07 Jul SAM BENJAMIN: “As long as I can remember I wanted to be an actor”
Sam Benjamin is a British actor about to take the industry by storm. We pulled him in for a chat!
Q. Firstly tell our readers who is Sam Benjamin ?
I’m an award winning actor and writer. Probably most known for my role as Cillian Murphy’s duplicitous Border Officer in Peaky Blinders, I star in the crime caper short movie ‘Double Cross’ on Amazon Prime, have just appeared in ‘Doctor Who’ and I’m the creator of online superhero series ‘The Few’ that’s now available on YouTube. I’m originally from Merseyside, the land of The Beatles, but I’m more of a Michael Jackson kind of guy!
Q. When did the acting dream first come alive for you?
As long as I can remember I wanted to be an actor. I was a shy kid with not much confidence.
I always loved pretending to be other people since I was very young. I drove my mum mad doing all the voices while playing with my Batman and WWE (or WWF at the time!) action figures. I even remember saying in primary school that I wanted to be an actor. If I had to say two big moments when the dream truly came alive movie wise was the first time I watched Michael Keaton in ‘Batman’ (1989) on video.
There’s something about that performance that captured my imagination, and still does to this day. Another moment was one of my first cinema experiences when I went to see Tom Cruise do this thing in ‘Mission:Impossible’.
From winning awards for your various performances, this year you are hosting the BUFF Awards – How does this feel ?
I feel truly honoured to be hosting the BUFF Awards. BUFF has a particular knack for recognising quality content that isn’t getting the recognition it deserves in other places.
The Metro called it the leading film festival for diversity in the world. Winning their ‘Best Script Award’ last year has gone a long way to putting my work the map, and continues to open doors for me, so it’ll be an absolute pleasure to be the front man of the ceremony this year that will be presenting the BUFF awards to another crop of artists. I’m also particularly excited to be sharing hosting duties with the amazingly talented Kyla Frye, my ‘Double Cross’ co-creator and co-star.
Q. What challenges do you feel aspiring actors are facing in this day and age ?
How long have you got? There’s a lot of challenges. All of which would depend on where your coming from. The son of a hairdresser and security guard like myself will have different things to overcome than someone who comes from a family dynasty of entertainers. The first big obstacle is holding on to your dream of actually doing it. Fighting against the career advisor that tells you it’s statistically ridiculous, ignoring the cynical. Being an artist in any field involves a certain level of stubbornness and idealism. It’s hard to reject traditional paths laid down by society, and security doesn’t really exist as an actor. Entry into the profession seems harder these days because of the cost of drama school training which puts a bias towards people with wealthy backgrounds. It’s hard to work unpaid gigs starting out if you need to make rent. On the positive, we live in an age where technology is cheaper than ever, social media gives direct access to an audience, so in some ways the industry is more open than ever.
Q. You have worked on TV shows and some films – what is the difference in production for both ?
Good question. It entirely depends on the size of the production. But I’d say generally you’re more pushed for time with a TV show than on a film. Sometimes in TV you have an established cast and crew who’ve know each other for many series, whereas often on a film everyone has come together for the one off project which creates a different dynamic. In the end, every project is different, and every director will run a set with their own style and approach.
Q. What can we expect from you for the rest of 2017?
Obviously expect to see me suited and booted at the British Urban Film Festival Awards in September! My gritty superhero series ‘The Few’ that premiered at Comic Con is now online and free to watch on YouTube and Facebook. It features cast members from ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Transformers’ and tasty action choreographed by Sonny Louis from ‘Game of Thrones’. You can find us at youtube.com/thefew. Co-host Kyla Frye and I’s crime caper mini movie ‘Double Cross’ is also now available to watch on Amazon Prime. If you search our names you can watch, buy or rent.
I’m also in talks with some producers in LA about a new series, auditioning, and currently working with the Triforce Creative Network on a TV pilot, so watch this space!
Follow Sam on twitter @sambenjaminnow
Photo credit: ‘NK Abani