Interviews | Cast & Crew

DATE: 29.03.11

INTERVIEW: FELICITY JONES

ROLE: KIM

Q1. | When did you first become aware of the ‘Chalet Girl’ script?

I first became aware of the script when I went in to audition for the part of Kim with Phil the director and Harriet and Pippa, the producers.  I liked Kim immediately, and was wracked with nerves before I went in, hoping they would believe that I could play the part.

 

Q2. | How did you feel when you found out that you got the part as KIM?

I was elated! I knew that from meeting Phil and the producers that they had such passion for their project that I couldn’t wait to get started.

 

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the Cast and Crew?

We were all very excited and nervous – everyone knew there was a lot to do in a short amount of time but at the same time we were all thrilled to be working in the Alps. The crew was stupendous – the commitment and excitement behind Chalet Girl is partly what makes it such a wonderful film.

 

Q4. | How was working with Phil Trail the director?

The creation of Kim was a true collaboration between actress and director – Phil’s openness and honesty and skill in creating a completely relaxed environment are the reasons why he was able to gain the performances he did.

 

Being on Location…. Production

Q5. | When you arrived in St Anton what were your immediate thoughts on having

to shoot in Austria & Germany, on the side of a mountain?

O cripes!

The conditions were sometimes difficult (we had to evacuate the mountain because of a snow storm at one point) but I loved shooting outside and being able to snowboard to set was a once in a lifetime experience!

 

Q6. | I hear that you were a ‘real’ Chalet Girl for sometime before the shoot started, what was that like?

Hard work! The Chalet hosts at Flexiski were wonderful and took me through every detail and facet of Chalet life. I’m very glad I got to experience what it’s like to be a Chalet Girl because it’s absolutely exhausting but also unbelievable fun.

 

Q7. | Can you Ski? Snowboard? Sledge?

Snowboarding is now the only way to go.

 

Q8. | Did you enjoy being at Bay 66 – skate park – for the final UK shoot?

I had spent time there learning how to skateboard so it was nice to return being able to actually do it!

 

Q9. | Which do you find easier Snowboarding or Skateboard?

Hmmm – they are both incredibly challenging and one leads to the other. If you want to learn to Snowboard then being able to skateboard makes it much easier.

 

 

Q10. | What was it like having Bill Bailey play your dad, William?

The only difficulty with Bill is that it’s really hard to act when you’re laughing so much.

 

Q11. | Most memorable moment of the experience…

There are so many – it’s difficult to pick out just one.

It was a very, very special experience with a group of people who all wanted to make something entertaining and enjoyable but with a whole lotta soul!

 

 

 

 

DATE: 25.03.11

INTERVIEW: HARRIET REES

ROLE: UK PRODUCER


Beginning…..

Q1. | How did you find out about the script Chalet Girl?

I met Tom Williams at the Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival in 2007.  He pitched me a series of film ideas and this was the one which shone – the script came later…

Q2. | How did you attach the director?

Phil and I met in LA to discuss another project, which wasn’t for him, but he loved the idea of Chalet Girl.  He read the script, and the rest is history.

Q3. | At what point did you and Pippa Cross meet?

Pippa was my mentor on Screen South producers’ programme Cine Euro.  I developed the later drafts of the script with her input, then we gradually became partners on the film.  It’s been a great experience producing my first feature with her – a real-time Pippa Cross masterclass!

Pre – Production….
Q4. | What was it like when you realised that you would be taking a team to the Alps?

Being a keen skier, this was always one of the most exciting aspects of the film – the chance to spend 2 lovely months in the Alps with a fabulous team of creative types.

Q5. | Was it really hard work going on recce’s all over the mountains to find filming locations?

The recces – especially the early ones – were a blast.  Private jets to Meribel, snowboarding champtionships in Laax….but as we got nearer to shooting there seemed to be a lot less skiing and falling out of bars, and a lot more actual real work involved . Grrrr.

Q6. | How was the first ever read through with the cast in St Anton?
Quite fantastic.  After years of living with the story, and a year of imagining these people together, it was thrilling – and a huge relief – to have Ed, Felicity, Tamsin, Nicholas, Georgia and Ken all in one room, doing their thing, with the chemistry working brilliantly.

The Story…..
Q7. | What sold the story to you? Did it make you laugh out loud the first time you read it?

At first it was the setting – having been a chalet girl, I thought this was a fantastic world to set a universal Cinderella story in.  Tom’s always made me laugh – even in the first draft there were a couple of snort-your-tea-out-of-your-nose moments.  But it took quite some time to become the piece of highly polished comedy you see today.

Q8. | Is it always the story that has to grab your attention for you to want to make a film?

I think it’s a combination of a fantastic story, and original or compelling setting, and a cast of characters who make you care about them.  And it’s also really believing that you’ll be able to attract a great cast, finance and ultimately, an audience for the film which makes it worth spending 3 + years of your life trying to bring that script to the screen.

Being on Location…. Production
Q9. | Do you enjoy being on location?

To be honest, it was more stressful and harder work than I’d imagined – thought I’d just be swanning around on skis giving the odd instruction.  Not quite the case when you’re grappling with financiers from 3 different countries and trying to keep 100 crew on the side of a mountain.  But it was a blast, and quite thrilling seeing all the cast and crew playing their part in bringing the story we’d nurtured for years to life.  And maybe we did have just a few laughs along the way….well a lot really.

Q10. | I hear you got to be in the film & on skis… what was that like? How many times are you spotted in the film?

At least 3!  But not on skis once, much to my chagrin!
Q11. | What was the atmosphere like on set?

Great – we had an amazing crew, and Phil did a brilliant job of keeping everyone focussed, but maintaining a fun atmosphere too.  And Bill Nighy was droll and fabulous and everyone adored him.

Q12. | Did you ever get to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and go ski-ing?

Maybe once or twice…

Q13. | I hear there was a helicopter scene – did you get to go off in it?

No!  Producers NFI!


Post Production
Q14. | How was the editing process?

Again, much more full on than I’d imagined.  As a first time feature producer, I somehow had the idea that you’d cut together pretty much as per the script, but that’s not necessarily the case.  You have to work with what you’ve shot, and there are many, many different films which can emerge from that material.  But I think the lively discussion that often took place in the edit suite ensured that we ended up with the best possible film.

Q15. | What was it like compiling the sound track & the score?

This was a huge challenge.  Matt Biffa (music supervisor) must have pitched over 300 songs, and we were trying to make it work a) for the film b) for the teenage audience c) for the cool core snowboarding world d) for the 30-somethings pluses who were choosing the actual songs – no mean feat!  But we got there in the end, and we’re all really proud of the soundtrack.  Christian Henson did a wonderful job on the composing, and it was really interesting learning to express your thoughts on composed score in useful musical terms…

Q16. | Was there any big changes that happened in Post? Were they expected?

We had once quite contested section, in which we reworked a sequence of three scenes using the miracles of ADR.  Not expected, but became apparent that there was no easy solution to whether Johnny should tell Kim he loves her in the street…or not.

Final few….
Q17. | How long did it take from the idea to the film being made, and is that normal?

Pretty much 3 years from pitch to shoot.  I think that’s quite fast for a feature film….unbelievably.
Q17. | Do you have any plans for a sequel?

Let’s see how this one does first!  But Chalet Girls, maybe, or even a TV series….

Q18. | Did you seriously have a baby in the middle of all this?

I might have given birth 6 weeks before we started shooting…. but wasn’t planned that way – the film was a lot longer in the gestation than my lovely Florence!

Q19. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?

Absolutely f*&%I$G amazing

DATE: 23.03.11

INTERVIEW: BILL BAILEY

ROLE: WILLIAM MATTHEWS


Beginning…..

Q1. | When did you first become aware of the ‘Chalet Girl’ script?

I first became aware of Chalet Girl when the director Phil Traill took me for a drink in my local pub.. he used to live near me, so  it was a bit of nostalgia for him. He told me about the script, and the part of Bill..it sounded fun.

Q2. | How did you feel when you found out that you got the part as BILL?
I was chuffed to get the part of BILL. It had some emotional weight to it aswell . I found the scene where his daughter, Kim, leaves for the job of chalet girl quite affecting, as I could imagine what it’s going to be like when my own son goes off travelling on his own..

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the Cast and Crew?
I met some of the cast + crew in Garmisch on my first evening there, and they all looked like they were having a great time.. enjoying the snow + après ski.

Q4. | How was working with Phil Trail the director?

It was very easy working with Phil – for me, he struck the right balance of knowing what he wanted, and allowing you some leeway to try things differently.

Being on Location…. Production


Q5. | When you arrived in GARMISCH – PARTINKIRKEN what were your immediate thoughts on having to shoot in a little tiny German mountain town?

Garmisch is a very picturesque, typical Bavarian town …lush green farmland with a natural backdrop of mountains – I went for a wander round when I first arrived, and was pleased to see lots of plump Bavarians eating cakes  with ‘schlagsahne’  whipped cream..just as I had imagined.  It did cross my mind they might be extras..

Q6. | Can you Ski? Snowboard? Sledge?

I can ski fairly well , and first went when I was at school..I’ve tried snowboarding but, as a lifelong skier it feels weird..the balance seems all wrong – but, I may persevere next time I go, get some lessons.. Sledging, yes, as a child I spent many a happy hour on a hill near my house hurtling across the snowy fields on some old fertilizer sacks..

Q7. | What was it like shooting an English house in a German house?
It was very odd shooting a scene in a German log cabin, which was meant to be a house in west London.. I’d go inside, thinking, fry-ups, grey skies, Asda car parks,  the Westway.. but between takes, I’d step out for a bite of Curry Wurst and see blokes in Tyrolean hats + snow capped mountains.

Q8. | Did you enjoy being at Bay 66 – skate park – for the final UK shoot? & can you Skateboard?

Bay 66 was fantastic – I was amazed by the skill and  seeming reckless bravery of  the skaters.. what a great place.

The Character….


Q9. | Can you give us a quick overview of Bill’s character?

Bill is someone who I think thought his life was going along fine,Married, job, great kid.. and then all that changes when his wife is killed in a car crash. Everything goes on hold, and he retreats into himself. But I think Kim’s growing confidence means he’s able to pull himself together, and even think about romance again.

Q10. | Can you relate to his character at all?

I think we decided he was a musician of some kind, so yes, that part I can relate to.. and having an only child and seeing them leave home yes, that struck a chord with me.

Q11. | What was it like having Felicity Jones play your daughter, Kim?

Felicity is terrific  in Chalet Girl, so it was only going to be great fun working with her. Her character, Kim,  is  lot older than her years, cos she’s had to look after both of them.

Final few….


Q12. | If there was a sequel would you be up for doing it all again?

Hey a sequel, I hadn’t thought of that..where Bill becomes a champion snowboarder and cops off with Brooke Shields. .. Chalet Bloke   …. I like it.
Q13. | Most memorable moment of the experience…

My fav bits of the whole thing –  I loved watching the skaters at Bay 66 –    the scenes with Felicity were really good fun, and licking an (actual) frozen lasagne is not something I’ll forget in a hurry.

Q14. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?

I AM BRILLIANT

DATE: 21.03.11

INTERVIEW: TAMSIN EGERTON

ROLE: GEORGIE


Q1. | When did you first become aware of the ‘Chalet Girl’ script?

A: I auditioned for Chalet Girl about a year before we started filming.  I heard absolutely nothing and assumed it just wasn’t meant to be. I then received an offer to play Georgie completely out of the blue and said, ‘yes’, especially as Felicity’s name was being touted around for the role of Kim & I really wanted to work with her.

Q2. | How did you feel when you found out that you got the part as GEORGIE?

A: Absolutely thrilled. I knew from the minute I read the script Georgie would be a fun character to play – she has some great one liners & has a quirky personality. Also, learning to ski in St Anton for 2 months didn’t seem too bad either!

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the Cast and Crew?

A: Nerve wracking. I always feel slightly sick at read throughs but luckily enough everyone was welcoming. There was a really fun, young atmosphere that day and it remained throughout the whole process.

Q4. | How was working with Phil Trail the director?

A: Phil is great. He isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind and knew the script inside out. He also has a great knack for comedy so you feel safe in his hands knowing that he will never throw you a dud note.

Being on Location…. Production

Q5. | When you arrived in St Anton what were your immediate thoughts on having to shoot in Austria & Germany, on the side of a mountain?

A: Skiing holidays were an alien concept to me – why pay money to risk your life & be cold?! Having said that, I understand it now. When you’re on the top of a spectacular mountain and the sun is beating down making the fresh snow sparkle around you, it is magical. Then, having the ability to fluidly career down the slope  is a real adrenaline rush. It’s fantastic.

Q6. | I hear that you got to spend some time in St Anton before the shoot started was that when you learnt to ski?

A: Yes, I was lucky enough to have a personal instructor, Gunther, teach me for 4 hours a day- when I wasn’t filming. At first I didn’t like skiing, but slowly after more and more lessons on the slopes I started getting a feeling of accomplishment, and then I became more daring, challenging myself… and then I was hooked!

Q7. | How good are you at Ski-ing now?

A: By the end of the 2 month shoot I could do Black runs. Ok, I haven’t got any “style” yet, but I will one day.

Q8. | How difficult was it working at 3000 metres, did you have to ski to set?

A: Sometimes we did, yes. We’d often get a ski buggy to the peak & ski down to each set. Both were great fun! The hardest thing about filming up mountains bar the deep snow, the altitude (& having to get all the equipment up 3000 feet!) was actually trying to do our scenes in the glaring sun and not squinting horrendously during them! The sun reflected so strongly off the snow that it was a real struggle to keep your eyes open!

The Character….


Q9. | Can you give us a quick overview of Georgie’s character?

A: Georgie’s a very privileged young girl who has had the good fortune to be able to go on skiing holidays from a young age. She is comfortable with the skiing culture & feels very at home in St Anton. She is happy in her world of skiing & après-ski! Suddenly Kim comes along & is totally alien to her. Georgie is shallow & judgemental & immediately her hackles go up. Slowly she gets to know Kim, learns to put personal differences aside (this includes with men too), leaving a caring friendship between them.

Q10. | Can you relate to her character at all?

A: Not exactly no! In fact there’s very little of me in Georgie.

Q11. | Did you get to keep any of Georgie’s clothes?

A: Yes! Georgie had a very unique style, it was a mix between old granny clothes, Jack Wills items, expensive pearls, ski gear & fur! Luckily I got to keep some JW stuff and my gorgeous blue Hogan ski jacket!

Q12. | What was it like working with Bill Nighy and Brooke shields?

A: Bill Nighy is an absolute legend. I already admired his amazing career and his immense talent and so just thrived in his company. I truly hope I stay in touch with him. Brooke Shields is everything I want to be.  She is intelligent, interesting, funny… & absolutely gorgeous!

Naughty few….

Q13. | What was it like having Ken Duken play your love interest?

A: Absolutely wonderful- Ken is a rare person, talented & extremely kind-hearted. If I was Kim I would’ve gone for Mickey any day of the week!

Q14. | What was Apres Ski like in St Anton & Garmisch?

A: Hilarious! I’m not a big drinker or party-er really but I let my hair down a good few times during filming. I remember us all driving to a “local” town just to visit a club that was meant to be amazing… It ended up being a tiny room with just 4 people in it & a pole! …And yes, we all danced on it!

Q15. | Who was your favourite cast member that you worked with?

A: I can’t choose one! I loved working with Felicity as she ended up being a true companion on set, we were always there for each other. Bill Bailey always cracked me up too though.

Q16. | What was your favourite day of shooting?

A: Filming the dinner party scenes with everybody. It was such a giggle having everyone on set at the same time. There was a lot of banter flying around!

Q17. | Did you really have to get naked for the hot tube scene?

A: Not entirely. Us girls were wearing a sexy combination of flesh coloured knickers & flesh coloured nipple covers… Nice.

Final few….

Q18. | If there was a sequel would you be up for doing it all again?

A: Absolutely. I’d love to work with Ed Wilde & Phill Trail again. I truly enjoyed myself & am genuinely proud of this film.

Q19. | Most memorable moment of the experience…

A: Not a specific moment, but I’m definitely appreciative of the amazing friendships I made during this film.. and my new found love for skiing of course!

Q20. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?

Heart-warming. Funny. Up-lifting. (Hyphenated.. hope they’re allowed!)


FRIDAY 18.03.11

INTERVIEW | TARA DAKIDIES

ROLE | TARA DAKIDIES


Beginning…..

Q1. | When did you first become aware of the ‘Chalet Girl’ script?

Sometime in the summer of 2009.

Q2. | How did you feel when you found out that you got the part as playing yourself?

I was extremely flattered as well as terrified. Never really thought about seeing myself on the big screen. That is a world I am not familiar with but I was also excited and intrigue to do something new and have a challenge like acting…. I will say, acting as myself was a bit odd but I LOVED the opportunity and the experience.

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the Cast and Crew?

Everyone was so incredible friendly and happy to be working on a project like this. The crew and cast felt as if they all knew each other for years and years, very warm.

Q4. | How was working with Phil Trail the director?

Really Nice! He is very laid back but focused director and he gave me great direction and support.  I really enjoyed stepping back a bit to watch the work of how this movie was put together. PLUS, he LOVES snowboarding and would sneak off as much as possible to take some runs! The work and play seemed to go hand and hand in this film.
Being on Location…. Production


Q5. | When you first read the script did you think it was realistic in its description on life in the mountains?

Well life in the mountains is very colorful no doubt. I do think the party’s, goodtimes, hookups, rich parents and thrashing yourself on a snowboard was a realistic description to what happens in the mountains.
Q6. | As a pro-snowboarder you must have been in the Alps a million times was it nice to be back?

I have been some…The Alps are a powerful place and it was nice to visit them again. I was happy I got to meet up with an old Austrian Fellow Pro Rider friend Eric Themel. In between film days I snuck in some Powder turns with ol Eric. Thank’s Themel!
Q7. | Had you ever been ridding in St Anton or on the Zugspites before?

No, Never.

Q8. | I am sure you have been the queen of ‘Apres Ski’ action. Did you get the chance to Party when you were away on location?

Oh do they love to Apres Ski in that area! I’m not a big drinker but I did get some dance time in and some chaotic nights of Apres Slamming.

Q9. | What was it like working and hanging out with the likes of Brooke Shields, Bill Nighy, Sophia Bush, Ed Westwick???

What a gang to be in a Ski resort with. I actually didn’t get a chance to meet Brooke and Bill but heard all good things about them both. Bummed our schedules were off. The rest of the crew was great what can I say. I really enjoyed the short amount of time that I was able to get to know them.

The Character….

Q10. | Can you give us a quick overview of your role in the film?

Sure, Well I play myself as a legendary snowboarder who’s been in the scene for a long time.  I’m there getting ready for the BIG Contest and throughout the film I run into “This Girl”.  I notice her as somewhat awkward on a board and out of place but I also notice a talent in her and a somewhat kindred spirit. A friendly competition brews between us from a far as she see’s what I do as a pro rider and wants the same. I am the experienced one as she becomes the new rookie on the scene.  In the end I struggle with an old injury and I’m forced to think long and hard about what is more important to me…. my health or another contest win after years of success.  I make the call and give an “up and comer” my spot and a chance to make her dreams come true, and I’m happy to do so.

Q11. | Was it hard doing the scenes with the injections, as you have experienced back trouble in your own career?

It was actually a bit emotional. I have had a couple injections myself so I know what it’s about and I know what injury feels like and the hardest part of injury is being forced to take the side lines at something I love to do. It did hit a soft spot… It was a real life movie/scene for me so to speak.

Q12. | What was it like working with Felicity Jones?

She is a beautiful person inside and out. Very warm and real and worked really hard at becoming this role she played. She learned to snowboard for this role and learned very quickly and when she took some hard diggers, she got right back up and did it again.  She not only wanted to learn how to snowboard but she took it to the next level and wanted to learn the finer details of riding with style just like someone who has ridden their entire life. She is very determined and professional and I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of her. Was really a pleasure to work with her and thanks for the great advice on acting as well.

Q13 | Didn’t you two get to go ridding in St Anton?

We did… it was amazing how quickly she progressed.

Final few….

Q14. | If there was a sequel would you be up for doing it all again?

Of coarse…would love to do it again but next time I wouldn’t eat/drink ANY bread or beer! I got so sick in Europe was the only down fall. I found out I was allergic to Gluten of all things and every morning and throughout the day I was eating nothing but Gluten/bread/beer, basically the main thing they eat in Europe.  What a way to find out…. great timing, jeeez!

Q15. | Most memorable moment of the experience…?

Oh there was many! I really enjoyed acting and hope to do more of it in the future. It’s not easy because you have to be on when you’re off, similar to competition but different in a lot of ways to. A lot of hair and make up hours you don’t get in competing haha. The whole experience for me was memorable and I met some great people in the process.

Q16. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?

The Chalet Girl

FRIDAY 11.03.2011

INTERVIEW | PHIL TRAILL

ROLE | DIRECTOR

The beginning…..

Q1. | How did you first come across the Chalet Girl script?

My friend Tom (the writer) called me up and told me about it.

Q2. | What made you want to make this movie?

Tom said it was a “comedy with girls and snowboarding”.  I pretty much signed up then and there.

Pre – Production….

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the producers & the rest of the team?

The producers Pippa and Harriet kick ass.  We then hired the rest of the team, and were delighted with everyone we got.

Q4. | Did the script change at all when you came on board as the Director?

The script developed for sure, but most of the big beats stayed the same.  Although Kim used to have a little brother, who sadly perished somewhere along the way…

Q5. | What was it like reece-ing all the locations, did you get to do a lot of Ski-ing / snowboarding?

Because of insurance reasons, I was only allowed to snowboard if I was recce-ing – so obviously I tried to do as much “recce-ing” as humanly possible.  Mainly off-piste in deep powder…

Cast….

Q6. | When you saw Felicity Jones, did you know from the start she was your Kim?

Yes.

Q7. | Which character was the most fun for you and the actor to work on?

It’s Kim’s story – she’s in every scene but one.  So everything depends upon Felicity understanding Kim’s journey, and bringing it to life.  For me, working on something like that is the best job in the world.

Q8. | When you had the first reading in St Anton, how did you feel after?

I don’t really like readthroughs, certainly not the first time you do it.  They’re important because they help the cast feel comfortable with each other – but I just remember feeling relieved afterwards that everyone was there in St Anton at last, and now we could start working.

Q9. | What was it like directing the likes of Brooke Shields & Bill Nighy?

A privilege.  Though I actually had to tell them off once because they were giggling too loudly behind the camera… deepdown I was just delighted they were so happy!

Q.10 | Did you enjoy working with Bill Bailey? Did he make you laugh?

Bill says that he normally gets asked to play “bewildered farmers”, so it was great to work with him on a more real character.  But of course he made us laugh all the time – and also he serenaded us with lovely music on the piano between takes.

Q11. | Do you think that Felicity (Kim) & Ed (Jonny) capture the chemistry that you directed from the script?

Yes I think they make a lovely couple!

Being on Location…. Production
Q12. | How easy was it to work in the snow and bring the story to life at 3000 metres?

On the one hand, it was gobsmackingly beautiful; on the other, it was very hard to predict the weather, or go to the bathroom!

Q13. | I hear you got to be in the film… what was that like?

Tom (the writer) and I are in one of the bar scenes – we got way too excited and give by far the two worst performances in the whole film.  But it’s nice to be in it – I think most of the crew ended up in the movie at one stage or another.

Q14. | What was the atmosphere like on set?

I like the atmosphere to be fun and silly, but also professional and intense.  Hopefully it was close to that…

Q15. | Did you manage to have some fun whilst you were over in the Alps?

Well, my wife was back home looking after my 3 kids – so in case she ever reads this, I better say no, it was all incredibly hard and lonely and I missed her terribly.  Even when I was drinking Jagermeister on a podium surrounded by the Roxy Snowboarding Girls.

Post…

Q.16 | Are you happy with the final version of the Film?

I’m very proud of it – hundreds of people worked so so hard on it, and it is what it is because of them.

Q.17 | What do you think of the soundtrack & the score?

It was actually very hard to get a good mix of songs and score – but Christian (the composer) did a great job and I’m delighted with the result.  Check it out on Spotify – it’s an awesome album.

Q.18 | Did you have to loose anything that you wanted to keep?

I lost my dignity when I fell over while snowbaording in an interview, would have been nice to keep that…


Final few….

Q.19 | If you were a girl would you fancy Jonny (Ed Westwick)?

If I was a girl, I’d want Ed and Ken Duken (Mikki) in a hot tub with me as soon as possible…

Q.20 | Naughtiest moment during the shoot?

Iasdfg987()*&)(*kjasdf*(&#Q(lsefjk – sorry, my computer seems to have just garbled my honest and embarrassing answer, how annoying..

Q.21 | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?
Comedy – girls – snowboarding.  (perhaps the 3 best words in the English language?)

THURSDAY 06.01.2011

INTERVIEW | NICHOLAS BRAUN

ROLE | NIGEL

Here is our first Trans-atlantic Video interview with Nick braun. Enjoy!!!

THURSDAY 23.12.2010

INTERVIEW | BROOKE SHIELDS

ROLE | CAROLINE MADSON


Beginning…..

Q1. | When did you first become aware of the ‘Chalet Girl’ script?

1 month before shooting

Q2. | How did you feel when you found out that you got the part as Caroline?

I was honored. I am a fan of Bill Nighy, wanted to work with Phil Trail and Sophia Bush is a friend, so I was excited.

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the Cast and Crew?

I was  a little nervous because they had already been filming for a while and I was coming into a filming family that was already established.

Q4. | How was working with Phil Trail the director?

I loved working with him, he is passionate, respectful of actors and he is really funny. I am not sure if we had more fun on set or off…
Being on Location…. Production

Q5. | When you arrived in Europe in the mountains what were your immediate thoughts on having to shoot on them?

My breath was taken away from all the beauty there.

Q6. | Can you Ski? Snowboard? Sledge?

I can ski, but it has been a while
Q7. | Being in a ski resort such as St. Anton was there any time for ‘Apres Ski’ action? Did you get the chance to Party?

I did not shoot at St. Anton, but I did hang out with the cast and crew and had a great time in Bavaria
Q8. | What was it like working and hanging out with Bill Nighy?

I felt like we were separated at birth, we had such a great time

Q9. | I hear you made a great friend in the young and talented Nicholas Braun?

I wanted to adopt him as my brother

The Character….

Q10. | Can you give us a quick overview of Caroline’s character?

She is very uptight and controlling with a good sense of humor, but she softens a bit at the end

Q11. | Can you relate to her character at all?

As a parent, yes, wanting what is best for you child

Q12. | What was it like having Ed Westwick play your son, Jonny?

He as great to work with, but off set he was more like by brother than my son.

Q12.a | …& having Sophia Bush playing his fiancée, Chloe?

We have known each other for a while, so it was like a homecoming with her; and she was my beer drinking buddy.
Final few….

Q13. | If there was a sequel would you be up for doing it all again?

Yes, definitely

Q14. | Most memorable moment of the experience…

Dancing all night after bowling with the cast
Q15. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?

Blue Crush on snow.

MONDAY 13.12.2010

INTERVIEW | KEN DUKEN

ROLE | MIKKI


Q1. | When did you first become aware of the ‘Chalet Girl’ script?
Well, I bumped into Pippa and Dietmar at the Berlin Film Festival. Shortly after that they called me to see if I had time and if so, would I like to read the script. I did, I loved it and the rest is history 🙂

Q2. | How did you feel when you found out that you got the part as Mikki?
My first thought was… ‘Holy shit, what have I done!?!?’ …. 😉 No, no, I was very happy of course, or as your Queen would say, ‘I was amused.’

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the rest of the cast and the team?
It was great from day one and kept being great until the end. I know it sounds like one of those professional answers, but it’s totally true.

The Character
Q4. | Can you give us a quick overview of Mikki character?
Sure, I think I can do that rather quickly actually… He’s a Finnish lunatic.

Q5. | Are you German? As your character is from Finland, right?
You are absolutely right. I am German and my character is indeed from Finland… Honestly speaking, I have never been to Finland in my entire life but now I think I should!

Being on Location…. Production

Q6. |  What was it like in arriving in the mountains to shoot the film?
For me it was a bit strange. It was like coming home. I grew up in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Q7. | Your character is meant to be a super good snowboarder.. Can you Board?
As I grew up in the mountains I can of course board, but super good isn’t what I would call it, the main thing is… I can down the hill! 😉

Final few….

Q8. | If there was a sequel would you be up for doing it all again?
Of course !!! If the cast and crew are the same…

Q9. | Most memorable moment of the experience…
All of them… O.K. If you have ever experienced the Mooserwirt, you would know! 😉

Q10. | What was it like working so closely with Tamsin Egerton as your love interest?
She is abolutely great and it was a lot of fun working with her.

Q11. | What was it like to work with Phil the director?
He is always in a good mood, with a lot of energy and knows exactly what he wants. He creates a very nice atmosphere on set and keeps calm, even if he is snowed under….. pardon the pun! I enjoyed working with him. 

Q12. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?
Snow, Beer and Happiness. Sorry about the and. 😉

THURSDAY 25.11.2010

INTERVIEW | JOE GEARY

ROLE | 1ST AD

Most amazing guy, full of energy and fight. Took on the mountain and ran a German crew. Some might say Legend, however I call  him Mr. Joe Geary. Top 1st AD and genuinely super nice guy. Here is our interview with him and his take on being out on location in the Alps. Jagermeister anyone?

Q1. | When did you first read the script?

November 2009. An immediately I thought. I really want to do that gig. It’s going to be hard work, but I’d love it!!!

Q2. | What was it like when you first met the team?

Met Phil who was a friendly bubbly character. Harriet was 7 months pregnant and blooming! Pippa was Pippa!

Q3. | Had you ever planned a shoot that was set in the mountains before?

I had worked years ago on a film up on Snowdon in Wales, but never to this degree or for such a long period. Planning for a mountain shoot is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Everything changes constantly, so basically your planning changes constantly. When you watch documentaries about working in the mountains you learn that they have to be respected as they have taken so many lives. So immediately, the gravity and language associated with working in mountains became very REAL indeed.

Q4. | How much Ski-ing did you have to do in pre-production?

It’s an interesting one really, did quite a fair bit of ski-ing in pre-production. Had to do some recce-ing in Kaunertal, Garmisch and St. Anton. But had to be careful because as much as I wanted to go wild on the slopes, I knew there was months to go and I didn’t want to get an injury. Furthermore, the bond company put a no ski ban on myself, Phil and Ed during the early days of prep, which was farcical considering we still had a number of locations to find, stunt rehearsals to be had along with tech recces to attend. All of us were very advanced skiers/boarders but the bond appeared to be concerned about our physical health for this production. I think you could do your self more damage in the après ski bars!

Q5. | When did you first meet the lovely Felicity Jones & the one and only Westwick?

I met Felicity early on in prep in Soho in Pippa’s office. She seemed quite a low maintenance kind of chick back then, which always bodes well with me. And she continued to be effortless throughout. What a pleasure, wonderful to see a talented young actress with no affected airs & graces.

Westwick, I met on location. A seasoned pro, who enjoyed a tipple over a night of footie. Can’t go wrong really can you!

Q6. | Where was your favourite Location to work?

Oooh, that’s a difficult one, but I would say St. Anton as whole was amazing. It was the beginning of our shooting schedule and there was a real buzz about it. The weather was kind to us, the locations were great, their was great social scene on the gig despite the long hours. The warm welcome of our hosts Martin & Wilma along with an uber sexy resort, a great cast & crew. Overall great vibe! Let’s not forget the wellbeing centre….. I’m sure everyone’s got a noddy sauna tale to tell!!! Ask Georgia!

Q7. | What was it like to work with the German crew, did language ever become a barrier?

In truth, like any crew whatever nationality, filmmaking seems to bring the best and worst out of people. Though I think the most educating experience I found was culturally the difference in systems of work practises. At times the Germans appeared to have a completely different grading system within their departments. Almost non-existent, however this was just how they worked so it took a bit of getting used to. For example, they did not seem to have a location manager who plays such a pivotal role in the UK system. This was remarkable and enlightening to say the least! But like any job abroad you learn to adapt to your journey on the film as you go.

Q8. | What was the atmosphere like on set?

The set was fairly relaxed I’d like to think. It’s strange for me to really be aware of the tone of the set as I have an agenda to bring the schedule in on time, and on a job like this when there was continual schedule changes for all sorts of reasons I’m not sure I was barely conscious not alone aware of how everyone else was feeling at times. I would say though, that on a gig like this, there was a continual buzz everyday about what we were shooting and I suppose that is a testament to all cast and crew. When we consider that the film took such a long time to close and we all carried on powering ahead regardless. I always think of it as smiling in the face of adversity at times. And those of us who were aware of this will know exactly what I mean!

Q9. | Did you ever have any time for fun / ski-ing? I hear you got to Ski to set?
Everyday was fun to be honest. I love jobs that are physical as they bring the best out of you. Ski-ing most days, piston bullies, snow cats are a bonus. Shooting heli-skiing sequence was great. I also loved the 20 minutes toboggan run in St Anton. Screaming like a small child by the time you get to the bottom. Fantastic, loved it so much did it 3 times.

Q10. | Most memorable experience of the film?

For me, the most memorable and satisfying experience was helping to design the Kaunertal snow park for the final sequence of the film. I’ve gone from knowing absolutely nothing about building snow parks, to a fare to good understanding of the pro’s and cons of positioning obstacles, table tops, knuckles, approaches, access of snow banks, pushing snow, north/south facing slopes, glaciers, building and shaping kickers, cheese wedges. All this terminology was pretty foreign to me but at this time in the shoot we were kind of in a make or break situation as the Zugspitze which was meant to be one of our main locations in the film where the finale was to be shot had fallen through as a location 1 week prior to shooting it. We needed to find a glacier where we could shoot and it was the first week of May with very little snow left in Europe. It was quite fulfilling to see in such a short space of time a set turned around and shot out. In had been a roaring success!!! I was chuffed it had been a great effort, we’d pulled it out the bag and smelt of roses. Cheers Stuart at Soulsports.

Q11. | Favourite Actor & Crew member?

Favourite cast member has to be Ken Duken. Cool dude…. eternally happy man!

Favourite crew member has to be Jens Hoffmann. What an amazing cameraman. Built like a brick shit house! Operating a 35mm camera on ski’s, going backwards…… I say no more!!!

Q12. | Any moments of 1st AD Genius?

Modesty prevails… Everyday has a tale to tell…..

Q13. | Any Advice you would give to a fellow Assistant director about to work in the Alps?

Don’t do too many Jaegermeisters on a school night! …. In truth, it sounds a bit hippy but run with it, the mountains will show you the way!


THURSDAY 4.11.2010

INTERVIEW | LEONIE HARTHARD
ROLE | COSTUME DESIGNER

Q1. | When did you first read the script?
My agent forwarded me the script in January of this year, and I read it about three days before meeting Phil and Pippa at Crossday’s offices in Soho. I was immediately gripped!

Q2. | Was there a point where you knew that you had to do the costumes for this film?
When I read the script I was struck by how many opportunities there were costume-wise; ski wear, evening wear, Tyrolean dress, and I thought the challenge would be exciting.

Pre – Production….

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the team?
The day I came to meet Phil and Pippa, the office was manic! Phil was casting and meeting other potential crew, and he had a very small window of opportunity to meet people in London, as he was dividing his time between LA, Germany and London. They made a formidable double act Phil and Pippa…Phil manic with enthusiasm and excitement, and Pippa made no bones about the budget, asking me quite literally what I thought I might be able to blag!! I liked their honesty and they both seemed incredibly driven.

Q4. | When did you first meet the lovely Felicity Jones?
I met Felicity about a week after meeting Phil. We had breakfast together at Patisserie Valerie. I remember when she walked in I thought she was like a little bird, so petite and fragile looking… I couldn’t imagine her toughing it out on the slopes with her board! She had a very clear vision for Kim’s look, she wanted something very real and natural looking, and showed me some photos she had taken of a girl she had seen in the street that she felt had the right sort of look.

Q5. | I heard you got to go to Bill Nighy’s house to look through his wardrobe is this true!?
Aah yes, lovely Bill! He was a dream…I had organised a fitting with him at a hotel in Soho, going to a lot of trouble to make sure the room was nicely prepped and making sure he would be comfortable. We spent about 15 minutes there trying on a couple of suits etc. When he suggested that we hop in his car and nip back to his place to have a rummage in his wardrobe…well how’s a girl going to resist that kind of an offer. So we whiled away a very pleasant afternoon trying on Bill and my collection of all things navy blue!

Q6. | When did you first meet Ed Westwick?
Well Ed’s availability was impossible! He was shooting Gossip Girl right up to the last minute before flying out to Austria to begin work on Chalet Girl. So it was a case of, if the mountain won’t come to Mohamed…. In the end we had no choice but to fly my assistant Mark Ferguson out to New York to fit Ed out there. Which is a most unusual way of doing things, and a logistical nightmare, because we had several designers from all over the world supplying items for Eds wardrobe, so we had to liaise with them all to get the gear to New York in time for the fitting. Fittings are such an important component in designing an artists wardrobe, it is your one opportunity to be alone with them, sharing ideas, giving them time to get to know you and therefore trust you. Trust is a huge part of costume design, and that one to one time together is crucial, because once filming gets underway there just isn’t the time to really explore what works for both artist and designer. So, in answer to your question, I didn’t actually meet Ed until the day before shooting! But, because we had made that trip to him in New York, I think he appreciated our efforts as a department and he knew what I had in mind for him.

The Costumes….

Q7. | Which character was the most fun to create a look for?
Ooh tricky question…I enjoyed designing Tamsin Egerton’s wardrobe (Georgie). I wanted her to appear frivolous and a bit kooky. Tamsin was really up for it, and we had very similar ideas and taste…she’s a vintage hound like me, so there were quite a few items, like her fur boots that she wanted to keep. Brooke Shields was another favourite; such an elegant and gracious lady. I really enjoyed playing with all her furs and sunglasses!

Q8. | What brands did you enjoying working with the most on set?
We had a great deal of help from designers who supplied wardrobe on this film, so I have alot of people to thank. The ones that stand out for me were Roxy, Armani, J Lindberg and Jack Wills. Quite a mix, when you think about it, from fashion led snowboarding wear to high end designer, by way of Scandinavian minimalism rounded off with high street trend for a more teenage market in Jack Wills.

Q9. | Did any of the cast bring out there own pieces for their characters?
Yes, the cast were very generous with their wardrobes! They understood that I didn’t have a massive budget and in the case of Bill Nighy and Brooke Shields I was trying to create a very sophisticated look (which generally means expensive!). I remember getting some very nice coats for Bill from Crombie, and it turned out that he had an almost identical one of his own, which we used so that saved me a bomb! I also had a very sweet and rather amusing conversation with Brooke about the size of the diamond on Caroline’s engagement ring; it had to be rather grand looking and I am afraid to say that all the ones I had hired for her paled into insignificance when I saw her own….so we stuck with hers!

Q10. | What was it like working with Roxy new & unseen collection?
Roxy were great. I am not a snowboarder, and despite all my research, I really needed the advice and support Michelle and her team provided. They completely understood that I wanted to give the riders a “look,” using lots of primary colours and block prints, but it was equally important to me that they should all look bang on in terms of authenticity. I couldn’t have done that without Michelle’s help. She was the perfect combination of fashion awareness backed up with insider knowledge of the world of pro-snowboaring.

Being on Location…. Production

Q11. | What was the atmosphere like on set?
Atmosphere on set…initially bloody cold and quite intense! It took us all a few days to come to terms with what an arduous schedule we had, and also the amount of lugging stuff up mountains. Oh and then there was the weather…the weather, the weather…..it was a source of endless on set discussion! Seriously though, we had a fantastic First AD, who was incredibly disciplined so things ran very smoothly…although when we had all the cast together, there was alot of giggling and joking around!

Q12. | How easy is it to work with costumes on the side of a mountain?
Oh don’t get me started! I still have nightmares about trying to race backwards and forwards in cable cars because Phil had decided to spring one of his “happy beats” shots on us, and I needed to just magic a costume out of thin air (quite literally) on the side of Germany’s highest mountain. Nancy McKenna (the assistant costume designer) and I felt like we were packing for an excursion up Everest most days…hand warmers, thermals, ski helmets, goggles, drying equipment, ironing boards you name it, it went up those blooming mountains.

Q13. | What was the shopping like in St Anton & Garmisch?
Expensive! St Anton especially…although I was very happy because it was the only place I managed to find navy blue ski wear for Bill Nighy. Garmisch had a great selection of shoe shops…I seem to recall that you managed to sample some of the delights of their shoe emporiums yourself Ms Tebbetts! Yummy!

Finally….

Q14. | Most memorable experience of the film?
Oh definitely singing the “Shoop Shoop,” song on the dance floor of Peaches nightclub in Garmisch with Brooke Shields! Or was it cracking my head open on a Piston bully?!!!

Q15. | Favorite Actor & Favourite Crew member?
That’s really mean. I loved them all darling! But…I have to say I have a special place in my heart for lovely, lovely Bill Nighy. Crew-wise, that’s easy; My team rocked! Nancy McKenna, Mark Ferguson, Mo Vorneck, Anina Goldfaarb, and Nora Reiser, my heart goes out to them all, they worked their socks off and were generous, professional and funny with it.

Q16. | Any moments of costume genuis?
Costume genius – Ed Westwick in a tux…need I say more ladies!

Q17. | Any costume secrets you are willing to share?
We put Vaseline on the goggles to hide reflections. Here’s another one, Phil and I never quite saw eye to eye on Felicity’s boot room suit; he loved it, thought it was hilarious, I thought it was…hideous, either way it worked in the end!

Q18. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?
Erm…Blood, sweat and tears. Riders and High-rollers! oh, I don’t know..I need more than three words.

WEDNESDAY 27.10.2010

Interview with Georgia King one of the cooliest, funniest and just awesome people I know. Yes. That’s right. I love her.

INTERVIEW | GEORGIA KING

CHARACTER | JULES

Q1. | When did you first become aware of the ‘Chalet Girl’ script?

About a year before it was made, I had a gammy eye and was forced to walk sideways into my audition. It was desperately embarrassing to have a pussing eye, but I loved the script so much I didn’t want to miss out.

Q2. | How did you feel when you found out that you got the part as Jules?

The same as I do every time I get an offer an instant rush of happy and a big silly grin that I can’t get rid of.

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the rest of the cast and the team?

Within 24 hours of being in St. Anton:

I had whizzed down a huge mountain, winning an epic and intense sledge race against my (awesome) director Phil and fellow actor (tall and wonderful) Nick.

I had worked through all the accents I could muster as I read in roles at the readthrough.

I had danced on a bench at a notorious apres-ski bar with my fellow cast. Oh and hundreds of bearded, pantalooned skiers.

I had watched Ed Westwick try to slide down a snowy hill and instead, end up rolling down uncontrollably for what felt like forever.

I had laughed and laughed at a dinner table with the cast and the team of Chalet Girl while eating frankfurters.

SO, yeah. My first meeting of the cast and team was surreal. And definitely the most fun a beginning I’ve had.

Q4. | Can you give us a quick overview of Jules character?

Jules is best friend of Georgie. A privileged, overindulged girl who is adamant on being popular, in ‘vogue’ and ‘cool.’ She is very judgmental and lives for gossip and scandal. In essence, she’s a bully. And very insecure! Totally unsure of who she really is, and is happier mocking other people than trying to work herself out and see her weaknesses. Full of bravado and defensiveness, she is very cold to Kim, who is an easy target. By the end of the film though, you see Jules’ true colours.

Q5. | What was it like in arriving in the mountains to shoot the film?

White. Cold. Slippery. And one of the most overwhelmingly, inspiring, beautiful moments.
Q6. | Your character is meant to be a super good ski-er… Can you Ski?

Nope. Not at all. I make an excellent human snowball. And I can sledge like no one else. Twice champion against the rest of the cast and director. I am very proud of that fact.

Q7. | Being on a ski resort was there any ‘Apres Ski’ action?

I will never forget Nick shatter the tankard of a random skier with dreds in a friendly ‘Cheers!’ The dude frowned, then laughed and simply carried on drinking! That pretty much sums up the madness of the mountains. That and hundreds of drunk skiers trying to navigate their way down hills having been packed into little bars, jumping furiously.
Q8. | Which Character/Actor was your favourite to work with?

That’s like asking whether I like my mum or my dad better. Silly.

Q9. | I know you get a cheeky snog with one of the characters in the film… but honestly out of the boys on set would you ever actually want to snog any of them? Bill Nighy?!

I’m a one-man lady, and that man is not in the film sadly.

Q10. | If there was a sequel would you be up for doing it all again?

Oh, it’s already on. Tom Williams is developing Jules and Georgie on a beach resort. Hawaii I think. Right? Producers? Hawaii? Coupla months?


Q11. | Most memorable moment of the experience…

Being locked in a steam room with Ken Duken, Ed Westwick and a group of Austrians. Then being told we had to remove our swimwear and sit naked. It was a quick way to bond with my fellow cast members.

Q12. | If you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?

Gnarly.

Rad.

Neat.

-isn’t that what they say?

ok, ok…

unexpected.

funny.

colourful.

WEDNESDAY 20.10.2010

I felt it about time that we started to get some juicy gossip from all the friends I have made on the Chalet Girl journey so I am kicking off with the one and only TOM WILLIAMS… who I love, would love to write like and just think is great… FACT! Enjoy guys…

INTERVIEW | TOM WILLIAMS

ROLE | WRITER OF CHALET GIRL

The beginning…..

Q1. | What gave you the idea for the script Chalet Girl?

I was developing a load of ideas with a producer called Dan Shepherd back in 2004.  Dan used to be at Working Title, where I had also worked as a script reader, and we shared their commercial sensibility, and desire to make British romantic comedies that could travel internationally.  Working Title are great at taking ‘worlds’ and turning them into fun movies (like weddings, or Notting Hill, or Wimbledon, or even Christmas time in LOVE ACTUALLY) and Dan and I, who both loved skiing, realised that the world of the ski resort, and the ski season, hadn’t been done before.  It immediately felt like an attractive world to spend some time in, and one around which we could develop a fun story.  The ‘chalet girl’ concept is particularly British (something that we are going to have to address when we try and sell the film abroad) but we both loved this idea – a non-skiing girl from London who ends up in a posh chalet in the Alps – and this title straight away.  Brits abroad, with some snow and sport and schnapps.  What’s not to love?

I worked up a treatment (five drafts), which ended up actually remarkably similar to the final script structure, but Dan couldn’t raise the money to commission me to write a screenplay (neither of us had a track record to speak of).  So the project rather went to sleep for a few years and we went our separate ways.

Q2. | How did you attach your script to a producer?

I was at the first Cheltenham Screenwriters’ Festival in 2006, where I was one of the winners of a pitching competition they held (with a different project).  So I won tickets to the next two days of the festival.  At one of those seminars I found myself sitting next to a young producer called Harriet Rees, who had produced a few shorts for Screen South and was looking for features.  I pitched her about forty three ideas and Harriet, who had been a chalet girl herself back in the day, responded to this one.  So she optioned the old treatment and we developed it.

I’m looking through my notes now and can see that we worked on the treatment on its own for almost a year, throughout 2007 and through another five or six drafts, while Harriet was trying to raise money to commission a script.  She eventually got some interest from various places – she had been accepted onto a Screen South mentoring scheme with the project– and I started to write the script.

I delivered the first draft on Christmas Eve 2007.  Between then and May 2010 when the script finished shooting I wrote 123 different versions of the script.  That’s not to say each one is completely new, but we went back over it a lot.  A whole heap of lot.  And even after shooting had finished there was extra dialogue and fiddling around to do.  So it was about a three year intensive script development process for me and Harriet.

Pre – Production….

Q3. | What was it like when you first met the team?

The next big step was when Pippa Cross came on board, Harriet and Pippa had joined forces to get chalet girl made together.  She was Harriet’s mentor on the Screen South scheme and she beasted me and Harriet on the script for quite a while.  Pippa has an immense track record in all sorts of movies (from JACK AND SARAH to HEARTLESS and almost everything in between) so we both respected her opinions, and she kept on pushing us to make it both funnier and more dramatic and character-driven.  She wasn’t a huge fan of the project at the start but through 2008 we wore her down (overwhelmed her with drafts, probably) so in the end she found something she could respond to and joined Harriet as co-producer.  This was a great endorsement for us both and also meant that we could start seriously thinking about when, where and how we were going to make it.

Q4. | Did the script change at all when you met Phil (Director)?

I’ve known Phil for ages.  He was the year above me at Newcastle University and we bonded over ropey productions of The Tempest and pretentious student films.  We had kept in touch over the intervening years and I hooked up with Phil and his family in LA when I was out there in 2007 (we watched the rugby World Cup final together, I remember – a disappointing result for England).  Phil had just finished shooting ALL ABOUT STEVE and was doing loads of TV stuff, so when Harriet went out to LA herself in the spring of 2008 she met up with Phil and, when the script was ready, she sent it to him.  Phil loved it straight away and, with him and Pippa on board, the core team was in place.

There was an outside chance that we were going to make the script in early 2009, but we couldn’t get the cast right and, to be honest, the script wasn’t ready then.  When this moment passed it gave us an extra six months to re-open the script and perform a bit of coronary repair work.  Phil led that process, which involved lots of small but very significant shifts to character and structure, and the script emerged leaner and meaner and funnier at the end of it.

Q5. | Was there a point when you felt that you now had to let go of your creation?

I’ve never been too precious or protective about the script, and great ideas have come from all over the place.  Phil has contributed as much to the script as anybody and he, like Pippa, kept on pushing me to make what I had better and better.  A lot of the later drafts were informed by Phil pushing me for absolute clarity of intent in every scene and sequence, and to that extent he really became the final creative voice behind the story, even before filming began.  When it became clear that we stood a really good chance of making it in spring 2010, and Phil came over from LA and started casting and scouting locations in Austria and Germany, I knew I had to step back and let him run with it.

But Phil has been incredibly generous in keeping me as ‘the writer’ throughout.  Some directors would get their pointy elbows out and take possession of the script, sometimes even sharing or claiming sole writing credit.  There was none of that here.  Particularly in the latter stages, when production and budget logistics meant we had to lose or compress scenes, or change locations, or combine characters, Phil would always brief me and then let me go away and pitch him some ideas about how this could work.  Having worked in US TV a lot, Phil creates a very healthy creative atmosphere, where everybody has a say and the best ideas go into the script.  I learned so much from him and from this process and the shooting script – and the final film – is a genuinely collaborative piece of work.

The Characters….

Q6. | Was the character of Kim Matthews based on anyone?

No, but she is the kind of character that we all love to see in movies.  She is talented and funny, but she has taken some knocks in her life and this story shows her getting back on her feet and fulfilling her potential.  We decided early on that snowboarding was way cooler than skiing (I could tell because I prefer skiing to snowboarding, and am in no way cool), but we also realised that we needed an explanation for why Kim could suddenly become this awesome boarder who might compete in a huge competition three months after stepping on a board.  So we came up with this notion that she had been a champion skateboarder when she was younger, but that this family tragedy had forced her to give it up – for practical and also for emotional reasons.  So when she steps on a snowboard, it’s like she is coming home.

Q7. | Which character was the most fun to create?

Honestly, the whole journey has been about trying to get Kim right, and so in that sense the way her character has evolved and deepened has been the most challenging and satisfying and (therefore) fun part of the process.  Literally in every one of the 123 drafts I found a new little piece of her, a new line that reflected some part of her personality, a new piece of her relationship with her dad and so on.  Lots of that never made it into the film, or was discarded along the way, but it all helped to make her someone who is, I hope, interesting and sympathetic and real.  One of the biggest problems was to make sure that her sarcasm (on which she relies a lot, partly as a defence mechanism) was endearing and funny rather than chippy or catty.  It’s something we got close to in the script, and obviously casting the endearing and funny Felicity Jones helped massively too.

Q8. | When you met the cast who were to play the characters what was your initial reaction?

I remember Phil calling me up after he had cast Felicity and I’ve never heard anyone so excited.  I had to look up Felicity’s credits on imdb and saw that she had been in the recent Brideshead Revisited, which I had just seen.  I remembered being struck by the small part that she had in that film at the time (those lips!) but I couldn’t match that character to Kim at all.  Then Phil sent me her audition tape and I thought ‘oh, right, I get it.’  I can’t say enough about how fabulous she is in the film, and how good she makes the script look, and I always end up getting a bit embarrassing and gushing, so I’ll just say that she is fantastic and we’re really lucky to have had her.

Tamsin was a name on everyone’s lips from Georgie right from the start and she totally nailed every single one of her comic beats, as well as providing an important bit of friction with Felicity’s character at the start (posh girl vs chav).  I met some of the other actors when I visited the set, like Georgia King and Ken Duken, and it was so exciting to see them all having such a great time and bringing so much to each role.

Another benefit from going through this whole process was that I basically did a fresh pass over the script for almost every single character, as and when the actors were brought on board.  Each new actor would have notes for their character, which I would try to incorporate into the script (Bill Nighy’s was ‘could I have three more jokes please?’).  It’s really instructive to go through a script from every character’s point of view and check that their own journeys are functioning, independent of the hero or heroine’s.  Because, at the end of the day, an actor is going to have to play that role and find a real person within it.  So we tried to give even the smallest parts something to play with.

Q9. | If you were a girl would you fancy Jonny (Ed Westwick)?

Forget being a girl, I totally fancy him.  And I know my wife does.  She’s 35 and addicted to Gossip Girl, poor thing.  When I told her that Ed had agreed to play Jonny (which, incidentally, was a huge moment in the whole financing equation of the movie) she practically wet herself.  And then she told her five best mates, all of whom also wet themselves.  It got quite messy.

He’s the big name in the film for that important teenage movie-going audience and it is great to see him play someone different from Chuck Bass.  He’s got an English accent, a slightly more sober wardrobe and less product in his hair.  He’s also quite a nice guy in our story (most of the time).  Ed was really conscientious about interrogating the script, working through it to make sure that Jonny wasn’t just a bit of fluff, helping me to bring out his own journey of self-discovery.

Q10. | Do you think that Felicity (Kim) & Ed (Jonny) capture the chemistry that you wrote in the script?

Totally.  When they’re on screen together nothing else matters.  It’s well shot and lit of course, and some of the music Phil has laid over it is beautiful, but they are just a great looking couple and you totally get that they fancy each other.

One thing I noticed, watching the film again recently, is how much Felicity (brown hair, blue eyes, not unattractive) looks like Brooke Shields (brown hair, blue eyes, not unattractive) who plays Jonny’s mum, Caroline.  So maybe there’s a whole Oedipal thing going on there.  Which, clearly, I cannot take credit for.  And don’t worry, it’s not gross or anything.

(Incidentally, Brooke Shields, oh my God, I can’t believe she is in a film I wrote.  Don’t even get me started on the Blue Lagoon.  “Richard, what are you doing?” etc.  And, again, what a pro.  She always resisted the idea that Caroline is a characterless, stuck-up bitch and gave an extra level of complexity to her, both in the script and in the performance, that would have been so easy to overlook.  Gush, gush.)

The Story…..

Q11. | What was your inspiration for the films back drop of the Ski Season?

Like I said, it’s just a world that we haven’t really seen before on screen.  I grew up in Germany, where my dad was in the army, and have been skiing in the Alps all my life.  I adore the mountains and I adore the sport and just knew that it would work as the setting for a romantic comedy.

There is a lot of money out there, but also the sports (whether it’s skiing or snowboarding or all the other activities you can do in the mountains) are all pretty cheap and inclusive these days.  So it felt like a good place to set a clash of worlds, where we could do a bit of a British social examination thing but in a not-depressing way.  Kim goes out there because it’s a job and she needs the money, then she discovers snowboarding and she is tempted by that, then this thing with Jonny kicks off and she is tempted by that too.  So there is a lot going on, Kim is pulled in a few different directions and the decisions she makes help to define herself.

I should also say that the chalet girl life that we’re showing here isn’t the traditional chalet girl (sorry, chalet ‘host’) experience that most people will be familiar with.  Kim and Georgie are private staff in a big chalet owned by a wealthy family.  So in that respects they are lucky – Georgie tells Kim they’ve got ‘the best job in the Alps’.  There is loads of fun to be had with the more package-holiday side of chalet girling (hosting), but we’re planning on saving that for the sequel.

Being on Location…. Production

Q12. | Did you get to go on location?

I did.  Inconveniently my wife was about to have our second baby (Bertie – look for the name-check in the film) and so I had to stay in the UK until the little lad was born.  But I managed to get out to Garmisch for a few days and also visited the London set for a day at the beginning of May.  Out in Bavaria, Harriet and I had a couple of strange ‘pinch me’ moments, where maybe a hundred people – amazing, talented cast and crew from all over Europe – had dragged themselves up a mountain at dawn and were now filming scenes that we had dreamed up in Harriet’s kitchen in Surrey three years before.  Strange, but very wonderful.

Q13. | I hear you got to be in the film… what was that like?

It was fun, but unfortunately I look like a total prick whenever I am on screen.  I feature three times in the final cut (my one appearance in Chicken Cottage was ruthlessly edited out) and on each occasion I’m being a bit of an arsehole.  I appear in one of the bar scenes, with the director Phil, trying to chat up Tara Dakides and two of her boarding mates.  I’m over-acting horrendously and it’s very difficult to watch.  Then I’m in a mountain bar (with Harriet and your very good self, Kitty) wearing a silly hat and, again, looking like a bit of a tool.  And finally I’m actually skiing in one shot, where I nearly collide with Westwick before wiping out off camera.  Not my finest hours.  Annoying, actually, because I’m not actually a terrible actor, or skier.  Just stage fright I suppose.  I’ll stick to hiding behind the laptop in future.

Q14. | What was the atmosphere like on set?

I’m gutted that I had to vicariously experience most of the on-set atmosphere through your blog, Kitty!  I missed the whole of St Anton and lots of Bavaria (all those nights down at Peaches) but what I saw when I went out there was great.  I think everyone got a buzz out of the fact that they were shooting a film with a positive message in incredible locations.  So many people were putting their heart and soul into this film as well – for lots of us it was a really big break and everyone wanted to make it the best it could possibly be.  There was no sense of it being ‘just another gig’.  Everyone went above and beyond to try to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.

As to the rest of the on-set atmosphere, I think I’ll leave the saucy revelations up to you.  A great way to blackmail some of the cast into doing extra promotion for the movie…?

Q15. | Did you get to work with the actors as they shot any of there scenes when you where there?

I was in touch with the actors via Phil through the whole shoot.  Almost every day there was some tweaking to be done, if somebody wasn’t happy with a scene or if something had to change because of logistics.  The script kept evolving, just as the film kept evolving, and I like to think we were able to answer most of the actors’ questions as we went along.

Post Production

Q16. | Are you still involved throughout the editing process?

I was, but it’s all over now.  Howl.  Yes, if anything the last five months, since we wrapped in May, has been as hard core as the shoot itself.  I’ve been working on other stuff but every couple of weeks I’ve been invited up to see a cut and then, in the collaborative way that we’ve had since the start, we’ve all sat down and given our feedback.  Phil has been, as ever, incredibly receptive and open-minded about all of this, and it can be quite a painful process at times.  A few beloved lines – even some scenes – have had to go, and we had to do some nimble footwork in re-positioning a couple of scenes because they work better in their new locations.  There was a fair amount of ADR (additional dialogue recording) to do, to fill in some incidental details or to provide a gag that we thought of too late.  And a new opening sequence was shot in the summer to tell us more information about Kim’s skateboarding past.  But now all that is complete, the picture has been made to look pretty and the sound and music has all been mixed.  So it’s done.  Onto the next one.

Final few….

Q17. | How long did it take from the idea to the film being made, and is that normal?

From the timeline above, it’s been over six years since I came up with the idea and almost four years since I met Harriet.  Put it this way – I’ve got married, moved house and had two children in the time I’ve been working on Chalet Girl.  But, yes, I think that is normal.  In fact, it’s abnormal because the film actually got made at the end.  Which in my experience is not normal.

Q18. | Do you have any plans for a sequel?

Oh yes.  Big plans.  But we will have to wait and see if people like this one first.

Q19. | And final if you could sum up the film in 3 words what would they be?

A Snowmantic Comedy!

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9 responses to “Interviews | Cast & Crew

  1. Excellent work boules-partner, truly.

  2. Pingback: INTERVIEW WITH 1ST AD JOE GEARY | Chalet Girl on Set

  3. Steve Posford

    Well done Tom……never thought you would actually get it done!! Can’t wait to see it………..will I recognize any particular scenes???? xx Pozzy

  4. nikKat84

    I like;) but one question….is there any chance to read an interview with Felicity Jones or/and Ed Westwick?
    I’m from Munich and I really laughed about your Bavarian stories especially about your ‘clubbing ‘ adventures;)

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review | Chalet Girl on Set

  6. Pingback: Tamsin Egerton Fan | Your newest source for Tamsin Egerton

  7. Laura

    No interview with Nighy!?

  8. rachel

    i realllllyyy hope they make a sequel 🙂

  9. Wow, awesome weblog layout! How long have you ever been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The entire glance of your web site is fantastic, as smartly as the content!

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