Star Leslie Simpson Talks A Reckoning
DC: What was it like interacting with all of the straw people? Any joke-playing with them during the shoot? Did you get to keep one or two to decorate for Halloween?
LS: They were some of the best actors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. I had to raise my game to keep up with them. They never complained, had all their lines down from day one, and turned up at the read through in full costume and make-up. They look very young on camera but most were in their forties. I became good friends with the Hanged Man because we both have an interest in 17th century irrigation law.
DC: You have worked with Axelle Carolyn before, on Doomsday and you are friends with her husband, director Neil Marshall. Was there any “awkwardness” with your interaction with her in your scenes together? And who do you think her character represented? Salvation? Happiness? Death? Or something else?
LS: Intimacy is part of an actor’s repertoire. Nothing is uncomfortable or awkward as far as the craft of acting goes. Do I have to get my kit off? Is there a love scene? It’s all part of the work. I don’t give it a second thought.
Andy and Kraj placed layer after layer of symbolism into the piece, covering every possible angle.
In The Shawshank Redemption Andy Dufresne has his Screen ‘Goddess’. Anyone who has seen that film will know what she implies. In The Truman Show, Truman Burbank yearns to be re-united with Lauren/Sylvia Garland on the ‘outside’ after she makes a brief appearance in his make-believe world. Both Shawshank and the Truman Show have scenes involving the sea. Without giving spoilers, both those films are identical metaphors for the same redemptive journey in my opinion. In my view The Woman, played with aplomb by Axelle –the role is not as easy as she makes it look - serves the same purpose, but don’t quote me on it. I can’t over-state the need for audiences to watch the film without our input.
DC: How have the film and your performance been received by the people who have seen the film and how are the producers getting the film out to a larger audience? This really is a must-see movie.
LS: Not everyone has enjoyed it, because it’s pretty intense. But on the whole the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It invariably leaves a residue that lasts for days; weeks even. It’s hard to shake off once you’ve seen it. From what I can gather Andy, Kraj and I are the only one’s making any effort to get it seen. If there’s anybody else, then they should get in touch with Andy. But where there’s a wu there’s a wei. It didn’t stop Ink (the film), nor did it do them any harm.
DC: Who and/or what inspires you in your work? Authors, other actors, something else completely?
LS: I genuinely don’t have a clue. I pay very little attention to my thoughts. When anything does inspire me, I’ll go ‘Ooh, that was good’, or ‘Eek, that was bad’, then the next day, or at most a few days later I’ve forgotten what it was. Nothing sticks. It helps me to get over things. And then on top of that I have a self-destructive nature – in a genuine, positive sense. So if anything or anyone takes advantage of my nature enough times, I sear it or them off at the root – the root always being within myself. The upshot is anything that was inspiring me during that period is also likely to go. I’ve died loads of times so I’m used to it. Oh, okay, there you go, philosophy clearly inspires me and I never knew it. Well I’ll Be!!
DC: What are you currently working on? I know you are the Artistic Director of the ThreeOverEden Theatre Company – any plays on the horizon? Or are you doing more films?
LS: Actually we’ve collapsed threeovereden too. I had a clearance sale of all aspects of my former life about 18 months ago. It’s no surprise that this is almost exactly the time we wrapped principal photography on A Reckoning.
The king is dead!! Long live Gilbert Whistle!!
The shoots of my next great adventure are only just showing through now and I’m about to enter a rich vein of employment – older and stupider.
I’ve just shot a cameo in a feature called CRAWLSPACE. It’s a sci-fi action horror by first time director Justin Dix and produced by John Finemore. I can tell you with every confidence that this film will blow genre fans away. I saw an ungraded teaser yesterday and I was struck dumb. Justin is an art director & special effects wiz, and he brings that visionary zeal to his filmmaking. I’ll eat my hat if he’s not the next Ridley Scott. Greg ‘Wolf Creek’ Mclean is the Executive Producer.
DC: You have starred in two iconic horror movies: Dog Soldiers and The Descent. What is your opinion on horror movies and are you a fan? If so, what are some of your favorite horror films?
LS: Crikey mick!! My dissertation at University was shorter than this interview. I think I’m suffering from Scribbler’s Finger.
I love horror films. I was raised on them. One of my nicknames as a kid was Werewolf because I had very hairy arms, and I used to tell people that I’d be in a werewolf film when I grew up. Go figure? My fave horror films are generally satanic, although I can dig anything as long as it has a genuine presence of the ‘other’. While I enjoy some slasher/serial killer flicks, I think they’re really a sub-genre of crime-drama. I love Roman Polanski’s 70s output, The Tenant and Rosemary’s Baby, I love The Exorcist & The Omen, yadda yadda. But my all-time personal fave is Angel Heart. In my opinion, everything about that film is magnificent.
DC: Any favourite horror authors and/or books on your bookshelves?
LS: I read a lot and have been through most of the major horror writers. Lovecraft, Irving, Poe etc. Bachman/King, Clive Barker, James Herbert, Crowley, Grant, the list goes on.
DC: What is one thing no one knows about Leslie Simpson that you think they should know?
LS: Eh? Who’s Leslie Simpson? I’m Leslie Scrivens. Isn’t this the application form for welfare support? Ah nuts!! That took hours to fill out.
DC: Did you get to attend the Royal Wedding?
LS: There was a royal wedding? Not on my planet.
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