Extremely Dangerous - Behind the Scenes (3)

(Click on the small pictures to see larger versions)

Canal Street on a quiet day
(Photograph courtesy of UMIST Students'

The "narrow little road" is, in fact, Canal Street, and on this day in particular it has been blocked off at both ends to allow the cast and crew of Extremely Dangerous to get on with the business of making a 4-part TV film series.

Up at the top end a wrangler with a walkie-talkie intercepts foot traffic and politely suggests passers-by use an alternative route.

Down at the bottom end, a steady stream of cars, trucks and buses competes with the occasional ambulance and fire engine on a busy road crossing the canal. In between lie a range of pubs and clubs - some open for business, others closed to accommodate the film crew - and a building site, fully functional, populated by bricklayers and welders who have the best seats in the house.

Down on the road below, a crewman with a radio liases with the film's production team. It's All Quiet for a Take - and the construction workers pause and gather on an open ledge to watch the action.

Behind and below us, on the Rochdale Canal, a brightly-painted barge is making its way through one of the tricky locks that characterises this stretch of the waterway, its Dutch tourist-navigators oblivious to what's going on above them.

The construction site on the corner

Sean wired for sound
Somewhere in the distance, another ambulance wails. It's all peripheral background noise, integral to the reality of the scene being filmed. But to be certain the actors' voices are picked up clearly, a fuzzy grey microphone hangs over the little white table where Gebbert and Byrne have their conversation, on the end of a long pole. And Sean's been wired for sound with a mini-mike under his shirt.

The Range Rover approaches, Gebbert walks away, the thugs rush Byrne - smash, slam, crash - Sean and his fellow actors execute the action flawlessly - Sallie Aprahamian calls "Cut!" - there's a huddled conference over the videotape - and it's perfect.

The bricklayers and welders, sitting on the open ledge two stories up, let out a cheer for "Sharpe". On the ground, Sean acknowledges them with a broad grin.

In film-time, this scene will lead into another fight, this one involving iron pipes and some amazing choreography. In real-time - it's one o'clock in the afternoon, and the cast and crew are breaking for lunch. It's back to the unit base and the double-decker bus that has been laid on to feed the seventy souls who are on-set today.


"Back at two?" I inquire, approaching producer Malcolm Craddock, who is obviously pleased to be working with Sean Bean again after producing all fourteen of the Sharpe films.

"Two o'clock Sharpe," he replies, humorously.

Picture Palace's Malcolm Craddock


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