Interview with Simon Phillips for The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan
July 7, 2012
WhatDVD.Net: What made you want to become an actor, in what is a notoriously difficult industry?
SP: I’ve always wanted to perform on some level, ever since being a kid, and I guess I had enough business sense to make it work on more then one level for me, which is why I got involved in producing films too. The industry is very difficult and also very rewarding, but then anything good in life is usually difficult to achieve – so its worth working hard for. I’ve often said to people I would quite happily work a 22 hour day on a film set, rather then a 9-5 at a random office – I just struggle to work at anything that doesn’t hold my attention, so film is perfect for someone like me with a short attention span – the money is good, the scenery changes and they let me use shotguns… What other job boasts that!?
WhatDVD.Net: Rather unusually for a British actor, you don’t have a lot of TV credits to your name – how did you make the switch to film so quickly?
SP: I started in theatre, doing modern versions of Shakespeare’s plays. It was very rewarding personally, but financially it was tough – and doing one tour didn’t help get you the next job. The whole process of film is more cumulative, the more work you have on the shelves at HMV, the more people seem to be willing to offer you. I don’t have much TV on my CV as its never something I have explored, I’ve always been very interested in the life cycle and process of film, which has a very definite beginning, middle and end. I also produce lots if films, so even in my down time I seem to be pretty busy! I’d love to do some tv, something cool like Hustle or Line of Duty.
WhatDVD.Net: You’ve formed a partnership with producer Jonathan Sothcott; how do the two of you work together, what is the process?
SP: Myself and Jonathan used to work for rival film production companies, often making very similar genre movies side by side, but then one day Jonathan professed his undying love for me and we decided to form a partnership ourselves… Jonathan probably remembers the union differently… But it does work very well.
WhatDVD.Net: What gives you the great pleasure in the industry, producing or acting – and why?
SP: Acting is my first love. when something goes right in a scene with another actor – then there really is no beating that feeling. I recall one day on set when myself and Nick had a very tough emotional scene on The Rise & Fall of a White Collar Hooligan, and everything just clicked in the rehearsal we had – we totally got lost in the scene and just let the camera team work out how to capture what was going on. It felt very rewarding, and it was one of those scenes that needed to work.
WhatDVD.Net: White Collar Hooligan has attracted a fair amount of press for a British Feature, how would you describe the film?
SP: I am very proud of White Collar Hooligan. It seems to have garnered a great deal of attention, which I feel is partly because the film touches on something very raw in the the British film scene right now but also due to the talents of writer/director Paul Tanter – who together with Richard Colton (Editor) delivered a brilliantly paced story with characters I believe he audience care about. It’s a low budget film, but I think had shown a lot of our UK producer counterparts that good films don’t have to cost millions of pounds or be supported by some lottery funded organisation. The team involved have collaborated on several productions before, but this time I think they hit everything right.
WhatDVD.Net: What was it about WCH that interested you in the picture?
SP: The fact that WCH was based on a true story interested me very much, but to be honest my role in the film was just such a different character for me I was overjoyed at the challenge that it presented me with.
WhatDVD.Net: How did you deal with the worry that WCH might be seen to be glamorising hooliganism?
SP: I wasn’t worried at all. Anyone that’s actually seen the film would see that the hooligan element is a backdrop for the characters, but also has the nice touch that the core characters friendship revolves around the beautiful game and infact is usually what keeps them out of trouble.
WhatDVD.Net: WCH is a big jump from How to Stop Being a Loser – what is your favourite genre and why?
SP: How To Stop Being A Loser was a wonderful chance for me to do something completely different, and I wish that it was better supported on its release. Oddly it’s not a jump up as both films had the same budget, but I guess one just worked better then the other – which is not uncommon in a creative process. Again, it’s not about the money! But as a genre I am a massive fan of science fiction, which is why I very much enjoyed the production I just completed with jean Claude Van Damme, titled UFO, which is due for release in 2013
WhatDVD.Net: Is there anyone, actor or director, with whom you would love to work and why?
SP: I’d love to work with Noel Clarke, he’s a very driven and talented actor/writer/director – and unbelievably we haven’t bumped into each other on a UK film yet!
WhatDVD.Net: What advice do you have for someone looking to become an actor?
SP: Be persistent and proactive in your career. Chances don’t come along very often, and you’re more likely to get work from doing other work, as that’s how people know you exist!