I have been away for the last year in China; a country in which public nudity is definitely not tolerated. I have been out of touch with my nudist friends and had hardly any opportunity to get naked. As a result I have had very little to blog about. Upon returning to the UK I was keen to strip off as soon as I got here and fortunately fate gave me a very interesting opportunity.
S4C have recently begun filming a screen adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ play Under Milk Wood”. They contacted some of the organizers of the Cardiff to help them find up to 50 people willing to appear naked in the film. Having been involved in three of the rides, I was among the people asked about this. The filming for the nude scene was due to take place a little over a day after I landed back in the UK. It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
The filming for Under Milk Wood was taking place in the tiny village of Solva, in Pembrokeshire. The cast included a number of Welsh celebrities, although the only one I recognised who was present for this day of filming was Charlotte Church.
There were about 20 nudists who turned up for the filming. A group of life models had offered to get involved, but pulled out because the film company were only offering a token payment to the participants, which was much less than extras would usually be offered for nude work. The token payment did not deter those of us who were participating for the fun of it, but it did raise issues later on about the way in which our willingness to do nude work for peanuts impacts on those who are trying to earn a living through nude work.
Upon arriving at Solva we were told that it would be necessary for us to wear flesh coloured modesty pouches, to protect the sensibilities of any bystanders. At first the costume department insisted that women also needed to wear nipple covers, but hardly anyone bothered putting them on and the rest of the crew didn’t try to enforce the requirement.
Our first stop was the makeup building, where some people where decorated with swirls of blue paints, whilst most of us were given a fake tattoo, depicting a trident. Most of the girls, a group of 6 younger women, had camped nearby, but had all arrived a bit late, so there was not enough time for make-up to give many women swirls.
At first the weather was wonderful. It was hot and sunny and we were happy to be naked, but the film crew insisted that we cover up with towels and dressing gowns between takes, in case any walkers came along the coastal paths. Those who did come along mostly just wanted to stop and watch. We walked down the coastal paths towards the town, whilst the camera crew filmed blurred shots of naked bodies.
We then moved to the main set, where the rest of the cast and crew could be found.
SPOILER WARNING: this may give away a tiny bit about what takes place in this upcoming film of Under Milk Wood. Not a lot, but it is only fair to warn you.
The scene we were in was some sort of dream sequence, in which villagers all gathered at the chapel, many in nighties and pyjamas, but many more naked, or in underwear. There a woman (Mary-Anne Sailors) transforming between her old and young self and leading them into the chapel.
We were allowed to remove the modesty pouches and “twat triangles”, as they had come to be called, although half the women were given bloomers to wear. A screen was set up to prevent spectators from seeing the set, although the walkers on the far headland could see us clearly and a surprising number seemed to have binoculars.
Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and we found ourselves standing in the wind and the rain, shivering with cold, waiting for the rain to lighten enough to try to film the scene. At which point any coverings where removed and we became a whole lot colder.
Despite the weather it was a fun experience, and one which we all enjoyed being involved in. The cast and crew were all very easy to get on with. The actors were not at all bothered by all the naked bodies and would chat quite happily with us. Charlotte Church was lovely, bright, easy going and extremely down to earth. She didn’t want to be treated any differently from the other actors and was repeatedly refusing any special favours. When meeting a celebrity, you never know what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised.