Anton Bitel’s visit to the set of Sacha Bennett’s neo-noir caper Get Lucky one frosty morning revealed the awful conditions in which filmmakers sometimes have to work their magic. DoP Peter Wignall and star Luke Treadaway were on hand to discuss the skill behind the chill.
This is an excerpt from an article published in movieScope 35: July/August 2013
Call your film Get Lucky, and you are tempting fate. Luck was hardly with the production on the bitterly cold February morning in 2012 when movieScope visited a location shoot in London’s Wharf Docks area. Despite the arctic conditions, the dedication of cast and crew allowed everything to run smoothly during multiple takes of a complicated scene in which suited, hatted Seb (Craig Fairbrass) and Kramer (Terry Stone) leap ashore from their speedboat amidst gunfire (in fact a marksman firing pellets precisely into the stone wall near their heads).
As cinematographer Peter Wignall admits, the UK’s unpredictable climate can be difficult. “It is quite challenging when you’re doing exteriors over many days. I mean, this scene—yesterday it was sunny. Now, it’s grey. Lucky enough we kept it mainly backlit; you can get away with murder that way. A lot of this has either been night or interior, so it’s all been able to be lit.”
Luke Treadaway, who stars as the eponymous Lucky, is equally stoical about the icy conditions. “Just put your thermals on, and keep moving your toes! You’ve got people bringing you hot-water bottles and things like that, which I struggle to take, but I do sometimes. It can be distracting, but you’ve just got to crack on with it. You could be sweeping roads in Siberia, so a Dagenham container yard with a bit of a chill to the air that morning; it’s not really too bad.”
In fact, this day on set was relatively mild compared to the freak weather that plagued previous weeks of the shoot. “Snow was a bit of a challenge,” Wignall explains, “because we’d shot two days in this container yard the weekend before, where the first day it was sunshine, so we had to get a big 20x silk sock to actually block the sun. Second day it was misty, so obviously take away the silks, get the 18K out, and put a bit of an edge to it, which there wasn’t the day before—and the following weekend, it snowed, so they had to get containers. Adam [Bohling, executive producer] and the boys, they did a grand job of clearing the snow. They couldn’t clear it all, so we had to just clear the bits that we were looking at while they were working on the other bits. I mean, it was thick; it was like a foot of snow. They were getting brushes, sweeping the tops of containers. It was a nightmare.”
Get Lucky is released in UK cinemas on August 9, and is available on DVD and Blu-ray from August 23.