Real TV Films recently caught up with the highly intelligent and talented Film, TV and Theater actor Elliot James. He revealed some of his inspirations growing up and his plans for the future in the world of acting, here is what he had to say:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how and when did you first get into performing?
I’m a British Actor from London. Acting and the arts are all I’ve ever known, really. My Aunt was an agent and I did the odd TV commercial as a kid and attended auditions and castings. The passion for performing really came when I was a teenager and I started drama and acting at 17. When I finally got to see plays in London, I was hooked. I found the Theatre magical.
After dabbling in stand up comedy and even playing London’s Comedy Store, I attended drama school in London and my path was set. Finding the Actor life and the world of performing was, silly as it might sound, like finding home.
What inspired you to get into this industry?
It’s a cliché to say that Actors are shy but that’s certainly the angle I came in on. Unable to express oneself in life, one could, however, do ANYTHING on stage. It’s a very freeing business. Acting.
Also, you are definitely born an Actor. It’s a need, a compulsion, as many have said it’s not enough to want to act, you have to NEED to act. Even off duty, you’re sort of watching and absorbing others behaviors and taking things in, wondering how and what others think.
To be paid to live others lives and connect with audiences is a totally addictive job you know!
What kind of training have you had, if any?
Very traditional, British, Theatre based craft. Part of that long tradition that involves everything from breathing, diction, speech, posture, movement, dance, fencing, improvisation and then acting in play after play, all kinds of parts. It was very strict indeed but that was good. You get the message, if not straightaway then in the future. “Oh that’s what they were drilling into me… I get it now.”
Also, the invaluable discipline of being an Actor. Always on time, always ready to go. Focused and serious about your craft. The Theatre is your religion. “The readiness is all”.
What has been your favorite role to play so far?
I loved playing Mozart in Amadeus. It’s a showy part but what’s wrong with that? To play extraordinary people is thrilling, to be a genius for a while, can’t be too bad.
Last year I played a transvestite gentleman thief in The Genuine Article, just a marvelous role. Endlessly enjoyable. I’ve been lucky enough to play Hamlet, Lago, Bottom, MacBeth, Richard II. All those juicy Shakespeare parts. They never tire.
What has been one of your biggest achievements in your career so far?
I’ve played lead roles often, which is an achievement in such a competitive industry. I wrote, directed and performed a Shakespeare show called Shakespeare Demystified. In an attempt to “sell” Shakespeare to those that might be scared of it or bored of it. It’s been a terrific success.
Touring all the grand old Victorian Theatres with Jane Eye was pretty marvelous. Heading up the Italian Lotto campaign was quite a big deal and I get recognized whenever I go to Italy.
What projects do you have coming up?
So much to do! I have a film awaiting release called The Special Place. I’m playing a stressed out businessman that has a nervous breakdown at a Buddhist retreat. More Shakespeare performances. A one-man show on Noel Coward, which has been a real passion project and a TV pilot is in development.
Who would you most like to work with?
Well I worked with Richard Chamberlain and that was rather amazing. I suppose any one that can REALLY act because they up your game. So people like Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Ian Mckellen, Judi Dench, Leonardo DiCaprio these people are totally believable when you see them act.
What are your plans for the future?
After years of performing all over Europe, I’d love to continue my success in the US. It’s a LONG held dream and the opportunity in TV and Film there is, of course, enticing. New frontiers and all that.
What is your advice to aspiring performers?
Get life experience, by working different jobs, traveling and experiencing things. Then, go to a good drama school and hone your craft. Play anything, stretch yourself. Go to where the fear is and surprise yourself. There’s no room for self-consciousness in acting, you just have to be that other person. It should be like a kind of voodoo. Oh and acting is not hiding really. It’s about revealing yourself and your emotions through a character. It’s about being truthful.