On the big screen, actor Craig Fairbrass is perhaps best known for his integral part within the Rise of the Footsoldier franchise. In recent years though, he has tackled even more brutal, complex portrayals that transcend his hard man persona. I was lucky enough to chat with him about his latest film A Violent Man, a prison drama written and directed by Ross McCall…
In A Violent Man, there are long sequences where the director Ross McCall ramps up tension without any dialogue. As an actor, how do you go about contributing to the tone and atmosphere with a very minimalist script?
Well, you obviously have an overall perception of the story. I’m quite intuitive when it comes to things like that. I knew what the mood of the scenes were, I knew what we were trying to portray, and how to move the story forward but to still make it interesting. With a look, you can say 1000 lines, so it was that type of thing. I think the energy of the opening sets up Steve Mackelson as the type of man he is. He’s not a man of a lot of words. As the film moves on and things are irritating him, he has to get his point across.
Scottish actor Ross McCall is arguably best known for his work across the pond, appearing in US television shows such as Band of Brothers and 24 series spin-off Live Another Day. After a career spanning three decades in front of the camera, he has taken a step behind it to write and direct his first feature film.
Filmmaker Philip Barantini combined his experience working in busy kitchens with his time as an actor to craft his latest feature Boiling Point. It’s all shot in one continuous take and centres around a head chef played by Stephen Graham during a hectic evening at a high-end London restaurant. I was fortunate enough to chat with the director about the process of making this ambitious film…
I’m sure this is what everyone is asking about but as if getting a film made wasn’t hard enough in the current climate, you decide to do it in one take. Where did the decision behind this come from and are there any other one-take films that influenced this style choice?
Well, we did a short in the back end of 2018, and we did that all in one take. That was just 20 minutes. I’ve seen Victoria, Russian Ark, and movies like that so I knew it could be done. For me, the reason we did it in one take I think is because I wanted to throw the audience into that perspective of being in a busy restaurant, over that period of time and almost like making the audience the voyeur, and it added that extra layer of tension. I wanted the audience to maybe forget halfway through that it was a one take and be like ‘Oh my god!’ when they realise. Someone said to me the other day, which is the best comment I could ever get, that they hadn’t realised it was one take and that they’d need to watch it again!
Indie filmmaker Gerard Johnson isn’t content with making simple crime movies. His work to date has blended the genre with other elements, crossing into wider arthouse ideas. With psychological thriller Muscle, he casts his directorial gaze upon gym culture and the toxic masculinity that can come with it. The plot follows Simon (Cavan Clerkin), a schlubby call-centre worker stuck in a rut. In an attempt to better himself, he joins the local gym where he meets Terry (Craig Fairbrass), an intimidating personal trainer who offers Simon a helping hand. They strike up an unlikely friendship, but it soon becomes apparent that all is not what it seems.