Midlands Feature - Interview with Jon Campling
By midlandsmovies, Feb 16 2016 11:20AM
The film industry is like a motorway and film school is the sliproad to it - An interview with Jon Campling
For context of this interview please read our Acid Daemons on-set interview feature (part 1) at this link
I grabbed experienced actor and Harry Potter Death Eater Jon Campling over lunch during a break in filming on the set of Leicester’s upcoming Acid Daemons. Unfortunately interrupting the kind actor’s pasta dinner, I apologised profusely but ever the gentleman Jon was more than happy to answer a few questions about the project and his career so far…
MM: Hi Jon. Community is really important in these types of productions. Have you felt this with your involvement in Acid Daemons?
JC: Absolutely yes. Projects like these draw the other people in the community to them. There is always one film that tends to be the “go-er” or get the green light at that particular point and a group works on that but when someone else has a project the group will then pull to that. It happens much easier in a small town.
MM: Does it happen elsewhere?
JC: It happens in London but it’s more difficult because it’s so big. In a city like Leicester it’s easier for people to know everyone. Networking is easier too.
MM: The Phoenix Arts Centre in Leicester has a café and even that social area has created a space for collaboration both formally and informally.
JC: The physical crossover is important. It’s a powerful tool. London is disparate partially because of the distance. So many people almost never cross the river in a city where the river is a focal point.
MM: And how did you get into the industry?
JC: I’m originally from Hull and that was small but a lot of my work is now in London. I enjoy it there especially the river in summer and I often dreamt of escaping Hull to pursue my dreams of being an actor.
MM: When did you take that leap to leave?
JC: I stumbled into a good job at British Aerospace after school. My family were proud but it wasn’t one I particularly wanted. I wanted to be an actor. The environment made me realise I couldn’t stay there. So I left and went to drama school in Birmingham plus I got a grant at that time so felt I was very lucky indeed.
MM: I guess that at the start you may have been involved with smaller projects but do you get to do many now?
JC: I became an actor to act not to earn money so I’m happy to do anything. I did a student film 2 weeks ago. I did it because the guy approached me professionally and the script was really good. It’s all about the approach as I get offered work but when people say “I can’t get decent actors for my film”, I respond with “you’re not attracting them to the film”.
MM: Could you elaborate?
JC: Well, you have to offer them something of value other than money. If you send actors a script which blows their mind they will be interested. You have to think like the film industry even as a student so an amateur approach is not attractive. The industry is like the motorway – everyone travelling at 70mph – and film school is the slip-road on to it. You need to be up to speed by the time you leave.
MM: Rhys got Colin Baker for his previous film Finding Richard by writing for him.
JC: Exactly. Something has to be interesting in the project as some students believe that you will always take their films as seriously as they do – but for no reason. My advice is also to try and film on a weekend. Your agent tries to keep you available as work always comes in the day before but there’s less chance of drop-out if it is scheduled for the weekend.
MM: Finally, was Acid Daemons something then you felt a personal connection to?
JC: It’s a really good script and I’m a huge fan of 70s films where horrors were just great movies and genre was secondary. Back then they were grown-up and something like Poltergeist was just a well-made film. Acid Daemons had that feeling, rather than a structure that just wanted to get to the “horror” scenes. It's not like a bad gangster film just getting to the guns. I’m also usually the bad guy and in Acid Daemons my character has a great cameo with 2 or 3 nice scenes and he is a catalyst for things to happen. He gets in. Causes some shit. (laughs) Then gets out of there. I met Rhys through Ben Jacobson so it’s been great working in Leicester again too.
At this point, with his pasta finished and lunch at an end the crew ask Jon back to the set to pick up where they left off.
A big thank you to the cast and crew for taking time out to speak to Midlands Movies about the production and for being so welcoming and friendly on set. Check out more information about Jon on his Facebook page below as well as the official Acid Daemons website for continued updates about the production.