Noel Clarke – BAFTA Winnng Black British Rising Star
I’m not sure how well known the movies, Kidulthood and Adulthood are outside the UK but, judging by the rate at which black British talent leaves Blighty for American shores (for work, at least), if you’re not British and don’t know of him already, then I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before Noel Clarke becomes a name you’re familiar with – and not necessarily for acting.
Clarke wrote and starred in both aforementioned movies and also directed the latter. The first, Kidulthood, was a surprise hit when it came out in 2006 and, following it’s word of mouth spread, was probably more prominent in the British press than in the cinemas – the British media has a tendency to spread fear about the nation’s youth, particularly the inner city, no school-going, alcohol drinking, sex having kind often referred to as “hoodies” (on account of their love of hooded sweaters and sportswear which are often used, supposedly, to hide their heads – the shifty little blighters!). So Clarke’s first movie, which featured sex, teen parenthood, child suicide, and for which the age group it portrayed relinquished the middle finger in favour of the raised thumb, was a great source of tabloid fuel… enough fuel to get bums on cinema seats and a sequel made, which Clarke himself directed. Adulthood went on to take £1,203,319 in its opening weekend.
Raised in London by his Trinidadian mother, for Clarke there was no stage school, drama school and posh classmates who went on to become world famous and hang out in a luvy-duvy, arty-farty pack. He studied Media at University of North London, took classes at London’s Actors Centre, and became a gym instructor. Clarke got his first acting break in 1999 UK TV show, Metrosexuality. If you’re a fan of Britsh TV, you may also recognise him from the 21st century incarnations of hit BBC shows Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (2002-2004) and Doctor Who (2005-2006). He has also appeared in a host of other TV shows and, following his successes with Kidulthood and Adulthood, Clarke won a BAFTA “Rising Star” award in February of this year.
So what next for Clarke? Well, if he does venture to American shores, it won’t be for lack of acting roles here in the UK – Clarke will next be seen in Doghouse, which opens here in the UK on June 12th. If you liked British Zombie movie spoof Sean of The Dead, then it sounds like Doghouse will be right up your street. According to it’s IMDB plot synopsis, “a group of men head to a remote village to help one of their friends get over his divorce; when they get there, though, they discover that all the women have been infected with a virus that makes them man-hating cannibals.” Um, OK then…
Demonstrating his diversity and the uncanny ability to avoid being typecast, Clarke is also lined up to star in two movies currently in post-production: Heartless, about a young man with a large heart-shaped birthmark on his face, who discovers that there are demons on the streets of East London; and Centurion, about a splinter group of Roman soldiers fighting for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack. Clarke is also rumoured to appear in Bliss!, currently in pre-production, about a 13 year old girl who runs away from home and rides the waves aboard the large ferry heading from England to Scandinavia in search of her father, “The Viking.” Clarke will also appear in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, which also stars Ray Winstone and is currently filming, about Ian Dury who was stricken with polio at a young age and defied expectations by becoming one of the founder of the punk-rock scene in Britain in the 1970s.
You can find out more about Clarke in an interview he did in The Guardian last week in the run-up to the opening of Doghouse. See Doghouse trailer below.
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