I recently got the opportunity to talk to Lee Asquith-Coe about his role in ‘Weekender’. Here, Lee talks about how he got involved in the project and which three guests he would invite to dinner…
Hey Lee. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Weekender’…
What’s the general plot line surrounding the film?
Well it’s primarily about the start of the rave culture back in the early 90’s and how two Manchurian scally’s go from being two-bit opportunistic thieves to big time illegal rave promoters, and the problems their rise brings to not only themselves but their friends too.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My role in this particular film is quite small, I play a police officer who is part of the team tasked to take down the illegal raves and arrest those involved. The team is headed by the amazingly talented and genuine nice guy Dean Andrews. It was a little surreal to be honest because I was 15 years old when rave music first hit the scene back in the late 80’s and by the early 90’s my bedroom walls were covered in promotion flyers for such organized events such as DreamScape, Fantazia and Helter Skelter and my collection of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard albums had been replaced by boot-leg rave event audio tapes and I had been to a fair few of the events depicted in the film! So as you can imagine being involved in this took me on a trip down memory lane. There have been many great game changing events in musical history and unfortunately I missed pretty much all of them, I think the 90’s changed music right across the globe and that change stemmed from British rave culture.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Basically I got involved through a friend of mine who was working on the production team of a comedy horror film with Keith Chegwin called ‘Kill Keith’. The shoot was fantastic and a great laugh and I made a great many friends on set both in front of the camera and behind. A few months after wrap, I got a call asking me if I wanted to be involved, and I jumped on board as soon as I could.
How would you say this film is different from other dramas? Is it meant to be historical at the same time as being fictional?
Most drama’s of today are mainly set amongst the world of 30 somethings, with the exception of a few, the amazing ‘Skins’ springs to mind. ‘Weekender’ is in a similar vain and shows the audience that drama doesn’t just happen to those over 21. The film doesn’t just appeal to the youth of today but also to the people of my generation, we were there, we lived it and we loved it. So you can see it definitely differs from most dramas of today, it doesn’t just pitch at one demographic and therefore one audience, it depicts a time of change, a time when music was not only being made by everyday Joe Bloggs but was dangerously close to becoming synonymous with drugs and the criminal underworld on a very large-scale. Not everyone sees the drama in the same way, what one person finds dramatic another may not. I think that ‘Weekender’ does its very best to tick many boxes on the dramatic front. When I saw the film memories of fun times came flooding back, dancing all night, sleeping all day. Then something else hit me, as an adult I suddenly thought damn how naive I was to fully understanding what went on behind the scenes of these illegal raves. As a father I suddenly realized what every parent in the nation at the time must have been feeling, especially after the tabloids added their spin.
The film stars Zawe Ashton, Jack O’Connell, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Emily Barclay and Stephen Wight – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet all the cast but those I did were amazing! They were a really friendly bunch….Jack O’Connell is not only an awesome actor, but a real friendly fun natured guy with an incredible talent. Henry Lloyd-Hughes is extremely laid back and calm and very easy-going, nothing like his ‘Inbetweeners’ character – come to think of it he is more like his character Matt in ‘Weekender’. Everyone in the cast hit it off straight away, the rapport between them was fantastic! The crew was great, very professional and surprisingly fun too, often they are the unsung heroes of all productions, and definitely deserve a lot of credit, without puppet masters there would be no puppets.
Let’s talk a bit about you Lee. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Pure and simply the love of storytelling and film. I have always been extremely passionate about the movies, not just the finished product. I love the way an idea becomes a story and how that evolves into the finished product we see on our screens. The amount of work and people involved in getting that vision to its audience is just amazing and to me is one of the most prolific art-forms we have. To be honest I had no real intention of being an actor, I worked on a few productions when I was young purely for a bit of fun and extra pocket-money, and didn’t real go back to it until last year. I always loved drama in school, but unfortunately was unable to pursue. I joined the Royal Air Force aged 17 and trained in Telecommunications and Tactical Comms. After 13 years service I decided to leave and set up my own business as a consultant in I.T. My experience led me to work primarily in the Government sector, after 7 years I decided to jack that in too and take a stab at another passion of mine, writing. A friend of mine was working on the comedy horror ‘Kill Keith’ and asked me if I wanted to come down and help out, I did and before I knew it I had a featured part. So you could say I just kind of fell into it.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the industry?
Believe in yourself but listen to others, persevere be patient, study and observe!
You’ve been in a number of TV series’ and films – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and which has been your favorite project to be a part of?
This is probably going to sound a little strange and unexpected but my favourite person so far I have worked with has to be Keith Chegwin! He was brilliant! A genuinely funny, honest and extremely down to earth guy. Big up to you Cheggers! Another couple of favourites would have to be Simon Daye and Paul Rhys on ‘Midsomer Murders’ and the delectable Sarah Douglas on ‘Strippers Vs Werewolves’. She even did the iconic line “Oh Superman” and blew me a kiss!
If you could have a dinner with three guests, (living or dead) – who would they be and why?
Hunter S. Thompson would definitely be my first choice, without him and his Gonzo journalism we wouldn’t be where we are today, his views on life and experiences would make incredible dinner conversation. Frankie Boyle is very controversial and although I don’t agree with some of his opinions, (which he has shared with the public) he is still an incredible comedian, his perception of the world and politics is not only funny but bizarrely accurate in my opinion. My third dinner guest would have to be the awesome sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick, his visions of the future of mankind and the society we will inhabit are incredibly insightful and yet disturbing also. Can you imagine these three guys sat round a dinner table? Wow what a night that would be?
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month or so?
It would have to be the claim that CERN scientists broke the speed of light. If it’s true and can be proven not only would it throw the scientific world up in the air and also Einstein’s theory, it would pretty much change everything in modern physics…..which could therefore help me finally understand the bloody subject. Lol, oh and pave way for flying cars and teleportation 😉
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
So far I have had a very busy year, not only have I been working on some pretty amazing big productions such as ‘World War Z’, but I have also completed my first screenplay ‘The Missing’, a horror film set on the streets of London amongst the homeless that puts a different spin on a very popular genre, I am hoping to go into production very soon, pending financing. I have also been asked to direct my first feature too, a road-trip comedy set against the back drop of Euro 2002….so busy busy! 🙂
Thanks for the interview!