|Robin Hardy - director and novelist|
|Adapting, extra scenes and distribution|
|Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee|
GC – Two weeks ago I was in Birmingham with some of the cast of Game of Thrones, and one of them, Rory McCann, worked with Edward Woodward on his last film, Hot Fuzz, and although they shared no scenes onscreen, they were on set together, and he said he was the loveliest man you can imagine, and I wanted to ask you about your memories of him.
RH - I think he was one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with. He was never going to be a film star, but he was an extremely good actor, and when you see him in The Wicker Man with Christopher Lee, you tend to look at Christopher Lee rather than Edward. Although Edward is a great stage actor, whereas Christopher is a film star because of his presence. That’s the difference between them. You couldn’t find a better actor than Edward. He’s marvellous.
GC – I knew him from Callan from when Channel 4 repeated it in the late eighties. All the colour episodes are now available on DVD, only a handful of black and white episodes still exist, but they’re also available. For its time, it was such a strong show.
RH – Well, I cast him from Callan.
GC – And Christopher Lee, the scene in The Wicker Man, when he is in drag, in the wig, with the twigs, for an actor of his stature and reputation, to be so serious and yet to send himself up at the same time, he’s game for anything.
RH – Yes, yes. And you really look at the foreign films he has done, he has done anything and everything. I mean, 160 films or something, and in half a dozen languages.
GC – He’s amazing. And between Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, to be again a household name, at his age, it must be fantastic for him.
RH – No, he’ll never stop working. He was originally to play Lachlan, but when we were prepping The Wicker Tree, he went off to Mexico to make a film, and he had a very nasty accident to his spine, as a result of which, when we shot, he was waiting to have an operation, which most of us rather urged him not to have, because operations on spines, as you probably know, are extremely dicey, and frequently you end up paralysed. But in fact he was taking some other medication, and he was able to stand for about three or four minutes at a time. Obviously he couldn’t have done the film, so I wrote that special little vignette for him, and I think it works very well. In case you have a supplementary question, who is he supposed to be, the answer is, I don’t know.
GC – Robin Hardy, thank you so much for your time, it’s been a pleasure.
RH – Well, I look forward to seeing the piece. Thank you very much.
The Wicker Tree is currently on limited cinema release, and will be available on DVD and blu-ray from 30th April; the film was recently reviewed by Geek Chocolate