15th June 2022
Interview: Amy Bell
Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
A film that will be released in UK cinemas in September called In From The Side.
It’s going to be a revolutionary LGBT film -as it is not about homophobia, coming out, AIDS or its not even about being gay, its about sport, teamwork and a story about a love affair set in a gay rugby club. Carl plays Gareth, the bully of the rugby team.
It also stars ex Emmerdale actor, Alexander Lincoln and the film premiered last month at BFI (British Film Institute) Festival and is now screening in film festivals internationally before its release nationally in UK cinemas in September.
Hi Carl! Thanks for talking to us, what and who inspired you to become an actor?
Unlike some actors, I have never had a moment of “ah that’s what I want to do” while watching another actor. I was always extremely shy and quiet but I remember when I was about 10 years old my mum went to see a psychic -and I sat outside, she came out and told my auntie that the psychic said “one of her sons will end up acting”. My mum and auntie both said “Oh that would be David!” my brother, as he was always outgoing and the entertainer of the family, but I remember sitting in the back of the car overhearing this and thinking “They are wrong- its going to be me”. In my teens, I wanted to be a Children’s TV Presenter and then about 20 years ago I worked on the production team of Eastenders and thought “I think I would enjoy acting” so I after moving back up north after Eastenders, I started going to acting classes at Manchester School of Acting for three years and then lessons at ActUpNorth in Liverpool for ten years and acting workshops in Margie Haber in LA.
You have a film coming out in cinemas in September called ‘In From the Side’, it showcases sport, teamwork and a story about a love affair in a gay rugby club, what made you want to audition for this role and what was the audition/rehearsals like?
Id auditioned for the role as I had been in rugby clubs before and felt like I’d been bullied out. The role was for the bully of the rugby team and I thought “I know this character”, it sounded such a great role but when I got the script I realised it was like nothing I had read or seen before- its an LGBT Film that isn’t about homophobia, coming out or being gay, the characters just happen to be gay and it was a funny, emotional, gripping story set in a relatable rugby team.
I went down to London from Liverpool for the audition and I think they had auditioned lots of actors, and lots of LBGT rugby players who wanted to act, and at first I turned the role down as I thought it was going to be a lot of travelling up and down from Liverpool.. but the more I thought about it the more I decided I would be silly to turn it down and I called them and begged for it back. Luckily they said yes. When we started on the film we had a rugby coach before each scene, so that the scenes seemed as realistic as they could be- sometimes too realistic for what I would have liked! I still think the first night of filming was one of the coldest times of my life…but it was all for the good of the film.
We had the talented footballer ‘Jake Daniels’, coming out as gay last month, why do you think people like him have such an impact in the sporting world, and do you believe this is going to have a good impact on the movie?
I think Jake Daniels coming out is a massive amazing step forward- both him and the film will have an impact on the sporting world and the whole in itself. With Jake and the film coming out- its going to be great for future LBGT generations to see an accurate positive representation of themselves or their community on screen and on the sporting pitch.
You were bullied at school for playing sports, how did this make you feel and why did you decide to audition for the role of being the bully in this film itself?
I went to a rough High School in Liverpool in the early 1990’s -when it probably was a very different time to school now, I hope. I was bullied severally at school, so much so at one point I had to be escorted between lessons by someone. I wanted to do this role- firstly as I saw a character that I instantly recognised, but also knew regardless if you are in a rugby team or not, you know people who are bullies whether that’s in school, a sports team or a workplace and I knew audiences would recognise people like him in their lives. I couldn’t wait to play Gareth the team bully and it was amazing to see the reaction to audiences when the film was premiered at BFI Flare Festival this year.
You also decided to join a rugby team in Liverpool after doing this movie, what made you want to get back into the sporting world, and did the movie inspire you to do this?
During filming all the actors of the fake rugby team- felt like such a real team, that I missed it, I was inspired- however I knew I wanted to join a touch team and not a contact one as I didn’t like the risk of being injured. I saw the good that could come from inclusive rugby clubs, I think sports should be for everyone- not to feel judged, to be included and I found local team Liverpool Tritons so joined them- they were such a welcoming, friendly team and somewhere where I could get exercise, socialise, improve a new skill, be part of a team but most of all had fun- and I encourage anyone to look for an inclusive club near you and give it a go!
How has this film changed you as a person?
Oh yes, being part of the film was the best decision I made- I made some great friends, memories, learnt a new hobby and also hopefully given me a chance to encourage people to join inclusive sports clubs. I hope the film stands up to being one of the a revolutionary LBGT films made so far and its going to be lovely to be part of its journey- and I cant wait for people to watch and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed filming it.