Despite having done full days of interviews already, Lewis Gribben seemed thrilled to have another one. The excitement and pride for his film radiated off him as he spoke.
For a fairly new actor, he seems comfortable in the knowledge that this is what he wants to do with his life. It doesn’t matter if this is the biggest film he does, he will still carry on as long as he can. It feels like this career is made for him. After just a short time speaking to him, I knew he was someone that we’ll be seeing a lot more of.
We spoke over Zoom after the release of Get Duked! (formerly called Boyz in the Wood) a comedy-drama set in the Scottish Highlands. The film opened the Edinburgh International Film Festival last year and has just been released on Amazon Prime.
Brig: First of all, congrats on the film, it’s amazing. I watched it again the day it came out and I saw it last year at the Film Festival.
Lewis: Sick wasn’t it! That festival in Edinburgh, it was great.
What was it like for you at the opening gala, it must’ve been amazing?
It was a bit beyond what I thought was gonna happen. I thought it would go to the festival or go somewhere like Glasgow Film Festival or something like that, but when it said it was gonna be the opening film I was like – oh my God, we’ve made it. We’ve done it; become stars.
Just that whole weird trippy experience of getting a car, going up to the red carpet and then opening the doors. Weird, yeah. That was all like a mad dream that day, but it was good.
You got to go to South by Southwest (SXSW) as well didn’t you, how was that different?
It was just that mental experience of being in America and you know seeing the film in lights. There was a white kinda cinema billboard thing that said Presents: Boyz in the Wood and just seeing a huge row of people lined up outside coming to see your film, it was just a bit mad and weird.
I always wondered how they were gonna react to it because obviously it’s quite a Scottish film. There’s a lot of British humour but within the first 5 minutes, they were laughing. So I was like okay this is going really well.
That whole week was mad though cause we did a photoshoot in a weird forest-thing in Amazon Studios. After that, the day after, we had dinner with Tobey Maguire [who produced the film] and gave him a sticker from the film. It was a bit mad, to say the least.
Was there anyone that had problems with the accents at all?
Yeah, there were the bits where it gets a bit quick where I think the Americans had a bit of a problem understanding. I was speaking good English, so I don’t know how they didn’t understand [laughs]. But yeah there were some jokes that went a bit over their heads but, for the most part, they got it. I think.
One of my favourite things about the film is that it plays around with the seriousness of someone chasing you with a gun but also insane amounts of humour, what was that like filming? Did you feel that it was an intense situation or was it quite a light-hearted process on set?
I think we all took it pretty seriously, we never tried to play it as a comedy we always played it straight. I felt like I was in an action film. There were scenes where it was really an emotional turmoil, even though it could be like saying your teacher’s a paedophile when he’s dead and you’ve killed him but you think it’s serious, so I think we always just played the truth of it and never thought oh let’s play this for humour, we were always trying to do it seriously.
Was there any moment where you felt like right okay this film is gonna be big?
I thought this was gonna be a cool indie film and it might stay that way. I think it was during the audition process they were like Tobey Maguire’s involved, and I thought well if Tobey Maguire’s involved that can’t mean this is a small indie film.
Then when we went to SXSW that was like okay this is a lot bigger than I thought it was gonna be, and then I thought it was gonna end after that. Edinburgh followed, and I thought that was gonna be the peak. I thought it would eventually come out somewhere else but I didn’t think it was gonna go to Amazon. So, the process from each moment of the film going to America first, then Edinburgh and then Amazon – those are the three moments where I was like oh, this is a lot bigger than I thought it was gonna be. I don’t know how it has gotten this far, it’s mad.
And obviously, I have to mention the music video you filmed for Run The Jewels, was that filmed recently or was it always part of the plan?
That was literally filmed in the second week of August. That was not part of the plan, they have a song in the film and Ninian [the director] made a video for them previously, one of their other songs, it just was a natural fit and he had a storyboard and idea for the heist and they liked it, and then he was like my film comes out the same day can I get the boys in it? And they agreed.
It was just so good! I love Run The Jewels, so it was quite exciting to watch.
Same! Ninian introduced me to them when we were filming the film. I think their fourth album is great so the fact that we get to be in their music video for one of their songs, it’s a dream come true
A lot of your work – like Deadwater Fell and Trainspotting 2 – has been very Scottish focused and you’ve been able to work with James Cosmo and David Tennant. What does that mean for you as a young Scottish actor?
It is pretty mental, to be honest. Trainspotting is one of my favourite films so to see someone from that film who I really like and then act with them was really bizarre. One of my favourite actors is Ewan McGregor so I kept just wanting to say to James [Cosmo] ‘Oh, what’s he like?’ but I feel that would be very rude to bring up past work, but I kept thinking if only I asked him. Just to know that I know someone who was in that film and I worked with him. It’s a bit mad because it’s one of my favourite films.
Then, with David Tennant, it was the same kind of thing. I grew up watching Doctor Who around his era so to watch him act, it was incredible. So the fact that I’ve grown up watching these two actors and then get to actually be in the same space as them it’s a bit crazy, to say the least
Is acting something you have always wanted to do, has it always just felt right?
Kind of. I have really bad dyslexia so I can’t really do very many jobs. My typing skills are horrendous and my writing skills are horrendous. Drama was the one class where I didn’t really need any help for that, cause I was good at reading and I actually got to be properly myself around the other kids, so I was okay I really like this and I liked the environment of being in the creative space.
It’s kinda hard going through the professional field. There’s a lot of rejection but I just really enjoy it too much to ever walk away from it. Even if I don’t make it a full-on career, I will still try and do it part-time because I love it so much and I love the people involved and the people you could get to work with. It’s a leap of faith for anyone to do it but, I mean, I’ve got a film that Amazon Prime is backing so I must be doing something right at least once and maybe I can do that a few more times hopefully and keep that going.
Get Duked! is available to stream on Amazon Prime now.
Featured image credit: IMDB