June 2017 | by Carl Marsh
Do people treat you differently more so now than when you were just an actor as you are now producing movies, and you must sense that a lot of people just network for totally selfish reasons?
Actors and actresses show you are a lot more respect but what I do see is immediately after I write on social media that I have a casting coming up, I get inundated with over 100 people emailing me with messages asking me how I am, so that's the thing I have seen a lot more of. People don't speak to you on your way up but they want to know you when you are there. I know within the first 5 or 10 seconds what somebodies intentions are but I guess that comes with the territory now that I make films.
You have a lot of well known reality TV personalities in your films but did they all still have to audition?
Some did but some didn't. I am not going to lie but as is the norm with small budget independent film making, you have to call in a lot of favours, so having familiar faces helps to get these films made. I knew what Richard Blackwood's talents were before I wanted him in Gangsters, Gamblers and Geezers as I had watched him in Shrek The Musical. I just had to graft him by waiting outside the stage door for him after the show had finished to convince him to play the part of the landlord.
Seriously, you did that?
Yes I did! It's what I do. I am an East London boy and that is what I have always done. My parents are in business so I learnt from them to hustle. At school I used to sell mobile phone covers to my friends at 14, by 19 I had my own estate agency and still have 12 years later. I know how to work hard, hustle and get things done. I remember once waiting outside for 2 or 3 hours for Danny De Vito when he was in a play in London as I really wanted him also in Gangsters, Gamblers and Geezers. I worked my magic and grafted him there and then. He said he loved the script and would have loved to have done it but he was flying back to America shortly after, so could not do it, so sometimes it pays off, sometimes not.
How do you think any of the reality stars faired in your films when compared to what they are known for, as I know Jodie Marsh was in one of your films?
I recall that Ricky Rayment being so nervous when I asked him to audition for Dangerous Game that I had to speak to him outside the casting and I just told him that he would be fine even though he was sweating and scared, I told him that basically being on a reality show like The Only Way Is Essex is acting but without any scripted lines, they all act up and make a performance. The thing with Jodie is that we have known each other for a few years, so I just knew she would be just fine in Gangsters, Gamblers and Geezers and she really did such a good job with the part she played.
What is your story when it comes to acting yourself?
I have never had an acting class in my life! Seriously, no drama school or acting groups. Acting is all down to being self-confident. If you can be confident and have the mentality that you want to achieve something, then you will. I once told myself that what better way to get yourself the leading role in a production than to create the production yourself, so that's what I did!
Your latest movie Dangerous Game has Calum Best in it, how did you connect with him as I know Calum is not known for his acting yet?
I had met him a few times before at certain events, and it was when I was making another film called Retribution that I thought he would be perfect playing the lead bad guy in that. He was on set for about and week and he really came across very well. I know Calum has never acted before or even had any acting lessons but by putting him alongside other well established actors, then the plan was that they would rub off on him when it came to him doing Dangerous Game where we had more established actors like Darren Day, and we also had Gary Webster who was in the TV series Minder.
Are you happy with the way Dangerous Game has turned out, or would you have liked to have done anything differently?
If I had a million pound budget then yes I would have liked to have had some car chases and explosions, but I am thrilled at what we have ended up with even though we had such a minimal budget.
Calum plays a premiership footballer in Dangerous Game, I am surprised no other filmmaker came up with that idea before?
Yeah, Calum plays the lead role as a pro-footballer that helps out his friend by committing some heists. It sounds a bit crazy, and it is as that is what film making is all about, creating a story that may be far fetched but could also be real. I am learning all the time and willing to take risks, some people might not like this film but I am improving all the time, and I am going to carry on with I am doing.
No doubt you are already planning your next film, what is that and when is that due?
Always! It's called Dead Ringer and it's set in the music industry. There is a band called D5 who I guess are similar to One Direction and the lead singer is called Donny Martin and he dies in a car crash. The management know of a tribute act and the singer looks similar to Donny Martin, so without any of the fans knowing or the press, they have this tribute singer to join the real band after he has had lots of plastic surgery. The problem is that he is taking a drug around the world with him when the band are touring, and the Mafia then start hunting him down. It will have a lot of musicians from the 1970's, 80's and 90's in it. We are also shooting some of it in LA as there will be a few US actors in it. Filming starts in August but may run into September. We hope to have that all ready for sale by November.
Occupation: Actor / Producer
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