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Andy Murray: Resurfacing - From filming his hip operation to family moments at home - How I made it
As Andy Murray: Resurfacing premieres on Amazon Prime Video, director Olivia Cappuccini reveals how she got exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the tennis ace.
But how did the documentary film Andy Murray: Resurfacing on Amazon Prime Video come to be, and how did Murray - famously fiercely private - allow such intimate behind-the-scenes access into his life, and secure exclusive interviews with those closest to him?
We've got the inside story from the film’s director Olivia Cappuccuni, who filmed Andy Murray almost every day for 18 months as he underwent surgeries and rehab for an almost career ending hip injury.
Filming behind closed doors from the intimate confines of his Surrey home, to inside surgical theatre, the documentary follows the 32-year-old tennis star's devastating injury journey and leaves no stone unturned.
Speaking to BT TV and other journalists at the film's launch, Cappuccini reveals how she got Andy to open up to her and the cameras wholeheartedly, while Murray tells us how he trusted her with the cameras - and why he decided to do the documentary in the first place...
How I… got Andy on board in the first place
As an intensely private person, you’d think that Scotsman would refute the idea of an access-all-areas documentary film.
So you may be surprised to learn that the initial idea for the film came from Murray himself. It helped of course that the director he approached was a family friend - Olivia Cappuccini is the girlfriend of his brother-in-law, Scott Sears, both pictured below.
Olivia tells us that the original idea was for a film documenting his potential return to Wimbledon following his surgery - but that it ended up being something very different.
She explains to BT TV and other journalists: "Andy got me on board, it was his idea to make the film. He had his initial surgery in January 2018 and asked if I’d be interested in what would be his comeback, and hopeful return to Wimbledon in July 2018.
"Then when he hit a couple of bumps in the road and we realised that the surgery wasn’t going as planned, or the recovery wasn't going as planned, it became a much bigger story and that’s when John [the producer] came on board and it became the film that it is today, two years later."
Murray himself tells us that he didn’t expect the documentary film to turn out how it did, and indeed it changed from what he was expecting it to be when he approached Cappuccini in the beginning.
He explains: "I thought that I was going to have the first [hip] operation, and that I would rehab for a few months and then I'd be back competing again. I was thinking it would be just interesting to film an athlete rehabbing an injury that had been causing them an issue for a while, and seeing them return to play, which would be interesting for people who were involved in sport, or sports fans. Then it just turned into something completely different, by the end."
How I… got Andy to open up on camera
As the film's director, Olivia had an advantage over other production team members - she had the benefit of having known Andy for a number of years as a family friend. This is of course helped Andy to open up to her and in turn, the cameras.
Murray tells BT TV that he trusted her completely, and as time went on he became more open and honest with her as their working relationship blossomed. But it wasn’t easy at the start.
Of the challenges he faced initially, he says: "At the beginning, when there’s cameras around, and people you don’t know, you’re never going to completely open up, or I wouldn’t anyway. I’d be open around the people that were closest to me and be a bit more guarded with the people that I didn't know.
"Whereas as the film goes on, we're obviously spending lots of time with each other, she’s seeing me in lots of difficult situations, having to make hard decisions, and we’re communicating and talking every single day, basically. That’s why she's done a fantastic job because I’m able to talk to her like the camera's not there, and you forget about the cameras because you trust the person that's there.
"I think that that makes for more insight, it's more interesting, and everyone feels like they’re able to be themselves, and it’s a bit better for everyone."
For Olivia, being a friend of the family had its own difficulties. We see some heartbreaking moments throughout the film - which is golddust for a documentary crew, but challenging for someone who cares for Andy.
She tells BT TV: "It’s a tricky one because when you're filming someone, and you get to know someone that well, and you see them go through what they are, you're conflicted constantly. We’re all drawn into emotional stories, so when I'd see Andy breaking down, you know people are going to be drawn in by that, but you’re completely conflicted and uncomfortable while filming it.
"But that’s why the relationship I had with Andy, I double checked that everything I was filming was OK to use, and it was, otherwise he wouldn’t have let me. Every day we were thrown these spanners, we didn’t know how it was going to end, and that’s why we had to be there every single day."
She continues: "He doesn’t create a persona about how he likes to be perceived. If he's in a bad mood one day, and he's having a press conference, then that's what you see. In the film there's days where he's messing about with the camera team, and then there's days where he's breaking down. It's unfiltered. He kept going every day he was in pain."
How I… shot his career-saving hip operation in theatre
When Amazon says viewers follow Andy "from the front lines of surgical theatre", they really mean it.
We do in fact see Andy’s career-saving operation - and not just him recovering on the ward afterwards - but the graphic scenes of the metal hip surgery that ultimately allowed him to return to tennis.
It exposes Andy at his weakest, and it’s painfully raw, honest and unfiltered for a sportsman of his calibre. It’s a wonder not only Andy allowed them to film, but the doctors and nurses too.
Olivia reiterates Andy's attitude to the documentary, which was to film everything - warts and all. She tells us: "No [he had no objections to filming scenes in theatre]. He wanted it wholeheartedly and had no qualms about that at all.
"I was a bit reserved about it, but it was necessary. I had to scrub up and that was it, they let me in, but it had to be very minimal. I just had a camera with a microphone on the top, and a tripod, and I had to keep myself to myself most of the time."
Murray himself hopes that letting people see that operation will make for a more interesting film for people. Indeed it does.
He says: "That’s why it was also more difficult for me to watch [the documentary], because I think I was pretty open it. I was at times in it pretty vulnerable as well, so it’s difficult to watch yourself like that."
How I… filmed Andy's family life at home with his wife and children
Many sportsmen build their personal brand on being a family man, and have no issues sharing their private family life with their millions of fans.
Andy Murray has never been that man. He's a devoted father of three and loyal husband to wife Kim, but he’s fiercely private about his family life. He doesn’t share photos of his children on his social media channels, and paparazzi photos of their faces are pixelated. He doesn't do joint press interviews with his wife, or pose for glossy magazine photoshoots.
So it came as something of a shock to fans to see not just Andy, but Kim and the couple’s two daughters Sophia, three, and Edie, two, in the film (which was filmed before the their son Teddy was born).
The children’s faces are not shown, but we see Andy at home with his wife and children, doing private family activities like building a snowman in the garden of their Oxshott home, having his hair brushed and dancing to Baby Shark!
Olivia tells us she didn’t have to ask for permission to film those private family moments - it just happened naturally as they were filming Andy’s life practically every day for 18 months.
She tells BT TV: "I was never asked to leave a room ever, by Andy and his family, which was amazing. I think that they knew that they didn’t want anything in there like the kids’ faces, which is completely understandable, then they wouldn’t be in there, because you’re talking about a family in the inner corners of their home. It was really important to show that dynamic as well, because they are the backbone of Andy and his career."
Andy hopes these moments will help the viewers see his story from a different perspective, as his injury and subsequent rehab process impacted not just him but his family too.
He explains: "I hope it makes for a more interesting watch for people, and I’m sure they will, because I know my wife’s a good person [who] presents herself well. It is also that when I’m going through this [rehab] process, I’m being selfish, but your family and your team who are part of it as well, they’re suffering with you, but you don’t always realise that when you’re in it, because you thinking about your own problems.
"When I’m walking and my hip’s killing me, or I’m sleeping and I’m getting woken up by it, you don’t appreciate how much of an effect it’s having on others as well. Now that I’m through it, I can look back, and reflect on it. I’m aware now that it was obviously incredibly difficult for them, probably why it’s important that they were in it."
How I… got those A-list talking heads involved
As if access-all-areas footage with Andy Murray, his family, and his coaches wasn’t enough, Olivia also managed to secure exclusive interviews with tennis greats to offer their insight on Andy's situation.
She chats to Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal in the film - as well as Andy’s tennis star brother Jamie, and his mother Judy.
Olivia confesses that nobody turned down an interview for the film, which is an amazing feat. In fact they had so much interview footage with the talking heads that a lot of it ended up on the cutting room floor.
Of the access she got in the film, she explains: "That is a testament to Andy actually because no-one snuffed at it, everyone jumped at the opportunity. Occasionally Andy had to set up the interviews for me because he had a bit more leverage, but it just goes to show how well he's respected and admired personally and professionally.”
And one person who we often don’t hear speak, because she doesn’t do press interviews of any kind, is Andy’s wife of four years and girlfriend of much longer, Kim. As well as featuring in off-the-cuff family moments, she's one of the talking heads in the documentary - opening up exclusively about the impact of Andy’s career, injury and rehab on the family.
Olivia tells us that Kim had no reservations about being interviewed. As for why the intensely private wife of Murray decided to open up, she suggests: "I'm hoping that’s because she would like to be celebrated, as she should be, as the backbone in their relationship.
"She speaks so eloquently about what Andy’s been through, and it’s because she knows, she’s been through it all. To hear it from her perspective, and understand their dynamic, is great, and it’s a testament to them that they both committed themselves to making this film and they thought ‘we’re going to tell you everything, we’re going to show you everything’."
Watch the trailer for Andy Murray: Resurfacing
Andy Murray: Resurfacing is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video. Prime subscription required.