Hello Mark, first of all, thank you for your time and welcome to UKHS.
UKHS – Since I first started working as an extra and supporting actor last year, I have had the pleasure of meeting some really great actors, lot’s of decent ones and some really bad ones. Mark, you fall into this first category. You are a highly versatile actor who can perform in anything. When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?
MD – Haha, Thanks for the kind words! Well, as a youngster I was a bit of a nightmare, I kept running away and playing truant at school, and was generally quite a nervous and anti social kid. My Mum sent me off to drama classes to try and give me a bit more confidence and discipline and I just fell in love with acting instantly!
UKHS – Most indie Horror fans will know you as Max from ‘Wasteland’, the Zombie flick directed by Tom Wadlow. How did you get involved in this project and did you find the shoot physically challenging?
MD – Physically no, mentally yes! Basically there was only 72 hours between me seeing the casting breakdown and filming my 1st scene! That quick turnaround made character research and preparation, something I care for very deeply, extremely difficult. Fortunately for me, Tommy Draper (the writer) had constructed a very rich screenplay that was able to give me a lot of clues to help me get under the skin of Max and find the root of the anger that drives him in the film.
UKHS – Are you a fan of the Zombie genre and if so what do you think makes them so popular?
MD – To be honest, not massively at all. When I first read the script for Wasteland, I didn’t see it as a zombie film as such. To me it had a lot more in common with ‘The Road’ and ‘Stake Land’ than it did with a typical zombie film. There are of course zombie films I do really like, but I don’t tend to look at films in terms of genre so much, I will take a film on its merits rather than the type of movie it is. It is an incredibly popular genre though, and I think there are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, people always like a movie that makes them jump, and zombie films never lack that. But I also think it’s a genre you can do a lot with, it isn’t a type of film that will easily get stale
MD – ‘Night Bus‘ is a film I’m really excited about. It’s a real ensemble piece, following the lives of the various characters that frequent a typical London night bus late one evening. My character, Jake is on first glance a typical ‘City Boy’ – quite brash and loud, but he is a man that has been forced into this world by circumstance and hasn’t ever really felt like he belonged. There’s a lot of turmoil in the poor fella that he’s never able to fully reconcile. I think the film is going to really grab people’s attention. It flits in style quickly, reflecting the multitude and diversity of characters that you’d see on a night bus really well. Fingers crossed, anyway.
UKHS – Did you enjoy working on the hit TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ and what was it like filming in Morocco?
MD – Oh yeah, it was only a small part but I had been a fan of the series anyway so when the opportunity came, I jumped at the chance. Everybody was incredibly friendly and really made me feel welcome, and you can never really argue about going out to Morocco during the middle of a freezing British winter can you?
UKHS – You recently worked on ‘Ava’, directed by the very beautiful Daniella Daemy. What can you tell us about your role in this and did you enjoy working for Daniella?
MD – ‘Ava’ is another project that I am very excited about and really hope takes off. I play the role of Martin, the lead’s husband and a very troubled man. He is constantly in fear of losing his wife, and this fear leads him to behave quite abysmally at times. He’s a very unhappy character and it was quite hard to understand him at first but once I was able to find a route in, I found him an amazing character to take on and really hope the project gets the funding it needs so I can revisit him. Working with Daniella was intense in a great way. She is a real force of nature with a very singular and focused vision for her work, and it really helped the atmosphere of the shoot, resulting in some very powerful scenes. The whole crew was amazing really and she put the pieces together expertly.
MD – Well Max could be said to be one of the hardest purely because of the short time frame I had to work on, but to be honest all the roles I have taken on board have presented their own challenges, I don’t like easy roles that have no substance and like to challenge myself. I do remember one of my first pieces of work, a short called ‘The Water’s Edge’ was very challenging though as I lost 2 stone very quickly for it and then carried out a physically very demanding week in Snowdonia in some of the most intense weather I’ve ever worked in. It was awesome! My new feature ‘Backtrack’ a psychological horror was also very challenging, physically and emotionally but again was amazing to go through it – all these challenges can either make you miserable or make you feel a lot richer for having experienced them, depending on how you approach them I like to make sure they all do the latter for me.
UKHS – If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
MD – I think I would be in Africa, working to eradicate the ivory trade. It is something I’ve been very passionate about since I was young, and when acting has had enough of me and throws me away, that will hopefully be my destination.
UKHS – Do you have a guilty pleasure horror film?
MD – I love ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’, starring Bruce Campbell, which I have found out is not to everybody’s taste, though I would by no means say I feel guilty about telling the world that – it’s an amazing film! The same with ‘Gremlins’ and ‘Tremors’, not for everyone, but definitely for me!
UKHS – Finally, are you currently working on any other projects which you can tell UKHS about?
MD – I have a few feature films coming soon apart from ‘Wasteland’ which include ‘Backtrack’, the aforementioned psychological horror which I feature in alongside the legendary Julian Glover. And I’ve also signed onto a new TV series which comes out next year, but sadly I’m signed to secrecy on that so I can’t tell you any more. Fans of horror should really like it though, so stay tuned!
UKHS – Thank you Mark, it was a pleasure talking to you, good luck with all those and keep up the great work.
Image courtesy:Mark Drake