I recently got the chance to talk to Peter Greenall about his leading role in ‘Broken Inside’. Here, Peter talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hey Peter. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Broken Inside’.
It’s a pleasure – thanks very much for having me…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s the story of a loving father called Simon who’s world is turned upside down when his little girl Katie is abducted during a family day out. After weeks of searching and appeals Katie’s lifeless body is found. Simon is devastated and decides to punish himself by offering a young prostitute with mounting debts, life changing money to end his life. What happens is very unexpected and unpredictable.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Simon’s a middle-class parent with a lovely little girl on whom he dotes. He lost his wife when she gave birth and has been raising his daughter alone. He is, like many of us a generally good person who enjoys the every day simple pleasures in life. Honourable, hard-working and independent. The type of person who if he borrowed even something small, he would do it reluctantly and then return it early probably with a thank-you gift.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
The director had auditioned a lot of people for the role and didn’t feel any of them were the right flavour for the character. At the time, I was in Latin America working on another project so had missed out on a chance to audition, but the producer on the project was someone I had worked with before and passed my name to the director, who cast me after viewing my showreel and chatting with me on the phone.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
When I started to read the script I couldn’t put it down and was so engrossed in it that I actually forgot where I was – (abroad being bitten by mosquitoes!) I never anticipated or could have guessed how it would end either and it’s not often you see a script can take you on a journey like that. Ultimately, we are all audience; I really loved it and I figure if I did, then so might other people. There is loads of depth to the dialogue. Its real, raw emotion from a normal person who we can relate to, in a horrific situation, and how he deals with it. The script deals with the delicate subject matter with integrity and sensitivity and its rare to see that in a script nowadays. I’m really proud of what we did and I hope the audience agrees.
The film stars your good self, Marie Louise Smith, Rob Talbot, Ross Holland, Mina Renoir, Lilly Akehurst and Sarah Akehurst – with Lee Akehurst onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
We were really blessed on that film – the other cast were very strong – they just were the characters; very believable. Filming was intense and everyone was so focussed that at the end of a day (or nights) filming, it was almost strange seeing the other actors rather than their character. Everyone was really great though – we were like a family really and quickly developed a very good working environment together.
There were lots of great things that happened but if I had to narrow it to one thing, one day we were preparing to shoot a scene and there was a technical issue, someone said “we can’t do…” to which the director immediately replied “there is no such thing as can’t”. The problem got solved. ‘No such thing as can’t’ is a motto I live by and has served me well – it was awesome to hear someone else say something so strong.
Let’s talk a bit about you Peter. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I worked in theatre full-time for 14 years full-time, mainly behind the scenes and acting on the side for the love of it. Theatre, TV and film was all I wanted to do from school. I had always been hooked on real, natural, believable performance – where you are struck by a genuine emotion from what you see and cannot see the actor behind the character. There is no better feeling than being taken on a journey in a story and being so drawn in that you forget what is around you – its magic. If I passed a street or something and saw a production team filming something, I always wanted to be involved. In my theatre career it always bothered me that there was seldom ever a moving image record of all the hard work from each project to look back on or be able to show to a wider audience and I love that film and TV allow you to do that while capturing the perfect scene, and then experience the work at any time, weeks or even years later. As the years went on, acting full-time became more and more of an inescapable burning desire – even if it did mean leaving a regular secure income. I was blessed with a truly amazing acting tutor in Manchester called David Johnson who just blew my mind with his knowledge and I have always been fascinated by the back work and research that goes into developing a character and the character’s experience and view of the world. Just wonderful.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
If its something that is just burning in you, you have to follow it. There are a lot of people trying to do it but few who take it to the extent where it is the priority in their lives, but it has to be the priority in your life. Start the journey knowing its a long-term goal – Richard Branson did not become a business tycoon overnight – it took him years to build his empire. There will be set backs or auditions that don’t work out – this is absolutely just part of the journey – if you get a rejection – which believe me every single actor in history has at some point – often way more than once, don’t get down; think back to it and how you could have approached things differently and strive to be better with the knowledge. I believe you can do anything if you put your mind to it. It’s a cliché but you really can achieve anything with determination and the right knowledge.
Jim Carrey was once asked what kept him going through the tough times when he started out, he immediately replied “just an insane belief in my own ability to manifest things…an insane belief”. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Get good tuition and study and experiment. When doing a role; whether an audition or on set, only ever bring the character with you and research the characters life and scenes thoroughly. Finally, bad tuition is just as powerful (for all the wrong reasons) as good tuition – if it doesn’t work for you, find out why.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
On a professional level, I listen to music appropriate to the feel of a scene I may be shooting, but as a person, I am very eclectic with music – I love everything and have a huge collection; in my car right now…and for a while actually, I’ve got Level 42, Al Jarreau, Incognito, Quincy Jones, George Michael, Steely Dan, Queen and a wonderfully dated out-of-print compilation album from the 80’s called ‘Nite Flite’ with loads of 80’s soul classics from people like Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal. If the music is borne out of passion I love it. These are just a handful of musicians who’s work is about a love of what they do rather than chasing fame, and this is why it’s so good.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Ha ha – nice question.
- Richard Branson. An innovative, motivated man who achieved monumental things from scratch. He never stops looking for new imaginative challenges like Virgin Galactic, and is not afraid to show a sense of humour too.
- God – if he does know everything, I think it would be crazy not to ask him a few questions…
- Meryl Streep or Dustin Hoffman – truly gifted actors who Id love to spend a few hours with.
…but I need to ask for a fourth guest – please let me have this guy also – Ricky Gervais’ side-kick Karl Pilkington – I can’t even imagine what he might ask or say to the other guests, it would be hilarious.
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
On rare days off I’ll maybe go walking – mountains or just along the beach, perhaps some fish and chips, feed the birds. Photography is also something I love when something interesting catches my eye. I love writing and watching good comedies or dramas too. On longer time off, I like to travel and am up to 35 countries so far…I love experiencing other cultures…it gives you a real ear for accents too!
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
It’s an exciting end to this year; in addition to ‘Broken Inside’, I have two other great feature films coming out soon with lead roles – look out for ‘Losing Innocence’ and ‘I, Prophet’. I also have two TV ads coming out in the UK which is fun and I’m working on pre-production for a psychological horror movie I wrote called ‘Peripheral Vision’.
Thanks for the interview!