Man of Steel (The Beano Club)
Man of Steel
By Carl Reid
for the transcription)
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Mate, welcome back to Sheffield. How's your day been?
Pretty good. I've been out to Castleton today. I went to this shop to buy some
tongs and forkies for the fireplace, but it was shut - and we'd come all that way,
like. I got some down Abbeydale Rd. (Sheffield) instead. You know, some old
fashioned forkies? I've got an old fashioned fire at home.
All the better for roasting chestnuts on. So, where do you call home these
London, I guess. North London, that's where I live. My kids live down there an
that. I suppose I've got two homes really. One here and one down there.
How often do you get back? Is it a regular thing?
Yeah, I get back quite a bit. But I'm usually filming, you know? I could be in
America or Europe - or India as it was this time last year. I just get back
when I can and try and spend a few days here. I usually come up on the train
instead of driving 'cos it's horrible. Ít's good to be back. My mum, dad, sister
and cousins all still live up here in Handsworth and Darnall. I've gotta go back
down to London tomorrow for a function but, after that, I'm doing nowt for
two weeks. I think people are getting fed up of seeing me (laughs).
Now, yours is a bit of a Billy Elliot story. How did you go from welding and
snow shovelling to rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite? You just
don't so that in Sheffield.
I know. About 30 years ago, it was kinda looked upon as being a bit of a bit fairy.
You know what I mean? If you said you wanted to be an actor everyone looked
at you like you were daft. I had no interest in it before I was 18 but, when I knew
I wanted to do it, that was it - no one was gonna stop me. I suppose I'm
fortunate in many ways - and I think I'm good an all, like (laughs). The movies
were a big bonus. I didn't expect to be making films - I just wanted to get
on stage and act. Everything that's come on top of that is a bonus.
Was there a defining moment then?
I was at drama school in Rotherham and there were separate classes for acting.
I just popped my head through the door one day and watched them and I thought
'I'll try that, I think I'll be good at that' So I changed courses and felt right
comfortable with it.
When you did your drama training did they try and get rid of your accent?
At RADA they did Standard English speaking tests, which I was all right at,
I passed them. But some of the people from London didn't. They couldn't
distinguish what was right 'cos their accents were so closed. Our Principal
at RADA was a really good bloke and he encouraged me to keep my accent.
He said one day I'd need it and he was right. I do a few voiceovers and I
always use my own accent. It's the best accent in the world, the Yorkshire
accent is. I'm not going to shake that.
Do you feel like you can leave "Tinseltown" behind and just come back to
Aye, I do. I feel very much at home here - 'cos it's my home. I don't go out up
t'town much, I tend to stay round Handsworth. People just treat me for
what and who I am. I appreciate that - and that's the way I always want
it to be. Sheffield folk aren't phased by fame. I saw Paul Heaton from
The Beautiful South the other day at Bramall Lane, just out with some lads,
and it's no big deal. It's nice, that it's like that, you know? You wanna
get away from it sometimes...the attention. It's like a big village here.
When you were young, did you have your favorite hangouts?
Aye. Handsworth Park was like a meeting place for us all - but they've got
rid of everything that meant anything. There was a lovely library, but it
doesn't exist anymore, so you can't go and get a book out. It's those kind
of things that make a community an interesting, vibrant place to live in.
I'm backing a new redevelopment project which is aiming to change all that.
Got great memories of Crazy Daisy an all (laughs). I'll always remember that.
It was a right laugh there. It was brilliant.
Old school. Mind you, Sheffield's much on the musical map these days...
Well, it´s always been spot on. Little Man Tate, Arctic Monkeys - there's a few
ain't there? We've always had a great tradition with music. It's funny, because
they love Arctic Monkeys in America. They're all like, (in American accent)
'great man, but what the hell are they talking about?' And I'm like, 'what do
you mean, what are they talking about?' I love that, when you just stick
to talking about what you know. They're all like, (in American accent again)
'hey man, what's a mardy bum?' (Laughs). I mean, it's a bit hard to explain
that to an American. You've just got to wait untill they're being mardy then
say 'That. That's what mardy is' (laughs).
The journey to where you are today is amazing. At one point, weren't
you looking at being a footballer as a career?
I was. Then I realised I was crap (laughs). No, I wasn't bad. I was alright.
I did my leg in when I was a kid so it wasn't really an option but, you know,
I think I made the right choice looking back. Didn't stop me from scoring a
hattrick against Man Utd in "When Saturday Comes" though (laughs).
That must've been the realisation of a dream. I've gotta ask you one
question though - why weren't you in The Full Monty?
I was busy (laughs). I thought Robert Carlisle was good though. He played
the part really well - and he wore a Blades shirt, so at least he got that
right (laughs). I think it was at a time when I was doing Sharpe and maybe
it was a bit too close to home, if you know what I mean? They probably
wanted someone a bit more impartial.
Didn't you go for James Bond at one point?
They were talking about it, but they were talking about everybody. They
wanted everyone and their grandmother. I don't regret that 'cos I've been
able to do what I want to do and diversify - play different parts, different
roles, and not get stuck doing anything. It's a role many people would like
to do, you know? It's an iconic part, but it wasn't something that excited
me. I mean, I was in Lord of the Rings, that was more exciting to me than
anything else. That's something that's not going to be done again for
many, many years, so the part's set in stone. When I got into RADA, I
was overjoyed, I couldn't believe it. When I got Lord of the Rings, it
was a similar feeling. It was brilliant.
You've got three daughters. Do you think they're going to follow in your
No, I don't think so. The two eldest aren't. I mean, they've tried it, but one
of them's a musician and she's doing all right. The other's into graphic design.
My youngest, Evie, might do. She's into dressing up, but so are most kids.
We're all acting all the time, aren't we?
Have you raised them as Blades though?
Yes (laughs). They're not as into it as me, they live in London, but they
watch them on the telly an that - but you can't be ramming it down their
throats. They don't support anyone else anyway.
It's quite difficult balancing a family life with a career like yours?
It's hard sometimes but, then again, you come home - like now I've had about
three months off so I can spend a lot of time with them. I'd like to be around
more, but they're growing up, and it all balances out in the end.
Great stuff. As far as 2007 goes, what can we expect from you?
I've got some films coming out. One's called "Outlaw", that's coming out
soon. It's by the same director who did Football Factory and The Business.
And I've got a film called "The Hitcher" coming out and also a film called
"True North" - so I think I've got about three films coming out next year.
I've been a busy boy (laughs).
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