Having not seen the two preceding endeavours in the popular Rise of the Footsoldier franchise, there was an initial hesitation in heading over to the set of the third film in the series. Until learning of the fact that musical legend and frontman of the Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder, was to be on set that day.
The film, which again stars Craig Fairbass as Pat Tate, features Ryder as Mad Dog; a prisoner who, on the day we visited, was thrown over the top of a balcony (using a stuntman, of course). After watching several takes we sat down with Ryder in a quiet room at the studio, and we asked him about the character he’s embodying.
“I get stabbed to death and thrown off a balcony. I’ve not been method acting, do you know what I mean?” he said. “I actually do know somebody with the nickname Mad Dog.”
We wanted to know what attracted him to getting involved in this project too.
“I expected the second one to be not too good but I really enjoyed it. The first one was brilliant, but you know how it is with the second films, but it was great.”
We asked why. “It’s just a great story, innit?” he replied.
As to whether he ever entertained the idea of shooting the scene himself, rather than use a stunt double, he said, “I’ve only been out of hospital a few weeks, I had a hernia op and some lump taken out as well, so I just can’t. I’m not even allowed to ride a bike or anything yet. But if I was fine, I’d have done it.”
His performance in The Pat Tate Story: Rise of the Footsoldier 3, is his first in over two decades too, which naturally led to some nerves when first appearing on set.
“The first day of shooting when I walked in and I had to do a scene in the prison canteen, I was more nervous than walking out at Wembley, or playing an arena show, I was really nervous, I lost the plot completely. After a good hour I got into it, but fucking hell I found it really nerve-racking.”
“You know, It’s 21 years ago since I last did anything in a film. I had a non-speaking role, and it was Eddie Izzard’s first role too. But it worked out for Eddie, he went to Hollywood and went back to Salford, but I never did it again.”
“But I’d do it again but not at a bigger level, I’ve not got any ambitions of being a leading man or anything like that. I couldn’t take too much more on than this.”
We couldn’t resist the chance to drop a Mondays lyric into the conversation, and so I stole one from Olive Oil and asked, “Whatever happened to ‘The Bigger the Dream the Better the Time’.”
But Ryder looked perplexed. So I explained where I got it from.
“Oh is that what I said? Fuck, oh right.”
“I haven’t listened to Squirrel and G-Man since the day we came out of the recording studio in 1986. I don’t listen to my music. Obviously if you turn the radio on or you walk in the pub and it’s on I’ll put up with it. When we took Bummed on tour, I hadn’t listened to that since the day we came out of the recording studio, and because I had to learn it all over again, I listened and thought, ey, this is really good. I give myself a bit of a hard time, always think I can do better, but after not listening to Bummed for twenty something years, I realised it’s really good.”
They say don’t meet your heroes, but they’ve obviously not met Shaun Ryder.
The Pat Tate Story: Rise of the Footsoldier 3 is released in cinemas across the UK on November 3rd.