bluevolvic (Paula) (bluevolvic) wrote in time_and_chips,
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Graeme Harper talks about 'Doomsday Filming'

 i found a magazine in the local paper shop today called 'DeathRay'  , it cost £4 but i really wanted to read it  
because it had an interview with 'Graeme Harper'  and he gave a detailed description of filming with David and Billie .


i've woken up far too early.Not the easiest day ahead.

Both for Billie as an actress and Rose as a character, they've got the most harrowing,disturbing and ultimately romantic scene to get though. She's literally tearing herself up emotionally.It's the end of her journey,and i don't know quite how to do it.

I'm driving out to the main unit location. We are about to shoot Billie's final scene in Doctor Who.Yet when i finish this block she and David have to shoot two more stories,which are due to appear earlier on in season two.

This is going to be quite a wrench for both of them.We've got a beautiful beach at a place called Southerndown.You can see right across the Bristol Channel.Somerset is on the horizon,but for purposes of our story this will be a beach in Norway.

Questions are racing though my head 'What's the best way to approach shooting this?'...'Who do i film first?David or Billie?'...'Is that going to put too much pressure on them if i offer them that choice?'

with any TV show that's got a long shoot ahead of it,it's always the same.It seems to take foreverto reach that first day of filming,but once it starts,the whole thing just flashes past.Weeks merge into months and , before you know it, it's over.

Because i've been filming with Billie for something like 40 to 45 days now, I know the emotional range she can call upon when she's acting.She can build up tears and emotionsvery easily.Knowing her,she'll cry very easily on take one.Take two, more difficult but i don't doubt it'll be just as good.

I've got to allow her space.Got to give both her and David plenty of time to gently find a way to play this out for themselves,without me interfering until i need to tweak the moments i feel i have to.

I've talked very little to them about how to confront this scene.It's been there all along,looming up on us,but it's not going to be something they'll enjoy as it ultimately marks the end of their time together.

I'm having breakfast.I'll ask the third assistant director to find out when would be a good time to go and quickly nab them.They'll both be in makeup for a while.Time ticks by too quickly,everyone's nearly ready.

The crew are strangely quiet.No jokes,no noise,no bustle...They've all been together for a long time ,and they know exactly what's got to be done today.There's a strange,palpable sense of sadness in the air-Billie's still got five episodes to do after these,but it's still a goodbye ni one wants to make,and there's a clear determination to do her proud in every way they can.


"Look,Billie,David,can we have five minutes to chat?" I've found them in the make-up trailer,talking.

"We need to discuss how we play today,because i want to make sure i give you both the amount of time you each need to reach the emotions that the script's asking of you."

Which way do i go?Do i shoot David first?My instincts are telling me to framehim over her shoulder,A long lens shot maybe?Or do we favour her because she's going to have to break down?

David-ever the gentleman,Doctor and diplomat.

"To be very,very honest with you...Billie would like to go first,because we've discussed this.And that's what i think we both feel would be best."

"The problem is,just thinking about it makes tears well up in my eyes,"says Billie."So it's going to be very hard to hold back,but i will and i know i can.But there's one moment where i know the tears will start flowing.The problem is,if you want to go a second time,I know the emotions will be there but i don't know about the tears.I don't know that i'll be able to ...First time ,yes.Second,I just don't know.Third,you'll be very lucky."

I know i've got to be spot on. This has to be right for her.Billie's the kind of actress who gives her lines all the emotions and resonance she can, on each and every take without fail.And she will even do this when she is just feeding lines to David or the other actors when it is their shot.David's like that too.He'll give all of his cue-lines to her off-camera exactly as he would if the lens was focussed on him.He'd never let her down on that score,or anyother actor come to that.It's great for all actors to have a full-on performance given to them off-camera.

We've rehearsed and blocked it out.The camera is in place.The wind is harsh,freezing and wet.

"And action..."

the first take is brilliant.

"Absolutely magical.Gobsmaking and moving, that was just fantastic."

Every word of it's true, but i spend about four minues, while evryone stands there freezing,discussing it with Phil. Unfortunately, a bit of fluff or something landed on Billie's lip and hung there for the last part of her speech.I have to go again for that reason, and that reason alone.I agree to go in and do it straight away, rather than hang around and do other shots and expect Billie to be able to muster all that emotion again from cold.

"I put money on Billie being able to do it again." Reassuring words.I have to be the diplomat now.



"Look guys, that was beautifully done, and i've got to cover David, but we need to do that again."

Billie's honesty makes everyone move quickly.
"Well ,you'd better do it now, because if all that's got to come out of me again.I can do it if we go for it now..."

Very quickly,briskly,we're ready to go.

David's watching Billie like a hawk, making sure that she's okay.This is just as difficult a scene to play for him.

The Doctor knows that he's lost Rose forever and it's his last chance to say goodbye.

Billie does it exactly as,if not better than,before.The only problem was that it's so windy her fringe falls across her face several times.but, in character,she manges to pull it to one side.
Between those two takes, I've got enough to show everything we need.

"Are you really happy?Because i can do it again."

There's a look from David as if to say,"No way, you don't need to." And he's right.

I was absolutely thrilled and moved by her performance, as were the rest of the crew who were on the beach that day. There was not a dry eye in sight, and everytime i see that sequence i am still moved to tears.

David's there for her, as soon as we cut, hugging her tight.

Then it's his turn to give his performance.

In his scene Rose tells him tearfully that she loves him , and The Doctor seems in all his shyness to be about to say the same, but his image fades away just at the crucial moment.Rose will never know what he was about to say, although the audience gets to see The Doctor in tears inside the TARDIS so i guess they realise how he feels.What a performance from David, brilliant for every take. What a team.

That was the day.That freezing cold day.

When Rose Tyler died on that lonely,isolated beach.
And yet, at the same time, she also came wonderfully alive.This was one of the greatest moments i have experienced both in my career and ,indeed, my life.


















Tags: doctor who confidential, doomsday
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