Your upcoming movie Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich
a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about the several
characters you play in it?
It's hard to define in a few words because it has so many facets - but in
brief: It's the modern day, the Nazis are back and up to no good with all
manner of sinister plots - can anyone stop them? Wait and see! As for my
characters, I'm lucky enough to play (in various scenes) a kick-ass,
wholly evil Nazi guard, a superhuman Vril plus one main character.
giving away too much, he's a very tortured soul, put into a dire and
difficult situation he's not prepared for ... and it gets VERY dark for
him, very quickly ...
The roles you play in Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich
cover quite a spectrum of emotions - so
as an actor, how do you prepare for a film like this?
I'm very fortunate to work with very talented people, such as Rachel
Malone [Rachel Malone
interview - click here], who was able to sit me down and talk me through my character's
history, where he is mentally and physically when we first meet him, how
his story arc changes. There's real sadness in his story, and Rachel was
great in getting me to think about times in my life where I've been sad,
or upset and how to channel that into my performance. My natural state
is optimistic, so to go right through to abject depression was a real
challenge and if it comes through in the film I have to take my hat off
to Rachel for making me utterly depressed and miserable (in the nicest
possible way!) and to Stephen Foster-Hunt [Stephen
Foster-Hunt interview - click here], who, with Rachel, helped me
'come down' after the difficult scenes and get me back to my normal
happy self. I needed a hug..........
I also have to say that my guard character is also a polar opposite to
me. Dead Walkers had me doing the worst possible things to the nicest
possible people and the way we managed round it was by having absolutely
the best, funniest, craziest people on set. Man alive, talk to Rudy
Barrow [Rudy Barrow interview
- click here] who plays one of the 'heroes' in Dead Walkers - we kicked LUMPS
out of each other and laughed about it (and let me go on the record, in
rehearsal he knocked me sprawling on my back, I got up and ran in again
and took a hard punch to the ribs, then ran back in again and got an
accidental kick to the groin - and he calls ME tough? My ribs were black
for DAYS after, I swear his punches are like being hit by shovels!)
did you get involved with the project in the first place? And what were
your thoughts when you heard the title Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich?
I heard about the project from a fellow actor
(Tony Cartwright, who pops up in Dead Walkers as, you guessed it, a Nazi!)
and was told 'it's a great story, you'll either be a Nazi guard or a Vril
and there are no zombies in it'. So, I turn up all in black but
wearing white underwear (I could tell you why, but I may have to kill you)
for a week's worth of filming. After day one, I get asked if I'd be
interested in a meatier role with regards to fight scenes (because it'd
been noticed that I knew how to give and take fake blows very well -
didn't dare tell them Rudy was actually hitting me!), which then
progressed to me showing some of the other cast members how to 'fake
fight' (including letting the producer D Michelle Gent [Michelle
Gent interview - click here] use me as a
punchbag to demonstrate the finer points of hitting your co-stars without
killing them!) and then onto 'we'd like to use you in a main role'. Very
flattering for a guy who at that point only had 3 film credits to his name
as an extra!
What can you tell us about Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich's director Philip Gardiner [Philip
Gardiner interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
like? And how did you first hook up with him?
actually quite new to Phil, unlike most of the cast who've worked with him
before on The Exorcist Chronicles and other films. He's very intense,
because in the cinema of his mind he knows how he wants the film to
look and he won't accept anything less than perfection. He's also the type
of person who won't ask anyone to do something he wouldn't do himself. For
instance, when I 'auditioned' for my main character on set, I was told it
was a very physical and mental role so instead of just telling me what he
needed, I watched as Phil and my co-star in the majority of scenes (the
gorgeous and talented Nikki Webster [Nikki
Webster interview - click here]) acted out the full scene. He has a
passion for good cinema and good storytelling that makes me and others
want to up our game to meet and exceed the standards he sets - very
intelligent, likes to make people think about their performances and an
all round great guy to work for.
That's got to be worth a few
quid next time I see him, right?
I heard, at least parts of Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich
shot in an unheated warehouse during the coldest days of the year - so
what can you tell us about the shoot as such and the on-set atmosphere?
me tell you about my Vril brethren and I. Naked, apart from a thin see-through paper boiler suit. Covered in freezing cold fake blood. Stood in a
sub zero warehouse, shivering in between takes. Not. One. Complaint.
Seriously - the work ethic, the camaraderie, the quick jokes that took the
sting out of the day when people were looking cold and tired. These guys
are like family to me now - even though at one point some of us had our
boiler suits torn off us (and for the poor girl who walked in on me while
I was having makeup applied to my naked body 1) I'm sorry and 2) it was
cold OK?!?!?!?) Phillip managed to put together a great team of people who
would do absolutely anything for him and each other. No divas, no egos,
everything we did on that set was done willingly, happily and with great
there ever was a Dead Walkers II: Let's Go to an even Colder Warehouse
for the 5th Reich, would you be on board?
heartbeat. And naked. I think it's in my contract, not sure whether that's
down to Michelle or Phil ... I hope to God it's Phil, Michelle seems
to take great delight in making me suffer, be it as punchbag or naked man
in a cold room!
back to the beginnings of your career: You have an extensive background in
theatre, right? So what can you tell us about Paul Sutton, the stage
actor, and what can you tell us about your training on the subject?
actually spent 4 years from 14 to 18 in youth theatre, learning to sing,
act, dance etc. I'll be honest it was more my mum trying desperately to
cure me of shyness (Dead Walkers cast, stop sniggering at the back!) than
any great desire to act on my part. As a teen I was painfully skinny, shy,
didn't make friends easily and bless my mum for trying something like this
because it opened my eyes to a new world for me.
Paul with Melanie Denholme
From that point no-one's
been able to shut me up! After 18 I faced the difficult choice of making
it as an actor or getting a 'proper job' - and at the time I was already a
manager for a retail outlet so I went left instead of right - and luckily
enough I now have a second chance to be doing something I love with all my
heart, and this time there isn't any stopping me! Pahahahahaaaaaaa *evil
on stage vs acting in front of a camera - how do the two compare, and
which do you prefer, actually?
Good question! They both have their pros and cons actually - with stage
acting, the rehearsals are generally longer which can be a benefit - but on
the down side you only get one chance to get it right, so you'd better
be good! I do enjoy the buzz (fear!) you get when you're just about to
step on stage - but then again, there's nothing quite like that feeling
when you're in position on set, someone shouts 'rolling' then 'ACTION!'
Just at that point I'm totally zoned into the moment, and I'm so buzzed
and ready - it's a unique feeling that stage work just can't get near.
Plus, being able to retake if you fall over your lines/shoes/co-star is
As far as I know, your
film debut was in The Eschatrilogy - so what can you tell us about
that movie and your character? And how did you get involved in the first
It's weird but my whole film career has been a great deal of 'right
place, right time' and this was the start! I'd seen an advert in the
local paper for a 'local zombie film' and turned up for the last day of
filming, in a paintballing wood outside Sheffield. I turned up with a
few friends from theatre and we had a great time lurching around in the
dark, invading this log cabin. Then some of us received a callback from
the producer (Nicola Morter, wife of the director/writer/star Damian
Morter [Damian Morter
interview - click here]) saying that they wanted to reshoot a key section of the film and
would we be interested.
Paul with Eirian Cohen in
So, a few weeks later, in the middle of 8 days filming I'm stood on set
near the stunt coordinator and overheard him bemoan the fact that he
didn't have many qualified stunt people and he needed someone to take a
bump (fall). Well, I'm not shy I tapped him on the shoulder, told him
about my judo background as regards taking falls and ended up wrestling
with the main actor for his shotgun before being shoved down a grass
verge (but I got the shotgun, ha!) - pretty much every film since then
I've put myself forward for fight scenes and stunts - I actually got
blown up last week on the set of a film (not for real, though I did have
a near miss rolling over the explosives in a rehearsal!). I'm not
completely fearless but I'll give anything a go once!
Oh yes the film! It's 3 tales of terror round a great central plot, it's
done the rounds of horror film conventions here and in the States
(winning awards and commendations on the way) and it's getting a limited
cinematic release in May before going onto DVD - check it out, Dead
Walkers' Eirian Cohen [Eirian
Cohen interview - click here] is also in it and kicks ass!
Paul with Sandy Slade
Other films of yours you'd like to talk about?
Future projects you'd like to share?
Other than Dead
Walkers and the Eschatrilogy, the works I'm most proud of are the short
film Metanoia (playing a wife beater opposite Reality Films regular
Sandy Slade [Sandy Slade
interview - click here]) and a rare comic role in the soon to be released Narcissist
by Michael Henry.
Dead Walkers is very much my first 'big' role though,
and from my work on that film alone I'm now working with Michelle again
(on the upcoming film Dusty the Demon Hunter), playing a villain (yes, I
love playing the bad guy!), alongside Dead Walkers' Eirian Cohen in a film
called Inner Demons. Phil has also mentioned the possibility of me
working with the amazing Melanie Denholme [Melanie
Denholme interview - click here] on an as yet untitled project
and finally I've been asked to play the lead villain (who sings opera!) in
a small project by one of the production team of The Eschatrilogy. Busy
busy busy, but I wouldn't swap it for the world - actually for the world
maybe, but you know what I mean!
Outside of acting,
you are also a singer, right? Care to talk about that aspect of your
career for a bit?
As yet I've not really had a 'career' as
a singer but when I got into theatre it was natural that I'd gravitate
towards musical theatre primarily because I love to sing, so a lot of my
stage work is this genre. My first 3 months in an operatic society I was
asked to sing several solos and like I said before it's a great buzz to be
stood front and centre and have the spotlight and the audience focused on
you as you sing (God I sound like a right attention seeker - calling Dr
Freud!) Acting is something I love and something I'd like to make a career
out of but singing is my 'off camera' passion and I guess when I do make
it as an actor (and I will!) I'll trade my on-set Winnebago for the chance
to record a song for the soundtrack - considering I'm a big, tough looking
fellow it might surprise people when they hear me sing tender melodies.
How would you describe yourself as an
actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
makeup by Pamela Clare MU'
acting, as in life, I'm passionate about what I do. I know that if I as an
actor am terrible, it reflects badly on the film and on my co-stars so I'm
very tough on myself and I'm driven to get things perfect. I'm the life
and soul until the cameras roll, but as soon as we're in place and ready
I'm as intense as Phil Gardiner (OK maybe not that intense!) [Philip
Gardiner interview - click here] because the last thing I want is people saying 'that film was crap because
of Paul Sutton' - it's kind of like the analogy that on a long drive you may
pass 200 cars but you only remember the idiot who swerves in front of you.
I don't want to be that idiot, where people probably really enjoy the film
but all they remember is a bit of poor acting. I mean I'm not De Niro or
anything but I set myself high standards - if I'm given a role I want
people to think that a) it was good and b) that no-one else could have
played that role.
(and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
Morgan Freeman's an obvious choice because of his iconic voice and
gravitas he can bring to a role but my love of him as an actor is not
just for those qualities. For one, he too got a late start in movies
(born in 1937, first credited role in 1971, first starring role in 1989
at age 52) - so there's hope for me yet (just turned 39)! For another,
look at him playing Nelson Mandela in Invictus. Given his status he
could have phoned that in and still have had people raving about his
performance - but look at the walk, the mannerisms, the little smile -
when I first saw the trailer I thought they'd used stock footage of the
real Nelson Mandela, Morgan Freeman was that convincing - I
aspire to be that talented as an actor. I'd also say Ray Winstone
because he's the template I most fit to - I don't have a six pack, I've
got a certain rugged appeal but wouldn't say I was a 'sex symbol' (not
without laughing!) and I specialise in playing the hard man - and he's
given me big shoes to fill but that's the benchmark I'm going for (and
Ray, if you ever read this, please don't fill the shoes with concrete
and tip me into the Thames fella - you're still the daddy heh heh).
Actresses I'm going closer to home. Nikki Webster [Nikki
Webster interview - click here], Kay Vardy [Kay
Vardy interview - click here], Jane Haslehurst [Jane
Haslehurst interview - click here], Sandy Slade [Sandy
Slade interview - click here], Lauren Winchester and Demi Peters from
Dead Walkers. If I said cold, semi-naked, covered in intestines (that smelled
terrible!) bruised, battered and generally put through hell, it wouldn't
cover half of it! To be able to go through that and give great
performances - my hats off to them, I mean I may have had my buttocks
greased with makeup by a man (off camera too!), but these girls are
genuinely hard as nails, and gutsy, talented actresses. Would I work
with them again? In a spit second - but can I keep my clothes on for some
of the movie please?
I'm a huge Stephen King fan, so Shawshank Redemption
and The Green Mile are standouts for me (not Pet Semetary though - god
that was poor). I like films that make you think (Inception), history
based (Downfall, Schindler's List) and fantasy (Pan's
Labyrinth). But for
all that highbrow stuff, you'd better believe that I'm a HUGE Star Wars
buff and if I somehow manage to blag my way onto the set of Episode 7 I
think I might forget I'm a pro and hug an Ewok or something ...
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
... and of course, films you really deplored?
the ones with Jar Jar Binks in ...
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
have 6 fingernails on my right hand, I'm a Pisces, a Chinese Tiger and
I'll show my tattoos to anyone who buys me a double vodka (no ice). Oh and
talking of singing this one's dedicated to Kay Vardy and Eirian Cohen [Eirian
Cohen interview - click here] ...
'Baby Shark do doo do do do!'
for the interview!
Thanks for the chance to talk for hours