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Well, I’m a fifty-five-year old British actor, working mostly in independent films and appearing here and there on TV. I haven’t always been in this business. I’ve worked in factories, on building sites, in bars etc. Then I became a firefighter for six years and then worked for the British Home Office for about seventeen years. I have two daughters and a lovely partner, Jude, who keeps me grounded!
I was very keen on amateur dramatics and belonged to several societies. I loved being on stage, but I had a full time job and young children so to try and become a professional actor wasn’t going to happen any time soon. About eight years ago my marriage broke down and I lost a small business I had a year later. I decided to give acting a shot, so I badgered this poor agent so much that in the end, she gave in and auditioned me. I was taken on her books and I felt great. I have moved on since, and through working for free and performing in ‘expenses only’ and student films, eventually found paid work.
I had worked with (director) Ara Paiaya before on a film named Skin Traffik starring Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts, and Mickey Rourke. I played one detective Brooks and among other scenes, I had one with Eric. He is one of my favorite actors and we got on great. I told him that the first video I ever bought was Best of the Best. He really appreciated it. That’s the nice thing about this job … nine times out of ten you get to meet some really nice people.
Ara is one of the most innovative directors I have worked with. He says very little and allows his actors to interpret the character themselves, unless they have it completely wrong. He is always thinking about how to make a scene pack more punch. On Instant Death, there’s a scene where I’m meeting with my boss, Calder, played by Jason Bailey. In it, Cooper is torturing some poor guy while I’m sitting there talking business. Cooper shoots the guy and carries on talking as if nothing’s happened. Originally it was just a meeting in an office but Ara had thought about it and when we turn up for the shoot, he informs us this is what the scenario is now. We got on with it and it turned out really well.
One of my favourite British actors is Ray Winstone. Now I get compared to him in build and looks and that’s where it ends, but for Razor I used some of Ray’s quiet and moody roles as inspiration to help me best portray this nasty piece of work. I’d love to work with Ray at some point. When you look like we do, the nasty roles are the ones that come your way, but that’s OK … they’re the best, meatiest parts to play.
It is a very distressing and shocking scene in the movie, but it wasn’t dealt with lightly in a shooting sense. It was shot in a real room, not a set, and there were just the actors and cameraman in there with them. Ara viewed the footage afterwards, as even he gave them space. No-one condones violence on anyone, especially on a woman, but in the real world unfortunately, these terrible things do happen.
What can I say? Lou is larger than life, literally! Not that he’s rowdy or loud, he’s very quietly spoken and polite. I spent two weeks with Lou as we were filming two or three scenes a day, and we got on really well, in fact we still keep in touch. He likes a laugh too and I have to say, I have never eaten so healthily as I did on that movie! Fish, fruit, steak … it was great and all due to Lou having to keep up his diet! The man is an inspiration to all ages and long may he be so.
I love indie films and thanks to them Britain has retained its foothold in the film industry. I have every respect for anyone who has the courage to write, produce, and shoot a movie these days. These people work really hard following their passion and entertaining us. People working for free or next to nothing. One film I’m involved with, Invasion of the Not Quite Dead, has been ten years in the making. THAT’s passion!
There’s a great film I was in called Leave Now. It’s a sort of supernatural thriller based in an English seaside town. It was great for me as it was filmed in the town I live in and the part was different from my normal outings. It’s looking for a distributer, so if there are any out there … Also Invasion of the Not Quite Dead is going to be quite epic. Oh, I also have a few scenes in Bonded by Blood 2, out in UK on 22nd May.
I can always remember a scene which scared the bejesus out of me, and the confrontation in it, is one I replicated as Razor. This was To Catch a Killer, a film about John Wayne Gacy, played by Brian Dennehy. He shuffles towards one of his cuffed victims, saying the same thing as shuffles several more times before he kills him. Chilling.
Only to say thank you for your review, the interview and thanks to everyone who has bought Instant Death recently. Keep watching.