LONDON (AP) — On a sunny summer day in the United Kingdom, cast and crew can be found inside a studio — sprinkled with snow. It’s the seasonal disorder of television shows and films.
In order to offer endless winter holiday fare, productions must create Christmas in July.
But with high July temperatures in the United Kingdom, wearing heavy Victorian-era winter garb and appearing festive takes perseverance and a bit of ingenuity. A look at how some pull it off.
CLEVER COOL TRICKS
On the set of the joint FX/BBC Dickens’ Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” a London street has been decorated with snowflakes to provide a Victorian winter feel. The Dickens’ reinterpretation will be a TV miniseries.
Guy Pearce stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, and along with Andy Serkis, Stephen Graham, Charlotte Riley and Joe Alwyn are all wrapped up in layers of handsewn period costumes.
There’s no compromise to the hot temperatures outside the studio when it comes to making the scenes look accurate on screen, costume designer Joanna Eatwell said. They just have to sweat.
“With period costumes, it’s incredibly heavy,” Eatwell said. “Guy, I mean gosh, he’s in every single scene and every single day and he has started” coming up with cleaver ways to beat the heat.
One of Pearce’s cool tricks involves identifying when he can wear sandals with his winter woolens, if he keeps his summer footwear just out of the shot.
The cold weather mood doesn’t let up when it’s time to eat. For one of the penultimate production days, the catering team provided a Christmas-type lunch with turkey, stuffing, roast vegetables and pigs in blankets with gravy. The crew was able to sit outside in the sun to eat.
FAKE SNOW EVERYWHERE
A Victorian-theme wintery Netflix original film starring Forest Whitaker is also in production in the U.K.
“Jingle Jangle” is a magical tale about a toymaker’s set in the imaginary own of Cobbleton. The cast includes Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Phylicia Rashad and Anika Noni Rose.
The cast has to sing and dance as well as get into the Christmas spirit, all during record-breaking summer temperatures.
There’s been heat, but there also have been blizzards — more precisely, “vans and vans” bringing the fake snow to the set that gets everywhere, producer Lyn Sisson-Talbert said.
“All I know is that shower at night was amazing because it’s everywhere, it’s in your ears, it’s in your hair and when you have afro hair like mine it sticks. That’s not a 5 minute shower, it’s an all-night ordeal,” she laughs.
The film also has a nod to classic Dickensian imagery, meaning the cast has to dance in the heat and deal with the hustle and bustle of their 1800s outfits.
How do they do that? “Very carefully,” Sisson-Talbert said, adding “you definitely don’t want to be smelling that costume afterwards.”
“Jingle Jangle” is expected to hit screens in 2020.
LAST YEAR TOO
“The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition” was filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire during a heatwave last summer.
While the tent was decorated with baubles, snowflakes, fir trees and fairy lights, contestants had to sweat it out to craft warming winter treats like fruit cakes, gingerbread and Santa Claus-themed 3D bread showstoppers.
And when they weren’t in the hot tent filled with working ovens, the judges and presenters – Emma Bunton, Anthony “Spice” Adams, Paul Hollywood and Sherry Yard – were sheltering outside under the shade of trees. Small hand-held battery-operated fans were a must-have accessory.
The tents were intense, Adams said.
“You’re in a whole new different environment and you’re cooking outside. So, it could be humid one day, it could be raining, it could be sunshine. You don’t know, you have to make the adjustment.”