I recently got the chance to talk to John Fitzpatrick about his role in ‘Miss In Her Teens’. Here, John talks about how he got involved in the project and how he got into acting in the first place…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Miss In Her Teens’ is the story of a soldier who comes back from war and tries to reconnect with a girl he met just before he left. He’s aided by me/Puff but as with many servants in this genre I’m really looking after myself more than my master. My wife, who I abandoned when I went to war is now working in the house where the girl lives. I have to placate her anger to get us access to the house so my master can woo the girl. But when we get there it turns out there are a few other suitors who we’ll have to fight off first.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Puff as I said is out for his own interests. He’s not afraid to speak his mind to his master but as always there’s a line that must not be crossed. He’s been a bit bold in that he ran off on his wife but once they resolve their issues I think they have one of the most genuine relationships in the piece.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I’ve known Tori since drama school and have worked with her theatre company many times and also with Fizz & Ginger – (the production company). It’s always a great atmosphere and a fun experience. Every time we get back on set or in rehearsals it’s like a little family reunion.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
This film is unique because the play its based on is so unique. David Garrick was an amazing performer who took the stage by storm and in some of the language in this piece you get a real sense of the genius he was. The thought process’ in the plot and characters are so sharp and revealing.
The film stars Simon Callow, Carol Royle, Tori Hart, Adam Alexander, Matthew Butler, your good self and Emma King – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
It’s been a while since we filmed and we shot a lot in a very short space of time but we did have a little time off and the location was amazing. So we had a few excursions around the Oxford countryside and a little run in with the owner of a local castle. Most of the time however was spent running from one set up to the next and then we all sat down together in the evenings and watched the rushes which was always a laugh.
Let’s talk a bit about you John. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
It was a bit of a complicated journey for me. Straight out of school I started working in advertising while making my own films and animations. I was writing for an actors group in Dublin and I started to act in a few scenes. The satisfaction I got from it sort of reignited the love I had for it when we did Shakespeare in school. A good friend of mine whose a film-maker suggested if I want to do it I should go to drama school. So I applied to Central, got accepted and that was that.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
I would say that success is measured by the parameters you set yourself. The odds are always stacked against you so you’ve got to really ask yourself the hard questions about why you’re doing it. The most important thing though is that acting is a playful instinctual thing and no matter what you’re doing you have to find the fun in it. Otherwise it won’t be worth it.
You’ve been in a number of different TV series and films – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why?
Sir Ian McKellen is a real role model both as a gay man and an actor. He’s always generous and kind and very humble. I loved my scenes with Emma in ‘Miss In Her Teens’ and we got to chat a lot and had loads of those deep and meaningful ones, which is great.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Heavenly Beats, Cyril Hahn, Zebra Katz, Tame Impala – oh and of course my band Laura Ashley.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Emma Dixon, a performance artist who I’ve worked with a lot and is the most fun. I’d love to talk to Francis Ford Coppola about film making so he’s on the list. Then maybe Grace Jones to add a touch of glamour to the affair.
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
‘Rust & Bone’ by Jaques Audiard. It’s beautifully expressed through its visuals, the physicality and the performances and it makes dark subjects funny which is a great skill. That and I love anything with whales in it.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
I’ve just finished a very interesting short about the Troubles in Northern Ireland with a writer/director named Duncan Roe. I think we’re doing some re-shoots for ‘Miss On Her Teens’ in a week or two and then I’m continuing a personal project where I’m writing/directing a series of six short films which all sort of inter-relate to each other.
Thanks for the interview!