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Stefan Pape talks taking television to the big screen with Iain Morris and Damon Beesley

The Inbetweeners Movie
19 August 2011

It seems that everyone is talking about the Inbetweeners movie. People are flooding to cinemas all over the UK, to watch the embarrassing and crude antics of Jay and Simon, and the snobbery of Will and thickness of Neil.

However, despite the spotlight being on the leading four characters, it seems that those who made the film have become the forgotten heroes somewhat. However, The Fan Carpet spoke to the writers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley about transforming the Inbetweeners from TV to the cinema, and the challenges they had to face along the way.

Director Ben Palmer and producer Christopher Young were also in attendance, to talk in length about everything and anything to do with the highly-successful, cult-followed group of lads, who have managed, despite their vulgarity, to earn a place in the hearts of the British audiences.



After much hard work and effort, you must all be very delighted with how the film has turned out?

Damon Beesley: We’ve been so wrapped up in making it, that I hadn’t had time to actually watch it, so when I finally got round to doing that I realised that, it actually looks like a film, and sounds like a film. So, I feel at the very least that it looks like a film, it’s a low ambition, but that for me was very enjoyable.


Was it tough writing the script for a feature length film after writing so many 20 minute episodes?

Damon Beesley: I think we were always very aware that it would be a difficult challenge, but it was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be.

Iain Morris: Also, we started writing a very rough draft before we did series three, so we were constantly bastardising the script for that series. For example, when Jay drives a motorbike into the wall, we thought that’s great, we can put that in the film. But then we realised we needed a good scene in the series and we had that sitting there, so when we came back to the script we had to pull a few jokes out and move it around a bit. It was difficult, but hopefully it’s gone alright.

Damon Beesley: Also, as it’s a film we felt we had to give it a bit more emotional depth.

Iain Morris: Not that much…

Damon Beesley: Yeah, don’t take a box of Kleenex with you.

Iain Morris: Some people are comparing it to the Tree of Life, but it’s not for us to say.

Damon Beesley: But we had obviously written some scenes that aren’t as joke-heavy as the TV show, which was terrifying for us, and a bit of a leap of faith.

Iain Morris: You can use that as a headline if you like. “Not as joke-heavy.”

Ben Palmer: We always had a lot of those big set-pieces throughout the series but it seems as though the film has got one after the other, they escalate up until the finale.

Damon Beesley: The finale on the boat was pretty challenging, as, just to make it even harder for Ben, we decided to do it in the winter.

Christopher Young: Winter for summer was quite a tricky thing to do, lots of half naked people on the boat freezing themselves to death.

Damon Beesley: The end result is amazing though, knowing what happened.

Iain Morris: We didn’t use these, but there were some takes where it literally went from the sky to the sea, sky to sea, because we couldn’t get the camera steady! So yeah, definitely logistical challenges as well as script challenges in making this film.


In terms of the plot, how much of your own experiences of lads holidays are in this?

Iain Morris: I think there are quite a few things that everyone will recognise. Things that happen abroad on every lads holiday, like falling out with your friends. We always get the four guys in beforehand as well, and they give us thoughts and ideas. Blake’s (Harrison) younger brother went on holiday just before we were writing and came up with some great ideas and thoughts, and James Buckley also had some great ideas. So there’s lots of stuff thrown in there.
Damon Beesley: People always tell you about what happened on their lad’s holiday, and it tends to be stuff that you think, we couldn’t possibly put that in a film. Unbelievably offensive.


The characters are always doing outrageous things, has there ever been anything, in the series or film, that you’ve written into the scripts and the characters have just said no?

Iain Morris: After series one, we got an idea who would do what. There’s a scene in the film where James Buckley and Joe Thomas are downing pints while there is a lit trail of toilet paper between them, and you have to down the pint before putting the fire out, and we just knew it had to be them. We thought, Blake is too sensible, and Simon Bird can’t drink fizzy drinks. So that narrowed down who could do it.

Damon Beesley: It was touch and go whether we could get Simon on a boat because he suffers from terrible motion sickness. In the series, we wrote a scene where Will goes on a rollercoaster. He went round once, got off, wasn’t sick, but looked green. Said he wasn’t doing it again, we said do it again, so he got on again, crawled off this time and literally on his hands and knees, vomited and then the Thorpe Park nurse came and saw him and sent him home for the day. He did go on the boat though and was very good.

Christopher Young: Damon and Iain are very good at not hearing the word “no” though. I don’t think either of them have ever heard anyone say no to anything, and it gets done.

Ben Palmer: Poor Joe gets bullied the most.

Damon Beesley: Don’t use the ‘B’ word… Encouraged would be better!

Ben Palmer: Yes, encouraged to do things that perhaps the others boys wouldn’t do. I think we’ve had lots of conversations with Joe, that usually go along the lines of, “its going to be easier if you don’t wear a flesh coloured thong…Will you just do it for real?” Christopher Young: You tend to know when they are doing something they don’t want to do, because you hear Ben saying, “This is what we are going to do…” That is always the prelude to either something they know they are about to do, or they’ve said they’re not going to do.

Damon Beesley: I must say though, they are brilliant at understanding what lengths you have to go to, to get the great laughs, and I think that because they’ve all got such great comic instinct, they’re all prepared to do that, and they do it brilliantly, which will be a big reason why its such a success because of their commitment.



Were any of you surprised at the success of the show?

Iain Morris: We’ve been very lucky, because we wrote it for ourselves, and we’ve ended up being stupidly lucky and charmed. If we genuinely thought the show would be successful, we wouldn’t have set it in a sixth form with actors who are getting older all the whole time; we would have had it going for a hundred series.


Do you feel quite sentimental and emotional it’s come to and end?

Iain Morris: One of the worst moments we had recently, or actually the best one, we were doing a sound dub and we played the very last song, which is the theme tune to the series, and we all had a tear in our eyes and started crying. It had been a long week but it was still pretty weird. Although I cry at anything.

Damon Beesley: Didn’t you cry to that Public Enemy video just before your wedding?

Iain Morris: Yeah.


Were you at all worried about transforming the show from TV to the movies – because sometimes it doesn’t always work?

Iain Morris: I think there has been quite a good hit rate recently. In the Loop was fantastic, the Thick of it film. Really brilliant I think. I watched the Simpsons film the other day as well, which I thought was brilliant. South Park film is pretty good. I think its even half as good or popular as any of those three films we’ll be pretty lucky.


You’ve said that much of the Inbetweeners is based on your own experiences. Do you think you’ll ever do anything else that’s so personal to you?

Damon Beesley: Probably yes, I think it’s almost inevitable because that’s how we write. Looking back over it, it does just seem like an awful lot of crushingly embarrassing things that happened to Iain and myself over the years, and I think it’s how you process those things and I think the way we’ve always done it, is to see the funny side of what a colossal loser you are.



The Inbetweeners Movie Information Page