Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Sir Martin-de-Walker, Palace Guard for his Majesty King John
Thought I would send you a quick email about a pretty damn cool day I spent on Monday as a Palace Guard for King John, holding back an angry crowd at the signing of the Magna Carta lol ;)
My flat mate is one of the 3rd AD's (assistant directors) on "Untitled Robin Hood Film", and asked me if I would like to be an extra on it for the last day of big crowd filming at Shepperton Studios in London. So off I go at 4am for a fitting as a Palace Guard (in my opinion the best of all the costumes). I had chain mail armour, a broad sword (both aluminium) and a pike.
It was a bloody long day and they didnt use us till the afternoon, so I had a bit of a wander and enjoyed watching a scene with Russell Crowe firing an arrow straight at the camera. There was a board above the camera he aimed for, and guys with perspex riot shields all shielding the camera crew in case Russell missed his mark! lol, but he didnt!
Then in the afternoon we were taken into the most impressive set I have ever been on. They had built a bloody castle (London Castle) out of plasterboard and it looked amazing. The inside is a bailey, with staircases and giant doors on either end. The scene was King John signing (or did he?! lol) of the Magna Carta, and there was about five hundred extras who had names like, London Life, Barons, Knights, Northern Knights, Archers, Ladies in Waiting, MiddleClass Londoners, Monks and Clerics, and many more people. Plus the Palace Guard.
In the scene the Palace Guard are in front of King John and his throne, keeping the unruly crowd in check. My friends job is to look after the crowd and when we were called, he pulled me out and placed me DEAD CENTRE in front of the throne, and directly in front of the camera! lol (an extras dream), then all the other guards were placed around me. Cue much jealous comments about how I had managed to get that position lol. Its all who you know, eh? :)
King John is not happy about signing the Carta, so the crowd get angry. On cue the Palace Guards and Arhcers all raise there weapons and point them at the crowd. I had to lower my pike and point it at the front row of the crowd, who in my case included an archbishop, some barons, and a cardinal (who gave me the sign of the cross everytime I did it, then whispered "Can I sharpen my pencil?" lol)
It was such good fun, and the costumes were frankly amazing. Its quite something to see a production that size in action. It was also great to see Ridley Scott walking around, and at one point walked up to me and smiled, and asked someone why there wasnt a flag on my pike, so quickly gold braiding was wrapped around all our pike tips!
The costume was so damn hot though, and my shoulders and calfs ache something bad today, but it was totally worth it. And they even pay well too! lol
Cant wait to do something like that again. I think Im going to join an extras agency down here and see if I can get some days work when Im not doing locations on films :)