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Bunny & The Bull

November 2009

Although most of what you’ll see on screen was filmed here, unlike Control or any of Shane Meadows’ offerings, Bunny And The Bull won’t be a much of a game for those who enjoy spotting familiar locations.
Last year, director Paul King and his film crew decamped to the University of Nottingham’s studios (formerly Carlton TV) for five weeks -- and for six days of each didn’t see a great deal of daylight.
“We really didn’t move that much from the studio,” he laughs.
“But we had some good times in Nottingham. We were in the Playhouse bar every night.”
He adds: “We didn’t go out that much. The only time we really went out was when Noel came up. He’s such an extraordinary force of nature. His character’s like this drunk matador and he’s supposed to get a bit drunker as the film goes on. And he got in to character by not going to bed. He was up for just a couple of days but didn’t get any sleep. I don’t know how he does that.
“The Playhouse bar shut around 1am and we wanted to be in bed before then anyway. But Noel he took Simon (Farnaby, who plays Bunny) out and found some bloke to open up his pub especially for them.”
He adds: “So he was really good fun to have up.”

The film also features the other half of the Boosh frontmen, Julian Barratt but it’s not The Mighty Boosh on the big screen.
“I don’t want people going thinking that and going ‘oh, they were only in it for ten minutes’. I don’t want anyone to feel ripped off. Like going to a Steven Seagal movie when he dies in the first three minutes.”
King, who met Fielding and Barratt as a driver, didn’t write Bunny And The Bull for his leading men but suggested they may want to make a brief appearance.
“They knew I’d been writing it and I said, ‘there’s a little part for you if you fancy doing it’. I sent them the script and it was terrifying. Like your mum watching you in the school play. These guys are top notch comedy writers and this was my first effort. But they were so supportive.
“We are a bit like a happy family on the Boosh.”
Bunny And The Bull is the story of Stephen (Edward Hogg), a shy geek recalling a disastrous trek around Europe with his best friend Bunny.
The inspiration for King was partly the grim travels with his parents as a child and an interrailing journey through Europe.
“I did it a bit late in life,” he admits.
“I was 30 and not 17, which is when you should do it. I wanted the life-changing experience but didn’t get it. It’s like you have an idea of what Poland may be like but you get there and it’s a bit like a car park.
“I liked the idea of setting a road movie where it’s all a bit skewed. Because memories tend to be distorted and exaggerated. I thought it would be good that the way it looked reflected the character’s psychological state. So it starts with simple late seventies Paddington Bear-style animation and gets progressively weirder.”

The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade also appears, an old college buddy of King’s, whose first job was driving comedians to gigs.
“That’s how I met Noel and Julian.”
His next project is a world away from Boosh or Bunny territory.
“I’m writing a script for Paddington Bear: The Movie, which is a potentially bigger project, if it happens. In case it doesn’t I’m also writing a film about a tramp who exists in multiple dimensions. Which is a bit more up my street. The next smash flop. Seen by up to 12 people worldwide.”
Bunny And The Bull was filmed here thanks to the financial input and support in terms of crew and location, of Nottingham’s EM Media.
“They were great. I sound like Lewis Hamilton bigging up my sponsor,” he laughs.
“But they helped get a lot of local art and film students who did loads of stuff on the film, like model making, for free. So much was done on good will. I’d say half the people involved weren’t paid.
“30 or so volunteers would come down every day and work ridiculous hours. They were getting RSI from folding tiny bits of newspaper... and we didn’t even give them lunch. Which was awful.
“But the film couldn’t afford it.”
The budget for The Bunny And The Bull was £1m.
“It’s a lot if you’re buying a house but not if you are making a film.”
Boosh fans will recognise the visual surrealism. Is this what he does? Is this his schtick?
“Well, I hope not. If someone gives me 100 million dollars I’ll try and give you something that looks a bit less homemade.
“And we’ll pay the people from Nottingham’s art school,” he laughs.
“Well, maybe we’ll get them a sandwich.”

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