Your upcoming movie Dark Vale
- in a few words, what is it
about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?
Without wanting to give too much away, I play Tom, a young(-ish :) )
guy who goes away for the weekend with his girlfriend Leah (Cara Middleton
[Cara Middleton interview -
click here]). Events transpire and we have to leave to go home early but we
end up getting trapped in a mysterious place called the Vale and
stalked/tormented by a ghost. It's not your typical horror movie though,
writer and director Jason M.J Brown [Jason
M.J Brown interview - click here] has really put his own stamp on the genre with
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Darren
Randall can we find in Tom?
To be honest Tom is just a
regular guy, he's got his own issues and insecurities that sometimes get
in his way and let him down, but he does genuinely love Leah very
much and given the troubles she is going through in her own life wants to
bring her some happiness and make her feel safe. He isn't the type of
protagonist that appears in a lot of horror movies though, who has a
specific skill set that will help him get through the situation he's
dropped in. It was that attracted me to the character, that he's a normal
guy who finds himself in a completely abnormal situation. Personality-wise
Tom and I are quite alike, that's what brought in the challenge of playing
him, to find things that differentiated the two of us. I did act in this
To what extent could you
identify with the movie's horror theme?
Well I've never
been trapped anywhere being stalked by a ghost... touch wood :o
In all honesty, quite a lot. I think Tom's biggest thing in the film is
his desire not to fail those that he loves, I've been in situations where
I've felt that and it, while difficult, helped to draw on that to put
across how I imagined Tom would be. There's moments in the film where he
snaps or acts out at whoever's around him, and that's more about how he
feels about himself than anything else.
How did you get
involved with Dark Vale
in the first place?
known Jason for a while now, we worked together in college and he
approached me when the lead in Dark Vale became available. He'd seen me act back
then and I think wanted me to get involved in one of his previous film
can you tell us about your director Jason M.J Brown [Jason
M.J Brown interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
Probably one of the more talented directors I've
worked with. He knows what he wants from the scenes and how to get it.
Easy to work with as well, as much of a perfectionist as he is he's very
trusting of his actors to put on the performance they feel the scene
needs. I've got a lot of respect for the guy, though I'd never show it to
his face so don't tell him I said that :)
Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set
We've had some pretty long days of filming for
Dark Vale, my part in the film at times can be very physical and I've done my own
stunts so lots of bumps and bruises along the way. But as I've said to Jay
before, I'd always choose a day of shooting for a film over my day job. As
hard as we work we've always found time to have a little fun and laughs
along the way, it's really helped that none of us take ourselves
particularly seriously as a bit of banter and harmless mickey-taking has
always managed to creep in at times.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
concrete at the moment, although JJ Abrams I'm free for Episode 9...
own lightsaber and everything! Sigh. I can but dream.
I've been invited to audition for a new theatre company over the next few
months and Jay has said he'd like me to be involved in his next project,
which I'm all on board for.
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I think deep down I've always
wanted to do it to be honest, though it didn't really occur as a
possibility until after I left school. I'd done a course in Media and
Communication and as a part of that I had to do a short film of sorts,
which put me in front of the camera. I just found that I felt quite
comfortable in that kind of performance situation, which if you knew me at
the time (and many people who did know me at the time will back me up on
this) wasn't like me at all. I was... and kind of still am... quite shy
and introverted so when I turned to my parents and said I wanted to study
performing arts at college they were a little taken aback. Pretty sure
they still can't believe that I'm doing it, but they've always been
supportive and probably my biggest (possibly only...) fans.
As far as I know, Dark Vale
was your first feature film, but you've done lots of theatre work - so
what can you tell us about Darren Randall, the stage actor?
true, first feature film. Hopefully not the last (Mr Abrams?). I did have a
pretty short apppearance in a pilot for a comedy series a while back, but
that never got aired. Stage acting isn't the reason why I got into acting
in the first place really. I studied at West Notts College for four years
(two two year courses, BTEC National and Higher National Diplomas). That
being said though I did develop a real love for it... after getting over
that initial reservedness at performing in front of an audience of people
I didn't know (did I mention shy?). Theatre has given me some of the best
experiences, performing a World War 2 play to the Royal British Legion and
having them stand to salute us towards the end, touring up to the
Edinburgh Fringe and, of course, that first standing ovation. It's
certainly something I'd like to continue doing, but Dark Vale has given me a
taste of film acting which I really want to focus more on now.
does acting in front of a camera compare to performing on stage, and which
do you prefer, actually?
Two things which I find equally as
challenging and rewarding, though for different reasons. In theatre you
have the very real challenge of creating the character over a course of
time and learning the lines for a performance at the end, in which you
have to remember all those lines while putting over the character you've
created. It's a lot of build up to a big pay off at the end. In film, what
I've found so far anyway, is that it's much smaller chunks of dialogue for
each day that you shoot but maintaining the character for - at times - a
week in between shooting days. And plus it's not really possible to film
the scenes in sequence, you're almost restricted to what locations you can
get. The very first scene I shot actually happens about two thirds of the
way through the film so you really have to know the character's journey
very well so that you can put across how they'd be at that stage in the
story. I think my preference is with film to be honest, though by a small
How would you
describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your
characters to life?
I'm generally up for doing anything to
portray a character, both in physicality and personality. With the
exception of nudity anyway (shy...). The most important thing for me
is to get a clear idea of who he is as early on as I can, I generally find
that the character very much flows on from there and it becomes natural
when I'm doing a scene to behave or react in the way that character would.
Actors (and indeed actresses) who
There are a lot of actors that I really
respect for their talent, probably too many to mention here, but those who
inspire me are often ones that I see as not taking themselves too
seriously, always giving back to their fans and supporters and that use
their status to benefit charities and do a little good in the world.
That's the kind of actor I'd like to be. The first one that sprung to mind
is Zachary Levi who's actually used his status to set up Nerd HQ, an
organisation that supports Operation Smile who provide medical care and
surgeries to children in developing countries that are born with cleft
lips and palates. Others include Nathan Fillion and Misha Collins to name
just a couple.
Your favourite movies?
could be another really long list. I'm really enjoying pretty much all the
Marvel films so far - Avengers Assemble is probably my favourite. Along
with that, Aliens, Serenity, The Shawshank Redemption,
Star Wars (all of them), Jaws, Lord of the Rings
(all), Harry Potter (all)... honestly I could go on and on,
suffice it to say I'm a big movie lover and would much rather spend a
night in with good company and a good movie (or three).
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Can't really think
of any off the top of my head, so either I've managed to find a redeeming
quality about every film I've watched or they were so bad I've erased them
from my mind. Oooh... Daybreakers. Didn't take to that at all. Was a bit
dissapointed by After Earth as well (sorry Will Smith).
Facebook, whatever else?
Anyone who wants to stalk me can
do so on Facebook at
or Twitter @darren_randall :D
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Keep an eye out
for Dark Vale, coming soon!
Thank you, Michael. Hope I haven't prattled on too long....