Phase9 Entertainment

THUNDERBIRDS - Q&A with the TRACY brothers

THUNDERBIRDS Q&A with the Tracy brothers:
Brady Corbet (Alan Tracy), Dominic Colenso (Virgil Tracy), Ben Torgersen (Gordon Tracy) and Lex Shrapnel (John Tracy)

Can you tell us a bit about the physicality of the role?

LEX: We were strapped into a fibre glass body armour and attached to the end of a crane for about four or five hours and it is kind of fine to begin with and then you feel the extreme weight of your own head and your legs and your arms, not only have you got to support it but you are also trying to look as though you are floating and are relaxed in that kind of way. By the end it was just arms, legs and head hanging. About four days afterwards, I believe, we recovered from that extreme pain of being strapped into those things.

Ben, what is your take on the costumes? You were ridiculed by one of your cast members, let's call her Sophia! Did you feel elegant and heroic in the outfit?

BEN: Actually I did, it was an honour to wear such a wonderfully crafted suit. I felt like a Superman, Spider-Man sort of thing. I really liked them. I felt all kitted up, you look in the mirror and you are a hero! It is wonderful! I think the little boots are pretty special. (Laughs)

Dominic you look as if you are young enough to have fond memories of the original series?

DOMINIC: Yeah I remember it from being a kid. I remember watching the series. I was never a fanatic but definitely interested in the series.

Brady, your character not only develops into an action hero but there is a hint that he is the romantic lead as well! A suggestion that there is more to come in further adventures?

BRADY: Yeah, I think that this film has been slightly regarded as a prequel to possibly one or maybe even two more films. So to bring it to a new audience, a new generation they have definitely remapped all of it. But if there is to be a second one it will be more like the show that everyone grew up with.

We might even see a THUNDERBIRDS screen kiss?

BRADY: Yeah, a screen kiss. (Laughs)

Wasn't there almost one in this one though?

BRADY: Yeah, there was. I think they are trying to keep the audience on their toes.

Having come from a film like THIRTEEN which was a low budget film and now finding yourself in a film with a massive budget was that a culture shock?

BRADY: Yeah, it was. I definitely feel more at home in smaller films and this was a completely different thing. When you do an adventure film like this it is like singing out of tune because you have trained your whole life to bring dramatic subtlety to a role and in this there is no such thing as subtlety in a universe like this at all. It was like non-acting, like learning something completely new. In a film like this the stars of the show are the special effects and the sets and you have to get used to being a prop. It is actually the actors in a film like this that are bringing you from one set piece to the next set piece as opposed to a character driven story line. It was different but I learned a lot but as soon as I was done I immediately went home and did a film that was done for just over 500 000 dollars.

Is that something that all of you experienced on a film like this?

BEN: Well, Jonathan was so easy going, such a great influence on the set that that tension never built up at all. The first words out of his mouth was always energy and have fun and go out there and play with all the toys, press all the buttons that you can. Just have fun. By that he was hoping that the fun that we were having on the stage would come through in the film and I think it did that. He did say "Have fun but don't cock it up!" (Laughs)

Lex, how did you get your head into that mind set that you were going to occupy this world?

LEX: We got together outside of the film set a week before we started shooting and we hung out just to try and develop a relationship between us and to get to know each other. By the time we came to the set the character came quite easily and also the nature of the sets that we were on, it was hard not to enjoy yourself. It was like a big playground, big spaceships with screens and buttons and joysticks. It is kind of hard not to enjoy yourself and not to get into this.

Dominic was that how it was for you, all these toys and you could be a kid with them?

DOMINIC: Yeah, I think so. Especially in the action sequence, it was almost like being in a theme park without having to queue, it was fantastic. You were there and everything was happening for you, big explosions, stuntmen throwing themselves into water. You really do feel like a super hero when you are up there and people are screaming, "Help me!" You feel good! It is easy to be a super hero when people are asking for help.

Ben, do you find that the people on the other side of the Atlantic were as excited as you were when you told them about what you were going to be doing?

BEN: Oh, yeah they were very excited. Describing my first day on the huge sets with everything, great colours, it was very fun and they were really excited about it.

What have you each stolen from the set?

BEN: I tried to get the costume but unfortunately they caught me on my way out! I was unfortunately unable to steal anything.

DOMINIC: I have got a lot of green clothes now that I didn't have before, I am always a red and blue man but now I have so much green stuff.

BRADY: Nothing, it was high security.

LEX: I stole a copy of Loaded with Kelly Brook on the front! (Laughs)

I am sure you are all prepared to have lots of screaming fans after you?

BEN: Screaming in a positive way or...?

DOMINIC: I don't think that I can really look that far ahead. We went to the Birmingham Motor Show to promote FAB 1 last week and it was very strange to walk in there and see your photo, massive, on the wall. I don't think it has hit and it probably won't until about three months after when we go "Oh Christ".

LEX: It is impossible to predict how it is going to be and... it is probably best not to think about it.

Did you make any blunder that was caught on film and that may end up on the DVD?

BEN: There was a lot of pushing people into swimming pools.

BRADY: Bill Paxton pushing Anthony Edwards in at the end that was quite a moment. That could go on the DVD.

After a while surely you must feel like becoming a family...does it still?

BEN: First day that we met actually we felt like a family. It took no time at all. Bill called us up early one Saturday morning and I was sitting in my living room and there was screams on the other end "Ben! It is your dad!" I had no idea what he was talking about because my father was sitting right there on the couch with me. But yeah, right away he called us all and got us together for a night on the town. From that moment on we were dad and five sons.

DOMINIC: We were walking five abreast down Oxford Street, just right outside Selfridges, and there was this poor geek on a stag do dressed as Virgil Tracy! We just grabbed this poor bloke over to us and had our photo taken with him! He had obviously had a few pints and Batman and Robin were there as well! It was hysterical!

Do you have any heroes? Who do you look up to yourselves?

BRADY: There are a lot of people that I respect. I can't say anyone that I regard my personal hero but I loved Batman as a kid. That was about it. I really don't have anybody... I am an only child and my mother is a single parent and did the job of two people really well so I'd say that if I ever had a hero that she would be the closest thing to it.

LEX: Can't top that really.

BEN: I would have to say my parents as well. It is such a family oriented film and when you work on something like that and then you go home every day and you have supporting parents, there is no better feeling in the world.

DOMINIC: In terms of superheroes I was always a huge Superman fan and I think what has happened to Christopher is that he is a hero himself the way that he has handled that, it is amazing.

Have you got any theatre work coming up?

DOMINIC: I am actually rehearsing a play at the moment down in Plymouth. We are adapting The Owl Service, a novel. That opens in a couple of week's time.

Was Jonathan with his STAR TREK experience particularly helpful to you in entering a fantasy world?

BRADY: Very much so. Very, very much so. He was the driving force behind everybody as far as that was concerned. Unless you have done it before there is no way that you can learn to get used to it. It is just this odd thing that you have to just do your best to play with and not over think too much. That is the genius behind the movie to not over think anything. My favourite thing about the film is that there is not really a moment in the film that is too overly earnest. It is fluff and it is fun and it is something that you can take your children to and they'll flip out for it and be completely captivated and you will enjoy it too. You can over intellectualise that stuff.

Were any of you a STAR TREK fan?

BRADY: I have never seen STAR TREK. (Laughs) A few days after rehearsal Jonathan had this running joke about "You know I used to be an actor once!" "Did I ever tell you about back when I was an actor?" But the thing was that I didn't get the joke at first! (Laughs) But I have since seen a bit of it but I was never a big sci-fi fan.

BEN: Bill Paxton was also a great help when it came to that stuff. It was great when we were doing the space stuff and we had to come up with some dialogue for this technicality of what we were doing and he brought his notes from APOLLO 13 and it was sort of a bible.

You are all young actors so this is a great opportunity for you. Is show business what you expected?

DOMINIC: It is not what I expected at all. It is so much better. That is all I can say, it hasn't been a dull moment. There hasn't been a bad moment. I have met some of the most amazing people that I have ever met and it is wonderful.

BRADY: I always hoped that I would end up being a working actor, of course, I have been a film junkie since practically the day I was born. But I never in ten million years thought that I would end up in a film like this, ever. I just couldn't imagine it. The first time that I went in to audition for it I didn't even think about it. I walked out of the room and I was like: there is no way that they are going to hire me for this. You look like that little blond kid from THIRTEEN and a few weeks later they called me and said that they really wanted me back and that they loved me. I was like "You are kidding! What are you talking about?" But I guess it all worked out, it is a real movie and it is coming out! So, that was surprising and also for it to, hopefully, all have worked out at such a young age. I have had the chance to work with Oscar nominees and Oscar winners and I am 15. It is amazing and it is good fun.

Many actors say that it is hard to deal with special effects. Does bonding as a family submerge the special effects and make it a real world for you all?

DOMINIC: Yeah, I think that the fact that we were all so comfortable working with each other made it very easy to jump in and as we said before working with Bill and Jonathan both of whom are so used to that world, they really made it very easy and just guided us through the whole process.

BEN: And actually being on sets that were so amazing, there was relatively little CGI in what we were actually doing. So when we are in the space ship were actually in there and everything was real so there wasn't a lot left to the imagination when you were actually up there filming it, it was mostly the stuff that was going on outside of it that was super imposed.

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