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Stampede! Stephen Frears Captures Mad English Cows in "Tamara Drewe"

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Stampede! Stephen Frears Captures Mad English Cows in "Tamara Drewe"

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Stephen Frears might be one of the more accomplished filmmakers going, with a resume as varied as "The Queen" and "The Grifters." But he's not going to be prouder of one key scene in "Tamara Drewe"  -- a pivotal cattle stampede in the England countryside.

Yes, that's right. A cattle stampede in the English countryside.

PopcornBiz was so impressed with this scene, no doubt a first in film, that we had to ask the famed director the burning question -- what's his directorial method of working with cows?

"You are speaking to one of the only living directors who's done a cattle drive and a stampede," he told us, adding jokingly, "I think you should be more respectful."

"Clint (Eastwood) hasn't done any of these things."

Apologies were hastily made of course. And the question was changed to -- how did Frears manage to move the cows in the scene so effectively?

"It was well thought out," he told us. "I'm really proud of it."

The director and his crew had to find the perfect piece of terrain near their British set of the often madcap comedy (which opened Friday) starring the lovely Gemma Arterton as the title character.

The filmmakers set it up so that the running cows were worked into a bottleneck of fencing so as to be kept painstakingly under control. It looks very much like the cattle are running wild in the film, but in fact, they were very much under supervision during the filming.

It looks simple. But the key scene required a great deal of planning. We can't disclose why the scene is so pivotal, but it all worked exceedingly well in the end. And no one could be prouder than Frears.

Just ask him, like we did. Was he pleased?

"I was absolutely knocked out by it," he retorted, surprised by the question. "It's like asking Cecil B. DeMille, 'Did you like parting the Red Sea?' I think it was fantastic."
 

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