Marriage of convenience: Marshall and Bishop, the men behind man ‘A Few Best Men’

Kris Marshall, left and Kevin Bishop
Kris Marshall, left and Kevin Bishop
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ALBERTINA Lloyd talks to Marshall and Bishop, likely lads behind the latest genre wedding comedy that has become all the rage.

Wedding comedies have practically become a film genre all of their own. And it’s no surprise - with all the traditions and the emotion that goes into the average big day, there’s so much potential for humour.

From Four Weddings And A Funeral to Bridesmaids, audiences have been rolling in aisles over people walking down the aisle for years.

A Few Best Men is a wedding comedy with a culture-clash twist. British lads Graham, Tom and Luke accompany their best mate David to Australia, where he is planning to tie the knot with an Aussie girl he fell in love with on holiday.

The trio are probably the worst people anyone would want to be representing them on their big day, but orphan David doesn’t really have a choice.

Kris Marshall and Kevin Bishop play brash, reckless Tom and uptight, geeky Graham.

In real life, the pair are old friends and, though they joke that they hated living together in Australia while filming, it was clearly as fun as the film looks.

“I think they regretted it in the long run because it was basically me and Kris living together in Bondi beach”, says Bishop, smirking.

Neither actor is on his best behaviour today; they’re constantly joking amongst themselves and setting each other off into fits of giggles.

They’re very different from their characters, though. Marshall seems quiet, and even manages to be serious at times, sitting arms folded and peering through thick-rimmed spectacles.

Bishop, with blonde streaks in his hair, shows off his dark tan in lurid shorts. They both agree it’s easy to make weddings funny.

“It’s a high-pressure situation”, muses Marshall. “It’s one of those things like funerals, weddings...”

“Bar mitzvahs!” Bishop butts in.

“All your friends are there, all your family”, Marshall goes on. “Everything’s got to go right, nothing can go wrong. And one thing you can’t control is the groom’s mates.”

The film is directed by The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert’s Stephan Elliot, and it’s the first movie he’s made back in his homeland after spending 17 years in Britain.

A Few Best Men, written by Death At A Funeral’s Dean Craig, combines the humour of the two cultures, while paying homage to the beautiful Australian landscape.

Things start to go wrong for the jet-lagged lads not long after they touch down. But the disasters that ensue are by no means predictable.

The father-of-the-bride is an ambitious politician with a pet sheep called Ramsay, who has become his lucky mascot.

After taking the groom out drinking on his last night of freedom, the friends wake up on the day of the wedding to discover they have kidnapped Ramsay.

Things don’t get any better when the sheep eats something that they really need to get back in a hurry. Marshall and Bishop had to get extremely intimate with Ramsay as they wrestle him and try to retrieve it.

“There were two rams,” explains Bishop.

“One was a homicidal maniac and we never used him again because he tried to kill us all in the rehearsal. But there was another one, who was also a little bit crazy.”

There was a sheep trainer on hand to control the animals, but there wasn’t really much advice he could give in regard to straddling it naked and sticking a hand up its behind. “He told us to just hold its horns and hang on basically. These things are about 200 pounds, they’re not small,” Marshall reveals.

“I didn’t actually have my hand up it...” Bishop adds in mock reassurance. “We managed to make it look like that.”

Another big surprise in the film is Olivia Newton-John as the mother-of-the-bride.

The Grease star is certainly no Sandra Dee in this role, which sees her snort cocaine, swing off chandeliers and get all of the guests doing the YMCA.

According to Marshall and Bishop, she was great fun to work with.

“She was like our on-set mother,” raves Marshall.

“She kept giving us snacks and made sure we were well fed. She’s an amazing woman.”

Bishop adds: “She’s exactly like you would want her to be.

“If you think about her career and what she’s done and everything.

“And when I was going to meet her I was thinking, ‘I hope she’s not a real crazy diva, like people that famous really are’.

“But she was just really lovely. I played tennis with her.”

Marshall and Bishop are both comedy pros. Marshall made his name on BBC sitcom My Family, which also saw Bishop make an appearance as his sister Janey’s boyfriend, ‘Stupid Brian’.

“I just enjoy comedy,” says Bishop, who has won awards for his sketch show Star Stories.

“It’s great fun. It’s nice to mix it up and do different things. But yeah, most of my work is comedy.”

Marshall agrees. “Mine too, actually,” says the actor, whose notable film roles include Richard Curtis’s Love Actually.

“It wasn’t always like that. I used to do a lot of drama.”

For some reason, despite their professional backgrounds, Marshall and Bishop have never been a best man in real life. “I’ve never been asked, which I think is a mistake from all my friends,” jokes Bishop.

“So if you see this any of you, you could have had a really great speech, but you went for Dan instead, which is fine I’m over it!” he adds dramatically. “I’ve never been a best man either,” says Marshall. But, based on his character’s experience, he does have some advice for anybody who is taking on the job.

“I would say, on the stag do, don’t go to sleep first...”

A Few Best Men is released tomorrow