The day I nearly blew up the worldPosted: October 5, 2011
Two years ago, I was a power-crazed super-villain, a criminal mastermind hellbent on world domination. In my secret hideout, I ordered my henchman to detonate my super-destructive satellite weapon.
At least, that’s what I was pretending to do. What was actually happening was this: in a chilly farm shed in a rural East Yorkshire hamlet, I was dressed in my work suit, playing the part of the evil billionaire Dean Lomax in a short film. With me were two of the nicest henchmen you could ever meet – Tomasz and Krzysztof – and a film crew led by amateur film-maker Stuart Graham, the mastermind behind crime thriller The Doomsday Satellite.
Surrounded by a remarkable collection of old computers, we’d holed ourselves up in a small room, which served as Lomax’s lair. The set was simple – satellite controller Krzysztof sat at a computer while I prowled ‘menacingly’ behind him. Tomasz then came charging in with some news that upset Lomax, prompting him to unleash the power of the deadly weapon on an unwitting target.
It was all rather surreal, looking back on it. I’d seen Stuart’s advert for volunteer actors to appear in a short film, gone for an audition at The University of York’s biology department, and landed the part. A couple of rehearsals (in a classroom) later, we were ready to film on set. My scenes were about halfway through the filming schedule – somewhere between the assassination scenes shot earlier in the lab and the surprising Hawaiian footage that was to follow. Our location was an unlikely bolthole for an arch-villain, nestling as it did in the lovely Yorkshire Wolds, close to a church and down a bumpy farm track. The air of menace was diluted slightly when Tomasz returned from a stroll outside with dog poo on his shoe, which stank out the whole room.
So why am I writing about this film now? Because I have just watched it for the first time. Stuart has been a busy chap behind the scenes, creating and destroying satellite weapons and putting the film together, and now it’s ready.
Like any actor – professional or extremely amateur – I was, of course, most keen to see how I appeared and what my own performance was like. Well, now I know why proper actors can command such big fees. It is not easy to be genuinely nasty unless you have some kind of natural, in-built evil side. My attempt at villainy wasn’t helped by me using my own voice. On hindsight, something more intimidating would have been handy. Rather than losing my rag with my inept henchmen, it was like watching myself telling off my kids with a hint of a Yorkshire accent. I should have taken tips from Tomasz, whose chilling delivery of the line ‘You should not have interfered’ was vintage Bond villain.
But at around 18 minutes, the film is fast-paced and enjoyable (if not exactly suitable for family viewing due to swearing and violence), and I’m glad I was part of Stuart’s growing collection of mini movies. It was fun and a memorable experience. And, should I ever attempt to play the bad guy again, I can learn from my own masterclass in how not to do it.
And now I suppose you want to watch it, don’t you? Oh go on then: