Casting Director: Belinda Norcliffe
Monday, and I travel to Italy to film eleven seconds of a commercial for IKEA.
Itinerary: 05.46 train from Etchingham – City Airport – Milano, meeting my colleagues in the limo. David Tudor-Glover, John Lightbody, Jo Burke and Billie North: fine company (and, it transpires, easily able to draw the most indiscreet of confidences from me after a glass or two of Prosecco at dinner). We are delivered directly to the studio for fitting, rehearsal, excellent pasta (no garlic) from Alberto, fine pâtisserie from Isabella and a devilish sexy golfing outfit supplied by Erica and Sara. (Neapolitan ice-cream is flavour of the day for me: pink shirt, yellow trousers, brown belt. I shan’t be making an offer to purchase the outfit as a souvenir.) The best news for me is that they choose David to inflict – afflict – with constantly changing and dubbable golf commentary… in Italian. Which, in the final cut, they don’t use.
Tuesday afternoon: after a leisurely morning, I potter the two hundred yards along the street from the hotel to the studio (they refuse to send a car) and present myself in Makeup. Regardless of the fact that both David and I are married, makeup lady Milena wastes no time in saying she’d be up for marrying either of us depending upon whose bank account is the healthier. Age is clearly no object to the saucy signora either because, when offered the chance to guess mine, she breaks all previous records by suggesting “seventy-six to seventy-nine”. And that, allegedly, is older than David.
In sharp contrast to John and Jo’s leisurely morning spent leaping and tangoing around the set and smashing up IKEA lamps and furniture, David and I hunker down for four hours’ hectic and energised filming: forty-one takes, forty-one gentle golfing putts across two circular IKEA rugs. When the reversing cameraman reaches a certain point, I say “pianta” and David moves an increasingly floppy pot-plant off my green. We are hampered by all the usual problems: a broken window not quite broken enough, unwanted reflections in golf-smashed pottery upsetting the DOP or the cameraman colliding with furniture.
A good-humoured shoot with actor-mannequins being subtly arranged, rearranged and fine-tuned by director Augusto Zapiola at the behest of the clients and agency employees. As is the usual practice, they lurk out of sight behind a screen watching their monitor and avoiding any direct contact with us foreigners.
Given that I holed out – hit the pole provided – only four times during those forty-one shots, maybe golfing is not the future for me.