Sunday, August 27, 2006

Amazing Atonement Set Photos

Follow the link and see two excellent photos of the set. You can buy copies of them from the site. I know what I'm getting for my next birthday present:

Film makers say thanks Aug 26 2006

By Evening Gazette

The team behind the movie Atonement today thanked Teesside for its contribution to footage which is set to become a film industry talking point.
For the past five days, Redcar seafront has been a working film set as 1,000 Teesside extras helped recreate Dunkirk 1940.
Thousands of people have been able to watch from the beach the shooting of footage which, when computer generated imagery is added, will give the impression of 30,000 troops on the sands.
Yesterday was the final day of filming, with all the action taking place within the Corus Teesside site.
Most of the film crew will now leave town, although some will remain to help the council return Newcomen Terrace to its pre-Atonement look.

To place their gratitude on record, Working Title Films have today placed a full page advert in the Gazette, thanking locals for their efforts.
And unit publicist Rachel Kennedy confirmed the week had been a tremendous success.

She said: "It's all run smoothly, the weather's been great and the extras were amazing - they really gave it their all.

"What they've shot on that beach will be talked about by the film industry for many years to come.
"I've seen the rushes and it will blow people's minds.
"All the local lads should be very proud of themselves."

The Newcomen Terrace road closure is expected to be lifted tomorrow , allowing locals a closer look at the bandstand, Ferris wheel and adapted seafront buildings.

Three days of work to dismantle the rest of the set is due to start on Wednesday.


Nick on day two of filming on the beach

My friend Mike Edwards in charge of his army vehicle Posted by Picasa

Mobile phone photos

Photo 1:The French Cafe (part of the Regent Cinema)
Photo 2:The Regent Cinema
Photo 3: Nick on the promenade
Photo 4: View of the beach

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Atonement - DAY ONE DIARY

After sending off a couple of emails and not hearing anything back, I thought my bid to take part in a Hollywood film had stalled. However to my surprise I got the call ten days before filming asking “would I be available on 21st & 22nd August?” I said of course and looked forward to trying on my costume. Would I be a British officer, a Nazi, a French refugee? Well I went to the Redcar Leisure Centre and was offered a British privates uniform. Trying it on I realised it was going to be as itchy as anything wearing it for 10 hours a day! Incidentally, the uniforms were made in Poland for £100 a piece.

Monday 21st came and we were asked to register at 8:30 am and wait in the large hall of Redcar Bowl. There was 1000 of us along with 300 crew members milling about. It felt like the first day at a new school or college, people from all walks of life; students, managers, bouncers, cleaners, and a day service organiser.
I got a dresser to help put me into my uniform. The attention to detail was amazing. I had my uniform checked 5 times on the first day to make sure it was all correct. The kit I had was quite complex with extra bags and a rolled up cape attached, it looked good, but meant I couldn’t take any of it off without having to be re-dressed.

The waiting around and queuing was the most challenging part. From queuing for costume there was line for make-up. The substance applied resembled chocolate sauce and it was put all over my face, ears, neck and hands. Then I had some conditioner applied to my hair to make it look a bit rough. I had stopped shaving and so had some stubble to add to the effect.

Breakfast was on offer, they always say an army marches on its stomach well we were all well fed and watered. The assistant director (Michael) and director (Joe Wright) give us a talk about the importance of being an extra and what we would be doing over the next few days.
Lunch came and went and we waited and waited and finally got onto the set at 4:00pm. The scene was immense. The set was terrific and exceptionally well staged.

There was only the one scene lasting a minute, with James McAvoy coming over a sand dune to see this amazing site in front of him. The sand dune was in fact on the back of a lorry with JM slowly looking through the grass with the camera behind him. I was situated in a long line waiting to board a boat (to be added later by CGI special effects). You may get to see me if you pause the DVD in the right place. Also there will be 30 of me as the cinema version will replicate the 1000 extras into 30 000. The scene itself even if it was padded out could last no longer than one and a half minutes. But it was shot with 5 cameras and we had 9 takes. A third AD (assistant director) stood with us and was in costume in case he appeared in frame. By the end we were all tired of standing it was 7.30 pm before we wandered off the beach and back to get changed and have something to eat.

Photo 1: Some of the brave lads who had to skinny dip!
(photo taken by jabsy - see more photos at
Photo 2: Can you spot me in this shot above?
Photo 3: A view from the promenade
Photo 4: My former Southside Radio
co-presenter Ian Richardson

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The Wait Was Too Much For Some
Middle: Michael the assitant director
Bottom: The scene is set
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Nick - Ready For Action

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Atonement - DAY TWO DIARY

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 cafĂ© 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’.
Additional photos available at (just register to see the forum)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Scene Is Set

Atonement set.

Atonement set.

Atonement set.

Atonement set.

More vehicles

Atonement set

Some of the many army vehicles which have appeared in the last couple of days.

The bandstand and hotel bombed out.

Probably the most interesting photo in this collection. The set looks at its best.

Quite an array of equipment on the beach

Nick as an extra dressed as a private in a British Army uniform.


Atonement - Filming in Redcar

I'm an extra in the film Atonement about to be shot in Redcar. The beach and promenade buildings have already taken on the look of the French town of Dunkirk. The photos were taken this morning.

The films stars Scottish actor James McAvoy who will star opposite Keira Knightley in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel 'Atonement'.
McAvoy will play the role of Robbie Turner, a man accused of raping a 16-year-old.
The 'Wimbledon' star has appeared as Mr Tumus in the successful CS Lewis adaptation 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' and has filmed 'Becoming Jane' opposite Anne Hathaway.