I recently got the opportunity to talk to Brooke Burfitt about her role in new comedy ‘On The Ropes’. Here, Brooke talks about what it was like working with Joe Egan and about how she got into acting in the first place…
Hey Brooke. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘On The Ropes’ has just had its DVD premiere on 8th August 2011.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘On The Ropes’ is about a documentary maker, who sets out to film a ‘proper fighting gym’ run by Big Joe —Mr. Joe Egan himself. However, events unfold which draws his attention to a rival gym with a unique fighting style, owned by a self-professed karate expert.
The film focuses on boxing and martial arts – yet it’s listed as a comedy film….how would you say the film is funny? How is it unique?
Although the film’s background is the martial arts and boxing world, it’s more about the politics and personalities of people involved in the sports. The writer has over 30 years experience in the sport so he has reflected on things that have made an impression on him. It’s unique because the contrast of setting a comedy in the world of these sports creates a sense of irony.
Tell us a bit about your character in the movie…
In the film, I play ‘Sarah’ – Joe Egan’s long-term girlfriend, but she is far from long-suffering. Big Joe, a man who intimidates many and may seem overbearing is really an old softie. He shows this side in his relationship with Sarah. Lucky me! Joe will do just about anything for his ‘princess’ and I think our scenes add an interesting dimension to his character.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I applied to a casting call and thankfully got shortlisted to audition. Joe and I had great fun playing an item, so hopefully people like us as a couple.
The film stars Joe Egan, Ben Shockley and Steve Perry – what was it like working with the cast and crew on this film?
Honestly? I was a little apprehensive at first,working with Joe Egan – hopefully I didn’t show it too much. I had seen his fight videos and I was more than a bit nervous. Then when he arrived on set, he was even bigger than I’d expected. But, within a second I felt instantly at ease because of his Irish charm and sense of humour. The scenes ran so smoothly. Ben Shockley and I have worked on two other films together – ‘Death’ directed by Martin Gooch and the comic book comedy ‘Pulp’. Ben is a warm, genuine man and on set, he’s never anything but professional. He never seems to mess up a line, so I learnt a lot from him! I didn’t have the opportunity to work with Steve Perry (aka Lindsay Honey) who stars in ‘On the Ropes’ as our scenes didn’t overlap, but I am really looking forward to saying hello at the premiere!
Who is your favourite boxer or martial artist?
Well of course I am going to say Joe Egan. He’s a legend in the world of boxing, but Roy Jones Jr also goes down in my books as one of the world’s greatest fighters. Then, through my volunteering work with the children’s charity Act Against Bullying, I attended a number of workshops at Sid Sofos’s academy Wing Chun in Tottenham in North London. I didn’t know much about martial arts beforehand, but a personal invite to a demonstration at their awards ceremony was a most enlightening experience. So, on a personal level, I really also admire Grandmaster Sid Sofos.
Let’s talk a bit about you Brooke. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
The differences in people and their lives have always fascinated me from an early age and the opportunity to become different characters with all their complexities was something which drew me towards acting. I completed my Economics and Business degree at UCL last year, but I always knew that once I graduated I would pursue my childhood ambition to be an actress.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in acting?
As an actor, you are your ‘own’ product, so always present yourself as best as you can. Always keep working to improve your technical skills, but also have self belief coupled with a long-term vision of where you are going.
If you could recommend a film or TV series to someone, what would you choose and why?
If you haven’t seen ‘An Education’ – watch it! Such a beautiful storyline, mesmeric cast and I’m a big fan of director Lone Scherfig’s work. I think there is now a rebirth in the British Independent Film industry with many great films out there. I’m looking forward to Black and Blue Films’ new release ‘Elfie Hopkins’ with father and daughter; Ray Winstone and Jamie Winstone.
You’ve had a number of different roles on a range of different mainstream projects – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and who has given the best advice to you?
John Thomson in ‘Pulp’ was my favourite actor to work with as he was so helpful and courteous. It was my first job on a feature and to work with such an established actor/comedian was quite heady, but he was very encouraging which was much appreciated.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
Without doubt the explosion of rioting across London has been the most concerning news this month because of its implications. It is particularly worrying with many of my friends living so close to the violent outbreaks. At this moment in time it is hard to see how the events will play out over the next few days, but overnight as the situation has escalated across other cities in the UK, we can only hope that the situation will soon be controlled before more people’s homes and businesses are destroyed.
What’s coming up for you in 2011? I hear you’ve in post production on a number of indie projects….
I’m currently on set for ‘The Soft Touch’ in Salisbury, inspired by the films of directors such as Terrence Malick and Jean-Luc Godard. It’s a tragic story of a troubled boy on the verge of adulthood whose life is torn apart after he falls for a schoolgirl, Sarah-Jane, played by myself. This year I am also filming ‘The Last Act’ in Sweden and I have just been cast in the American action film ‘Branson’s Country’.
Thanks for the interview!