I recently got the chance to talk to Andy Linden about his role in ‘Big Fat Gypsy Gangster’. Here, Andy talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what an Andy Linden day usually consists of…
Hey Andy. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Big Fat Gypsy Gangster‘.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
Ricky Grover plays the character Bulla, a violent gangster, who is released from prison after 16 years. His manor/empire has been taken away from him by the bent copper who banged him up. His mission is to regain his status as number one and to save his Mum’s pub.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play left-handed Lennie, an old school boxing trainer, who runs a boxing club for kids and who used to be Bulla’s trainer.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I’ve known Ricky for over 15 years. We met on the alternative comedy circuit, when we both did stand up. We worked together on a short film directed by David Yates (of ‘Harry Potter’ fame) about boxing too. We’ve also worked together on doing sketches on Comedy Nation. We did a TV pilot for the BBC with Ricky playing Bulla while I played a deranged taxidermist.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It is unique in that it is completely lunchy, full of warped characters and is intensely anti-PC. It is also a brilliant send up of the modern British gangster movie.
The film stars Ricky Grover, Steven Berkoff, Dave Legeno, Peter Capaldi, Laila Morse and Omid Djalili – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
It’s always great to work with Ricky. It was fantastic to work with Geoff Bell and Roland Manookian who played Bulla’s sidekicks, with whom I clicked both on and off set.
Let’s talk a bit about you Andy. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
My earliest memory was my parents taking me to see Kirk Douglas in ‘The Vikings’, which I remember both excited me and scared me shitless. As a kid I was into sports, movies and music, but I was never going to be the next Wayne Rooney and I can’t even play a CD. After leaving school I did numerous soulless jobs, labouring, relaying railway tracks, cleaning toilets and then I gradually started doing fringe theatre and broadened into doing stand up on the alternative comedy circuit in the early 80’s.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
The advice I would give is don’t do it. It’s an overcrowded industry where 80% or the industry are out of work at any given time. You will find yourself signing on more than working. It is laced with frustration and disappointment. But if you can face all of this and are thick-skinned and hard-working, go for it!
You’ve had a number of roles in films and different TV series’ – who have been your favourite actors/actresses to work with and which project has been your favourite to be a part of?
- ‘Harry Potter’ was a brilliant experience, both the work involved and the people I met on-set. The director David Yates is brilliant with actors and it is was amazing to be part of something so iconic.
- I used to do a double act on the comedy circuit with Cliff Parisi (Minty in ‘Eastenders’) and we had a brilliant time even when we were banned from the Earth Exchange, a vegetarian restaurant in Archway, for throwing bully beef sandwiches at the audience.
- I did the movie ‘Lucky Break’ with the lovely Bill Nighy – and he is the best air guitarist I have ever seen.
What does an Andy Linden day usually consist of?
When I’m not working, I take my 6-year-old son to and from school, do the shopping, cooking, cleaning – yes I’m a house husband. I like doing the shopping cos it gives me a chance to visit one of my charities – Ladbrokes, William Hill or Corals.
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, living or dead – who would they be and why?
- Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary has always been a hero of mine – he fought for equal rights for poor farmers in the early 20th Centuary.
- Mohammed Ali – the greatest heavyweight in my lifetime, and certainly the most charismatic, he bought boxing into everyone’s front room.
- Peter Ustinov – not just wonderful character actor, he led a fascinating full life and was one of the best storyteller’s ever.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I’ve just finished working on ‘Harry Hill’s Little Crackers’ for Sky TV – ‘The First Time’ – a fictitious account of Harry’s youth – great fun and lots of slapstick. I played a stuntman dressed as a school boy and an airline hostess – I looked like a blind date hostess.
I’m also in Ruth Jones new series ‘Stella’ playing Big Rae, another boxing trainer again.
In Feb 2012 I’m working on another gangster film called ‘Millions, Guns And Gangster’ playing the part of a vicious night club owner.
Thanks for the interview!