Friday, June 29, 2007

Crunch On.... Life as a Lollipot

Either being a lollipop lady is exhausting, or being an A-list celebrity film star is exhausting but after just one day "on set" for the new Crunchy Nuts cornflakes ad, I am absolutely KNACKERED.


My new life as Julia Roberts Lollipot kicked off at 6am this morning. Early starts are not really my forte but earning 500 euros for lollipopping round a golf course is, so I kept my complaining to the usual bare minimum. Richard was super-perky though because he'd just heard that the very first thing we would be doing on set was having breakfast.

Sure enough, once we'd spent a few hours driving round St Cugat industrial estate looking for the golf course, we were settled into a hearty brekky. Rob had already told us that "Cattereen" (Catalan for catering) is superb on Spanish film sets and I have to say my toasted egg-cheese sarnie was top notch.

Then it was into the trailer for "make-up". The make-up chick was clearly horrified by what she had to deal with and asked for more time. The #7 under-assistant key grip said not to worry as i would be largely covered by my hat, lollipop and size 22 florescent jacket. He wasn't kidding.

There were 15 extras in all, including Saika - another mate from Sitges - playing the role of "A Mum". As Saika has been method-acting being a Mum for 7 years, I didn't think this was particularly challenging until we met the kid playing "Small Boy". Roberto's only job was to sit in a pushchair but it turned out Roberto was a bit of a diva. He refused to get in and burst into tears.

Filming ground to a halt while all the assistant dolly grip gaffer people tried to reason with him.

"Get us another kid", shouted the director, only half-joking. Eventually someone bribed "Small Boy" into the pushchair with 20 euros and some Crunchy Nuts and filming continued. Reechard said he he was going to burst into tears too but hold out for 40 and an entrecote steak.

After Saika did her bit, and "Bridge and Groom", "Swimmer" and "Jogger" did theirs, the film crew disppeared up to the 8th tee to shoot "Golfer" and "Construction Worker". Things started getting rather dull so Reechard and I got out the Scrabble and I beat him 367 / 240.

Despite "Cattereen" turning up with mid-morning snacks and "Repairman" blocking my view with his enormous toolkit, it was still quite dull so Rich and I wandered up the fairway to help the director Jim Canty. Jim was delighted and said it was unlikely he'd even have been able to finish filming without us.

Four hours later and it was finally my turn. Along with all the other extras, I had to run onto the 8th green waving my Stop sign and straining to catch imaginary Crunchy Nuts falling from the sky. I was superb on the first take but apparently all the others were rubbish, so we re-shot the scene 7 times until they got it right.

Then it was Richard's turn. He lay facedown in the bunker while a clutch of 4th assistant dolly grip people buried him in sand. He then had to jump to his feet and stagger backwards catching imaginary Crunchy Nuts falling from the sky. As Richard habitually hopes food will fall out of the sky, this didn't really count as acting but nevertheless, he was quite brilliant and after 402 takes, Jim called it a wrap. We headed back to Cattereen for a bit more food, then bade all our new showbiz friends a tearful goodbye, but not before half the film crew asked for my autograph and the props girl asked for the Stop sign back. Then it was home to Sitges.

Crunch Pics

Saika, Roger Moore and Lollipot prepare to get into their roles

On set

"Swimmer" aka Miles, who wrote the script

"Jogger" aka Jordi, who normally drives the van

Miles and Jordi, who normally do this kind of thing in private

Roger Moore aka Beezneez Man

The director agrees with Rich and Mad that the shot would work better if the middle bush was moved slightly to the left

Rich throws himself into his role

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sorry, can't talk, I'm in make-up

For those that have missed Parts I & II, Richard and I are starring are "featured extras" in the new Kellogs' Crunchy Nut advert. The story continues...

Part III: Wardrobe.
"Wardrobe" day was taking place at the headquarters of Mark's film production house in Poble Nou. As we were five minutes early, we headed for the caff next door and ordered some cornflakes so we could 'get into our roles'. Turns out they don't have Crunchy Nuts so we had to have the five-course "menu del dia" instead. Half an hour later, we rocked up in our limo outside Number 37 Calle Llull.

Bit disappointing; looked like a building site. Actually was a building site. Quick consult of map. Wrong address.

Seconds later, we are the real headquarters of LP Production - Number 137. Aaah, that's better. Super-glamorous. Just the kind of place Richard and I feel utterly at home. Mark was at his desk and, for some reason, laughed the minute he saw us. He shooed us through to wardrobe.

Great. Full of hot chicks. Richard was very excited so I threw cold water on him and we gave our names to Ana. 'Aaaah', she said: 'Reeechad ant Mat. "Beezneez Man" and "Lollipot". Very good'.

Thrilled that we had had an instant upgrade from "Featured Extra", we took our seats. Richard is a master of his craft so paid close attention as Ana fitted up two glamorous, extraordinarily beautiful women in front of us. They twirled and swirled and Richard looked rather hot so I threw another glass of water over him.

The girls are in the "casino" scene. Obviously I will be in the casino scene too as, not only am I extraordinarily beautiful, but I practically live in casinos for work. Plus I am excellent at poker. Reeechard also wants to be in the casino scene for slightly different reasons.

No. We are not in the casino scene, we are in the "golf" scene. This is fine too because Portal del Roc Pitch & Putt is pratically my second home and I am excellent at golf. I start practising my back swing while Reechard disappears behind a screen with one of the hot chicks.

Two seconds later he emerges, virtually unrecognisable as "Beezneez Man". It was like seeing Alan Partridge transformed into Daniel Craig. Astounding. I had no idea Reechard could be so smooth and debonair. The wardrobe girl poured some cold water over me and the director gave Rich the thumbs-up.

Then it was my turn. I'd quite liked the dresses the casino girls were in so was optimistic about the "look" they'd devised for my part. Turns out "Lollipot" is Catalan or whatever for "Lollipop". The wardrobe chick hands me a size 22 florescent jacket and asks me if it's too small. I think I can squeeze into it and then it's my turn out front.

Jim, the director, is absolutely thrilled. "My god, she's fabulous, simply perfect, what's her name, etc etc." Reechard tells me this is probably bad news as now I'm typecast. Everyone takes pictures of me for their Facebook albums and then it's back to real life.

Despite putting in about 50 missed calls before we arrived for Wardrobe, Reechard and I very disappointed no one rang us back so we could tell them we couldn't talk. We are holding out for "Sorry, I'm in make-up" at the shoot tomorrow. Mark is giving us a lift in his limo and we're meeting at 6am. As the only way I can possibly do anything at 6am is to stay up all night, I'm going to spend the evening at "Ricky's", the town disco. Richard is a method actor so he is going to spend the night eating cornflakes.

Mark says if there are any Crunchy Nuts left after the shoot, we're allowed to keep them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Crunchy Part II

It's been a tense few days. Richard hasn't slept. I haven't been out. We have manned the phones day and night. Finally, the call came. At 15:54 today, Emma rang to say that - thanks to our moving performances at last week's audition - Richard and I have both won parts in the new Crunchy Nut Cornflakes ad.

Yippeee! Hollywood!!! Cannes!!!!! And - more immediately - Sant Cugat!!!!

Richard will be playing the much-coveted role of "Featured Extra (Male)" - at least two other people turned up for that one - and I will be playing "Featured Extra (Female)".

In years to come, when Richard is being interviewed by Parky/Jonathan Ross, he will be able to recall - in mellow tones - that the turning point in his life, the moment when he went from being a total unknown to an instant, overnight, A-list celebrity, came while he was buying some wine glasses in Ikea. I can't remember what I was doing but I will make something up the minute Graham Norton asks me.

Anyway, once the news was out, there was a flurry of activity at Chateau Mad. Emma had requested our sizes!!! I ummed and aaahed between 12 and 14, and Richard retreated to the bathroom to work out some accurate readings of his own. Emma hadn't actually asked for this measurement but Richard thought it worth providing "additional information". For the record, Richard's neck has a 42cm circumference.

The news also necessitated some emergency rewriting of our profiles on Facebook. Richard is now a Crunchy Nut Methodist and I am Fundamentally Crunchy. The shoot is on Thursday - can't wait!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Casting Couch

It's Wednesday - Rich and I are very excited about our upcoming audition for the Crunchy Nut Cornflakes ad.

As "serial" show-offs, we both see this as a chance to show the world, once and for all, what a talented pair we truly are. The audition is being held in Vinyet and a host of other hopefuls are lined up outside.

Emma writes our names on a piece of paper. There is some debate as to whether Richard should be known as "Richard" or "Hindu Hamster" but Methodist sensibilities prevail and he will be auditioning under his normal name. While waiting for Emma to take our mug-shots, we find a casting couch round the corner and practise our poses.

Emma takes our pictures. "Be more natural" she says to both of us. An absurd grin IS my natural state, so her instructions are hard to interpret. Then, one at a time, it's upstairs to the audition room.

Leslie is on camera, Mark on directing. "Pretend you're running a coconut shy at a village fete." says Mark. "Easy", I think, as I'm pretty sure i've run dozens of coconut shys in my past. I start running my stall, smiling happily at imaginary passers-by. Mark tells me to be more natural. Mmmm. I go for more natural and follow the script and hand Mark some imaginary coconuts.

Given the price of coconut slices on the beach in Sitges, I understand why we have to use imaginary coconuts rather than the real thing. In the ad, the "coconuts" are apparently then going to turn magically into cornflakes and I then have to pretend to snatch the floating flakes out of mid-air. I jump and down snatching imaginary cornflakes out of the air. I realise I am a natural. Made for the part. Mark likens me to Julia Roberts.

I exit the audition room and then it's Richard's turn. Mark likens Richard to Roger Moore. As Roger Moore can't act to save his life, I realise this is Mark's way of telling Richard he hasn't got a chance. Richard confides in me that he was asked to be more natural too. We are both now sitting in, 24 hours a day, waiting for the call.