Crazy Eight best of friends

2010-11-20 00:00

THE close bond which develops between the Crazy Eight in Spud, The Movie, has remained perfectly intact months after filming wrapped, if yesterday’s press junket in Durban is anything to go by.

There was plenty of teasing banter between Troye Sivan, who plays the title role, and his mates — Blessing Xaba (Sidney “Fatty” Smitherson-Scott), Joshua Goddard (Charlie “Mad Dog” Hooper), Thomas Burne (Vern “Rainman” Blackadder), Sven Ruygrok (Robert “Rambo” Black), Byron Langley (Simon Brown) and Jamie Royal (Henry “Gecko” Barker) — throughout the interview.

That closeness was summed up by Michaelhouse pupil Thomas, who plays the nutty Vern. As fans of the books will know, he likes pulling out chunks of hair and becomes best mates with Roger the cat. Asked what his favourite memory of filming was, he said: “It’s the relationships that I’ll take out of this. Spud has given us all an opportunity to meet people that we would never have met otherwise and we’ve become the best of friends.”

The young actors also made a point of stressing how much they enjoyed working with John Cleese, who plays the role of The Guv.

Jamie, a grade 9 pupil at Glenwood High School, who plays Gecko — Spud’s best friend whose second home is the school sanatorium — said the Monty Python and Fawlty Towers legend spent a lot of time with the Crazy Eight off-set.

“Whenever we shot with him, he would sit down with us. He told us stories … we could just relate to him, he was so down to earth. When we first saw him, I thought he was going to be like up there [pointing at the ceiling] and like looking down at us, but he was cool,” he added.

Troye (14), who lives in Perth, Australia, also found working with the actor inspirational. Speaking about a scene in the film in which Cleese is taking his bows at the end of the school production of Oliver!, he said: “In the scene he seems to have kicked his alcohol addiction and he kind of looks to his wife and starts crying.

“It wasn’t scripted that he starts to cry or anything like that … I guess he did because he felt so close to the part. That was a big, big moment for me. I was like, this guy really knows what he’s doing. I think it comes across beautifully in the movie.”

Byron, a Glenwood Boys’ High pupil, who plays talented sportsman Simon Brown, said his favourite memory of Cleese was in a classroom scene in which The Guv is teaching the boys. “I’m just glad they kept the camera on him the whole time because some of the takes he did, I was laughing so much that I cuddled my arm so I wouldn’t make a noise,” he added.

Donovan Marsh, the director and scriptwriter for Spud, said he had also enjoyed working with Cleese, whose on-screen performance is far more restrained than some people might expect. “Working with him was a real privilege. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone before filming started … his performance is different from what you might expect, but I think it’s more powerful because it’s different to those moments when he is very manic.”

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