‘Lookalikes’ – Behind The Scenes

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Lookalikes – A Web Series © Big Bright Lights 2013.

I just got back from a trip to LA which was very productive. I filmed a new web series down there called ‘Lookalikes,’ which I’m excited to tell you about.

I initially wanted to go down to visit my good friend Ryan Turner, whom I shot Smile with a few years ago (watch it here), and also with the hope that I could film a new project whilst there. I’ve always wanted to film something in LA. I wrote a couple of short film scripts in the build up to my trip, but realised that organising a full scale production before I got to the city would be hard.

Instead, I decided to just head down to the city of angels/broken dreams and see if inspiration would strike. Ryan is extremely productive and I hoped that spending time with him and his talented housemates would likely give me some ideas.

And it did.

Ryan lives with a great young actor called Sasha Feldman who you may remember from the Amelie Freestyle video I posted last year.

People occasionally say he looks like James Franco, and so I had anan idea that I could play a hapless British manager, Scott Johnson, who runs a LA Lookalikes agency, with Sasha playing one of my clients – an idiotic James Franco lookalike.

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Sasha Feldman as Luke, a James Franco Lookalike. © Big Bright Lights 2013

Initially it was just going to be a one off sketch, but when Sasha mentioned his friend does a decent Denzel Washington impersonation, I decided to be more ambitious. Why not shoot a web series of 3 or 4 episodes, with each one featuring a different Lookalike? I was envisaging something in the vein of The Office or Extras.

We were put in touch with a girl who looked like Kim Kardashian, and then, as fate would happened, someone showed me a photo of a guy who looked like Kanye West. We contacted him and he signed up immediately. For the final episode I decided to get my friend Ryan to play a reluctant Ryan Gosling lookalike, as he occasionally gets that thrown at him.

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Ryan Turner as Paul, a reluctant Ryan Gosling lookalike. © Big Bright Lights 2013

Across the next few days, the project came together quite spontaneously, and with the help of the Line Producer Alison Kelly, we found a location to call “Scott’s office” – the Conference Room at the Hollywood Forever cemetery.

I was finally fulfilling an ambition to finally shoot a production in Hollywood. Of course it would be in a cemetery, surrounded by famous dead people. It also made me smile when I discovered that our production HQ (Alison’s apartment) was in Charlie Chaplin’s old house.

I spent the next few days writing, rehearsing and recruiting crew. I called upon a lot of the great people I met in Palm Springs Shortfest who were amazingly enthusiastic and generous with their time. I think 5 or 6 of the final crew were people I’d met at the festival, including our DP Leigh Lisbao Underwood, who won the Best Cinematography Award there.

And so it was that on the Friday of last week at 6am a crew of 12 or so of us descended on Hollywood Forever to begin a hectic day of filming.

I was ambitiously trying to shoot a whole web series in a day. Our schedule wasn’t helped by the fact that the band Grizzly Bear were playing a show in the cemetery grounds that evening, so we had to be out by 4pm.

But somehow we got through it all. It passed by in a flash but it was an absolute blast. All the actors were on top form which made my job a lot easier, and judging by the rushes, I think it’s going to be good. Hopefully my strongest comedy work so far. But you’ll be the judge of that…

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Marali Natalia and Baron Jay as Kim and Kanye lookalikes © Big Bright Lights 2013

I’m going to work with an editor over the next month or two, and then put it out on You Tube in the hope that it will build an audience and also get the attention of people who might want to help develop it into a full show.

I’m looking forward to sharing it with you….

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Scott Johnson of ‘Scott’s Lookalikes’ © Big Bright Lights 2013

For updates on this and my other work check out the Big Bright Lights facebook page.

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