Q: So was there a lot of improvisation?

HH: We'd do the scene in the script, and then once I felt we got the scene, they'd improvise funny lines or whatever in the following takes, so we'd drop that in to the edit if it was any good. That's the icing on the cake, so it adds to the whole, dropping an extra laugh or two in, if the improv had worked. It's like a line here, a line there, a certain action or look or going off on a slight tangent of thought. For example there's the scene at the roof top bar. Ben started throwing peanuts at his face for a few takes, but keeps missing his face. Improvised on the spot and we managed to cut it in just once and it works.

I was quite open to anyone coming up with ideas. But some actors are good at it: some aren't. Sam and Ben were both very good. And very good as a combo. Very good in a two shot. It's the old cliche: you cast right, you don't have to worry about anything, but you do have to be relaxed enough in yourself as the director to let them try and feel free.

Q: Tell us about working with Phoebe Fox.

HH: Brilliant! She was outstanding, I cannot tell you how good she is, the most talented leading lady Ive ever worked with. I really think she is going to be a big star, I would love to work with her again. In the auditions she destroyed all the competition, she was head and shoulders above anyone. Had no ego at all, lovely to be around and very easy going, calm and incredibly smart. Knew her lines. No issues. Brilliant all the way through. And all that eating...

Q: Yes, the messy eating trait of her character?

HH: Well, that was based on two women I went out with, that eating trait. To meet one who was like that was funny, but two was really odd! Id sit and watch them and just be fascinated by it in a strange way, they had no idea they were doing it. That trait could have put people off Katherine, the character. But the way Phoebe did it, it didn't, it endeared her because of the incredibly subtle way she did it. Because the part calls for her not to look at her best. The character, I'm talking about now, she doesn't look after herself well, she dresses badly, she's a complete and utter slob when she eats. So it forces an actress to go there, which is a big challenge, and Phoebe had no issues with that, especially when she ate. She is all about the part; some actresses have an insecure vanity, but not Phoebe, she went all out to capture that part.

Q: And then you've got the great Simon Callow in a small but crucial role.

HH: Hes great, a real craftsmen, I loved him in Being Shakespeare and in the cult comedy Chance in a Million. You get someone that well-spoken to say absolute filth and it's always funny! But there's a point to that scene, it's a different and funny way of discovering what the villains are up to and exactly what and where the Blue Iguana is.



Acting and Improvisation
Sam Rockwell, Ben Schwartz, Blue Iguana
Ben Schwartz, robe, Blue Iguana
Blue Iguana, Rockwell, Fox, Schwartz, the gang