Your new movie Nightmare
on 34th Street - in a few words, what is it about, and what can
you tell us about your character in it?
Itís a holiday anthology of short horror stories. What more could you possibly
want for ChristmasÖ sherry, mince pies and a few diabolical murders? I
play a twisted priest whoís choir boys take revenge. And if you look
closely, thatís also me at the beginning of the film strangling Dani
Thompson [Dani Thompson
interview - click here]. Iím expecting hate mail.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Jeff Kristian can
we actually find in Father McShane?
is an arrogant narcissistic predator whoís been shielded for years by
those too weak to challenge him. Iíve experienced people like that first
hand, and we see them in the news almost every day. Iím really not like
him at all I hope, although we do have the same haircut.
How did you get
involved with the project in the first place, what drew you to it?
James Crow first contacted me way back in 2017 at the beginning of filming. I was
already a fan of his work. It was an easy decision for me, really.
what extent could you identify with Nightmare
on 34th Street's approach to both horror and Christmas?
know there are horror fans who like to watch someone being mindlessly
hacked to pieces with a hatchet, with bits flying off and blood squirting
everywhere. But I prefer to let my imagination do some of the work.
on 34th Street, it gets inside your head. Christmas just makes it more
personal. And a bit sparkly.
What can you tell us about your director James Crow, and what was your
James has a very clear idea of what he wants to see in his viewfinder but is
also very open to suggestions and interpretation. And he often has new
ideas in the moment. It feels fluid, like working with music. Thatís not
as common as you might think and itís great fun.
Do talk about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere!
Actors are just showoffs who like dressing up, really. And James often works with
the same crew and performers, so itís usually nice to turn up and find
youíre spending the day with people you know. Like being on the set of a
Carry On, I guess.
Any future projects you'd like to
Well, Iíve worked on two other James Crow films that I believe are out next
year. And publicity is just beginning on a Rahel Kapsaski movie based on
the Aleister Crowley poem The Red Lips Of The Octopus [Rahel
Kapsaski interview - click here]. I play Crowley in
his fading years, as he looks back on his relationship with lover Herbert
Pollitt. I also composed its soundtrack. Iíve worked with Rahel on other
projects, including her sister Seleneís movie Spidarlings
interview - click here], theyíre
both amazing artists.
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive any formal training on the subject?
something that just kind of happened. In 1970, Tommy Steele cast me in his
BBC TV special In Search Of Charlie Chaplin. I looked a bit like Chaplin
as a six year old. Because Iíd been on telly, I kept getting asked to do
stuff on stage. So still at school, I was moonlighting around while
training with a couple of actor mentors. I was gonna enrol for stage
schoolÖ but then I joined a band. Rock'níroll, baby!
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Nightmare on 34th Street?
Iíve always been cast as oddballs. Iíve played an alien drag queen from Mars,
a transgender Snow White on crack, an icecream man who melts his customers
and a psychopath who rubs his face in murdered rentboysí underpants.
Whatís not to like?
Besides making movies, you also
have an extensive resumť as a stage actor - so what can you tell us about
that aspect of your career, and how does performing in front of a live
audience compare to acting in front of a camera? And which do you prefer,
I loved doing theatre and old time music hall, and singing with live bands.
I think Iím probably best remembered for my cabaret show. But in late
2016, I realised I had been on stage non-stop for over thirty-five years
and needed a break. Three months later, I was on the set of Nightmare
on 34th Street. I do miss performing live though, the audience
responds instantly. But film work is more laid back, which suits me right now.
You of course also have to talk about your
career as a songwriter and recording artist! So what can you tell us about
your music, your musical influences, and of course your career highlights
in the music world?
year is the fortieth anniversary of my first solo single, it was a bit of
a shock when I realised. And this year Iíve been recording new versions
of old songs with my very first band The Berry Lane. Writing pop songs is
my true love. Iíve had songs in films for about twenty years now, which
is a real honour. Of my four in Nightmare
on 34th Street, If Everyone Believed In
Christmas entered the LGBTQ music charts at number three last week.
Iím so humbled and amazed. And itís glam rock, my fave genre!
How would you describe yourself as
an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?
I think Iím brave, you have to be. But my confidence comes in part from
taking time to prepare. Knowing my characterís backstory can inform me
how they will react and what choices they will make. Sometimes itís in
the script and sometimes I have to make it up. The rest is technical
stuffÖ learn your words, show up on time, know your spot and where the camera is.
Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
of my examples might seem predicable. Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch,
Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren. They can really do it and you
canít help but watch. Itís a masterclass. At the moment Iím drawn to
anything with Jonathan Bailey. I could watch Bette Davis till my eyes
on 34th Street
... and of course, films you really deplore?
get a bit bored with formula films. Scriptwriting 101 should be a guide,
not a template. Predictable. Iíll go put the kettle on.
Your website, social media, whatever else?
is at jeffkristian.com
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Crow and I wrote a song together for Nightmare
on 34th Street. Itís called Pagan Dream
and was recorded by Joshua Takacs for the end titles. The Jeff Kristian
version will be in stores soon.
for the interview!
back at yer! x