Rings Star Chills As Channel Swimmer
After New Zealand's warm climes, Billy Boyd found filmming On A Clear Day a distinctly chilly experience.
By Amber Wilkinson
Lord of The Rings star Billy Boyd is set to make a splash when his new film On A Clear Day receives its UK premiere this month. The Glasgow-born actor plays daft-as-a-brush Danny in the comedy drama about a laid-off shipbuilder who attempts to swim the channel, which will get its first screenings at the Edinburgh International Festival. But the cold waters of Scotland and Ireland were a far-cry from the warm sea of New Zealand where he learnt to surf.
He said: "The lochs were freezing. The actual swimming was in the Irish Sea, which was the coldest water I've ever been in. I like to surf, so I'm in the water quite a lot, but it was shockingly cold.
"When I jumped off the side of the boat, the guys were preparing me and I thought, 'it can't be that cold.'
"They said, 'When you first get in, just hold onto the boat' and I said, 'Okay' but when you get in you virtually forgot what was going on, it was so cold. You blanked out for about five seconds. And then you had to shoot it very quickly because you can't stay in too long."
"So, it was always very annoying if something went wrong with the camera because once you came out, you couldn't go back in again for three or four hours.
Despite the chill factor, however, Boyd, unlike co-star Peter Mullan, decided against a stunt double. The 36-year-old said: "Mullan had a double who had actually swum the channel... but I reckon I could beat him over a couple of hundred yards."
The water may have been cool but Billy's costume certainly wasn't. His character spends part of the film wearing his girlfriend's pink knickers. But Billy said it was anything but pants.
He said: "It's kind of weird. We actually tried four different knicker choices. It was written as a G string and I didn't think a G string was funny. And then we had big underwear and it ended up with those ones, which I think are kind of funny and quite sexy... and match my hair perfectly."
And the star was certainly in the pink to find he was filming on home turf.
"I really enjoyed it," he said. "One of the great things was that we filmed some of it in Glasgow and I've just moved back, so it meant I could go home at night. I was thinking about it, and I don't think I've ever worked in Glasgow before.
Billy also hopes that the film will help put his home town on the map for the right reasons.
He said: "Let's make more movies in Glasgow. I think I'm at my happiest in Scotland. I like travelling around but it's nice to know you've got somewhere to go home at night."
"I like what the director Gaby Dellal did with the film. She made Glasgow beautiful. I think a lot of movies have focussed on Glasgow's seedier side and the people get stereotyped. Glasgow's got this sort of 'mean city', gangster and gangs reputation and it's nice to see it shown in a different light."
On a Clear Day premieres at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on August 20.