I recently got the chance to talk to Callum Fuller about his role in new Bollywood movie, ‘Mausam’. Here, Callum talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and which three guests he would invite to dinner…
Hey Callum. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Mausam’…
No problem at all Matt, it’s my pleasure.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s really a story about two people who love each other but have to overcome numerous obstacles in their respective lives in order to be together. These obstacles span a great length of time and the globe, highlighting the strength of the relationship they have.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a British RAF Officer in the movie. A relatively insignificant character in the overall story but he is the kind of guy that really enjoys his down time in the officers mess.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I got a call ‘out of the blue’ from a contact of mine, they were looking for a last-minute casting and I was, fortunately, available for a day or two of filming.
How would you say this film is different from other dramas? Would you say there is an element of realism to it?
It’s hard to say what is ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ in relationships these days, especially when these relationships are portrayed on film. We all anticipate the glamour associated with film relationships but if two people really feel the same way about each other, in film or real life, then anything is possible. Relationships often flourish from moments that can’t be scripted.
The film stars Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Ken Matthews and your good self – with Pankaj Kapur onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
It was brilliant being involved in a highly anticipated Bollywood movie, even if my character was quite insignificant to the outcome of the story. Working with a foreign film crew was such a positive experience. In all honesty my knowledge of Bollywood was poor before this project, I arrived on set and had no idea who any of these people were but I think this was also useful because it kept me grounded. Pankaj was a very honest director, his direction was clear and concise. I also learned a lot in my scenes with Shahid. He has become a big Bollywood star but he is also a genuine guy. I remember we had a break in filming, so we chatted and watched a football game during the World Cup (2010). I also remember telling some Indian friends that I spent a day or two with Pankaj and Shahid Kapur and I thought nothing of it, they looked like they wanted to explode with jealousy. Perhaps even on the verge of violence!
In hindsight, and brutal honesty, I would be surprised if my scenes made it to the final cut of the movie. You just have to question the overall contribution to the story being told. This aspect is up to the editor and director. I am happy with the work I did, if it makes it then I am happy, if it doesn’t I am still happy because I’ve learned a lot and gained experience which will further my career in the future.
Let’s talk a bit about you Callum. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?…
It’s actually quite a long story but I’ll try to keep it short. My first piece of professional acting work was as a 12-year-old back in 1997 when I worked with the Dundee Rep Theatre on their production of ‘Men Should Weep’. I didn’t pursue acting further until post-academia, 2009, when I was watching a Gary Oldman movie (my absolute hero) and I asked myself the question “I wonder what it’s like to do that?”. It’s just snowballed from that moment really. There weren’t any opportunities for being involved within acting in my home town so I was driving four hundred miles a week, on top of my full-time job, to try to get involved within the acting community. I’m not a professionally trained actor but I feel that this aspect, accompanied by my professional mindset and academic background, provides a different commodity to the market. One of the most gracious comments I’ve had was from a colleague whom, after telling them after a show that I wasn’t trained, said that “You couldn’t tell”. I took a great deal of pride from that comment.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the industry?
Like so many people I feel like I could write some literature on the matter! But I will try to remain to the point. First and foremost, know and be sure of the reasons why you want to be involved in the industry. If you’re in it for the money then good luck to you. Secondly, be the most professional you can be. Make sure your portfolio of headshots, CV, and web pages are up to date. If you’re easy to work with then you are easier to cast. Thirdly, be patient and be determined as rejection is a big part of the industry and it isn’t personal. But a big part of it, aside from the professional aspect of the industry, is personal development. You have to keep learning and practicing your craft, taking in new experiences and overcoming challenges. It will make you a stronger person and therefore a stronger actor.
What does a Callum Fuller day usually consist of?
There is no usual day really but I’m always working, be it paid or unpaid. I like to catch up with my friends and family. I’m also an exercise enthusiast, enjoy cooking for others, playing my instruments, coffee and X-Box, and progressing in my craft. I’m also tutoring myself on scriptwriting as I have a couple of ideas that I’d like to work on, hopefully progressing to a bit of direction. I saw an inspiring quote the other day on my way to rehearsal; it stated “If you imagine it, you can create it. If you dream it, you can become it”. I really liked that.
If you could have a dinner with three guests, (living or dead) – who would they be and why?
A very tricky question indeed Matt, I’d love to hold a banquet for so many people but just three is a challenge! First would be Gary Oldman, I have so many questions about acting and indeed his life. Second would be Arnold Schwarzenegger as Arnold is also a big hero of mine. His story of rags to riches and just being confident in yourself and wanting something so much is so inspiring. The third would be Winston Churchill, I’m not a big historian but I am led to believe that he is a relation of mine somewhere down the line.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month or so?
I think the Welsh mining tragedy at the Gleision mine was probably the most interesting piece of news. The images of the ramshackle conditions they were working in were quite shocking. It just looked so primitive, conditions that wouldn’t look out of place in the US gold rush back in the day.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I’m currently in rehearsal for a theatre show with an emerging professional theatre company called Shoogalie Road Productions, based in the Glasgow area. I am also signed on to do a further production with them in December. Other than that, I’m just keeping myself busy by practicing my craft. It might be a good time to push on with my screenplay ideas actually. Like most actors, you’re never too sure when the next job is around the corner.
Thanks for the interview!