Getting Whipped by Nazis
You ever wake up knowing “it’s going to be one of those days?” Well yeah, that.
The night before we were given the address and call time and just to make things more awkward our 9am call meant we’d be in the worst of the rush-hour traffic on the M4 coming over the bridge into England. Luckily today I was working with a few chaps who’ve I worked with before in the past who were pretty sound and we lift-shared which killed time somewhat.
Our location today was in a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere which was self-evident by the sat-nav loosing signal 3 times and the base unit was literally a farmers field retro-fitted with one lane of temporary tracking to drive down then turn onto the grass to park. Bearing in mind this is now the height of winter with the additional wet weather, a few cars got stuck.
After the catastrophe of the other weeks beach scene, I was stacked to the hilt in my thermals and original long, thick clothes but yet still freezing in the cold winds.
What was quite peculiar yet somewhat typical of filming life was being told that we’re not being used until the last scene of the day. Got up early for this job and everything not to be used until 4pm… Fun times. Still, this gave us time to regain some warmth in the dining bus, catch up on gossip and for some, get some sleep!
Walking to the scene was nerve-wracking for a few of the boys and I don’t blame them either. Walking around in full view of the public in WWII Nazi uniforms. But it wasn’t that big of a deal as the copious amounts of film trucks and gear was a reassurance to them. As well as the fact it seems like the population of this village could be counted on two hands.
But the scene was pretty interesting. I was a prisoner of war being marched along in a group with a patrol of German soldiers keeping us in check. How many people can say:
“Today I got paid to be flogged in public by grown men in Nazi uniforms.”
Great imagery, am I right? I should point out a few of the boys did some rehearsals with a stunt coordinator as they scrap over some food which prompts our guards to whip us back into formation. I’m just grateful they were soft-props! During the heat of the moment in a take one chap had a tassel hit him in the eye but he was perfectly fine and shrugged it off. Don’t want to think what it’d be like if they’d given them the real thing.
Once the filming had finished and we’re in the queue to get out of costume, a high-ranking member of the crew was going ballistic in the makeshift carpark as one of the gents got stuck in the mud and unintentionally blocked her in. Oops! Wasn’t his fault but the locations guy was sure getting an earful about it. But then again he didn’t strike me as being too bright. I mean, who tries to push a car out of mud wearing sandals and socks?
In these blogs I don’t normally chat about the drive home as, well, it’s boring. Everyone’s tired, cranky and frankly grateful to be in 20th century clothes and homeward bound. But on this occasion we had a bit of a hiccup. See we were using the satnav on my phone to get us here which was fine, but getting out was the issue as there was no data signal to track a path home. Got to love filming in the Twilight Zone.
Sandals and Socks bloke offered his advise:
“Turn right out of here, about 10 minutes up the hill you’ll get some signal there.”
Did we get any signal up there? Did we f**k!
Bear in mind we’re in pitch-black country lane with little-to-no sign posts around and pointed in the wrong direction to the M4 by someone who clearly hasn’t mastered the fine art of tying their own shoelaces. In the end my sat nav managed to find our location but still no data to navigate a route home, leaving me to crudely direct my friend who was driving through the narrow lanes and we ended up taking a detour through Cheddar Gorge and almost hit a wild deer.
Well. At least it wasn’t a boring day at least.