I wasn't particularly looking for a career change, although something less physical and strenuous than fitting carpets for a living had crossed my mind from time to time, especially after 30 years in the job. It was around five years ago I was sunbathing in a London park, when two model scouts came over to me from The Eye Casting. They asked if I would be interested in testing for a television commercial for a shaving brand. It did come as a surprise, as I was 50 years old at the time and always thought that models were much younger or looked like David Beckham or David Gandy. I said I would think about it and they arranged to call me a couple of days later. By the time they called back, I had decided to go with it and although I didn't get the TV commercial, they signed me to the agency. Not long after that, I started to get lots of bookings. At first it was for adverts in magazines but this soon lead into more moving image jobs like music videos, short films and commercials. After shooting one of the music videos, the directors approached me about trying for the lead in the new feature they were planning to shoot later that year. After auditioning and testing, they offered me a lead role in the movie. I was absolutely thrilled, as this was only eight months after I'd been scouted and I had never had any acting training. The fact that I haven't had any training is something people are always curious about and ask me about. This however is something I don't dwell on too much. I just read the script and totally believe I am that person in that situation. It's more of an instinct thing.
It was early one summer morning in 2011 then that I set off in my carpet van for our location. Home for the next five weeks was to be Folkestone in Kent. With me were a small crew of 25, all of them passionate and talented, albeit new to the feature length films. The title of the film is Everyone's Going to Die, a black comedy with a twist of romance, directed by a talented duo, Max Baron and Michael Woodward, known collectively as Jones. My co-star and leading lady was to be Nora Tschirner, a very experienced German actress and presenter. The first week was spent with Max and Nora, rehearsing and perfecting the script and performances, while Michael and the film crew checked the locations and worked on the technical side. I remember the very first scene we shot involved me sprinting 100 yards being chased by a ferocious dog. But as the saying goes, 'Never work with children or animals,' and we had to retake the scene 10 times! Exhausting!
Another time, Nora and I had to swim across an icy cold harbour at two in the morning, then stop in the middle and have a conversation! It makes me smile every time I see the uncontrollable shivering. One of our producers somehow managed to persuade Jaguar to loan us a luxury car for my character to use in the film, and our lovely main producer, Kelly Broad, let me use the car for the whole five weeks while she drove my old carpet van! Fun times and good memories.
The film has been screened in many of the world's film festivals, with a world premiere at SXSW in Austin, Texas and a UK premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival. It won an arthouse cinema award in Mons, Belgium and the jury at the Dinard film festival gave us a special mention for our performances. We now have a UK release for the film in selected cinemas from June 26th. I've worked in three more features since we made this film, the latest one being a part in Guy Ritchie's new film, Knights of the Round Table, where I play Mordred, a druid King. Coming to a multiplex near you, 2016...
In between my roles in film, I have my modelling work. I have had some great jobs where I got to travel to different cities around the world, some of my favourites being Paris, Venice and Johannesburg. Recently though, I landed one of my best jobs to date, here in the UK for H&M, in a new campaign directed by Mark Forster. This was a TV commercial, playing pool with David Beckham where we had a great time filming, walking around the table and staring each other out for two days. It was all acting though, as I have to say that David really is a nice guy and we had great fun shooting it.
So glad I was in the park that day and the way things are going, I'm really excited about the future and doing more films. It sure beats working for a living!
Everyone's Going to Die is in UK Cinemas now and will be available on VoD from July 6th.Suggest a correction