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21 August 2014
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Strange - Richard Coyle stars as John Strange with Ian Richardson and Samantha Janus

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Strange | Episode Guide | Episode Two
For anoraks only

Jude Writer Andrew Marshall gives us some extra information about the making of Strange.

The Script
The script of Episode Two is pretty much as written with one important exception. Despite the script being exactly the same length as the other episodes, we discovered during the shoot that for some indefinable reason it was running considerably short. So, I sat on the set with some paper and wrote, I think, six new scenes, circumscribed by which sets and artistes were available. This enabled me to add a little more colour to the characters, some darker elements and also a bit more fun. They fitted in so well, I think it's virtually impossible to guess which ones they are, and I'm not telling.

Production
Joe's first idea to show the Kaa-Jinn figure was to somehow join together lots of body parts using CGI. But he soon decided that it was better to use a series of prosthetics on a real human figure. As it was very expensive to remove an actor's arm for this, it was necessary to find an actor who was without one. Then the various parts were added to him, by Neill Gorton's team, including a face mask of Michael Hadley. Michael also had some matching parts added to his own upper body for the close-ups.

There was a lot of debate about whether or not Kaa-Jinn should in fact be naked - and whether or not it was acceptable to show his genitalia, as they were latex ones and not real. Eventually, Joe wisely decided that it would be far too distracting, and so he was fitted with a Japanese type loincloth. Kaa-Jinn that is, not Joe.

Kwazami (Dermod Kearney) was required to have a sword that sprouted out of his hand. This was achieved by a replica movable hand, which actually split apart at the knuckles shooting out a real sword. The red glow was added to the sword later by Alan Marques, and a surrounding red glow was physically produced by Paul Bond's lighting whenever the sword was in operation, to complete the effect. Jan Sewell chose all-white contacts this time, with a tiny pupil, and also supervised the many tattoos.

For the shots where Kwasami was wielding the sword, a hand-like glove with attached sword was fitted over Dermod's real hand.

The physical part of the disintegration was an exploding bag of something rather nasty, which spattered so far across the studio that Jane Sprague the Production Manager and I had to shelter under a piece of polystyrene. For the headless body in the Morgue, we failed to find a suitable headless actor, and were forced to create the effect using CGI.

But, just to prove that the simple things can sometimes be most effective - that twitching hand gets you every time!

© Andrew Marshall.


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