It seems appropriate to write about my trip to Glasgow while still hungover from the experience. In brief, my great good friend Morag McKinnon is directing a feature film, ROUNDING UP DONKEYS (there are no donkeys in it), written by my other great good friend Colin McLaren, and with my other other great good friend Stephen Murphy doing makeup duties. Stephen designed my clowns for CRY FOR BOBO, made my prosthetic uncle for INSIDE AN UNCLE, has worked on all the HARRY POTTERS and CHILDREN OF MEN and transformed Jude Law for SLEUTH.
I met Colin and his lovely partner Anita Vettesse at the home of producer and goddess Angela Murray. Stephen joined us. Absent were Morag, too frazzled from her shoot, and Fiona, who has a nasty cold.
I promised you gossip, but as ROUNDING UP DONKEYS is classified as a Film In Production, much must be shrouded in secrecy. I can tell you that the film stars that impressive chunk of Scottish beef, James Cosmo, whose career takes in both TRAINSPOTTING and BRAVEHEART (as well as voicing Thelonius the orang-utan in the mescaline nightmare known as BABE: PIG IN THE CITY) and Brian Pettifer, who appears in all three of Lindsay Anderson’s Mick Travis films. The movie is a follow-up of sorts to RED ROAD, but is half a comedy, which lifts (or lowers) it into a different category. The scheme is intended to produce three movies about the same small group of people, slightly like the concept of Kieslowski’s DECALOGUE, but although it works from the same set of character descriptions, Colin’s script might best be considered an alternative universe version — some characters have different careers and families and sometimes personalities.
Morag met Lars Von Trier, founder of the scheme, and asked him what to do if the story evolved in such a way that not all of the characters could be included. “Oh, just use the ones you want and have the rest ride by on a bus,” he advised. Buses being expensive and this being a modestly budgeted digital short, they are having to go on foot.
The shoot sounds pretty strenuous, with six-day weeks and 50% night shoots. Some scenes are being shot night-for-night purely for cost reasons — without enough funds to black out the windows of a church, the production was forced to shoot after nightfall. But — and I wouldn’t say this if it wasn’t true — it also sounds like it’s going really well. One to watch for.