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28th May 2014
Bumper bender
Title of film: The 2 Bears, Angel
Director: Dan Henshaw
We're hooked on Dan Henshaw's charismatic trip of a man unravelling psychologically and emotionally on booze and drugs

We love this sex, drugs, rock n roll on wheels video, especially the fly-on-the wall view of someone who you instantly warm to. How did you write the narrative and did you evolve the story line with Raf Rundell, one half of the band 2 Bears who stars in it? 

The idea actually evolved during quite a few conversations with Raf. He had this idea about him tearing around London in a car, partying, drinking, fighting, basically going on a bender, with the gag at the end being that he was actually having a driving lesson. But I wanted to inject a little more pathos and humanity into the video. The track is very much about needing a saviour, someone to let you know everything will be okay when you’re at your lowest ebb, and that’s what I wanted to communicate.

I wanted to make a film full of the dark humour of Raf’s initial idea, but also one that paints a portrait of a man unravelling psychologically and emotionally. The booze and drugs were a great way to illustrate that in three minutes, to show the mental descent of a man on the edge. And to tell a story about a person who’s partying is getting out of control.

Raf was very enthusiastic and receptive to the direction i wanted to take the video in. For example it was important for me to keep it fairly ambiguous as to how the various characters in the video end up in the back seat. I like to think they only really exist in Raf’s head, that they’re are manifestations of the darker parts of his psyche. At first he politely resists and ignores them, before caving in and joining in with all their vices.

Raf’s performance is very convincing, how was it directing him?

It was actually great, the guy’s acting skills were a revelation! It’s always a bit of a risk giving band members or non-actors dramatic roles in videos, especially one as key as Raf’s. If he hadn’t pulled it off the video wouldn’t have worked. But we chatted at length about how he should play the part in the days leading up the shoot and I knew he was 100% committed. I even sent him homework in the form of links to movie scenes and videos that depicted people mentally losing their shit under the influence of different substances.  

Raf is naturally a very charismatic dude and took to acting like a duck to water. I honestly think he has another calling there if he ever fancies a career change from music. 

Filming in cars is notoriously difficult, how did you go about this?

The logistics of shooting were pretty straight forward. We shot over two days with the bulk of the filming taking place on a low-loader on day one (it was the only way we could have Raf drinking, smoking, losing his mind etc. whilst still ‘driving’ and acting). Day two was just pick ups with myself and DOP Patrick Meller squeezed in the back of the car whilst Raf drove us around. I’d mapped out a route and recced streets that fit the vibe – leafy, British suburbia, and we just did laps of the neighbourhood. 

Actually the only thing that presented a problem was filming the hooker sequence in the back of the car. It just so happened that by the time we came to shoot the scene it was home time at all the local schools. We pulled up at traffic lights, the prostitute straddling her john and mechanically going through the motions of simulated sex, to look over at a window of teenagers staring in at us from the adjacent bus, open jawed. I then became very conscious of other drivers and pedestrians catching glimpses of all our unsavoury behaviour inside the car, mentally going over my story in case the police pulled us over. 
What were the main challenges of the production and how did you resolve them?

A lot of our supporting roles were played by real people, street cast by me, or friends of mine and the band. Some were genuinely up for a drink and a bit of a party, and I kind of encouraged that method approach (apologies to my producer Chris for having to deal with that…). The two scally lads we had smoking weed were hilarious and both pretty heavyweight smokers. I’d like to say their joints were just props, but i was honestly a bit concerned about Raf’s pale complexion, red eyes, and mumbled speech after two hours in the car with those lads. He handled it like a pro though. Trooper that he is. 

But really the only major problems were the usual issues with music videos; not enough time or money. Full credit should go to my producer Chris Massey for pulling it all together with limited resources, and to a top crew who were very experienced with car and low-loader filming.    

Are you currently signed to a production company?

Until very recently I was signed to Skin Flicks for music videos and commercials. Unfortunately they closed their doors just a couple of weeks ago. Sad times, and I’ll miss that place. I’m not with a production company at the moment but am still represented by Naomi Simpson who I was at Skin Flicks with along with my producer Chris Massey who did a sterling job on 2 Bears.

I am also represented by Rekorder in Berlin for commercial work in Germany. 

Contact: mail@naomisimpson.com

2 Bears ‘Angel’
Director: Dan Henshaw
Executive Producer: Naomi Simpson
Producer: Chris Massey
DOP: Pat Meller
1st AD: James Dyer
Stylist: Alex Day
Art Director: Samuel Waters
Editor: Julian Fletcher
Colourist: Jason Wallis @ The Look