Q & A with the crew behind A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Everyone seems to have been surprisedby the casting choices, but very few were disappointed. How hard was thecasting process?
GARTH: Casting was weird but turned out to be easy. We found people we really liked, then met with even more people who were interested, then got confused, then met with people who were considered to be helpful in our pursuit to get the film green lit, then got even more confused, then without cast on board we got the film green-lit, and eventually came back to our original casting ideas and patted ourselves on the back for being so decisive.
NICK: I could not of put it better myself.
While I enjoyed Mos Def'sperformances in Monsters Ball and The Woodsman he doesn't seem theobvious choice for the role of Ford Prefect. What was it that wonhim the role?
GARTH: Our casting director, Susie Figgis, had seen Mos in a play called Top Dog/Underdog and thought he would be great for the part. Nick and I only knew him as a musician but met with him on the strength of Susie's recommendation. We instantly clicked with him. Mos really is from another planet. Planet Mos. The idea of him sat next to Martin Freeman in a rural pub, downing pints as fast as he can and saying lines like, "What if I told you I wasn't really from Guildford," really appealed to us. He is an extremely intelligent and funny man, full of wonderful ideas for his character, from his clothes right down to ‘how to shake hands with a car.' After we met with Mos we really couldn't imagine anyone we'd rather see carrying a towel across the galaxy.
NICK: Mos was so excited when we originally met him for the part, that I remember his legs shaking. We never thought he was an obvious choice, but then that is what makes the Ford character so interesting. The chemistry between Mos and Martin is fantastic, they are like The Odd Couple.
Are you worried aboutpremiering only a couple of weeks before Star Wars Episode III? Do youthink you'll be steamrollered or do you think Hitchhiker's is a goodcounterpoint to Star Wars?
GARTH: I'm not worried at all. Hitchhiker's is going to have Lucas quaking in his boots! (does George Lucas wear boots? He should. Big, red thigh high boots with spurs and golden toe caps. And a Fez. Don't you agree?)
NICK: I'm just worried about Garth.
There haven't been a lot ofpictures released so far, and those that have have been concept designs,not finished shots. Are you worried about the reaction from the fans, and haveyou been happy with fan reaction so far?
GARTH: The reaction to the concept art has been great and we'll try and get some finished imagery out as soon as we can finish it. It'll be worth the wait.
NICK: We never really wanted to release too much too early. I think sometimes we get to know way too much about a film before it comes out, and it takes away a bit of the magic. I think the fans will love what we have been up to, because we are so happy with it, and the support has been fantastic.
Are you aiming the movie at an adult audience or didyou make any changes to make it more accessible to a younger target group?
GARTH: I was about 9 years old when I discovered Hitchhiker's and I live next door to a 70 year old professor who can recite almost every word of the radio play. We found out that in Iceland, 16 year olds are given the book to read as part of their English studies and I am constantly meeting people from all walks of life who adore Hitchhiker's. It has always had a wide appeal and I hope the movie does too.
NICK: I like the idea that our film will work in a similar way to The Simpsons or a Pixar film, in the sense that it will appeal to a younger audience, but will also work on various other levels for an adult. Luckily the material that Douglas Adams provided us with goes to make it a much easier task.
How have the cast members reacted to the interestand commotion within the fan community?
GARTH: I don't know for sure, I never asked them. I do know that Martin Freeman is like a caveman and doesn't even own a computer and that if Sam Rockwell did have one he'd probably be looking at pictures of naked women on it right now. Mos Def is far too busy being a renaissance man to sit still long enough and read the chat rooms and I only remember Zooey using her computer to write songs on Apple's Garageband program between set ups. Maybe they all secretly read what people were writing but never told me. Who knows? They're a funny bunch.