Skins series 2 trailer, Director: Neil Gorringe. Art director: Alice Tonge. Production designers: Carl Sprague and Skyhook. Production company: 4Creative.
Skins, the Channel 4 teen drama series which is guaranteed to make you feel that your own adolescence was extremely banal and provincial, is back with a second series next month, and its return is marked by this moody, cinematic trailer. The film is directed by Neil Gorringe, who was also behind the first trailer for the programme, yet in contrast to the upbeat, party atmosphere of that trail, this one suggests that the lives of the Skins protagonists have got very dark indeed. CR talked to Gorringe about making the film.
CR: What was the brief from the programme makers?
NG: I was told that the second series was going to be a bit darker than the first one. More introspective, less recklessly hedonistic… without being moralistic, but looking at the effect of all the hedonism. Without giving anything away, quite a few things happen in the second series that give it a more sombre tone.
CR: How did you set about reflecting that in the film?
NG: I was keen to not just do another campaign where they were all having a party, I wanted to do something to suggest this darker tone. But I didn’t want to have no party at all… I wanted to suggest that they’re a bit distracted from it this time though, and questioning it. The house is falling apart – cracks are starting to show in their world. That’s the metaphor I was going for, and it’s a fairly obvious one. In the first series trail the style of it was very loose and handheld. I wanted this one to seem more dream-like and surreal, and more considered. This pushed it towards a very cinematic style.
CR: Was it a complicated shoot?
NG: It was complicated in that there were lots of in-camera special effects, I wanted it to be as much in-camera as possible. We worked with Machine Shop, who built a set where they rigged the cracks for real, and rigged them so they could be reset and done again. There was lots of water pouring down the walls and dust everywhere. There was a series of blokes pulling bits of string and throwing down water and dust, which got into lots of people’s eyes. There were no deaths though! All the effects were finessed at MPC but pretty much everything you see is real.
CR: How did the actors react to all that?
NG: It was on a much bigger scale than the first trailer and they were well up for it. They liked the first one so they trusted that we were going to do something good. One of the leads, Nicholas Hoult, had to lie under water for two days – one day for the on-air and another day for the off-air poster shoot. By the end of the second day his eyes had gone strangely bloodshot, but he didn’t complain.
CR: How did you choose Radiohead’s Nude track to accompany the trail? Did you have it in mind all along?
NG: We had some vague ideas during the shoot, but didn’t know. There was a certain amount of pressure as the Gossip track on the first trail had worked so well and became very associated with the programme. So a lot of people were asking about it. In the end I listened to about 300 tracks and finally I tried Nude by Radiohead, and it immediately worked really well.