My brother told me about “The Man Who Walked Around the World,” a 2009 long form commercial for Johnnie Walker that was part of their Keep on Walking campaign. It stars Robert Carlyle in a six minute single take. I am not a scotch drinker but I found Carlyle’s delivery of the story of the entrepreneurial Walker family very inspiring. In particular I liked this line:
And because there is nothing like a commercial proposition to stir the Scottish heart it quickly grew into an industry, filled with ambitious entrepreneur distillers.
Go ahead, watch the whole thing:
It really is a single take according to an interview with director Jamie Rafn: Behind Johnnie Walkers Walk
How many takes did you have to do to get the whole thing perfect?
The take that you have seen is the very last take we did at 8pm on the last day of the shoot. Take 40. The tension as we watched Robert do this take was unbelievable. It was such a good take at every stage and so the longer it went on without any fluffs the greater the pressure grew for nothing to go wrong. When he got to the end and I got to call cut there was this huge roar and applause from the crew and agency and I knew we had it.
Where was the film shot and what did the location add to the film?
It was shot near Loch Doyne in Scotland. The landscape is a huge part of it. It’s like another character. Its hauntingly beautiful up there and we were blessed with these lovely clouds that gave us this really lovely brooding look.
What was the most challenging element of the job?
By 5pm on day one we hadn’t managed to do one complete take. We therefore had nothing. We soon worked out that the reason for this was the huge bank of TV’s which we’d placed 2 meters in the wrong position. Robert was having to slow down his walking and speed up his talking in a way that was artificial and was throwing him. There was nothing we could do but rebuild the TV’s which meant wrapping and staring again the next day having achieved nothing on the first day. The following morning there were a lot of anxious faces and murmurings of “fixing it in post”. Then Robert turned up and did the very first take of the day in one. As I said – the man’s a genius.
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