Friday, 20 November 2015

Set to Excite~ Actor Paul Van Beaumont speaks action movies and more!

Its Braap presents an interview with talented actor turned film-maker Paul Van Beaumont. You will gain an insight into the challenges facing Paul who relishes playing different roles including Vampires, Villains and a host of interesting characters; frequently utilizing his combat skills. Paul is determined to bring his own ideas to every project. Whilst striving towards his goals humility, hard work and a flair for creativity have fast become his personal trademarks.


Let’s start by describing your aspirations when you were young. As a youngster I always wanted to do music because I come from a musical background- my Dad played guitar and Mum played piano. Art, I always liked drawing and love comic books. I’m still drawing stuff from comic books even now with pen and paper or on the computer. We watched loads of films round my Uncle's - he showed us lots of Marshall Arts- Bruce Lee, Gordon Lew, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and my Dad showed us loads of westerns, Clint Eastwood, Spaghetti Westerns etc. So it was always music, films, music, films and art in between.

You mentioned that you were in a band. How did that come about and how did you move on? That was crazy. It was alright having a band but getting everyone organized at the same location at the same time; that was the nightmare! I did percussion and vocals, Martin did bass, Volko guitars and his brother did drums. It was good for a while but then it just got hectic and fizzled out with disorganisation and stuff. It sounds as if the dream wasn’t strong enough for everybody? It was but everyone just wanted to go in a different direction. Some people wanted to play heavier rock or funk but we were playing progressive rock and psychedelic rock and I guess everyone wanted to do ‘it’ differently really.

How did you move from there into films? That is funny because I went into music videos first and then I started to do short films and the first short film I did had no dialogue. I remember the director saying to me, ‘you’ve got very good facial expressions,’ and on the second day the lead actor said the same thing so I thought maybe I should look at doing dialogue. He said that he’s at drama school and basically you’ve either got it or you haven’t. ‘They can train as much as they want- but if I was you I’d give it a go and see what happens,’ so I did.

Vampire!!!

How did you get your first proper filming opportunity? The first one was for Stormdrain Films and that was, ‘Evil of the Vampire,’ where I was playing second in command. I actually auditioned for Nick, the lead villain and two weeks later I got a call to say you’re not playing Nick but I do want you to play the second in command guy; so I thought that’s good as I’d have dialogue. We shot that in October and I really enjoyed playing it. The lead actor, Rob Talbot, who was playing the villain, was really in character and he was so good it got everyone else into their roles more easily- a vampire mode, an undead mode, an evil mode. You’ve acted in quite a few vampire films haven’t you- Five, laugh, it’s a big list and it’s getting beyond a joke! Vampire Game Origins, Vampire Resurrection, Evil of the Vampire, Rock Band versus Vampires-Really! What’s that about? It’s a comedy horror by Clockwork Productions- a Raed Abbas film and that’s where I met Azeem Mustafa, Mark Ryder, Guy Barnes- just about everyone!  How did you feel being an evil, undead vampire? That time it was OK because it was my first time but the second time I played it, for Stormdrain films again- Vampire Gang Origins- that was crazy! We had a week of shooting and after a couple of days I was literally in character off set as well as on. It was just bizarre- I felt like I was in character constantly; moody, dark, broody- Just evil. That was crazy and I think it’s because I dyed my hair black for the part, did my nails black and make-up. I felt really psychotic and naughty- laugh- naughty vampire.

So where do the werewolves come in? Actually two people have offered me werewolf parts. One was Steve Jolley with Jolley films and the other was Raed Abbass and that was Bass films- ‘Principle’ which is up on IMTV already and coming out in May 2016. They’re werewolves but they’re called Lycans as they turn into werewolves without the aid of the full moon. I’ve been given other supernatural characters- a fiend, crazy clown and the devil. Tell us about the crazy clown. That was ‘Lithium,’ a short film I played in that was meant to be two characters. What happened is that the other actor didn’t turn up so I ended up playing both characters. One had a completely different kind of clown make-up to the other. One looked like Edward Scissorhands and the other looked like Brandon Lee’s ‘The Crow.’ It was fun on set and it was very challenging. What were the two different roles like? One was very calm and quiet and the other was a giggling lunatic! Was it based on madness as Lithium is a drug? Apparently the character’s a photographer and when she gets to develop her pictures she see the fiend, the character I’m playing, in the photographs. Then she falls asleep and wakes up and finds herself in, ‘my world!’ Not like Freddie Kruger coz he kills you in your sleep. It was crazy; it was an enjoyable day and long! So did you shoot it all in one day? Yeah we did. How long is the film? Around ten minutes. Actually I did another short film where I was playing an imaginary friend, a person with mental issues and I had loads of dialogue in that. I really liked that, it was called, ‘The Fence.’ I have also done quite a few Science Fiction films, short films- ‘Genocide’ was one, ‘Duty Calls,’ ‘Seven Bad Apples,’ ‘The Outlookers;’ I get these roles quite often.

How do you prepare yourself to play these characters? I just watched all the videos on the planet. I watched the greats from Charlton Heston to Gary Oldman, Samuel L Jackson to Robert De Niro to Al Pacino and Omar Shariff. I can’t even think of them all! I’d go on the internet and click best scenes, best dialogue, best actor and watched the greats over and over again, constantly.

Lithium



Would you like to speak about some of the other roles you have played and directions you’d like to go in? Yes, in ‘Better Tomorrow’ for Ruby films with Tom Luc Sahara I played a tramp and for that I did some method acting like Daniel Day-Lewis. I went out my front door with holes in my shoes, my clothes were tatty, I didn’t shave for a couple of days – I was just a mess but it was good because when I got on the train people just treated me differently and it was a very good experience. By the time I got to set Lucy (make up) said, ‘oh did you come down dressed like that?’ So I told her the experience I’d had where people said, ‘oh that’s disgusting,’ and didn’t want to sit next to me. Seeing me with my bad teeth, which Lucy did afterwards, well they just treated me completely different. It’s bad that you treat another human being just by their appearance. You see that they’re homeless and that they’ve got stains over their shirt, their hair. It was really good to do. Tom told me to stand in the street for about three minutes with my hands in a crucifix- ‘don’t do nothing Paul, just stand and look at the street and see what happens.’ He filmed it from a distance and people just walked past me like I wasn’t even there. It’s like the homeless are invisible people and if they do notice them they want to stay away from them. They just think, urgh, disgusting. How did that actually make you feel?  When I played the character I felt sad and when Tom gave me the footage to watch before he finalised it, it was the first time I watched a character I actually felt sad for. Normally when I watch it I know it’s me and I’m thinking- oh I should have said that line differently or I should have played that differently, but this was the first time I watched a film with me in it and I didn’t look upon it as me because I was unrecognisable. I feel it can be used for awareness of people with mental issues and the homeless as well. What’s actually happening with the film? I think Tom is going to send it next year to a festival. I hope he will get this awareness out there so that people can see what’s actually going on in the world. 
From a Raed Abbass film

Have you had any other lead roles to date? Yes, when I was on Vampire Resurrection I met Malcolm Benson and he offered me a part in one of his films, ‘Return of the Don,’ without me knowing that it was actually the lead role. It was very good on set and professional. I worked with Malcolm, Amanda Lara Kay and Lucien Morgan who I’ve worked with three times now. It’s going to be shown next year on the IMAX screens. You can check out the Return of the Don page on Facebook and Twitter.

One film I love is, ‘The Morning Star.’ It really shows your potential. How did you feel as you were playing the devil? Yes, Azeem Mustafa- Bebop films. I actually remember him saying that he had it on his desktop but he didn’t have no-one to play the devil, Lucifer. When he sent it to me I said, actually I like the script but because I always play bad guys, could I play God and he said. ‘No, I have you down to play the devil.’ So I looked at the script again and thought: this is a good story that needs to be told. A lot of people saw it and said it was my best performance so it worked and was a good choice. I played it as a businessman- this is my organisation and this is the way I run things. You were putting forward very challenging questions. Has this made you think more about the subject? Yes, obviously when you think about God and the devil, you think of the way God sees things. I thought it was very intelligent- the way the devil was trying to justify his actions by saying that man was meant to be ignorant of what was going on around him; the devil opened their eyes and now man’s been able to conquer, to split the atom, go to the moon through technology. He’s actually advanced more than he would have if he was left in his original state. I thought it was interesting- what God and the devil was presenting so it is quite challenging. You know, I’m going through the list- werewolves, vampires, the devil- I just need to play God now, balance it up now!

You’re currently involved with another of Azeem’s projects. Would you like to speak about Battle Creek Hackney? Non-budget Marshall Arts film- Yes! It’s been mad. We did the film and people keep in-boxing us because they want to be part of the film just by seeing screenshots and pictures on Facebook or Instagram. Now it’s snowballing into one crazy effect and everyone wants to be involved in Battle Creek Hackney.  We’ve got Guy Barnes who’s doing the soundtrack and he’s playing the bad guy. There’s Wilfred Tah the talented mad Marshall Art guy called ‘The Wolf,’ and  Kamran Kam playing Rakib. Yeah, the list is building with Fiz (Feizal Mowlabocus,) Lobna Futers and Richard Gething. People are just doing loads of social networking and people who have seen it are joining in.
 Is it one of the most fun films you’ve worked on? It’s one of the most physical films, definitely! You’ve got to keep punching people! It’s not like The Morning Star, that was dialogue driven; but this was repeating a punch, a kick, a backwards spin and it does get physically draining. Azeem knows how to do his action films. If he says, ‘that punch is not selling, that kick is not selling,’ then you’ve got to do it again and it doesn’t matter if it’s seven takes or seventy takes. When Bruce Lee did the Game of Death for the nungchucka scene that only lasts a few seconds, he did 144 takes. I think it was filmed in Thailand and it was so hot the cameras were overheating. But the man loved his art so much it was crazy; so if Azeem says you’ve got to do another one- you’ve got to do another one.


I know you have said you wouldn’t want to be in a soap, why’s that?  It’s good and good pay, but I would only like to be in one as an extra to see how things are behind the camera because I do stuff behind the camera as well; in fact I’m working on my film 'Metamorphosis' at the moment. It’s been said, big actors who have been in feature films can go into soaps- I think, Ian McKellen from Lord of The Rings, he went into Coronation Street, but it has never been done where a soap star has gone on to the big screen. I think if I end up in a soap then I’ll be playing the same role for five, ten or even twenty five years. I like to play different characters so that opportunity would be completely gone but I did have a part as an extra in ‘Humans.’

Are there any particular films styles you would like to do? I’m a fan of Westerns, Sci-Fi’s, Sword and Sandals- the list could go on forever. I like Tim Burton’s stuff and James Cameron. Sometimes he waits a few years before he releases his stuff like the gap between Terminator and Avatar, but he comes back with a big bang- something original, and I did like Avatar, the Abyss and the way he directed Aliens.


So how do you see yourself and your career developing? Hopefully stay as original as possible and give the audience something original rather than the same manufactured actors that are just rolling off and out in front of the screen. I believe there is an audience for me so I’m just going to keep going for it non-stop. Keep socialising, keep networking and eventually make it. Last year I did a commercial for Bollywood so for now, stay in the UK, but the next steps are Asia and America, and of course I'm busy working on Metamorphosis!

Big thanks to Paul Van Beaumont for giving us a great incite into both his background, career and aspirations.

Jaz McKenzie

Word Magician, Poet and Writer. Contact me for a professional review or bio that will be presented in my original, distinctive style to help create your desired image. itsbraap@live.co.uk


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