How did you prepare for your character who is a Glaswegian gangster?
I read a lot of the Scottish writers. The Busconductor Hines by James Kelman, No Mean City by McArthur and H Kingsley Long and particularly the works of Agnes Owen. My good friend Paul Tickel who is a director always gives me good references of things to read. I also looked at a Glaswegian poet called Edwin Morgan, the rhythm of the writing helped me a lot with the accent. The other books helped with the world of the character, it was also nice to be introduced to new writing which I otherwise would never have been introduced to. I also listened to Peter Mullen a lot, I really like his accent. There isn’t really much known of Ian Barrie as he was one of the few men to remain silent about his experience with the Krays, so most was imagined.
You read lots of poetry. Does it help your craft?
I like poetry and find that it’s a good way to get into characters when I am researching. I enjoy the research part. Their past life to present. I don’t feel there is anything academic about acting. I respond to poetry, writing, music. One of my favourite poets is Sharon Oldes.
Who is your favorite writer for the stage or screen?
I like Neil la Bute, Sam Shepherd, Gary Owen (I recently watched the play Violence and Son) and of course Brian Helgeland. I write myself and have stories I would like to make into films.
How and when did you get into acting?
I got into acting through school. It was one of those things I enjoyed doing as a kid. My mother was also an exceptional story teller and used to fill my head with stories from her childhood. I think this gave me the spark for stories and acting. I have been acting for 15 years now.
Who gave you your break?
I would say one of my main breaks has been He Kills Coppers directed by Adrian Shergold. So I guess it’s Adrian. I think he is one of the most talented directors around at the moment. He is constantly re-inventing himself. I love his work.
Why do you live in South London?
I was brought up in Streatham in South London and spent most of my time in Brixton, Peckham, Camberwell. So really South London is my home. My father was in the Caribbean food business, so I feel very much a part of South London’s fabric.
As a child do you remember your folks telling you any stories about the Krays?
I think everyone seems to have a story about the Krays from my generation and older, especially if they were brought up in London. I knew of one man in Camberwell who was famed for knocking out Ronnie in a fight, whether there’s any truth in that I don’t know. He still alive and has a good face of weathered lines.
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