Day two was equally awesome in terms of scale. We (the extras) followed the same routine although there was some rivalry starting to develop between the teams, with the blue team always heading out first to start the filming and being first in line for any meals. I was in the yellow team. The scene on the second day involved the leading actors walking through a human tableau which had been built up layer by layer. You just had to admire the sheer professionalism and artistry of the directors and their crew who put ideas and designs together and made them reality. Nothing was left to chance. The scene opened where I was standing with my fellow extras. The scene would last four and a half minutes in the cinema. To bring that to fruition we stood around for 6 hours on the beach. First, there was a rehearsal and then a long wait while the tide went back out.
I decided to have a look on the promenade on the pretext of going to the toilet. The vista from above was even more impressive. I got to visit a French café at the side of the cinema and popped into a disused gym to use the gents. There I came across 6 young lads naked apart from army boots and dog tags. A female make-up artist was applying make-up to practically every part of their bodies, to give the impression that they were covered in oil. These brave lads had to run through the crowd into the North Sea. I’m glad I missed out on that scene. Eventually I returned to the beach and after several takes, we had to call it a day as the sun set and the light disappeared.
I have lived in Redcar all my life, but have never experienced anything like that before. I was always a fan of cinema but being part of such an epic was amazing and something I will never forget. Now I await the cinema release in September 2007, the DVD release so I can freeze frame my performance, and the new heritage signs to appear shortly on the A174 road saying, ‘Welcome to Atonement Country’.
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