time.

Benedict Cumberbatch's stunt double.
Extras began to arrive. Cars and cars of them. Normal looking 'Londoners' wrapped up for the cold. By the end there must have been 100 extras or so - including children. It was obviously a massive scene. The extras stayed in the church when they weren't needed - somewhere to keep away from the 'Spring' elements.

Eventually the main cast began to arrive. Or their stunt doubles did! First to appear was Benedict's stunt double - oh, and Amanda Abbington! Who is she? Well, she's Martin Freeman's wife. And when you hear 'Mary' mentioned on set, you can only assume she's Watson's as well!

Skip the waiting around and they were finally ready for action. They assembled the extras in a massed group in front of the bonfire - lots of sparklers, glow sticks and torches around for them. The bonfire was lit on several different gas vents situated around the bonfire. Cue the gorgeous Danny Hargreaves (of Doctor Who fame) running around shouting "Gas One! Gas Two!" "Danny, gas four hasn't lit!" "Gas Four!" etc. Once it was lit the bonfire was gorgeous - and best of all, it was warm. The extras started to chat and mill around and then the scene began. Sherlock runs through the gates of the park, followed by Mary. He's panicked and shouts "Move! Move!" to the crowd as he pushes his way through. He arrives at the bonfire and looks down into the burning wood, looking worried.

At this point all the ruckus about not posting pictures started. If you've followed the #Setlock tag on twitter then I'm sure you're aware of it. If not then the basics are that Benedict asked a friend/crew member to tweet that they had a big, dangerous scene tonight and would prefer pictures not to be taken. Hence why there are - unusually - no pictures on the blog today. We did have a few taken before twitter was asked to stop, but I can't upload them anyway as my computer is in for repair. Yes, Benedict was as gorgeous as ever.

All of the above has been said many times over on Twitter. Below are very spoilery scene details, which - while exciting you - you may prefer not to read. It is not my fault if you read on and wish you hadn't. Spoilers are addictive, and personally I love them and have always been grateful to those who has posted them down the years. If you are not a fan of them, then please do not continue reading.

Very soon after something very surprising happened. A crew member came over and asked if the fans fancied being extras. Silly question. We all trooped into the muddy park and were positioned around the bonfire - clearly they were low on extras and wanted it to look like a large gathering. There was a poster taped to a tree announcing a Bonfire Night party with fireworks and stalls and the works basically. We were all told to act like we were enjoying the night, to chat happily, smile, look at the bonfire. Not to look at the camera or Benedict before he starts shouting. Then we're to look to see what's causing the commotion. They ran through the scene many more times, shooting it from different angles (different crowd shots, close ups, ones closer to the fire etc etc) And here's the massive spoiler. In these later bits, Mary is shouting "John! John!"

The scene continued. Sherlock wrenches away bits of wood from the flaming bonfire. The crowd are shocked, a bit nervous about this 'madman'. Curious but not sure whether to go forward or back. The crew then cleared a hole in the rear of the bonfire, and we could see the inside was layered with wet green leaved branches. Originally we thought this was to make it smoky (which it was, eye-wateringly so) but then we realised it was to protect a stunt man. Dressed as John Watson. Looking ashen with blood running down his face. He was instructed that when he heard Benedict/Benedict's stunt double approaching the bonfire he was to dive inside, ready to be pulled out.

They did this a couple of times. I don't think you could pay stunt doubles enough. I was exceptionally impressed. Leaping into a burning wooden mass of flames, only to be pulled out leaden, unmoving by somebody else, takes a lot of guts. Mary/Amanda's screaming quite a lot during this. They lay John Watson on the ground nearby but I was at the wrong angle to see what happened next. I imagine they'd swap the stunt double with Martin Freeman (who was also there) at this point and film some close ups. The extras were instructed for some us to run forward as if we wanted to help, some of us hanging back - afraid.
This was the scene basics done. Afterwards they lit a few burning torches and filmed the extras (the paid ones, not us) reactions with the light flickering on their faces. Lots of gasps, children screaming. The crew had a running lunch during this. (They had lunch as they filmed.)

And I have to admit defeat after that, I'm afraid. It was bitterly cold, half of us were having stints in the car due to feeling shattered/freezing/unwell, we had a long drive back (and unknown to me at the time - confusing detours that as a new, nervous and absolutely navigationally-inept driver didn't overly please me) and to be honest the day had already gone amazingly well. We never dreamt we could ever be extras in one of our favourite shows, let alone be privileged enough to watch probably the most exciting and dangerous scene we could ever recall having seen acted out in front of us. It was a great day.

Edit: I've just noticed the Daily Mail has some pictures of earlier on in the night. You can see them here.