They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do – especially when you’ve got to pack away your trusty old ted.
Nightmare. Dougal Wilson’s new spot for Safestore, I Will Return, turns an everyday tale into an epic, cinematic affair, featuring a brilliant performance from its young star and the most beat-up old bear to grace the TV screen since Mr Bean. We caught up with Dougal to find out more…
Jean Clement Soret
Moving Picture Company
The performance from the young protagonist was brilliant - how did you go about coaxing such a Gandalf-esque turn from him?
We did casting sessions in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Nottingham. There were lots of great boys but Cameron stood out as being just right for the role. He's only 9 but is very smart and pretty much got the idea of the performance from his very first casting session, so I didn't really need to do or say very much. I think I maybe told him to imagine he was a Roman Centurian addressing his troops before battle, which he did very well. It also helped that there was lots of wind and rain machine noise on set as he genuinely had to shout to be heard. He also has a brilliant Nottingham accent.
There's a real epic, cinematic vibe - how challenging was it to create this feeling in such a mundane setting as a storage facility?
The hope was that by setting the scene during a thunderstorm would give an otherwise everyday scenario an action movie feel. We brought in some very big wind and rain machines and tried to shoot as it was getting dark, with lightning flashes. We also filmed everything at a slightly over-cranked frame rate, to attempt to give the background action a bit of a slow-motion action movie feel. Then we 'choreographed' things to happen in the background that might sort of remind you of people running about in action or war movies, but they were just taking things in and out of a self storage depot.
The teddy is full of character - in terms of the design he's pretty battered and has obviously been through a lot! What do you think this character design lends to the spot?
Andy Kelly our production designer actually bought our teddy on eBay as he wanted to specifically get hold of one that had lived a little. I guess a bear that feels a little worn feels loved and has a story. We looked at quite a few different teddies but this one just seemed to have the right face.
In terms of the shoot, how challenging was it to create and work with the extreme weather conditions in the spot?
It was quite tricky because the wind machines were very noisy and the rain machines almost flooded the car park. James Sharpe the AD did a very good job communicating with everyone during takes because the noise really was deafening.