Saturday, May 31, 2008

Neil's Column

Both John and I have finished our parts in the film and are back home again. That's a bit of an exaggeration, really, because I did almost nothing compared with John, who, of course, is one of the leading characters in the picture.

All I did was to dress up in various coloured uniforms and stand around in the distance. Anyone could have done it, including all of you. It certainly didn't require any great acting ability.


People have asked me how the film cast reacted to having a Beatle living with them. It was a bit strange for everybody at first. John didn't want any special privileges or anything, he just wanted to be accepted as one of the blokes in the film. This was a bit difficult for some of the cast during the first week or two, but then everyone realised that he was a normal human being who liked a game of cards and a laugh, and everything was all right after that. He got on particularly well with his officer in the film, Michael Crawford, and they ended up great friends. I don't think he particularly liked having his hair cut and I am pretty certain he's rather glad he can now let it get back to its normal length if he wants to.

I can't tell you what John is like in the film, because Dick Lester wouldn't let anyone see the rushes. He told us that he thought that it put actors off if they saw themselves on the screen in odd scenes. The trouble is that you only see the bits that have been filmed the previous day and these might come from different parts of the film. Also, if the scenes were taken several times, you see them more than once. So if you were particularly bad in one take, it really hurts and even though one knows that this bad take will not be used when the film is finally spliced together, you still can't help feeling really depressed and coming to the conclusion that you can't act at all.


The film is a parody on war, so John is funny at times and serious at others. I think, personally, that he is going to come across very well.

Anyone who thinks that we just had a lot of wild parties on location can think again. All the cast were male, of course; there were no girls around anywhere. I believe one did come out for half a day, but I never even saw her. She was forty years old or something. So all we did in the evenings was sit in our house in Santa Isabel near Almeria and play cards or some other game. Risk was very popular. Altogether it was very uncomfortable.

It was the house that was the most trouble. It was real crazy. It had no water or electricity. It was supposed to have both, of course, when we arrived, but the lights used to come on and go off all the time. Water was obtained from a pump in the yard, but it broke down before we got there, and throughout our stay it was being fixed. I believe they did manage to get it working again the day after we left. Living in that house was rough; but the roughest part of all, for both John and yours truly, was getting up every morning at 7.30. We hated it. But when you are filming you've got to start early otherwise you don't get enough done each day.


John did have one bit of luxury on location. He had his Rolls Royce there and his own driver, Anthony, to drive him around. Anthony is Welsh, of course, and you should have heard him swearing about the heat, the dust and the flies. All he wanted to do was to get back to Wales, but whenever he started on about it, John would just laugh. As I told you last month, Ringo came to see us, Paul also flew out, but we left the day before he arrived, so we missed him.

It's great to be back home and I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks catching up on my sleep. We've been so out of touch that I hardly know what's in the Top Ten any more.

I've popped round to see George and Ringo since I've been back. George and John are both busy songwriting, getting material ready for the next lot of recording sessions, which they should have started by the time you're reading this. But more of that next month.

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