Continuing on with my work covering SYFY’s newest hit show Blood Drive; today brings us something special. We have an interview with Blood Drive’s resident Gentleman, Andrew Hall. This interview for me was personally so much fun.I’ve made it no secret that The Gentleman is by far my favorite character…and that’s seeing just a few moments of him in the first two episodes. There is something powerful and fun in the way Andrew brings The Gentleman to life.If you haven’t been watching this absurdly fun, Grindhouse style show, then I don’t even want to knonw what kind of normal life you’re trying to live. Tune in to Blood Drive on SYFY on Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM EST. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.HMF: Our first question is always, What is your favorite horror movie?
AH: I’m actually a complete wuss when it comes to watching horror. I know how it’s all done, but I still end up with a pounding heart and sweating palms whatever I watch! Psycho is right up there – I first watched this as a fourteen year old at a friend’s house and then had to walk 2 miles home through country lanes in complete darkness. Scarred me for life. ‘The Shining’, ‘The Wicker Man’ ‘Repulsion’ all up there. Another great horror movie memory is when my daughter had friends over and they were watching ‘The Ring’. It was a hot summer night and I sneaked outside to an open window behind the TV. Held a torch under my chin and then pulled back the curtain. A genuine psychic event followed as eight adolescents levitated, screaming…..
HMF: What was it that first pulled your attention to acting?
AH: I played Abanazar in a pantomime production of Aladdin at my Primary school at the age of nine. I immediately loved the buzz of performing – I can still remember my opening lines “My name is Abanazar, the Wizard of the East. Throughout the Land I can command the greatest and the least….” My mother made me silk pyjamas and a Fu Manchu moustache – still topped off by golden curls.
Watch carefully and I swear you’ll spot a touch of Abanazar in The Gentleman. A few years later I played Romeo in a local production and properly fell in love with the craft. I had a pretty wild adolescence and split school and home aged 17. I started work backstage at my local theatre and fell in love with the theatre world. Paid my dues sweeping the stage and then went on to do most production jobs (ASM, DSM, Stage Manager, Company Manager, Assistant Director) before winning a place at LAMDA and training as an actor.
HMF: Did you ever dabble in the macabre while you were in theater?
AH: On-stage or Off?? Yes – I did a show called ‘Dark Tales’ in the West End a few years back. A great show where I played a Horror writer who had a confrontation with a young hotshot rival – basically it was a series of ghost stories recounted by the two protagonists. I got to cut my opponents throat at the end, with a brilliant stage prop that had a built in blood tank under pressure, so there was a massive spray out from his neck. Screams from the audience every night.
I direct and produce as well as act and a couple of years ago I directed a production of a brilliant Alan Ayckbourn play, ‘Haunting Julia’. It’s a terrific piece with moments where the hairs on your neck stand on end and others where the audience roar with laughter and are then sucker punched with terror. There are two sublime ‘jump’ moments and, as a Director, the satisfaction of standing at the back of a full theater and watching an entire audience jump out of their skins in unison is a pretty amazing buzz.
HMF: Is there any one actor or actress that has inspired your craft?
AH: Too many to list, all for different reasons. As a young stage manager I was blessed to work on shows with actors who linked back to the middle of the 20th century – Sir John Gielgud was one. Standing in the wings night after night watching his portrayal of William Shakespeare in a production of Edward Bond’s ‘Bingo’ was a master class in the classical actor’s art. Movie actors? So many: Cary Grant, De Niro, O’Toole, Spencer Tracy, Kathleen Hepburn, Brando, Nicholson, Hackman, Claude Rains, Lancaster, Cagney……
HMF: What was it that attracted you to Blood Drive?
AH: It was the most insane, unhinged, ambitious project I’d seen in years. It was like falling for a fucked up Femme Fatale who might save your life or leave you taking the fall on death row…..
HMF: Was the role of The Gentleman your first choice?
AH: It was a stroke of genius by Nancy Bishop, one of the casting directors on the show, to put me in the frame for this particular role and the seeds of what became key elements of the character were actually planted in my very first meetings with her.
HMF: How has acting on Blood Drive been different from your previous film and television work?
AH: So much of television work is about behaving, less about acting. I’ve worked across most TV genres, included Sit-Coms and Soaps and with Soaps the production schedules are remorseless, so they cast actors to pretty much be themselves, very often. It’s a safer choice. The craft of delivering that kind of work is about being consistent, quick to learn, hitting your mark every time….etc. Blood Drive demands a certain size and style of performance that is both deadly serious and at the same time, subtly heightened to straddle the divide between the insanity of the world and the reality of the characters. It’s huge fun.
HMF: In Blood Drive, you are part of a team, along with fellow actor Darren kent. You have a fantastic on screen chemistry working together. Do you do anything while not on set to build that with one another?
AH: I abused him on a daily basis.
HMF: Finally, without giving us any spoilers, is there anything you can tell us about the future of The Gentleman on Blood Drive?
AH: Well, there’s an episode coming up titled ‘The Gentleman’s Agreement’……… All I can say is it’s full of surprises and a great fight scene…..