The Age of Steel/Rise of the Cybermen Behind the Scenes (Part One)
Excerpts from Jason Arnopp’s behind-the-scenes article from DWM #370
Bringing Cybermen on-set triggers an obvious learning curve. This first becomes apparent during a scene in which Rose runs for one of the ballroom exits, only to bump into some relentlessly marching Cybes.
Thing is, these men-in-suits can’t see exactly when to stop and Billie really does bump into them. “Oops,” she winces, lightly shaking one hand. “They’re really hard.”
In another take, the lead cyborg topples backwards like a knight in armour, threatening some kind of Cyber-domino collapse.
“There’s a real danger of us trampling each other,” David admits to Graeme. The director readily agrees and takes extra-special care to bark “Cut!” at the optimum moment.
Further difficulties arise when the circle of Cybermen tightens on the guests. Besides the unpredictability of people running around petrified, the Doctor and Rose have to thread their way through the melee. Tension before the take is only slightly dissipated by a sneeze inside one Cyber-head…
Graeme makes a request: “As the Cybermen go in, can they raise their arms? Because that’s how they’re gonna kill people.”
“We can’t get touched, obviously, cos we’d die,” David calls back. He thinks it over further. “If we do get touched, shall we die?”
As it happens, he and Billie don’t make it through the circle. They end up squashed in the middle of everyone, with Cyber-hands very much grabbing them. The Doctor and Rose meet a horrendous demise.
Watching as the Cybermen reposition themselves around the party guests, Billie and David show genuine admiration for the supporting artists’ commitment.
“Those poor guests are carrying real champagne glasses, aren’t they?” ponders Billie, like a concerned parent.
“Yes,” marvels David. “And phials of the ebola virus…”
The rest of my behind-the-scenes photosets are available here