As they say in show business, you’d be barking mad to work with animals.
I, Dog – is the new Brit indie comedy horror series set to get viewers enthralled when it airs on Friday. The cast includes Hannah Spearritt (the cute one from S Club 7) and a multitude of mutts. (Hannah’s own pup Lola plays a small part also.)
Rogue caught up with Director Josh Williams, Writer Matt Dyson and Writer/Actor Steve Coe for – and found out what happened when they immersed themselves to film for eight days straight in a spooky village in Wiltshire.
Firstly, how did you all meet?
Matt: I met Steve in a sterile corporate meeting room, where we were both working as copywriters. I quickly realised he was trying to steal my life by knowing all the same people and having exactly the same interests. So we decided it would be best to write horror/comedy together. As a result of looking for a Director who dresses his dog in kids clothes, we met Josh and everything fitted into place.
Briefly, what’s the story of I, Dog?
It is about a failed travel journalist who’s sent to the only town in Britain, Lower Ham Wallop, that hasn’t been covered by a travel magazine. Once there Terry realises all is not what it seems. Everything seems off-kilter, people are hellbent on messing with him. Once in the town’s clutches it becomes apparent that’s he’s at the heart of something truly sinister. A lot of the humour is born out of Terry’s cheeky arrogance about what life is like outside of London and the bizarre behaviour of the locals. The dark conspiracy that unfolds is about control and obedience – which ultimately centres a lot around dogs.
Where did the idea come from?
Matt: Steve said to me that it was funny that people look and dress like their dogs. Many writing sessions later we had a comedy-horror. There are other aspects that were researched in pre-production, for example, we saw an article that said dogs only see in blues and greens, reds are off the eye menu for them. So we put that into the production and lighting design. All the characters in the village are in blues, greens and muted colours – the strangers from the outside are in reds and pinks.
How did you find the location?
Matt: It was a through a mutual friend who lives in the village. But judging by all the weird co-incidences that this led to it was pretty much meant to be. Josh later found out that he had relatives buried in the village, and his t cousin who he hasn’t seen for over 15 years used to run the pub we filmed in.
It is a crazy idea to self-fund a TV series?
Matt: Possibly, but it would be a crazy idea to not get this project off the ground as we all truly believe in it. I I guess a lot of that comes from a D.I.Y punk ethos. And I guess if you rationalise it, you’re probably right – it is nuts. We were extremely lucky to have an extremely talented cast & crew putting their blood, sweat and actual tears into the production of I, Dog – it’s a real labour of love.
What was more challenging, casting humans or dogs?
Matt: It depends on the human and the dog in question. Great Bedwyn – the village in Wiltshire we shot the majority of I, Dog had a HUGE population of dogs so they were plentiful. We were lucky enough to have a real passion for the I, Dog script and that made for a not overly complicated casting in comparison to other projects.
Spill about the spooky stuff on set..?
Steve: The makeup department had several spooky experiences, none more so than a grey-haired woman who would appear in the makeup room on set and then vanish.
This falls into the horror/comedy genre, why does this genre exist and who started it?
Matt: I guess it thrives in the UK as we have that gallows humour and dark, twisted way of finding humour from the bleakest situation. And judging by the times we’re living in it seems quite fitting, really. They are the two most extreme genres so pushing them together really is a lot of fun to work with.
You can invite 5 dogs to a fictitious dinner party. Who would you choose?
Matt: I wouldn’t invite any dogs to a fictitious dinner party as dogs are always hungry. So if I invited them and it turned out to be a lie they would probably do me over. And nobody wants to be beaten up by five hungry dogs.
Josh: Wylie Burp from Fievel Goes West, on the darker side of things – Ramsey’s dogs from Game of Thrones – the ones that eat him alive, starting with his face. The most satisfying fatal dog attack I’ve ever witnessed.
I, Dog will be aired on 26th October, for more details go to www.idogseries.com