Welcome to Britflicks, a site dedicated to supporting the British film industry. Here you will find all the latest British film news, releases, trailers and interviews as well as some great competitions prizes.
He might be a new name to British acting at the moment, but Scott Chambers’ performance in CHICKEN (released 20 May, certificate 15) means he’s unlikely to stay that way for long. He doesn’t fit the mould of the much-publicised “posh” actors, having gone to his local college to study his craft, but any lack of formal theatre training hasn’t held him back, as he landed the lead in Freddie Machin’s original stage version of CHICKEN at the Southwark Playhouse.
Not does he recall ever having the proverbial lightbulb moment when he realised he wanted to act. Although he does remember that when he was younger, his older brother showed him the classic horror Scream, “He told me, it’s not real, it’s not real, it’s just a job. And I thought to myself, ‘that’s a job I want to do.’” That interest became stronger when he was shown Monster, on the proviso that he didn’t look at any interviews or pictures of Charlize Theron beforehand. “I loved the film, but when I saw afterwards what she looked like, I thought ‘wow’! I was blown away.”
Like Theron and his other acting idol, Sean Penn, he likes to immerse himself in a role and for his role of Richard in CHICKEN, the walk and the voice were all-important in playing a teenager with learning difficulties. “He really is a different Richard in the film compared to the play. He was a lot more introverted then. But for the film we discussed him walking like a chicken. And for the voice, at the time my niece, who was six, had a lisp because she was losing her teeth. And I really liked it and wanted to use it. So I recorded her talking to me: she’s a waffler, just like me and my character in the film, and she was inventing all kinds of stories, like meeting Jesse J on the moon. That meant I was re-enacting her making up stories, just like Richard does, with the same child-like simplicity.”
The film’s director, Joe Stephenson, was determined that Richard shouldn’t come across as a stereotypically disabled person. “It’s not just the fact that he has a particular disability, it’s that he spends a lot of time with animals and just isn’t socially aware. If you don’t put a child into school and allow them to socialise with other children, they’re not going to develop in the way that they should.
Stephenson encouraged Scott and co-star Morgan Watkins, who plays his elder brother, Polly, to dig deep into their character’s back story. “Before we even got on set, me and Morgan had done this 20 page bio,” said Scott. “It was every year of our character’s lives, our own interpretation of what happened that year. So, like, when our dad left, his interpretation of it was totally different to mine. Mine was all positive, his is not.”
One major difference between the original stage play and the film was the eponymous chicken. It didn’t appear in the play, but on screen it’s a character in its own right, Fiona, played by two different chickens. Named Shy and Confident on the set – Scott claims the credit – they very much lived up to their names. “I was nervous about meeting them,” he remembers, “I was told we’d got chickens that liked being picked up and they did and it was fine, but one was way more confident than the other. So, for instance, I had Confident in the cooking scene because I was talking to her and wanted a reaction.” Stephenson says it definitely wasn’t a case of the old “not working with animals” rule. The two hens now live on the farm in Dorking where the film was shot.
The film’s four week shoot demanded a disciplined approach from Stephenson, his crew and his cast, but it also allowed the actors to be spontaneous and think on their feet. For Scott, this has been his favourite film making experience so far. “Sometimes, it can feel as if you’re not always part of the film making process, but with this it was. There weren’t loads of takes, you didn’t feel over-rehearsed and it felt real. That’s why I act – because I want to do it that way.”
It’s a director/actor partnership that obviously works and it’s set to continue. Currently working on a documentary, Stephenson’s next project looks at the early life of Noel Coward, although he wouldn’t say much about it other than Scott has a part. And the young actor doesn’t even know what it is yet!
But watch out for the name. Scott Chambers. You read it here!
CHICKEN is in avaiable on VOD from Friday 12 August 2016.
Watch CHICKEN at www.wearecolony.com/chicken
Read Britflicks CHICKEN review here.
There are three special screenings of the film in London on opening day, hosted by Sir Ian McKellan, and a further one on Sunday, 22 May, presented by Noel Clarke. Picturehouse Cinemas are also showing the film on Tuesday, 21 June. www.chickenthefilm.com
Copyright © Britflicks ltd - John Baker | Website Design - Kai Motta | Website Developer - Christian Abbott
Privacy & Cookies