`What happens today forms the basis of the whole next section,’ explains Damian Lewis. `If this were a Hollywood pitch,’ he starts drawling in a Californian twang, `it’d be: “Girl meets boy. Boy falls in love with girl. Due to an old passionate bitterness, parents fight to keep them apart. It’s a Romeo and Juliet love story.”’ <…>
`Make-up takes at least an hour,’ he explains. `We start with adding the grey hair grain. Then they smear this glue all over my face. It’s a malleable film which creases around the eyes and mouth to give me deep crow’s feet and laughter lines. The prosthetic pinches my skin and makes me feel cranky and old - good because I can really believe I’m 60. Then we stick on the liver spots. It’s a subtle look with no comedy whiskers.’
Rupert Graves, 39, sitting next to Damian, starts moaning. `It’s alright for you. Have you seen the state of my moustache? It’s so bushy it’s curling up at the ends. The minute they give me clearance, I’m shaving it off.’
Rupert has also grown in size in order to be convincing as OAP Jolyon. `The glue round the eyes made me feel ancient, but my jaw line wasn’t right. So I’ve put on a stone to play Jolyon, to give myself a saggy jaw and paunch. I’m not looking forward to having to lose the weight though,’ he adds.
As we follow the boys into wardrobe, the gorgeous Gina McKee is already having the finishing touches added to her 1920s outfit. The only real evidence of time passing for Irene is her hair. `Well she’s only 55 after all,’ Gina explains, `so they’ve just added shades of grey along my hairline.’
It’s only the fifth day on set for Gina, who says, `I’ve hardly been here. I feel like the new girl. But there are so many of the same crew on board, which cuts out all that “getting to know you” business.’ Rupert chips in, `We’ve been spared the initial week of socialising. A great relief for my liver.’ <…>
We dutifully vacate the premises and join Rupert and Damian outside in the rain. Damian says he can’t wait to finish and go on a moped-riding holiday in India with his mates.
Rupert confesses he’s looking forward to saying farewell to the character of Jolyon, saying he’s not had a huge laugh playing a dying old man. Jolyon spends most of this series wrestling with heart disease and using all his energy persuading his son against a relationship with Fleur. The experience has given Rupert such an insight into ageing, he says, `I’m determined to grow old disgracefully.’
What both actors agree on, however, is how much of a laugh it’s been working together again. And at the end of a long wet day, as the cast wend their way back to the hotel, you get the feeling the fun’s just about to begin.
Damian says, `Most nights we all go out for drinks. The bulk of the shooting is in Manchester, so we’ve all been hanging out with the Man Utd players. The other night we saw Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt dancing with each other. Imagine that.’ <…>