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Behind the Scenes of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

With Director Garth Jennings and Producer Nick Goldsmith


Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

© Touchstone Pictures
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After viewing just about all your previous work (videos, commercials, shorts) on the Tongsville website, I must say that you seem to be the exact perfect match for Douglas Adams' sensibilities. Without unduly gushing, you two are geniuses at creating hysterical and original art on a shoestring budget. (E.g., the Wanadies videos, especially Big Fan). So now to my big question: Do you feel that having a big budget altered the way your sensibilities manifest themselves, or at least made you reorganize your accustomed creative processes? Was it a whole new experience, or just the same thing writ large?

GARTH: Thanks for your kind words. If we had keys to the city of Tongsville we would certainly give them to you! Although we had a much bigger budget than anything you would normally be given to make a music video it was relative to the scale of the production. We didn’t have to change the way we work, if anything, it was often more hands-on than our previous productions. We brought all of our usual crew with us too. Production designer, D.O.P, composer, costume etc. so it was pretty much business as usual.

NICK: The weird thing is that in all the work we have ever done, there never seems to be enough money, from the smallest job, to a huge feature film. It seems that with us, whatever you give us to make the thing, we will squeeze it dry for everything its got. The great thing is that when you financially come across a hurdle it forces you to come up with a more creative way to solve it.

A lot of directors now document and prepare their DVD work alongside the creation of the movie. We’ve also seen directors like Del Toro and Jackson release very different versions of their films on DVD than what was released in the theatres. What has your team done in preparation for the DVD release and how has this impacted the creation of the theatrical film?

GARTH: Ah ha! We had lots of fun working DVD extras out. We planned things very early on, like having Grant Gee direct his own making of/behind the scenes/round-the-bend film and a ton of great bits and bobs we made ourselves along the way (but we won’t tell you about them yet.) If things continue as well as they seem to be going, then I think the theatrical release will be the directors cut – or at least a cut that director is extremely happy with. I have rarely seen a directors cut I liked more than the original – have you?

NICK: I like the idea that when we release the DVD, you get the actual film as the bonus DVD. We have filmed a lot of extras!

What have been your favourite parts of the production (funny moments involving the cast, favourite scene to film etc) so far?

GARTH: I’ve loved the entire process. Except for all the annoying bits. And getting food poisoning. And the conference calls! I hate conference calls. I find it very difficult to tell if people are listening or they’ve popped out for a wee. It’s been very hard but extremely rewarding work so far. I hope I still feel the same when it’s all over. Favourite moments so far include; cycling along the canal to Hensons and designing Vogons with them late into the night, storyboarding the movie on our boat, waking up to find new pages from Karey, seeing Warwick bring Marvin to life, Martin & Zooeys’ screen test, the day they finished the Heart of Gold set, testing Zaphod’s 2nd head, dragging Mos Def by his ankles across the floor during the Magrathean missile sequence, seeing the 2nd unit’s mice footage, listening to Joby playing the overture on his piano, watching Sam Rockwell dance on Viltvodle 6, Bill Nighy, driving a golf cart down the corridor of Elstree Studios and being chased by the Big Brother security team, the first assembly… I could go on forever. But then again, I could probably write an equally long list for all the irritating things that happened too!

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"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" Q&A courtesy of Touchstone Pictures. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" will hit theaters on

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