We interviewed upcoming actors, Joe Cole and Malachi Kirby, from the new British Thriller, Offender, released in the UK 8th August.
Tell us a bit about the movie and your roles.
Joe Cole: It’s about this character called Tommy, a young man from London, who commits crimes to get himself put into a young offenders institute. He wants to get revenge on the criminals that have ruined his life, and he subsequently has to go to prison in order to seek revenge on all of them.
I play Tommy who, you know, has been hard done by – and that’s the nice way of putting it! He’s a moralistic person who doesn’t sit at the side; he takes action, and he is possibly short sighted in what he does – but he’s really looking to seek revenge.
Malachi Kirby: The character I play is Harry, and he’s somebody who is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He ends up getting into a youth offenders’ institute because he stole a bottle of Lucozade at the London Riots. It’s not an environment he’s used to at all, and he just wants to keep his head down, get out, get back to studying, and to his girlfriend and family, and finally make something of himself. I would say he’s definitely got a strong vulnerability to him, in terms of being in a place where he doesn’t feel comfortable. He’s not a violent person, but he has this inner strength that I found really interesting to play. I don’t want to give too much away, but Harry’s a good guy.
What drew you to the roles in the first place?
Joe Cole: For me it was the fact there are so few in depth characters like this around for people of my age (18, 19, 20), and this was an opportunity to really showcase what I can do. It’s such a crazy, intense story, and to try and make it feel ‘real’ was just a really exciting challenge. Also I had to get into a good physical state for it too; I was working out and doing various different martial arts – it was a challenge, and that’s what we want as actors.
It’s an intense role, and you’ve mentioned the training, but mentally, how did you prepare for the role?
Joe Cole: I just made sure I knew the script back to back and inside out. In terms of emotion, I drew from my past and the experiences I went through when I was living in a box room, selling carpets during the day, and coffee in the evenings. Because I’m quite ambitious, I channelled them into the character and that was important. But mainly it was about knowing where I was emotionally at each stage of the journey. It was such a tight shoot, and it wasn’t shot chronologically, so one day we’d shoot page 86 of the script, then page 1, then page 52, so it was quite random and you had to know what was going on.
Malachi Kirby: I had to get myself to a point where I could really be affected by being in prison. I watched a lot of films and documentaries about people who’ve been in prisons, and thought about how it’s affected them mentally and emotionally, and I tried to get myself into that state of mind. The set really did help, though, because we were all in prison clothing and –
Joe Cole: – and it was freezing –
Malachi Kirby: – a lot of the actors – they were brilliant – a lot of them had been in prisons before, and it was great being around them, and getting information from them. But apart from that, just the usual prep for a character; reading the script and then preempting what you’d do in a later scene before we’d shot it, so it would all made sense and could link together.
What’s next for you now, after Offender?
Joe Cole: Well I’m in a show called The Hour, on BBC2, with Ben Whishaw and Dominic West, and then I’ve got a couple of film and television roles which I’m filming over the next few months, which is all quite exciting! I’ve written a TV show as well, which is just in development at the moment, in it’s very early stages, but I’ve been working with Matt Lucas.
Joe, how did this role compare to what you’ve worked on previously, with your roles in ‘Skins’ and ‘Come Fly With Me’?
Joe Cole: It’s a lead role in a film so you have to know the character inside out, you have to be it and find that truth. And as Malachi said, with the setting and the clothes, and cutting most of my hair off, it all helps form the character. I related to Tommy more than perhaps I did Luke in Skins, where I was just a nasty piece of work, but that was great fun as well.
And finally, what directors or actors would you love to work with in the future?
Malachi Kirby: I love Christopher Nolan’s work and I love the films he makes: they’re all so epic and big, and have actors that really bring a truth to what they’re doing.
Joe Cole: There’s loads. For me, actors like Johnny Harris from This Is England, who was great. Paddy Considine is fantastic. Anyone who’s making good material; there’s a lot out there – and there’s a lot I haven’t seen! – but anyone that inspires me and makes me go ‘Oh wow, that affected me’. And then you’ve got the big boys on the bigger scale; Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and I think most young actors are going to give similar answers.
Offender is released on 8th August!
Written By: Sherin Malick
Tags: Ben Shaw, Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, Come Fly With Me, Dominic West, Joe Cole, Jonny Harris, Malachi Kirby, Matt Lucas, Offender, Paddy Considine, Skins, The Hour, This Is England, Tom Hardy