Amanda is young, carefree and in love. However, things get complicated when she meets Gemma – young, determined and not about to be walked over by anyone. As different a pair of girls as you could find, they do have one thing in common: their boyfriend. When they discover for just how long their beloved Brian has been cheating on them, they agree that he deserves to be taught a lesson. But they are about to find out how deeply he has his claws into them – and how close adversity is about to bring them together…
This film is based on a true story: a friend of mine turned up at her boyfriend’s house at the exact time as his other girlfriend. Obviously not a great moment for her, but one brimming with visual potential. The true story ended ‘…I went home and she stayed to have a chat with him,’ but it did occur to me that there might have been other possibilities. A Hand in the Bush explores one of these…
It turned out to be an excellent vehicle for two actresses with very different physical and vocal qualities. In looking for any kind of motivation for Brian’s duplicity (beyond pure greediness), I felt it would make sense if he felt he was getting the best of both worlds in two completely different girlfriends. When Brian eventually makes his presence known, it almost feels as though he is caught in the middle of them, rather than stringing them both along indefinitely.
The location offered plenty of opportunities to put in subtle visual (and later audio) allusions to the situation they find themselves in; the fact we were using a house next to a major bus route turned out to be a particular asset, though the cast were immensely patient as they walked through the opening repeatedly until the bus drivers got their act together and co-ordinated themselves properly.
It was a pleasant spring day, the birds were singing, there were people out walking and the foliage was fresh and untamed. Including bushes. There were lots and lots of bushes. The bushes came before the title, in fact, which was originally A Bird in the Hand, but A Hand in the Bush is a more accurate analysis of what is happening in the story. It also sounds a bit filthy, which I like, even if it does mean people will want to watch the film for wrong reasons and those people will probably be disappointed. (I’m sure one of the many possible endings for the story is a filthy one. This is not that film.)
The fact that we filmed it as the Royal Wedding was taking place adds another nice little counterpoint in this anti-romantic yet perversely romantic comedy drama. Of course, 2 billion people watched the Royal Wedding on TV and I doubt very much that A Hand in the Bush can compete, but it does have the following going for it:
1. The music is more original.
2. It is shorter.
3. Two brides are better than one.
James Lark, 2013