It’s the soft voice of Jamie Baughan at the beginning of FREEZING that draws you into Iceland’s dramatic and craggy landscape.
It’s also Jamie you then see running “life affirmingly” through a field with wild horses and deciding which woolly jumpers would be most fashionably appropriate for a rugged trip of cold waves and contemplation.
I caught up with Jamie to find out a bit more about his role in the film he describes as “a surf parody… but a very loving one”.
Did you crap yourself paddling your longboard out into Iceland’s surf?
You bet. Jamie the actor is a long way from Jamie the character in terms of surf ability and know-how.
My surfing experience to date had consisted of Jeremy and Rob giving me a crash course in surfing at Sennen one cold weekend in February – that at least began to prepare us for the cold.
How Jeremy and Rob managed to persuade me to paddle out in to our home break in Iceland I don’t know?
I remember catching a wave back in and gripping the rails of my longboard like a mad man before being completely turned over, and coming round several moments later with Rob hauling me up the beach.
Looking back at that break over the next few days I kept feeling a mixture of pride, wonder and disbelief that I’d paddled out into it.
I think on the shoot there was such an exciting culture of just diving into things headfirst (often quite literally) that I didn’t give it much thought at the time. It was an unbelievable buzz though.
Another moment that stands out was filming one of the scenes for the opening montage.
I remember reading the script for the first time and reading the line “Jamie is running with the wild horses, life-affirmingly.”
I had many a chuckle to myself wondering how we were going to shoot that sequence until one day we were driving to film a completely different scene and we passed a field of wild horses.
Whereupon I was swiftly bundled out of the car with a bucket of carrots (I’m not making this up) and instructed to go and make friends with the herd before getting them to run away and to then run with them…life affirmingly.
I can’t recall now my thought process as I clambered into the field to approach the herd, armed with my bucket, but it certainly goes down as one of the more adventurous things I’ve done as an actor – one to tell the grandchildren.
What was your opinion of Jeremy’s original concept for the movie?
I loved the script almost before I’d read it. I’ve long been an admirer of Jeremy and Rob’s films so I was always going to jump at the chance to work with the TwoEyes team.
I’ve known Jeremy for a number of years and so it was also a massive pleasure to work with him as an actor. He cracks me up in life so it wasn’t hard transferring that to the relationship between the characters in the film.
When I first read the script I knew it was really good – it was then just a question of doing justice to the concept that they’d come up with.
And maybe throwing in a few extra bits as we were inspired by our surroundings (the car being stuck in a ditch was not a set up but just happened in a snow storm one day on the way back to our film accommodation).
I think the final film captures the heart of what J and Rob where going for.
It’s a parody – but a very loving one; Jeremy and Rob are both really into their surf films so as much as the film doesn’t take itself too seriously and can have a laugh at it’s own expense, I also think of it as a sort of love letter to the surf-film genre.
For me it was just a case of bringing the idea (and excellent dialogue) that they had written to life. I hope we achieved that.
How do you feel about people’s reaction to the film?
I’ve loved people’s reactions. I managed to get out to the Nord / Nordwest Film Fest in Hamburg and the audience’s reaction there was amazing.
I think the film appeals to all sorts of audiences but I think it’s especially well received in the surf community.
There aren’t many films like this out there – and I think J and Rob have done a brilliant job of carving out a niche. It’s fresh, it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s a lot of fun.
I hope the film can reach as many people as possible and I hope they have as much fun watching it as we had making it.
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