Our local hero, Cassidy Little remains the only People’s Strictly dance champion but since winning that accolade the Afghanistan war veteran has proved his acting skills making appearances in Doctors and Holby.
Now the Canadian-born Royal Marine medic is set to appear in a new short film, Centurion, which will be submitted to London and the international film festivals. Centurion is a drinking game (100 double shots of beer in 100 minutes) which a bunch of guys are playing at a stag do.
It’s a dark comedy that deals with issues like sexuality, disability and the troubles of ‘growing up’. All this and more is woven into a story that goes from banter and beer, to secrets and skeletons.
Cassidy plays Sean, a guy who’s been to Afghanistan and lost a leg, so much of it was easy for him to relate to as a veteran who’s suffered the same injuries, but he had to play it ‘drunk’!
“The most challenging thing about playing someone who’s drunk is not to overplay it,” explains Cassidy, “otherwise it can come across really false. My character starts off pretty drunk and actually gets more sober as the night goes on. It was really good fun to play.
“They’re all best friends but when you introduce alcohol, secrets come out that cause conflict and carnage. It’s a very fun story until it starts to very dark and very ugly.”
Previously Cassidy had made a name for himself in the stage play The Two Worlds of Charlie F, a touring play featuring injured servicemen. He’s since gone on to present The Little Film Show on Forces TV.
“I do acting for fun. I don’t think I’m particularly good at it but I enjoy it and so I don’t take it too seriously.
“The Little Film Show is very important to me, that’s my bread and butter and I take great pride in it. I guess the acting is more of a jolly.
“I love what I do. I never say no I always make time for it. I don’t have much confidence in what I can achieve with acting but it’s fun.”
He’s clearly enjoyed the experience of making a film and has great respect for the team from Millicent Productions and Playhouse Pictures.
“They’re very professional. Nobody was stressed out. They’re long, full on days, but I never got the impression it was a ‘job’ for anyone. It was awesome to be part of that.”
ESP caught up with the guys behind Centurion, writer/diretcor Fred Szkoda from Millicent Productions and Director Damian Thomas from Playhouse Pictures to find out more about the film and Cassidy’s role…
ESP: Where did the idea for Centurion come from?
FRED: “The idea for Centurion came from crossing the drinking game (100 double shots of beer in 100 minutes), with a non-linear format like 500 Days of Summer or Momento. Ben Harper (Co-Producer of Centurion) and I love the idea of creating characters which all have their own strong internal narrative: the whirlwind, back and forth nature of non-linear storytelling is a great way to infuse all those narratives in an interesting way. As for the setting, a stag do seemed perfect for this and funnily enough the first draft was written in the back of a car on the way to a wedding!”
ESP: What made you cast Cassidy?
DAMIAN: “He’s simply a phenomenal actor and a genuine war hero. It just so happens that he is actually missing a leg, so when Ben found him it was really a no-brainer.”
FRED: “We knew we wanted to cast a disabled actor to play the disabled character, Sean. It was really important to us for that to be as truthful as possible. We found Cassidy through Ben’s military connections and everything just fell into place. His audition was so relaxed, warm and nuanced, he has a fantastic energy.”
ESP: What can you tell us about Cassidy’s character and his performance?
FRED: “Sean is ex army. He has lost a limb to an IED, and is suffering from PTSD. From the start of the film he’s bearing the weight of a secret but doesn’t quite know the whole truth. Cassidy’s performance is brilliant, it’s subtle yet incredibly powerful. If you watch his character closely you can see something building in him throughout the night, it’s something sobering, despite the heavy drinking, but at the same time there’s this pure rage bubbling underneath it all.”
ESP: When and where can we see the movie?
DAMIAN: “We’ll have it finished by the end of the month and will then be submitting it to London and international film festivals, so watch out for it! We’ll also be doing a competition with a prize of tickets to a private screening of the film later this year. It’ll be available online in 2018 and details of any screenings will be on our Facebook page and website – we really can’t wait to share this film with everyone.”
ESP: What do you hope the viewer takes from the story?
FRED: “The first thing I’d like the viewers to connect with are the friendships within the film. I’m sure everyone will agree that friendships are often complicated but when you’ve known someone for long enough, your mate is just your mate, no matter what. I think the question is, where do you draw the line and what happens when it gets crossed?”
DAMIAN: “I like what Fred said, I guess we want people to leave the film asking the question ‘How do you know when you’ve reached your limit?’ It’s a question posed with regards to drugs and alcohol due to the nature of the film, but it’s also very much layered into the story. The characters are all reaching their own personal limits, both physically and emotionally, and on this one, fateful boozy night they all finally get pushed over the edge.”
Find out more about Millicent Productions and Centurion on facebook.com/millicentprod and @millicentprod on Twitter.
Photos: Lars Thornhill
WARNING: This trailer contains expletives, drink and drug use.[youtube id=”exnpFVSQbWw” width=”600″ height=”350″]