The following narrative is from actress Penny Gibbs (Cedar Rapids, Transformers: Dark of the Moon) about her experience during the filming of Irvine Welsh‘s Ecstasy. Loons will recognize Penny from Basically Billy Boyd our sister website hosted by CFM Entertainment News. I could not resist adding headings to the sections.
PS. Don’t worry, Penny has returned to speaking normally and was able to walk on her own after hugging Billy. She is expected to recover fully.
Penny Gibbs with Billy Boyd during the filming of Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy. Photo courtesy Anthony George.
Irvine Welsh’s “Ecstasy” Starring Billy Boyd
“Ecstasy” is the incredible new film by award winning director, Rob Heydon and it is based on the book written by Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting. I was not only lucky enough to get an extra part on the film, but was also permitted to interview one of the stars,Billy Boyd from Lord of the Rings!
I was actually considering not going because of the bad weather we were having and December in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan can be pretty scary! But after I heard that Billy agreed to allow me to interview him for my web site, Basically Billy Boyd, I knew I had to get up there somehow.
I checked into extras holding and we sit for a few hours in a holding area with lots of hot coffee and snacks and pretty soon we are called in. I was in the last group of the 100 or so extras there to be placed and I thought I might be at the back of the church where we were filming our scene, but I ended up in the 3rd row.
Penny Sees Billy Boyd *think theme from 2001 A Space Odessy*
I had been told a week or so earlier that Billy was not in my scene so I wasn’t even looking for him. But after a while and shooting several times, I heard the people behind me talking about the front row having 3 movie stars in it, so I take a better look and lo and behold, there is the unmistakable back of Billy Boyd’s cute little head!! He is wearing a smart black suit.
After shooting a bit more, there is a slight lull while they change camera directions and Billy happened to look behind himself and spots me. He smiles a huge smile, waves and gets up to come back to my pew to see me. I start crawling over the people next to me to get to him and I get rewarded with a lovely hug and peck on the cheek. He tells me he knew I was going to be there and says we can do the interview after lunch, which would be fairly soon.
So after a few more takes, we break for lunch. I’m back at the holding area waiting because cast and crew always eat first, then the extras get their food last of all. I see Billy getting his food (sushi, as he told me he does not eat meat, just fish), and wearing a huge blue parka and a cute knit beanie now. He sees me and walks over to me. We chat for a while and he tells me that he knew that Elaine (my co-admin of Basically Billy Boyd) and my friend and fellow Honeybee (what fans of Beecake are called) Sandi were at Sunshine on Leith in England and he was waiting to see them as well, but he never found them. He told me he had 2 Sunshine on Leith programs signed by the entire cast for me! One was signed to me and the other one to auction for Jacks Tree Fund, a charity Elaine and I set up for his son, Jack, after he was born! He asked for my address, so I gave him my card and he said he will mail them to me when he gets home.
Then he insisted I eat too so I got some chili and he told me I can’t eat chili without crackers, so I added some crackers to it. Then he also got me a coffee! <3
Later, he introduced me to Rob Heydon, the director who was very nice. I had been in contact with Rob over the years regarding “Ecstasy”, but had never met him before. Billy talked to a of couple people and we set up for the interview in the green room, which unbeknownst to me, was where we were filming in the other building. So I start to lug my huge and heavy suitcase down towards some stairs and outside because it had my camera in it and I wasn’t thinking to just take my camera out of it (DOH) and Billy said, I’ll take that for you! And he schlepped my suitcase all the way for me!! <3
We have only 10 minutes for the interview but it went really well! Billy Boyd of course is a pro and I was an interview virgin. He made it so easy and fun, he even handled the introduction and closing for me!! Sadly, due to having to get back to set, I didn’t have time to ask most of my questions. I wanted to make the interview fun and interesting for him and wanted to ask him questions he hasn’t been asked a million times before. I had a few True and False questions, a speed round of other questions and so many things I wanted to ask him! I swear I never get enough time with that man! I’ll save the questions and hopefully I will get another go at him soon!
I think at one point he tried to distract me and mess me up when he started describing himself wearing a “really tight t-shirt” in Kill The Old, Torture The Young, a play he did and started to flex and yes, I started to drift off to that happy visual knowing how much I admire his lovely chest, but somehow found the strength to snap out of it and continue.
After the interview, we hugged again, I got a quick pic taken with him and we headed back to set. I impressed the other extras around me with my crying ability as we were asked to be very emotional for the eulogy done beautifully by Scottish actor, Adam Sinclair. So I may be seen crying sitting a couple rows behind Billy in the film! I realized that I have been a mourner in 5 films now! I think I have been typecast!
One of the extras I met told me that a couple of her male friends who are football players had to tackle Billy yesterday in a scene! Billy confirmed that with me as well!
When our scene is over and filmed in every possible direction, all the extras are thanked and released and Billy needed to leave to change for the next scene. I am asked along with 4 others to stay and do another little scene, which I think you will see me pretty well. I am taking communion from the minister who is actor Colin Mocrie from “Whose Line is it Anyway”, “The Drew Cary Show” and tons of other things.
But before Billy left, he came to say goodbye and I had him sign my ‘funeral program’ for me, more hugs and kisses and as he hugged me goodbye, he asked me to “please drive safely”
All in all, it was such a lovely experience, the cast and crew were professional and so friendly and I completely enjoyed myself! Thank you to all who helped me!!!
On our way home, the Canadian border guard was very interested in my reason for being in Canada after I inadvertently tried to bribe him with 3 American dollars! He asked me all about the movie, Billy, the BBB and asked me if I was someone famous!
Billy Boyd is every wonderful thing you have ever heard about him and more! Sweet, kind, sexy, funny, immensely talented and such a wonderful, gentle, good man and I am always so impressed with him.
I was invited by Rob to a special screening during TIFF and I got to finally see “Ecstasy“. Its always scary seeing a film you are excited to see, hoping you wont be let down, hoping one of the actors didn’t suck, hoping it doesn’t look lame. I can tell you this was such great film, incredibly acted by all actors, and beautifully shot by Rob. I was blown away! My communion scene was cut, but Rob focused on me for a few moments in the funeral scene! I not only was IN a movie with Billy Boyd, but in the same scene and frame!!!
Penny and Billy Boyd Party Like Rock Stars
I also attended the after parties and got to spend some time with Billy again.
We see Rob and a few of the E people standing outside the club and there was a long line of people waiting to get in. Rob is let in and we all follow. But then Rob is called back and we blindly follow everyone to the rooftop where a really lovely party was. It was such a beautiful night, stars, full moon, FREE BOOZE! As Laura, Jason and I found a nice corner booth we started to notice, that we didn’t recognize anyone! It turns out we were at the wrong party!! But it was so nice up there and I doubted Billy would be up this late anyway, so we hung around a bit. Eventually we slunk down the stairs and looked for the E group. I found them all in a corner of the lower level. No sign of Billy, but Rob and star, Adam Sinclair were there along with the other E folks!
So we hang around, my feet hurt and Ive had a few drinks and the 2 hours sleep I had is started to affect me, because I swear I see Billy Boyd making a beeline for us. Bless his heart, it was him! He comes right over to us and at last we have him all to ourselves!! He hugs and kisses us both again and I was shocked to hear his poor voice!! He was totally losing his voice, he sounded so horse. And then I tell him we had pizza for dinner and asked him what he had and he tells me he hasn’t eaten yet! I think he needs someone to look after him! Someone to make sure he eats and takes care of him. Yes, I volunteer!
My happy moment was standing next to him and I don’t even remember what we were talking about and he says “Finally someone who understands me!!!!!) and he grabs me, wraps his arms around me and hugs me! *dies*
Of course, I cannot think of all the things I want to ask him, but did manage to ask about his son, Jack (he started school last week and seems to really enjoy it!) No new projects in the works, just working on that album. He said they are working on the last 2 songs and they want to do a better tour. Not sure what he meant because I thought the East Coast tour in ’09 was incredible! Im hoping for the mid west tour this time! He just got in the day before and was still jet lagged, isn’t seeing Dom because Dom’s movie screens on the 15th and that’s when he’s leaving, he hasn’t seen Viggo, and isn’t going to see any TIFF films because he doesn’t have the time. I was too brain dead to ask what he was so busy doing. I did tell him I was in 2 films playing there and he seemed happy for me.
Eventually someone came over and tells him that Rob is looking for him. He stays with us a few more minutes and then leaves, more hugs and kisses thank you very much!
All in all I was again reinforced why I love this man so much and work so hard for him. He’s one of the sweetest, kindest, funniest, and talented (and handsome men) I have ever met.