Lime interview - Screen
Born to do it
Award-winning writer, director, and actor Noel Clarke flips the script with his new British movie, 188.8.131.52.
Born in West London, actor, writer and director Noel Clarke was first recognized for his work in Richard Wilson's Royal Court Theatre production of Where Do We Live, when he won Most Promising Performer at the 2003 Olivier Awards. Clarke went on to take roles in Metrosexuality, Waking the Dead, A Touch of Frost, and Auf Weidersehen Pet.
Clarke also wrote and starred in Menhaj Huda's W10 LDN. He also starred in the Dr Who franchise as Mickey Smith. In 2005 Clarke took the lead role of Sam Peel in Kidulthood, a film produced from his own original screenplay. Clarke won Best Screenplay for Kidulthood at the Dinard Film Festival. Following Kidulthood's critical acclaim, Clarke went on to script and reprise his role as Sam in the UK smash hit sequel Adulthood, this time also taking on the role of director.
Clarke has appeared in the films Doghouse, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Heartless and Centurion. He received the Orange Rising Star Award at the 2009 Orange British Academy Film Awards.
Lime editor, Sophia Jackson, interviewed Noel Clarke as part of our Remarkable Men theme – he's a pioneer and inspiration to many.
I enjoyed 184.108.40.206 and felt we'd seen a more sophisticated side to your filmmaking. Would you agree?
Hmm, yes I think so. It's a side people haven't seen and a chance to get that out. It was also a chance to write an interwoven story and to write for the girls. I was bored of the typical way. I wanted to show I was doing something different. I am a big fan of Pulp Fiction, Go and Amores Perros which inspired 220.127.116.11. I wouldn't' say mine is as good though.
Were you out of your comfort zone?
I actually wrote 18.104.22.168 before Kidulthood and Adulthood and so because of those films people assume they know what my comfort zone is. They forget I wrote an episode of Torchwood (sci-fi). I don't know if I want to write a period drama but my zone is broader than people think it is.
How did you get the idea to write 22.214.171.124?
I had a meeting with an executive after doing Kidulthood and he told me that the girls weren\'t written well. His point was that I couldn't write for women and I got angry.
How did the Eve cameo in 126.96.36.199 come about?
When I first wrote it I was a fan of The Queens of Comedy and I thought Mo'Nique was the funniest person. I wanted Mo\'Nique to play that part although I thought there was no way we could get her. The producer worked with Eve on Flashback and it all started from there.
Tell me about the strong presence of female empowerment in 188.8.131.52
I've got a wife who I've been with for a long time. I'm raising my son, with my woman. My mum is a strong women and I understand how difficult it must have been for my mum - Im high up on female empowerment. There's heaps of it in Adulthood but 184.108.40.206 really gives women a chance where they don't need to be saved.
Men are often teased about getting excited at the thought of girl on girl action. Were you indulging your own personal fantasies at all with that scene which I felt was beautifully shot.
I would rather be in there myself. Girl on girl doesn't excite me as it's boring. The scene was in there for a bit of titillation without being gratuitous. All the sex scenes are done where the actresses are told that I wouldn't show anything they didn't want to seen on screen. But sure it's in there for the boys in terms of a lot of girls will go and see the film with their boyfriends.
On your Twitter, you describe yourself as a BAFTA winning dad, some chick's fella and a normal guy who shares his thoughts/feeling. Does social networking help to get things off your chest or is it just another way of marketing your brand?
I think it's both. I do those things because I like them. The blog is a way to say what I say. Journalists always have something to say and this is a way to get my point across. The Internet lets every fool air their opinion – including me.
One of my Twitter followers, @merisesher, asks: "Have you any thoughts on why films like The Great Debaters don't get screened in the UK?"
I can tell you why. A lot of people don't feel films like that have an audience here. Kidulthood was one of the films that had a lot of black people and opened the gate for them to be on the big screen, this rarely happened in the UK. I have more black actors in my films than any other movie. One company has announced they will be bring Tyler Perry's films to the UK which is a start though. If it wasn't for Kidulthood I don't think that would have happened.
What about the UK movie Shank?
I won't comment on that film.
My best friend and movie buff, Micallar Walker, thinks you should be the first black James Bond. What do you reckon?
I'm too short. I'm only five foot nine so I don't think that will ever happen as there would probably be a backlash. But it's very kind of her to suggest I could play that role so tell her I'm thankful.
What contribution have organisations such as Screen Nation made to your career?
Screen Nation is great. I support it and turn up every year. I was disappointed it didn't happen this year and hope they can make it into the show it needs to be it's imperative that we recognise ourselves in this way.
What's next for you Mr Clarke? I saw on your Twitter you'll be working with the National Theatre.
I was asked to write a play for the National Theatre for the Connections initiative. I wrote it and we had a workshop on it today. People won't believe I wrote it.
How do you juggle being a family man and a flourishing career?
I don't know. My wife and I are both very busy and we're tired but I love the missus and the boy. Everyone knows you have to work but you make sure you take time out.
It's our Remarkable Men issue, can you tell me about three men who have had an influence on your life?
Why are you interviewing me? This is a tough one. There are a few directors including Spike Lee, and Kevin Smith, who is in the film. I didn't have that male role model as it was just me and my mum who was both my mum and my dad.
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