Film director Roger Spottiswoode reveals the inside story of his movie ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ and how shooting with Sony Alpha cameras helped him to get the 4K results he wanted
Just days before the recent royal premiere of his movie ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ film director Roger Spottiswoode took some time out to give an exclusive interview to The Video Mode about the genesis of the film and how it was shot. The picture is based on the best-selling book by street busker James Bowen, which recounts the true story of how his struggle to beat a drug addiction and piece his life back together was helped by his friendship with a remarkable cat, who he named Bob. In fact, the real Bob plays himself in the film!
Roger Spottiswoode is a film industry veteran with credits that include editing Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Straw Dogs’, co-writing the smash hit Eddie Murphy comedy ’48 Hrs.’ and directing the James Bond movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. He was taken with the ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ project and reveals, ‘We brought in cats and we started with that and then found, very quickly, that [shooting] in Covent Garden there are so many people, and it’s so uncontrollable, that the only cat that was calm, focused and workable [there] was Bob [himself].’
An unusual story
Roger Spottiswoode adds, ‘It’s an unusual story, which is very ‘London’, of this guy James Bowen and this cat that helped him when he was pretty well on his last legs. He’d been homeless for 10 or 15 years, living on the streets, and was in bad shape, doing heroin and on methadone and it wasn’t working of course. It’s thoroughly unusual that he’s around, which is wonderful; the cat’s around and you can still see that relationship – it’s a really remarkable thing.’
The movie was shot in 4K with two Arri Alexas and a variety of Sony Alpha cameras, with the 4K footage being recorded to external Atomos monitor/recorders. Roger Spottiswoode explains, ‘This [Sony] camera system was a really important part of finding a way to tell this story honestly. It was two Alexas and five Sony a7R IIs and one [Sony] a7s [Mark] I. These little Sonys are small and inconspicuous but they’re just as good [as Alexas for shooting] – we tested them endlessly beforehand and we knew that it [the footage] would all cut together. We were able to have more of them and shoot at the cat’s level, discreetly, maybe two inches from the ground.’
Watch the full interview…
To watch the full interview with director Roger Spottiswoode discussing ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ just click on the video window at the top of this article. You can also click on the video window in the middle of the article to view the official trailer of ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’. The movie is showing in UK cinemas from 4 November 2016 onwards and in US cinemas from 18 November 2016.