A day off! My precious day off. Let me hold you tight and squeeze all the good things out of you: crumpets in bed, playing my ukulele and jogging in the Welsh countryside until my body clock adjusts back to GMT.
That latter part of my day off is much needed as I’ve just spent a week shooting a TV pilot inside an office with blacked out windows and having to constantly change my watch between the hours of 10.30pm and 3.00am. This becomes so disorientating that you actually don’t know what time it is by the time you finish your day. It’s like a weird jet-lag. Maybe I’ll call it set-lag? Or S-lag?
The first week’s shooting has been more than I ever imagined. You quickly have to learn that two or three takes is all your going to get on a scene before its time to move on. So being precious doesn’t wash….(even at high temperatures). You also need to let go of the ‘inner-critic’ that so many actors have and you have to trust the director that they are happy with the work you’ve done.
The first day I felt slightly overwhelmed by the road that lay ahead and the nerves really kicked in. I literally stuttered through my first line. I had a private chat with myself that night and had to get over myself a little. It surprises me how much doubt one can have over their abilities even after nearly a decade in the business. We all suffer from it: First date nerves, first day at school, first time at the Levenson inquiry. You have to understand that fear is part of the process and hopefully the more you recognise it the more you can learn how to smash the niggling little bastard to pieces.
By day three, lines were sticking just after a couple of read-throughs. My brain, I think, has tuned back into fast-paced line learning. Again, letting go of the fear/self-doubt/nerves aids line learning. By the end of the week, I discovered the fun of playing again and I’m also settled into the character of Marcus…
Marcus is a man who has let this fear, of which I speak, hold him back from doing what he really wanted to do in life. He has got stuck in a dead-end job where fear has turned to anger and mild hatred of his fellow man. This lack of control has led him in being taking control through obsessive compulsive behaviour which is strangely off-set by a uncontrolled bowel problem! Hilarious and tragic – a great gift for an actor.