I recently got the chance to talk to Samuel Folay about his role in ‘The Man Inside’. Here, Samuel talks about how he got involved in the film and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
Hi Matthew. Thank you for getting in touch with me, it’s an absolute pleasure.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The film is about Clayton Murdoch – (Ashley Thomas) who is in a constant battle with internal demons, due to his father’s – (David Harewood) violence, that he was exposed to in the past. In the attempt not to follow his father’s footsteps, he channels his aggression through boxing, with the aid of his trainer – (Peter Mullen). However with the constant threat of violence affecting the other members of his family and others close to him, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to contain the aggression he was raised to release.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a teenager called Alfie Levant. He’s Clayton’s brother’s (Jay) best friend and Clayton’s sister’s (Kia) boyfriend and he’s gotten her pregnant. Alfie is very different to his best friend who puts on a strong bravado. Alfie is a much sweeter and playful lad; he’s quite laid back and is very popular with everyone. Unfortunately though, he’s found himself involved with the wrong people, due to the predicament he and Kia have found themselves in.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Initially it was my agent who knew about the film, it was a project she felt that I would be good for, she told me about it, I liked the script as the story was unique to other UK films. She actually suggested me for the role of Jay, which I auditioned for, but I guess the casting team saw that I was better fit for Alfie. While getting to know and work with Lenox who plays Jay, I could see why they made that decision. You could really see the difference in how we played both characters.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
The film is quite close to home, as the director has written it from his experiences, so it’s quite autobiographical in that sense. Even though the film is centred on violence as a lot of other UK films, a lot of the characters who are surrounded by the violence are likeable characters who have found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. So it’s not your typical monotonic film about gangsters and violence. In fact at a certain point the film takes a different approach and delivers a real sense of meaning behind the film that I believe the audience will leave with.
The film stars Michelle Ryan, Peter Mullan, David Harewood, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Ashley Bashy Thomas, Jason Maza, Ray Panthaki and Bhasker Patel – with Dan Turner onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Unfortunately with the little time I had on set and schedule dates for filming, I didn’t get a chance to work with some of the cast such as Harewood and Mullen. However with the people I did get to work with and meet it was truly a great experience. The cast and crew were absolutely lovely people, and it was an absolute pleasure getting to know and work with them all. I remember meeting Ashley and Michelle and being star struck, my mind-set was still in ‘fan’ mode and not seeing them as fellow actors. Michelle was such a lovely person to talk to and Ashley was just funny, even though he had to be serious most of the time because of the role he was playing, he still found time to make us laugh. There was often a lot of banter going on in character, when we were not filming amongst the younger members of the cast, I can remember spending a lot of my time laughing, if it wasn’t the cast, it was the crew making me laugh. Whenever I was called on set to do my scene, I was always felt relaxed after Dan had given me his directions. Since I knew the film was quite close to his heart I always wanted to play my part to the best of my ability. In fact I remember after filming one of my scenes, he gave me a hug, which was enough for me to know that I had done a good job. I also specifically remember meeting Ray Panthanki, who plays Bose, he was like an older brother to me on set; even now we still stay in contact with each other from time to time.
Let’s talk a bit about you Samuel. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
From a young age, I always admired young people who worked in the creative industry, such as the actors, dancers and singers. I always felt goosebumps any time they would pull of something particular and always wished I could do what they’ve just done. I always felt like I shared that experience with them. Sometimes I put myself in their shoes and would act as if I was performing in front of a live crowd, or repeating a character’s actions from a scene I’ve just seen in my living room, of course when nobody else was there. I just loved that great sensation it always left me feeling with. I was lucky enough to perform in my school play as the Scarecrow in our production of the ‘Wiz’ when I was 8, and I got that same feeling from being able to entertain the crowd and make them laugh. Throughout my whole life I always enjoyed in entertaining and making people laugh, even when I wasn’t doing it professionally, so I kind of knew this was the right job for me.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
You need to find the right balance of being focused, and enjoying what you’re doing. This industry is a very tough one, and there will always be knock backs, so no matter what always stay positive and determined. Make sure you also have good people around you who have the same drive and goal as you and always support each other. It’s always good to have people around you that all motivate each other and are taking the same journey as you, it keeps you on your toes and that motivation will make you want to succeed more, especially if you see your peers flourishing in their area of expertise. Because when everything does start falling into place, all that hard work will have not been in vain, and it will all be worth it. So enjoy the moment, but just remember not to take it for granted.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
A song called ‘It’s Been A Pleasure’ by Drake.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
It would have to be Will Smith, Ricky Gervais, and Drake. Creatively they’ve all accomplished something great within their area of expertise that I strongly admire, and I hope to also emulate at some point in my career. I see them as the type of guys I would like to gain advice from if I ever get a chance to pursue those aspects of my career. Also I love to laugh and make jokes, and they generally just seem like interesting individuals that know how to have fun and a laugh, are enjoying life and would be kill me with laughter if we were to have conversation. And hopefully I could get a few jokes in there too, to make them laugh.
On your off-days, how do you like to kick back and relax?
Going to the cinema with friends, and playing computer games.
What’s coming up for you in 2012/2013?
Well I’m still auditioning for roles, still knocking on a few doors in the industry. However I’ve quickly learnt you can’t wait around waiting for the next job, and you’ve got to create your own opportunities, so I’ve started writing, my friend and I have recently just finished writing three episodes of a sitcom that we are looking to get commissioned. Also I’ve started to look into doing stand up comedy and live comedy sketch shows in theatres, as comedy was sort of the main reason I got into acting. I’m staying positive, determined and focused in the hope that it won’t be long until you see me in your TV screens or cinema screens again this year.
Thanks for the interview!