I recently got the chance to talk to Giles Alderson about his role in ‘Gridiron UK’. Here, Giles talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Giles. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Gridiron UK’.
No problem at all.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It follows a guy called Derek who is a bit of dreamer and is full of money-making ideas who loses all his money on pyramid schemes and various other disasters. Obviously his girlfriend is non too pleased and threatens to leave him unless he bucks his ideas up. He agrees but then has the idea to form an American Football team! Bare in mind this is set in the 80’s when the sport was hardly heard of here other than a US sport played by big blokes in tights and pads.
He ropes in a motley crew of guys and sets about entering his newly named ‘Crewe Railroaders American Football’ team in the league. The problem is they are not very good so how could he possibly make any money and save his relationship…?
I understand it’s based on a true story…
It’s based on the writer/director Gary Delaney’s trials and tribulations when he was a youngster trying to set up an American Football team in Crewe. Very autobiographical from what I hear. Gary is a lovely guy and has made a great comedy film. It is very much along the lines of ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘Up And Under’. Real guys with heart. Set up north. Very funny. Should be a blast to watch.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Gerry Paisley, who is a playboy wannabe who works in the Rolls Royce factory with Derek. He’s a bored and frustrated guy so he takes the piss out of anyone he can. Unfortunately for Derek, he gets the brunt of it, especially with all his hair-brained schemes. When he finds out Derek is doing the American Football, he laughs out loud. He’s not very supportive, not till the end anyway.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I think Gary had seen ‘I Want Candy’ and asked to come and meet me. This was three years ago and we chatted and he offered me the part of Paisley. I loved the script and thought it would be fun to do so I happily said yes. It took a few years for the film to get off the ground but when he called he said ‘You around next few weeks? Good. Because we start shooting tomorrow’.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s unique in that fact that not many people know about American Football in the UK, let alone that it started up leagues in the 80’s but it is the heart and soul that makes this film stand out. Everyone on the film was doing it for the love and belief we had in the script and the fact it is so hard to get any film off the ground these days especially a British comedy. Now it is backed by Universal Pictures and should be out soon is an amazing testament to the hard work and spirit put in by everyone.
The film stars Michael Dixon, Andrew Harwood Mills, Dorsey Levens, Rebecca Pitkin, Stephen Marcus, Mem Ferda, Anthony Quinlan, Jon Paul Gates and Paul Nicholas – with Gary Delaney onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It was a blast. Most of my scenes were at the Rolls Royce offices so I didn’t get the full camaraderie and banter until I filmed with the ‘team’ during the final bits of the movie. Which I have to say was great. You can imagine a load of wonderful male actors all diving around and sliding through mud, especially those who couldn’t play very well, are bound to have a few tricks up their sleeves. Well that’s what they did. They were so boyed and vibrant that when I got there I was nearly trampled in an ambulance scene, which was a great fun to do but these guys had pads and tights on. I mean what is a guy supposed to do? That’s right, run like hell! No, there definitely was a buzz in the air that this could be something wonderful and the cast and crew were wonderful in portraying that. Not to mention the excellent Gil Kolirin’s hair. Which was also superb!
Let’s talk a bit about you Giles. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I only came for the free booze and cars but they have yet to arrive so I will keep going until they do! What do you mean they don’t exist! I actually was an aspiring goalkeeper with Bradford City when I went to drama college. It was the next best thing, and it was there that I fell in love with acting and directing. I was basically watching the other guys get all the lead roles and all the girls and thought I want that! Little seeds eh?
As a sad side note, I dislocated by shoulder playing basketball and that was the end of my pro football career. As a happy side note, I now play striker for Arsenal ex pros and celebs and was top scorer last year with 31 goals in 13 games!
We should also mention that you’re a writer, producer and director as well. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Be nice. There are some lovely people out there but there are quite a lot of plonkers in the movie world and when you are stressed and knackered after a four-week shoot you don’t want to work with an ego maniac who thinks he is God’s gift but if you are genuinely nice people will want to work with you and use you again.
You’ve been in a number of different films and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far and why? Any good stories?
I’ve been lucky enough to direct some wonderful actors like Mark Benton, Lourdes Faberes, Daniel Schutzman, Simon Hepworth and Dan Richardson who were all so receptive and amazingly they listened to my vision and ideas. That’s all you can ask. You’ve already cast them because they can act, it’s the rest that’s important. I try to do the same when I am acting and follow those rules. Working with Michael Sheen and Tim Spall on ‘The Damned United’ was a wonderful lesson in film acting. How dedicated and skilled they are. They are just so good at what they do it was hard not to stare. Though to let you in on a secret - Michael Sheen is a very good footballer. Those shots you see him do into the top corner in the movie are all him, every take. Now that is dedication!
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
I lost all my music when I changed laptops recently so I’ve gone back to laboriously uploading all my old CD’s. So it been weird mixes between ‘Waiting For A Star To Fall’ and ‘Don’t You Want Me’ by Felix.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Lionel Messi – because he’s just too good and would probably cook a mean curry.
- Russell Brand – because he would be a right laugh.
- Pink – because she could get the party started.
If you could choose a literary character to will into existence, who would you choose and why?
Well Begbie from ‘Trainspotting’ would be fun. For about five minutes. So I will have Robert Langdon. His historical and worldly knowledge would be brilliant when walking around any museum. Plus he always gets up to adventures ala ‘The DaVinci Code’ which I could tag along on.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
Well there is a few films coming out: the zombie comedy ‘Stalled’ from the ‘Freak Out’ boys Dan Palmer and director Christian James. After it’s cinema run in the UK ‘The Harsh Light Of Day’ will be out in the US and Europe and ‘Walking With The Enemy’ and ‘LVJ’ should be out too. But I’m directing the action thriller ‘For Hire’ with Martin Owen so I will mainly be in prep for that which I can’t wait to start.
Thanks for the interview!