What got you started in acting?
'A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away' probably started it all for me. I grew up in the era of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, the Hammer Horror films - I guess to be honest most people would say their era was the 'golden era' for films but unless their era included 'The Goonies' and 'E.T.' I'm afraid they're dead wrong. At school I was a very shy, very skinny kid, and like a lot of shy skinny kids I got bullied and like most kids in that situation I absorbed myself in fantasy and what if - what if I was famous and confident and strong etc. etc. I don't think that early I had an intention to become an actor per se, but I found acting easier than real life you could say. My mother told me about a new youth theatre that was setting up locally and convinced me that it might be a good way to overcome my shyness and looking back, she was so right! From 14 to 18 I was a proud member of the Phoenix Youth Theatre (in Doncaster, England) and Lord, once they got me on that stage they couldn't get me off! From that age I was learning singing, projection, monologues, choreography and soaking it all up like a sponge!
The real life happened and I got a job. Booooooooo. You have to skip over the next 18 years or so, but a chance meeting with a girl led to me joinging a musical theatre company as a tenor and rediscovering my love of performing. During that period I saw a casting call for 'zombie extras' for a local film (Safehouse Pictures' 'Eschatrilogy: Book of the Dead' - 2012) and from that a few other small roles until being 'discovered' on the set of 'Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Recih' and signed up to the Awesome Talent Agency (www.awesometalentagency.com). Hard to believe it's only been 18 months since I first stepped onto a film set and I've gone from 'extra', to support role, to lead and star roles - hey some of it might be right place right time but on the other hand I've been working my rear end off to get to that point so I'll take some credit!
Tell us about your projects!
Wow how long have you got? I start filming this week on a film called 'Fatal' It's one I've been involved in right from the concept stage so I'm wearing a lot of hats. Script consultant, location scout, producer, stunt and fight co-ordinator.......I didn't actually start seeing me as the lead role until halfway through writing when we realised that 'Michael Calloway' was actually very similar to me in a lot of ways. I still had to screentest to make sure and I wouldn't have been offended if my two co-producers had told me I wasn't right for the part but it's funny how the character evolved to fit me like a glove. He's very much an ordinary, guy next door type, strong beliefs, perfect family.......... but it all changes very quickly..................
Next up is 'Inner Demons', written by my 'Awesome colleague Eirian Cohen. All I can reveal about this one is that I'm paired up with fellow 'Awesome' alumni Melanie Denholme as a husband and wife 'team'. No spoilers on this one, you'll have to watch and see but I can tell you one thing - anytime Mel and I get together sparks fly, and it's always entertaining! After that I'll be working on an independant project playing a sinister teacher - this one's so top secret I can't even reveal the name yet but 2013 is shaping up to be very busy!
What advice would you have for others who want to get into acting?
Don't do it. Go work at McDonalds. I don't want the competition, and I'll hunt you down if you try............
On a serious note, it's all about the work ethic and willingness to step outside of the 'comfort zone'. Anyone can play a thug to a degree, but a thug who can show emotion, is willing to do his own stunts, is willing to show a different side to his character, like getting beaten up by a woman - there aren't many of them out there and if you can find a similar niche where 'angels fear to tread' then you stand out from the crowd. It doesn't mean become a 'yes' person or that you have to do anything you're not comfortable with - we all have things we simply wouldn't do (and no, I'm not telling you mine). Work ethic wise, be on set early, never complain if the shoot over-runs (I've never been on a set yet that went to schedule!) and if you haven't got your foot into acting yet there are plenty of films being made that require extras. It's easy to get typecast as 'an extra' and the danger is that's all people want you for but it gets you on set, and if you're on set you can volunteer for extra work on scenes - it's how I ended up doing a stunt fall in The Eschatrilogy' and how I ended up having a key role in Dead Walkers - the director wanted something done that was outside the norm, and I had the balls to step up and say 'I'll do it'. That's opened so many doors for me, but you have to remember it's very unlikely you'll walk onto set as a lead unless you've had previous experience - be an extra, get on set, keep your ears open and if you hear of something extra needed jump all over it. There's no magic formula and you'll have to work your ass off but if you have talent and drive you WILL get there!
What has been your favourite project so far and why?
I have two. The Eschatrilogy introduced me to so many like minded and talented people and I've been fortunate enough to not only act with them in other projects (two of them, Dean Sills and Eirian Cohen, are part of the Awesome Talent Agency) but I count about 60-70 of them as friends and a handful of them as close friends. One of them, Kelly Buckley, will be playing the lead female in 'Fatal' and is also wearing a lot of hats including make-up, costumes and co-producer - she's a very talented lady! The other is Dead Walkers, not only because of the people I worked with but also because it marked my evolution from extra to lead - and started my involvement with the Awesome Talent Agency, some of the greatest minds in acting today bar none.
What's next on the agenda?
Other than what's mentioned above I'm also part of the faculty for the newly formed Awesome Academy of Film, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. I'm the Accent and Dialect Coach and will be teaching Standard English, plus several UK and US dialects plus some others such as Australian. I'm actually quite a good mimic but it's never been utilised in films yet. Hey, if Robert Carlyle can do a Yorkshire accent I'm damned sure I can do a Scottish one! We'll be running courses from the 2nd June in Leeds, for more details and prices visit www.awesometalentagency.com and click on the link for the Academy. I've also just been confirmed as part of the cast for 'Succubi', a film by mysterious director 'Aquinas' due to start filming later this year.
I have also just finished filming a documentary for US Cable TV entitled 'Exorcism of Evil' where I play the Devil and Iíll be reprising this role in 2014 in the film 'Dusty the Demon Hunter', based on the popular series of books by D Michelle Gent.
Any good anecdotes from the filming of any of your movies?
Several I can't publish! One that sticks out is that I invited a friend and his girlfriend down to the set of Dead Walkers to be extras. Sadly for them, it was the day when the make-up room had been cleared so the make-up artist (Bob Lee) could cover my naked body top to toe with bruises for a key scene. So, there I am, stood up straight letting it all hang out, with a man sat behind me rubbing make-up into my buttocks.....and my friend's girlfriend walks in with him just behind. Not thinking, I put my hand up and said 'good morning' and didn't fremember that I was *cough* 'showing'. And for the record (and in case she sells her story to the papers) it was -4 in that room and 'Paul Junior' was very cold, OK?
Who stands out as being the most memorable of people you have worked with?
Damian Morter, the director of The Eschatrilogy is one. He's a Cockney who they deported up to Yorkshire as punishment for being amazing, and an absolute joy to work with. He's very enthusiastic, creative, vocal and willing to do anything he asks his cast to do. Philip Gardiner, director of dead Walkers, is just as memorable but is a polar opposite - he's very intense, very clear on what he wants and while he does have a fun loving side, when the lights on it's all very serious and I respect that. In the acting world, wow I could namecheck all day! Kelly Buckley, Nikki Webster, Kay Vardy, Rudy Barrows, Demi Peters, Rachel Malone, Jane Haslehurst, Dayna Shuffle, Martin Calcroft, Stephen Hunt, Sandy Slade, Michael henry, Tom Bridger - all truly amazing talents and if I missed anyone off I'm sorry - I'll mention you in my Oscar speech!
What do you do with your time off?
What is this 'time off' you speak of? When I'm not writing for Awesome Online Magazine, preparing seminars or working on a film set I love to read, and it's probably not a great surprise that I love movies and at one point was watching 5 or 6 a week in the cinema. I also love hill walking and watching football (the English variety - i won't call it 'soccer'!)
Who has been your greatest influence?
In life, my mother. She's brought me up to be respectful, thoughtful and well-mannered, but she's also never told me that I 'can't' do something. From 'I want to be an actor' to 'I want to travel the world', mum has always said 'go for it - if you don't try you'll never know', and doesn't judge me if i fail. You need that kind of grounding in life, and I was blessed with a mum who provides that to this day. In acting, Philip Gardiner no question. He's helped me evolve so much as an actor I can't even tell you - the advice and guidance he's provided to take my acting to new levels just hasn't got a price on it.
Anything else you want to shout about?
Yes please! If you'd like to find out more about me, my career and upcoming and past projects, there are several ways. My official websitewww.paulsuttonactor.com will be launching soon, at the moment the holding page has links to my official Twitter (@RealPaulSutton), my official Facebook (Paul Sutton - Actor), my IMDB and the Awesome Talent Agency. I also write for www.awesomeonlinemagazine.com, in fact issue 13 has a 'Scream Queen Special' supplement, with all the interviews done by me. Issue 14 will be part two of these interviews, check them both out - they're FREE to view and download! While I'm name dropping, the interviews in issue 13 include legendary Scream Queens Kitsie Duncan, Loretta vendetta, Naty Ugalde, Andrea Albin and many more!