Interview - The Seeker
By Clint Morris
Interview with Jim Piddock
Star of The Seeker: The Dark is Rising.
Jim Piddock has been in his share of duds!
When a big studio
pic came knocking on his door requesting his presence on set, there’s
only one question (besides ‘How much do I get?’) actor Jim Piddock had
to ask himself : “Whether to relocate to Romania for 3 or 4 months”,
the actor, best known for his roles in the Christopher Guest comedies
'Best in Show' and 'For Your Consideration' tells Clint Morris.
is where Hollywood goes when it wants to save a few dollars – they can
essentially get their film done there, looking just as good if not
better, for about a quarter of the outlay. Just ask those behind the
films Dracula 2 : The Ascension, Seed of Chucky, Hellraiser : Hellworld, Return of the Living Dead 4, Flight of Fury and the Oscar-Winning Cold Mountain; all shot in Romania.
some of the good films (not to mention good actors that have spent time
there themselves) that have been shot there before The Seeker : The Dark is Rising, Piddock decided to give Romania a try – but it wasn’t easy.
I think anyone who's done a film there, or anywhere in Eastern Europe,
will tell you as much”, he says. “We had a crew made up of Americans,
Brits, Canadians, and Romanians. The language barrier alone was a big
hurdle. Although we'd get together and play soccer at weekends, which
helped. At least, everyone understood how to kick each other!”
says Piddock, is a “really a long, long way behind the rest of Eastern
European. Thousands of years of oppression and being invaded would set
anyone back. It'll take at least another generation to get over the
devastating effects of the Ceaucescu regime. Having said that, the
hotel we stayed in was very Westernized and looked after us pretty
"One bonus is that the cast develops a boarding school,
or prison-cell, mentality. A long way from home, you all bond for
survival and out of sharing the same foreign experiences. Unusually,
there were no assholes. Usually, there's one on every set, but there
wasn't on The Seeker. Unless
it was me, and no-one ever told me! The truth is, we all got along
extremely well and became quite a close-knit family. It also helped
that the director David Cunningham is one of the most relaxed,
even-tempered, and supportive human beings I've met. That always helps
set the tone of a shooting experience.”
It also helped that the film that he was working on was a goodie. The Seeker : The Dark is Rising, is based on a popular children’s fantasy novel – one Piddock says was very popular in his native U.K.
“They have a hardcore following, particularly in the UK”, says Piddock, whose other films include Epic Movie and Austin Powers in Goldmember.
“But the book(s) are really just a springboard for this film, which
takes the core essence of the story and characters, but launches them
into another, more movie-friendly, stratosphere.”
Piddock says the film has the potential to spawn quite a few sequels – just as the book did.
“It has the potential to be a family-oriented franchise. Franchise being the operative word for most studios right now. Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings have clearly proven to be massive money-makers. So anything in that mould will be attractive to a studio.”
Since returning from Drac country, Piddock has “…shot two films : Hunting And Fishing - a parody of 300
which gave me the rare opportunity to play a couple of roles...one of
which is Simon Cowell! And then I did a small cameo in a film called Endless Bummer. I'm now currently bouncing back and forth to Spokane doing a romantic comedy called The Golden Door, which I'll have wrapped by the beginning of October.”
He’s also seen the release of his most recent film Who’s Your Caddy? a comedy with Deadwood’s
Jeffrey Jones. That film has been savaged by not only the critics but
posters on the Internet Movie Database – who’ve ranked it as one of the
worst films of all time.
“IMDB is a terrific site, but I think
they have to be very careful it doesn't get high-jacked by some of its
more fanatical users, who clearly have way too much time on their
hands”, says Piddock, defending the Don Michael Paul directed comedy.
“Who's Your Caddy?
is a perfectly amiable, goofy comedy that make no pretensions to being
high-art. But because it dealt with racial stereotypes and the
distributors put out a very low-brow series of trailers, it got a bad
rap before the movie ever opened. Over a thousand IMDB users had voted
it into the top 3 worst comedies of all time long before the film had
even opened, for god's sake! And I'll guarantee you that no more than a
handful of those people voting had actually seen the movie. That's just
plain ridiculous. I actually think that if the film hadn't opened the
same week as The Simpsons, it might have had a shot at finding an audience."
"Believe me, I've been in a few things I've been embarrassed by, and Who's Your Caddy?
is definitely not one of them. Is it a great film? No. But it's got
some very, very funny moments, it's very easy and enjoyable to watch,
and is surprisingly family-friendly.”
THE SEEKER is in cinemas now.