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Interview – Rez Kempton & Martin Delaney – ‘Amar, Akbar & Tony’ – A Feature film


Posted April 16, 2015 by

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Interview – Rez Kempton & Martin Delaney

You are both staring in a new British Comedy called ‘Amar, Akbar and Tony’. Tell us about the film, what is it about? 

Martin – Amar, Akbar & Tony is a coming of age story about 3 best friends- a Sikh, Muslim & Catholic- growing up in Southall, London. It’s about friendship, family and finding love- essentially about the journey into true adulthood and the challenges one faces along that path.

Where did the idea come from? Where either of you involved in the writing or pre-production of the film? 

Rez – I had previously worked with Atul Malhotra (Director) on a short film & a couple of commercials. I was always a huge fan of his work and knew he’d make a fabulous feature filmmaker. So when he told me he’d written a script I was really keen to read it. It was worth waiting for – I loved it. He wanted to tell a realistic story about growing up in multicultural Britain and one that reflected his experiences. I, when reading it could see the authenticity and it was funny as well as moving. When Atul assembled the cast we had a few days to workshop it a bit but it’s Atul’s story definitely and his vision. It was great that it matched mine too. In discussions with the others in the cast we all felt the same that this was fresh, realistic and funny.

How did you each in turn get involved with the project? What was it that attracted you to the roles? 

Martin – I really liked the script when I first read it. I felt like it was a fun, yet honest portrayal of London life. The idea of different cultures and faiths growing up side by side, was how I experienced my youth and a more positive reflection of the London that I grew up in. I thought the role of Tony was especially funny. Though I’ve been involved in British TV comedy, I’d never played a comic lead in film, so it was different from my other film work. I felt like Tony was a likeable, sweet yet fallible hero and I was extremely excited at the prospect of bringing him to life.

Rez – I was invited by Atul and to the auditions to read and match up with suitable actors to form the trio. It had to be convincing that these three boys had grown up together and were best friends – so the bond and chemistry had to be there. I really felt we had something when Martin, Sam & I were doing things. There was a spark and we enjoyed playing the scenes. I really liked the script and the role of “Amar” really appealed. He goes on quite a journey in the film and to play that felt really rewarding. He’s a hard working guy with family responsibility and doing the right thing is important to him. He gets derailed from his chosen path and how he gets back to equilibrium was great to play.

Lets talk about the cast, obviously there are yourselves, do you know whom else you will be working with?  

Rez – Well the film has been made so yeah we’ve a great cast. Really amazing actors from huge shows like GAME OF THRONES – Amrita Archaria, GALIVANT – Karen David, big comedy names like Laura Aikman, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia. Actors who I had previously worked with and admired Sam Vincenti, Goldy Notay, Dev Sagoo and new ones who’ve become like real family Martin Delaney Tanveer Ghani and Munir Khairdin. I was really glad to work with such talented people.

Is this your first time working together? Have you ever worked with the Atul Malhotra, the film’s Director before?

Martin – It was my first time working with Atul yes. I really enjoyed the process, as he welcomed ideas. He was interested in what we had to bring to the characters and piece, whilst holding firm to that which was important to him and I really appreciated that in him. The same with Rez and Sam (who plays Akbar), it was my first time working with them. I just loved working with the boys! We all got on so well and that was hugely important. So a very fortunate situation all round!

Rez – I did a really brilliant short Atul made called IF IT DON”T KILL YA… and after that a couple of commercials. Atul was great to work with on all those occasions and I feel we’ve developed a good working relationship in that we can both be really candid with each other and respectful too. That’s really important. I feel we share artistic ideas and hope to build a long lasting working relationship with him. Like the working relationships of Martin Scorsese & Robert De Niro. Those guys have made so much great stuff together. I remember going to a talk at BAFTA where the great Guillermo del Toro was talking about building a film family around him – his working relationship with Ron Perlman. Maybe and I hope this is something we can continue?!

What are your influences as Actors? How will you be bringing these influences to your respective roles? 

Martin – I have many influences in my work. I have a lot of admiration for actors with range and I like the idea of mixing genres and type. However I’m also influenced by my friends and family. I have a lot of respect for the British actors who have successfully carved out global careers. Gary Oldman is a personal favourite, his range from subtlety to extreme is always so honest, I love that about him. I would say Oldman is an influence in as far as my aspirations go. I’ve been lucky to play a number of American roles in big movies and I am grateful to have done that but I’m very much at the beginning of that journey, I’d say. Mark Strong is also a favourite, I am in awe of his career. I had the pleasure of working with Mark in Zero Dark Thirty and he is just the most lovely man. As for Tony, I think of him as being a slightly larger than life character, something or someone you’d more likely find in an American sitcom. I guess there’s an awkwardness to him that you could say is influenced by Ben Stiller movies but he has more pluck in him than most of his characters. Although Tony’s less self aware, so there’s a chance he’s a result of me watching a lot of Jim Carey roles!

Rez – So many great actors. A few I’ve mentioned above you can add Al Pacino Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, Ed Norton, Christian Bale, Mark Ruffalo – all these guys are so truthful when an audience are watching them- really believable. I hope to emulate that truth and believability in everything I do. Having a great director whom you trust allows you to do that and that we had. Also the rest of the cast because you can’t act in a bubble and having great actors around you makes it all the more easy and fun. We were lucky to have all that on our film.

If anything, what would you compare the film to? Is it similar to any other projects you have worked on? 

Martin – I guess obvious references are East is East because it’s a multicultural film with British Asian lead characters, however it’s closer to something like Four Weddings and a Funeral. For British Asian audiences I think it will feel hugely refreshing. Like its title, Amar, Akbar and Tony, it’s a nod to Bollywood classic cinema, like Amar, Akbar Anthony. And like Bollywood films, it has that “bit of everything” (drama, comedy and Bhangra dancing!) whilst still feeling exactly like a British film, set in London. Tonally it’s very ‘feel good’ but like all good stories, there’s some challenges along the way.

Rez – For me it really reflected the London I grew up in. It’s diverse and multicultural. It has an energy that one relates to and an appeal to both male and female audiences. I can liken it to what we in Britain do really well – films like THE FULL MONTY, EAST IS EAST and TRAINSPOTTING– all are great films have a socio-political message and are funny too. We in Britain have an amazing knack for making these kinds of films that have important issues in them but the comedy is never far away. The added thing our film does is that it has a “nod” to Indian cinema too which is thriving and really popular around the globe now. So in that respect I feel AMAR AKBAR AND TONY is really fresh and just what audiences could be waiting for.

What is the next step for you both? Do you have any other projects or films in the pipeline? 

Martin – Well, I’ve just finished another London film ‘Bonded By Blood 2’. This one is very different in tone, a British Gangster film. It’s based on a true story of The Essex boy killings during the 90s. Very different from the role of Tony, I play Malcolm Walsh who is a real tough character. As you’ve probably guessed by the title, it’s a sequel and features some of the cast from the original, as well as a wealth of fresh talent. Sam Strike, who’s just been announced as the new ‘Leatherface’ in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel, is one of the leads- He’s a top lad too! I’m also currently filming an American role in Hollywood sequel ‘Now You See Me: The Second Act’. Sadly I can’t tell you much about that at this stage but it’s a lot of fun, with a wonderful all star cast. It’s a real pleasure to be part of both movies.

Rez – I’m due to work on a couple of new film projects which are being written and in final draft at the moment. I’ve also another movie coming out later this year called “MONSOON TIDE” which we shot in beautiful Kerala, India. That’s due out later in 2015


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