Monday, April 30, 2012

Treasure Island - Starry Constellation Magazine: Eddie Izzard, Thomas Vitali and Robert Halmi Sr. Interview

Source: Starry Constellation Magazine [follow link for complete interview]



by: Jamie Steinberg
April 2012

[NOTE: Treasure Island airs as a four-hour movie event on Syfy, Saturday, May 5, 2012 beginning at 7/6C.]

... Q) Can you, all of you actually, kind of talk about how you first became involved in the project?

Robert Halmi, Sr.: "Well how I was involved, I was asked by Sky in England to become Exec Producer to produce it. Sky had a script which wasn't too good. So it had to be redone and (Sanksas), wonderful writer, redid it. And they had to find a director and my good friend Steve Barron came on board who really is the responsible how this picture looks like, the look of it, which is fantastic. And you know as Eddie said, "We had to film in incredible weather." I mean nobody - even the cameras were blown away it was such a storm. I personally was blown from one set to another, and then in Puerto Rico with the heat. But that gave the reality to this piece. Because of the pirate's times in the end of the 1700's, and the beginning 1800's, was the most romantic period in the water. They were incredible characters, and John Silver represents the composite of those wonderful characters. There's so much - so many sides of it and it is so exciting. And it also - this movie, this book, started depicting how a pirate should look like with one leg missing and a parrot on the shoulder. That started with this book and I must say Eddie had on the crutches and with one leg back behind his back. It was a very physical demand on the actors and especially on Eddie."

Eddie Izzard: "Yes, I should speak up with that because I was asked if I wanted to do it. I think it was Sky that came to me first. Actually it was through another production company working with Sky. And they said, "Do you want to it?" And I said, "Well I'd like to do it, but I'll only do it if the script is - has teeth and is gritty." Because I feel the story has been portrayed in a somewhat lighter fashion over the years and has got watered down. So I said, "It's got to be harder than Pirates of the Caribbean," which is fun, but sort of fun and a bit flotsam and jetsam. I wanted something with teeth. So that was me coming in. And we went to the script, Stewart Harcourt in the end came up with the final version of the script that we did, which had teeth in it. Working on the crutch I must say, "Is tricky." I didn't actually have my foot strapped up in the back, but the green screen took it out. But I never used my right foot, it never actually touched the ground in any scene. So even if they said, "Oh we're shooting you from the waist up," I just never put it down, I just wanted to be in there. And it's very hard to use just one crutch. Normally you'd use two crutches and you'd have a crossbar but I just used one. So the toughness of doing that added in to the character. But I have run 43 marathons - well three years ago I ran 42 marathons in 51 days, and so Steve Barron saw me do that and thought, "Well this guy can play Long John Silver because of the determination..."

Thomas Vitale: "And from the network side we've had such a longstanding relationship with the Halmi Company, and they've given SyFy some of its best, highest rated, most popular and highest quality programming, including Tin Man, which is SyFy's highest rated thing ever, that any time we have an opportunity to with Mr. Halmi we are honored to work with him and to pick up his programming. And this is a special project and we're just thrilled that we were able to work with him on it..."

Treasure Island cast includes Eddie Izzard, Toby Regbo, Rupert Penry-Jones, Daniel Mays, Philip Glenister, Donald Sutherland, Elijah Wood, Shirley Henderson, Nina Sosanya, Geoff Bell and Shaun Parkes.

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