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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 April, 2005, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Film-making pair's Galaxy quest
By Caroline Westbrook
BBC News entertainment reporter

Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith
Jennings (left) and Goldsmith are known for their music videos

For Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith, the shift into movies represents a natural career progression.

As founders of the company Hammer and Tongs, the pair have spent more than a decade making TV commercials and title sequences, as well as pop videos for artists including Badly Drawn Boy, Supergrass, REM and Fatboy Slim.

But bringing Douglas Adams' vision to the screen - and staying faithful to the source material - represented a whole new challenge for Jennings and Goldsmith, who make their feature debut on the project.

"When we started we were aware there were loads of fans of Hitchhiker's like us," Jennings says.

"But when you start making it you become obsessed with how you're going to tell this story.

"Then you come out the other end and you realise how gigantic the project is," he adds.

Starstruck

Despite the scale of the production, neither Jennings nor Goldsmith felt as though they were working on a huge movie, since Disney - the studio behind the project - took a step back and left them to get on with the business of film-making.

"They told us they wanted a film which was like an import to Hollywood, rather than a big Hollywood film," Goldsmith explains.

However, he's prepared for the possibility that not all Hitchhiker's devotees will be quite as pleased with the film as they are.

"People will inevitably be disappointed," he says. "With something like this, you're not going to please everyone - it's just not a possibility.

ęDISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
With something like this, you're not going to please everyone - it's just not a possibility
Hitchhiker's producer Nick Goldsmith

"But we're proud of what we've done, we enjoyed the process of making it. The fact all the people who worked with you on it enjoyed it, that's important," adds Goldsmith.

However, the pair admit that when it came to working with some of the film's more famous cast members, they were more than a little starstruck.

"It was daunting meeting John Malkovich," says Jennings.

"Before you meet the people, you have them on this pedastal and you have this image of them being extraordinary.

And then you go in, and within 30 seconds they've disarmed you, because they're just like you - which is a great art, because they're not really," he adds.

"But Malkovich was so up for sending himself up and putting on a wig that made him look like some dodgy Art Garfunkel character," says Jennings.

Enjoying attention

"He had the fiddliest job in the film with all the mechanics involved in him having metal legs and taking his eyes out. But he was great."

Jennings is quick to admit that having such an experienced cast on his directorial debut was invaluable.

"I don't think either of us could have got through it without those people," he says. "If we'd had to work to get something out of them it would have been a very different film."

Currently, the pair are working on their second film, an 80s-set comedy about two youngsters who attempt to film a sequel to the Sylvester Stallone blockbuster Rambo armed with only their father's camcorder.
Zooey Deschanel, Stephen Fry, Martin Freeman and Billy Nighy
Zooey Deschanel, Stephen Fry, Martin Freeman and Billy Nighy attended the screening

But for now Jennings and Goldsmith are enjoying all the attention that goes hand in hand with working on a project as big as Hitchhiker's - even if that attention does involve them being mistaken for other people at times.

"We were on the blue carpet at the premiere," says Jennings, "and this woman leaned forward and asked me 'how does it feel playing the most ordinary Englishman in the universe and how was it working with Ricky Gervais?'"

"I had to point out that she had the wrong person - the one she wanted was about a foot shorter and was standing somewhere else."


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