I recently got the chance to talk to Vincent Jerome about his role in ‘Gangsters, Guns And Zombies’. Here, Vincent talks about how he got involved in the project and what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s about a group of low-level criminals that decide to pull a bank job in the mitts of a zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, one of the group is injured, which means they have to dodge the police, get to the safe house and not get eaten by zombies.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Q, who is the get-away driver. He’s the every man. He’s a guy that has found himself in a very bad situation and does his best to adapt to the madness that surrounds him. It is the first time he’s ever pulled a job like this, so he is already out of his depth. Imagine Jamie Fox’s character in ‘Collateral’, with a dash of John McClane.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Fab (Santino, who plays Crazy Steve in GGZ) is a friend and was attached to the film very early on. He told me they were auditioning for this part and how I should give it a look. I’m not a big fan of zombie films, which made me a little apprehensive but I trusted Fab’s judgement and knew he wouldn’t ask me to get involved if he thought it was trash.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s hard to answer that and not sound like a wanker but I’ll give it a shot…the thing I really liked about the script was the humour. Matt (Mitchell, director and co-Writer of GGZ) and I have a similar sense of humour and a lot of the references he uses, I totally got. He has a pop culture sensibility with a very self-deprecating thing about him and that really came across in the script. Also, I felt the script had heart and was less about zombies eating people and more about this very lonely guy trying to find meaning/his place in life.
The film stars your good self, Huggy Leaver, Fabrizio Santino, Cassandra Orhan, Frank Rizzo, Charlie Rawes, Jennie Lathan and Simon Matthews – with Matt Mitchell onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Hahaha – there are a few, yeah, but most of them contain words that aren’t suitable for this interview – hahaha. There was one time where one of the make-up gals dressed up as a zombie and hid in Matt’s wardrobe…that was pretty funny. All in all, it was a great shoot with really great people. As I said, I already knew Fab but I developed a really good relationship with Matt and Tali (Mitchell, 1st AD, co-writer and Matt’s wife) and a truly profound respect for Mr Charlie Rawes. What a great human being, and funny as f–
Let’s talk a bit about you Vincent. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
Brace yourself; this is going to be a long ass answer. Like most people my age, I wanted to be Will Smith in ‘The Fresh Prince’ but I didn’t recognise what he was doing as acting. I didn’t grow up around actors or performers, so the idea that could be your job was like someone telling me you can grow money if you plant pennies in the ground. I never studied Drama at high school because it wasn’t on the syllabus. So, when I had the option of doing Drama at A Level, I jumped at the chance. When it came time to left college, my drama teacher, Dan, pulled me to one side and asked me if I had applied to drama school? I was like, “nah” and then we had the conversation that led me to where I am now. He told me he thought I was good enough to have a career and that if I didn’t mind the uncertainty of the job that I should give it a go. It still amazes me that all it took was for someone I respected to tell me I was good enough and from me to take that first step. That’s why I feel it is so important to encourage kids because you never know where that encouragement will lead them.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Go for it but be realistic. If you want to be a massive movie star, that’s cool but know that you may have to start at the bottom just like everyone else and work your ass off. Nothing is handed to you. If you are willing to go through the ups and downs that come with this industry, then by all means, follow your heart and give it 100%.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Actually my MP3 player died recently, so that’s a bit of a sore spot – haha. Before it croaked, I was listening to a lot of D’Angelo, Plan B, Frank Ocean, Andre 3000, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix. How could I forget, Lupe Fiasco’s latest album. Love it.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Never been asked that before, let me think. I would really like to be in the presence of Marilyn Monroe, not just because she was ridiculously beautiful, because I find her fascinating. She was so bold but fragile, charming but shy, confidant yet insecure and you can see it in her performances. That’s why it’s so hard to do biopic of her life because there is no actor out there right now that can embody all of that. The second would be Heath Ledger. Man, when he died I was knocked for six. I became obsessed by his body of work and found such inspiration from certain movies that I may not have seen if he was still alive. Third would be Sammy Davis Jr, I bet he had some stories.
You’re stuck on a desert island, you’re only allowed three personal things with you – what would you choose and why?
My laptop, with an unlimited battery supply. A special someone who will remain names less at this time and a magic lamp with a gene inside, ready to grant me three wishes.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I’m rehearsing a play at the moment called ‘Happy Birthday Wanda June’ written by the late, great Kurt Vonnegut. It’s a satirical comedy and its going to be a lot of fun. If anyone is interested in coming down to the Old Red Lion in Islington, London, the run starts on 30th October to 24th November, with a captioned performance (for hearing impaired) on 23rd November. Tickets range start from £7. Shameless plug.
Thanks for the interview!