Scot Williams: I got a call out of the blue and was offered a role, which is very rare. Usually I have to audition, but on this occasion my agent sent me a disc for the short film A Girl & A Gun, which had Paul Freeman and Ian Hart in it. I was drawn to it and because I’d worked with Ian in Backbeat I called him up and asked him if he would recommend I work on it and he said “absolutely”. The script was fabulous and the other actor attached were excellent – I wouldn’t have agreed if they weren’t excellent – and my role was the Ian Hart role from the short film. I was able to do a couple of scenes with him and being asked to work on the film created a feeling of wantedness. Us actors can be quite needy! If I were directing, I’d like to do my casting that way.
HeyUGuys: You have a 20-year career under your belt. What is David Hughes like to work with compared to others? Did you feel like you were working on a debut feature?
To be honest that was part of the attraction. I had had the luxury of seeing the short film and like working with new directors. It’s a more collaborative process. More experienced directors will tend to just tell you what to do – there’s that old saying, bad teachers tell, good ones inspire.
You’ve done TV and theatrical work. How would you compare your experiences? Do you prefer one or the other?
I prefer film, as you’re afforded more time to prepare. I really respect TV serial actors, but it is very different. My character in HBS is very still. I love the theatre but there isn’t much chance to do it. In the end it is very difficult to get films made and it is to David Hughes’ credit that he managed to get this made with Universal. I’ve worked with Peter Greenaway and he does 15 minute takes, hides the camera and there is more of a theatrical feel. It was a great experience. I have been getting more leading role and those are the eyes the audience sees the film through, so I have to make it believable. It was a real luxury for David Hughes that he was able to make his film, Usually you would only get about 60% of your vision up there.
Was Johnny’s character all there in the script, or were you able to bring anything yourself? How receptive was Hughes to that?
There was very little backstory, but we knew Johnny had been in prison. He has a history with Copper, but I loved the enigma, it is unclear why he acts the way he does. No-one greets him when he gets out, he’s a loner or lost and I wanted to use that. There was no desire by him to win his family back or anything like that. Some of that was in the script but David Hughes was happy for each actor to bring their own ideas. The character wants to win something – what the money will represent for him. What is my character looking to win? That needs to grab me and then I can use that to grab the audience.
What’s next for you?
I’m trying to produce a piece of theatre and I write as well. I’ve written a musical with some of the guys from Backbeat called A Bard Days Night, where The Beatles go back to 1601, meet Shakespeare and work with him on the first ever musical. My nan’s cousin wrote A Hard Days Night and its the 50-year anniversary of Beatlemania, so it seemed like a good time. It’s with a couple of producers at the moment.
Do you have any specific ambitions?
I think to simply keep working. You know, do I want an Oscar or a garden? When the wind changes, you move the sails. With the recession we are in, celebrities dominate most of the roles and so you have to adjust to that. I make my own work – if there are no parts, write one for yourself.