Monday, 6 May 2013

Interviews Ben Loyd-Holmes Interview

Interview with Ben Loyd-Holmes

Hi Ben, first off I wanted to say thanks for the tip on Berocca, the best thing to happen to my brain in such a long time.

Ben - My pleasure. It's a true life saver. Everyone in the Film industry uses it!

How do you keep yourself in trim and any tips as to what foods to avoid in maintaining a healthy mind and body?

Ben - It isn't easy to keep trim without being a complete gym head which I'm not. To quote Kevin Spacey in American Beauty when asked about why he trains. "I just want to look good naked". Doesn’t everyone?
Sport is great and I love doing it, but I hate standing in a gym day after day. So for me aside from wanting to look and feel my best and having the pressure of work needing you to look a certain way really the way I train is hard and fast.

Sport specific training, a lot of body weight training, martial arts, climbing. The other thing is nutrition. I do a simple trade off I eat loads of ice-cream and other nice things but I don’t drink very often. Alcohol is a major reason people put on weight. I maybe drink 5 times a year. Never have tea or coffee, chocolate is way more fun. I'm also a big supporter of the cheat day method. Eat well, enjoy food, NEVER diet.

I bought The Hike to watch the other night but it left me a little lost. What was the plot idea behind the story? I got why the girls were there, but there was no story or background with the killers, and usually there’s something we discover about them. It left me confused as to why three guys who seemed your average kind of Joe’s were in the forest and appeared to be normal and friendly and then just turned.  

Ben - There's two reactions to the film. Some people get it others don't. The story isn't the men’s. It's the women’s. Why do real killers do it?  Real Killers do not have a sweet little reason that sits in a box. They are dark sinister minds wrestling to control uncontrollable urges. 

How often do we hear the family or a real victim beg for some kind of reason as to why the killer did it? Even police asking, they have no answer, or if they do it’s a weak ill thought out answer that they believe justifies their actions. This is what we are portraying here. The Hike is a film that portrays a realistic tale, though not a very nice one. Some films are really predictable and it is too easy to do the same old same old. 

The point of the guys seeming nice is that it is so often the case. Killers project a lovely outer image to win the trust of their victims and that’s the message of the film. Who can you trust? Sadly history and the newspapers are littered with cases of people trusting the man next door, the caretaker at the school, the man down the road. In the film these women let their guard down with the men because of how they look, speak and their assumptions that the men are trustworthy is ultimately their downfall.

I’ve been looking through your skills and bio on the website, I have to say very impressive. You have been in a number of films, but aside from the part in Torchwood, it was the mention of being a droid in Star Wars that caught my eye. As a fan of Star Wars myself, which droid were you? Did it take long to get into the costume, and do you have any stories you could impart to your fans about your time on the George Lucas set?

Ben - Haha yes I do have an extensive skills list, but then I love doing things. I'm sure most people would have a long skills list if they had to write them all down! Yes I was in Phantom Menace. A bunch of us did the Battle droid stuff. No the costume wasn't much to look at as they are CG's over. My dad is better to ask he has worked on 3 of the Star Wars films.

In your skills of weaponry, have you always had an interest in guns? You look so comfortable behind a gun, and your stance, it’s as if it’s something that comes natural to you. Have you ever been to Bisley Army Camp to practice firearms? Or did the films training take you elsewhere to learn how to fire weapons? 

Ben - Guns are a tool for a job. They are a lot of fun to use, but at the end of the day they need a lot of respect as they are inherently dangerous! I've been around guns my whole life, learnt to shoot when I was about 6 I think maybe younger. I can’t remember. I have shot at Bisley, I've shot lots of types in a number of places. I enjoy it, but only as much as I do archery or something similar. 

I really enjoy testing and honing skills no matter what they are. Also as an actor, if I am to play someone that is comfortable doing something, I really have to be. It makes a big difference in believing the character.

Are you often pigeon holed as taking on roles where you’re in military attire, as Special Ops or soldier in one era or another?  Would you consider a sci fi film, other than as a Star Wars droid?

Ben - I do often get offers for those types of roles, but I'm really lucky to get those offers. It’s a tough industry to succeed in. I'd love to do a sci fi and I would love to do more comedy.

You’re in the new James Bond film Skyfall, it must be a thrill working on the set of 007 what was the best part about being in the film, what was the worst part? 

Ben - It was great to be part of the Bond legacy, however it wasn't just me. My girlfriend Lucy was also on the film. For the entire shoot! 

Best part was working with Sam Mendez and Judi Dench who I really admire. Rory Kinnear is great too. The entire team were lovely. 

Worst part? Only having a couple of days on it!

As an established actor do you still have to go through audition processes in order to win parts in films, or does it go through sending your photos to whomever in order to get the part?

Ben - It is slightly different now. Some parts are just offered straight to me which is great, some are a meeting where it’s more of a discussion about the part, but of course I still have to audition for a lot of roles. It's the norm and a really important part of the process. A director wants to know how you might take the roles and what your ideas are. I enjoy auditioning.

What sort of film would you turn down if a script was sent to you and what is it about a good film that would hook you in?

Ben - I would turn down something that had weak characters with no arc - or something that was poorly written. There's only so much you can do with a weak script. Also it’s a lot about who else are involved, key crew and other cast. You want to work with good people. A real hook for me is exciting storytelling and of course an exciting angle.

You’ve done a variety of acting parts, from shorts to feature films, what’s the best role you’ve had and why?

Ben- I just did this really fun thing, which annoyingly I can't talk about. But it was a comedy and I was playing a Steven Merchant type. Was a lot of fun. I guess my favourite role to date is the new MERCS role PREACH. Other than that I have really enjoyed Torchwood, Skyfall, Spooks, The Hike and Band of Brothers obviously and so many others. I have been lucky. For me it's about finding good roles in good projects. I have just auditioned for some really exciting ones so we'll see.

Are there any sports you’re not good at? Tiddly winks. Hopscotch. Pogo-ing perhaps?

Ben – Tennis, bat/ball games generally. I have very little power control. Used to be good, but martial arts increased my power delivery and it's a little difficult sometime to control, hence ball sports are not my thing. I enjoy rugby and that kind of thing.

Although you were only in a short part in Torchwood, do you have any stories from the set that you could share with the fans? If another involvement with the Black Ops came about for Torchwood, would you consider taking a role in it?

Ben -I'd love to do Torchwood again. It was fun and the crew were lovely. If I got the opportunity I’d jump at it.

After you’ve finished on the set of a programme or film, do you ever keep in contact with the stars you appeared with?

Ben- It depends on the relationship that’s been built up or not. Just like in any other situation. I have met some great people and built great long lasting friendships.

When you were growing up, whom and what influenced you in your decision to become an actor and indeed to write your first ever script?

Ben- My dad is in the business and it meant I was always hanging round film sets. Writing was just something I wanted to do. Actors there are too many to mention. I like Jackie Earl Haley, Hank Azaria, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hardy, there's so many.

I was reading through your bio on the web and it mentions Black Book series. What is Black Book?

Ben - Black Book is an espionage thriller. It's about a unit within the intelligence services that brings the fight back to those who threaten the innocent. Taking the gloves off!

It must sting, free diving into salt water with no goggles and eyes open. Was this for a film or is this something you do as a hobby?

Ben - Not really, I don't mind it. I enjoy free diving and it came as a natural progression. Scuba is great, but free diving is a different experience. The no mask thing was a natural progression, being in that environment with as little kit as possible. I've swam with sharks and dolphins and that kind of thing but I like to do it without all the clunky scuba gear if possible.

Would you say you were a perfectionist, an adrenalin junkie or a control freak where work is involved?

Ben - Perfectionist and adrenalin or experience junkie yes, control freak no, far from it. I'm quite chilled out really.

Is your girlfriend Lucy also in the business and have you ever acted in the same film together, was this how you guys met?

Ben - She is, she’s a make-up artist. She was doing my make-up when we met and the rest is history, she's very talented.

If you have kids would you encourage them to follow their dreams if it were acting, or would you deter them in favour of another trade?

Ben - Acting is a hard profession but if it was something they wanted to do I would support them. I would say though they should get another trade and another skill. Acting involves a lot of resting and it's easy to get left behind. So it's very important to have more than just acting as a career. Just in case!

For someone who was looking to start out as a writer and film maker, what tips could you give them?

Ben - Learn structure and character and then story. The reality is most people think story is more important than structure, but the film business is based on structure so if that’s not right you are not going to get very far. Then of course you can start doing short film and/or go for film. Trying to get it in front of people and of course get it made now in the digital age it’s far easier and there are more opportunities.

Have you ever read any of the Torchwood novels, if so which was your favourite and why?  Do you read books when you’ve got time in your busy schedule or do you not have time to sit for long? If you do, who is your favourite author, or book that sticks in your memory?

Ben - I don't really read 'fiction'. I tend to read philosophy or classical works. I like Lao Zu Sun Tzu and Confucius.

I have a few random questions from fans, and I do mean random. Boxers or briefs? Although after watching the Hike I’d say Commando!!!

Ben - Wow who asked that one? Boxers, Calvin Klein style. And yea, The Hike was different! People love mentioning a nude scene.

What are your deepest and darkest fears?

Ben - Not making a difference.

How many Hub Conventions have you been to?

Ben – Two I think

Do you have a favourite super hero? And if you were given one super power, what would it be and why?

Ben - I am the best super hero and aside from the powers I have, clearly I would love to be able to stop time! Or fly.

What music helps to set a scene for you when you’re writing?

Ben - I listen to the kind of music that fits the film. Just to put me in the mood. Depends on the project!

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