Interview by: Chris Olson
You were just nominated for Best Actor at the BUFF Awards, how did that feel?
I can’t really put it into words to be honest. At first it was like cool woah some other people liked my work on the film, but then you start looking into like the history and size of Urban Films in general and to be recognised at the biggest awards for this genre is incredible.
It’s these sort of honours that drive me and push me to get out of bed and study a role or push myself that extra bit further.
So a big thanks to BUFF for the nomination because I was and still am so grateful for the recognition.
The movie, Stray Dogs, was also nominated for Best Film. What can you tell us about the film?
The film personifies urban culture. I feel like a lot of people won’t want to accept it because of some of their own insecurities or fears, but honestly I think it’s a story that needs to be told, particularly for the people that read the papers and watch the news and only listen to that side of stories on young people. Darren the youngster I play is just a young boy who wants to be accepted by anyone, he has crumbling relationships with his friends and family, he’s not welcome in his own home and he’s got no sense of direction in life. The only people that accept him are the gang, which in turn shifts Darren’s perspective on things I feel leading to interesting events. Personally I feel we all have a bit of Darren in us.
How did you get the part? Why did you want to be in the movie?
Interestingly I wasn’t originally cast. There were some issues with the council and getting permissions to film with the 13 year old they originally had, and Luke reached out to me through an online talent agency asking to meet up. We went from there really I was only 16 and fresh into the game so upon reading the script I was like woah this just sounds like something from the ends haha.
Since I was born and raised in South London this whole thing was like second nature to me I mean in school you naturally make friends with certain people and see other people fall into these traps but yeah I felt like telling this story wouldn’t be something unknown to me because it was just like me representing all the people from the ends and acting through them I guess.
As an actor in 2019, what's the most challenging part of the industry?
I think finding my feet has been tricky. Talent only gets you the opportunity, it’s the hard work that gets the accolades and the recognition which ultimately is what I want, I want to be the one of those guys in the conversation of best actors, I want to build drama schools for people like me. But to get to that position of fortune is the hardest bit. Trying to get my name out there and find some representation, especially without going down the drama school route is so challenging.
What's next for you?
I’m gonna sit back for a bit, I’ve had a few interesting conversations lately, so we’ll see where that takes me. I’ve got some music coming so you can check that out soon, I go by the name of EDS, quick plug haha. But my 2020 vision says some big things planned for next year, so don’t sleep on me or any of my team.
Who are your movie inspirations and why?
Tom Hardy- my all time favourite actor. I’ve watched The Dark Knight Rises so many times and for him to be able to evoke the emotions in me that he did with Bane... it’s crazy. He’s so good at acting with his eyes, these days anytime I see Tom Hardy in a cast I’m watching the film haha.
If you had any advice for aspiring actors what would it be?
To be honest with any craft or passion the key advice I’d give is to never ever give up no matter who or what is put in your way. Noah had to build the ark before he got to see the rainbow so if you love what you do, do it until it kills you. More specifically to actors, for any aspiring actor I would suggest studying your favourite film/tv series... for me I’ve watched Breaking Bad like 10 times through from start to finish. When I watch now it’s because I’m studying and analysing Bryan Cranston or Aaron Paul along with the whole cast for small moments and intonations on lines. With scripts read them through thoroughly. Understand your character, know them inside out as if they were you. Write down and take notes of moments when you can shift your emotional energy and change intensities... Just by doing these small things when it comes to performing the scene you become the character, it’s not acting... it’s being...
What would you say if you were a dolphin?
A dolphin sleeps with one eye open so I’d probably say nothing but just constantly remind you that I notice everything.