Риск Шарпа. Интервью с Дарой О'Мэлли
When severe weather conditions hit rural India during the filming of Sharpe’s Peril Daragh O’Malley was in the line of fire.
"It was a seething hot day then out of the blue there was a mini tornado in the middle of the village where we were filming," he recalls.
"It wrecked part of the set and sent a tent pole flying into my face. Luckily my head is so thick it bounced off! I was taken to an amazing hospital – like one of those field hospitals in the TV show MASH."
"Here we are meeting a Sharpe in turmoil with his fighting career coming to an end wondering where to go from here. Harper has been back in Ireland running an oyster bar so I think he sees himself more as a mercenary soldier in this story. But this is the rough and tumble of battle and he is back with Sharpe where he belongs."
"In the story Harper has a very pertinent line, he tells Sharpe ‘the likes of you and me were not born to die in bed…but rather in the field of battle clouds of glory trailing.’ These two are junkies for this kind of action but it is coming to an end."
"The camaraderie is one of the main attractions of the Sharpe films and one of the main reasons it has been so successful. These guys have been through thick and thin together."
"We’re not saying Sharpe and Harper are based on real-life soldiers but they are amalgams of the types who would have fought in the Napoleonic wars and who would - for that matter - have fought in a lot of wars."
"I received a letter from a lawyer in America, a Vietnam vet, who had made a major study of camaraderie in battle and he said Harper and Sharpe epitomised the friendship that develops between men when they come under fire."
Daragh himself was delighted to be back filming in India having shot Sharpe’s Challenge there two years ago.
He explains: "It was a different experience this time around; knowing what to expect. It was very different terrain. One rural area we filmed in hadn’t had rain for three years. The people are so welcoming though. They love watching us and are always smiling. If you look beyond the poverty they have a rich life and religion, a salvation they are wholly convinced by. Things we have lost sight of."
In this latest adventure Harper’s life is threatened, but not in the usual way…
"He has kidney stones so is in agony for much of the time. But he struggles on and heroically does his best. In the end Indian magic cures him."
Daragh is one of the Sharpe veterans who have been in every film.
He says: "If somebody had suggested way back at the beginning of Sharpe that eventually 16 years down the line Sharpe and Harper would end up in India, I would have said absolutely no way. It has been fantastic."
"I know there have been people who have objected to the amorality of Harper, for example, the fact that he doesn’t think too long and hard about killing men. But I’m sure I would enjoy his company. We’d probably find we shared some vices - smoking cigarettes, backing horses, for example - and got on famously together."