Behind the scenes with Archie Bradfield on the making of his Face Cast for The Duchess of Malfi.
Archie Bradfield (my youngest) was one of two boys cast to play The Duchess of Malfi and Antonio’s son in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ at the New Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, The Globe, London back in 2012. This post shows you the process we had to go through to make the Face cast.
It has come to my attention that there are people out there who want to know what happens behind the scenes. It is not all rosy and glamorous. For a parent of a child actor, this was possibly one of the hardest things that I had to watch him go through.
About the process
Once the first casting had taken place and the boys were informed that they had the part, they had to have head casts made. There is a scene in the show in which a ‘fake body of the child’ is brought on to the stage to trick the Duchess. The production team were going all out to make this as realistic as possible.
This involved a visit to the props department where Archie and George (The other boy, who shared the role with Archie) each had a hand cast done followed by a full head cast. George went first with the head cast and was incredibly brave and had a successful cast made. Archie however had a panic attack when he opened his mouth allowing the mask inside… (now this wouldn’t have actually hurt him at all, however at the mere age of 7 who can blame him.) I do have a video of the first attempt, but I won’t post it because it truly is traumatic.
What this meant is that Archie had to go back a second time for another attempt. I will allow the photos to do the talking.
The making of the Head Cast – Take 2
Any parents worst nightmare is seeing your child’s face set in a cast to look like they have died. I personally will have this image haunt me for a long while. Archie thought it was really cool. From a Makeup Artist point of view though it is so clever how they make this sort of thing for films and TV. I have a real interest in the special effects for Film, Theatre and TV.
Top marks to the props department at The Globe. They really did an amazing job. I am only sorry we were not allowed to keep the head cast after the show had finished. It is the property of The Globe which I completely understand, however as a Mum I would hate to think of Archie’s head being shoved in a box somewhere?
Look out for more posts from The Duchess of Malfi to follow, including some behind the scenes photos with Archie and the Cast.