Liverpool -born actor David Morrissey talks to Lancashire Life
PUBLISHED: 14:05 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:35 20 February 2013
David Morrissey has a long list of acting successes behind him such as Captain Corelli's Mandolin, but when it comes to his directorial debut, the Lancashire star could not be more nervous. Emma Mayoh reports
David Morrissey isn't your typical star. Name a gritty or award-winning drama from the past two decades and odds on hes been in it. Add to that the years he has devoted to the stage as well as appearances in blockbusters like Captain Corellis Mandolin and Nowhere Boy, a chronicle of John Lennons life, you begin to scratch the surface of this actors achievements.
He may have a list of credits that rival your average A-lister but you will find no over-inflated ego or pompous antics here. Refreshing, too, is the fact David, who has been running Tubedale Films since the late 90s with brother Paul, still gets nervous.
When it came to the premiere of his directorial debut, Dont Worry About Me, filmed in Liverpool and the Wirral, he didnt know what to do with himself.
He explained: It was very strange. There were all of these crash barriers around the cinema in Leicester Square. I asked what was going on it was only then I realised.
I thought ******* hell, thats for me!
I hadnt realised it was going to be that big. They had the red carpet out and everything. It was a proper film premiere for something Id produced, directed and written.
I sat in the audience with everyone and felt like I was going to die at first. But then they laughed at the bits they should and got upset at the sad parts so I started to relax a bit more. There was a scouser there who told me the film made him miss his home which I was really pleased about.
The actor, born in the east Liverpool suburb of Kensington and married to novelist Esther Freud, may not live up here anymore, but his passion for the city he grew up in has never waned.
Taking the first sip of what he said is a much needed cappuccino in Liverpools London Carriage Works restaurant, located just a stones throw from the theatre he spent much of his formative year, he is relaxed and happy. He may be jet-lagged from a trip to New York to watch friend Daniel Craig on Broadway and he may have a gruelling schedule ahead of him but David could not be more content. He is home.
There is no place better, beamed David. Coming into the city today, walking around and having a good look at it was brilliant. Its such a special place.
Thats why Liverpool always had to be a big part of the film. There are the two main characters in it and the third one is this city. The thing I like about it too is its a very creative, positive, honest place. If they dont like something they will tell you. Ive been at both ends of that spectrum.
It is his Liverpool childhood, in Kensington and then in Knotty Ash when the family moved, that encouraged him to act. While at St Margaret Marys Primary School his eyes were opened to the acting world and he was encouraged by one of his teachers. He played the scarecrow in a school adaptation at The Wizard of Oz and he was hooked. But at secondary school, it became more difficult to pursue his dream.
Telling my parents I wanted to be an actor, I might as well have been saying I wanted to be an extremist. It wasnt that they didnt want me to do it; they just didnt know how to help me. I wasnt really into school either. I just didnt enjoy it, no one seemed to understand me.
A cousin introduced me to the Everyman Youth Theatre. We went there and it changed my life. The people I met there were different to the people at school. They were from all over Liverpool; it was in a part of the city I didnt know. But I felt like I was at home. I felt like I finally had somewhere where I could be me.
He spent many a day at the Everyman with childhood friend and actor, Ian Hart, as well as Mark and Stephen McGann who introduced him to their brother Paul. It was fellow actor Paul who coached David through a tough time when he was away from home at RADA.
This year he will be appearing in many more roles including the BBC drama, Mrs Mandela, and he will also appear in a six part series based on Mark Billinghams novels, Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat. Dont Worry About Me is also scheduled to have its television premiere on the BBC this month. The actor is also a part of The Clapperboard project, based in Liverpool, which aims to develop creative skills amongst young people who would otherwise not have access to the film industry.
Youd expect stars as big as David to have angst-ridden days worried about their next review. But he takes negatives on the chin.
Lets not talk about Basic Instinct 2, he joked. I was a big fan of the first film and when I read the script I loved it but I thought it could go either way. When I watched it back I just thought, oh dear. But then you just carry on. This business is all about taking a leap of faith, sometimes it works, other times it doesnt.
Ive been lucky though and Ive had lots of good times too. Im very proud of Dont Worry About Me and hopefully other people will be too. There have been lots of high points for me in my career. I just keep going because I absolutely love it. I cant ask for anything more.