David Knight - 7th Sept 2015

Mark Locke rises to the challenge presented by Ten Benson's new single, reviving the spirit of the low-budget American B-movie in the unlikely setting of modern-day West Midlands, with Mud Man. 

It's a comic-tragic tale of an impressive man of mud, taking in the kebab shops, petrol stations and discos of an English town, and meeting universal indifference, before finding his spiritual home at a fun, and very muddy party.

In characteristic fashion Mark Locke, returning after a lengthy layoff from making videos, has conjured a very entertaining piece on limited resources. He was certainly aided by the fairly fearsome presence of Ten Benson, themselves on the comeback trail - their rock and roll is as down and dirty as the video.

MARK LOCKE:

"With a practically non-existent budget Mud Man himself was a tricky one. 'Just painting a guy with mud', which got suggested, would've obviously been a logistical nightmare, so it ended up being a mix of approaches.

"First off we made sure we cast the perfect guy, who had more than a bit of 70s Hulk about him - like Lou Ferrigno's gone to shit, literally. Then we had a surprisingly cheap custom gimp suit made for him in China (we had to cut the cock off) which was painstakingly layered with paper and latex by our make up artist, Jennie. That was painted and touched up with make up and real mud on set, and then we did a fair bit of CGI 'beauty' work at the end, which I'm hugely grateful to The Mill for.

"The shoot was a manic day with the band and then lots of little bits spread across a few weeks, with a teeny crew. Quite a lot of it in live situations, which was something to behold in a small, redneck town. People in the nightclub didn't quite know what to make of it, so just pulled his wig off. The all-night garage called the police cos they thought we were terrorists. And others just didn't bat an eyelid. For the kebab scene we were outside their shop with this six foot guy made of mud, mud all over the pavement, and they didn't even come out to ask what was happening.

"The whole thing was a filthy business..."

"The most memorable moment was probably the generator running out of fuel for the swamp scene. We were miles from anywhere in a real bog, and our gaffer had to leave us in the mud to go and get petrol. The longer you stood there, the lower you sank, but you couldn't move cos it was so dark you couldn't see anything. I was holding the camera at that point and started to lose all sense of where the ground was and my relation to it, like a weird vertigo feeling, but pulling a welly out would need such force you'd definitely fall over. He was probably only gone about half an hour, but it seemed like a lifetime.

"The whole thing was a filthy business. I got really good at mixing mud to the right consistency, using my hands instead of a stick for quickness. And you should've seen the state of my car by the end of it. There's some Polish valeters in town who'll usually tackle anything, but even they told me to fuck off."

Credits

DirectorMark Locke
ProducerMark Locke
ProducerAdam Hearnden
Production ManagerAdam Hearnden
Director of PhotographyPaul Ullah
GafferDavid Ridley
Hair & Make-upJennie Hall
LabelDitto Music
Production CompanyFortMark
ColouristJim Bracher
Grading companyThe Mill
Post production companyThe Mill
Post ProducerPaul Mosley
VFXJohn Thornton
CastThomas Zefman Stringer (Mud Man)
CommissionerUncle Benson
EditorStuart Key
Other creditsB/C Camera: Adam Smith, Adam Hearnden Best Boy: Stuart Crumpton Chief Mud Wranglers: Kate Thompson, Gareth Jones Production Assistants: Marie-Anne Butler, Rachel Collins, Soley Hendry, Shivani Parmer, Debbie Blackburn, Jaye Coulson 2D Assistants: Brad Wood, Jeanette Eiternes Stills: Mark Blackburn @ Priory Photography Chip Shop Girls: Keasha Mccalla, Nola Mardenborough Toilet Guy: Lewis Mosley Fas

David Knight - 7th Sept 2015

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