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  • Writer's pictureJim Peakman

An interview with Blake Hutchings who plays Tony in "The Shimian"

An interview with Blake Hutchings who plays Tony, the father figure, the husband to be and all round nice bloke.

Q: Who is Tony? What can you tell us about his character? A. Tony is your archetypal “nice guy”. He’s a hardworking family man, a bit goofy - the kind of dad who takes great pleasure in embarrassing his daughter by breaking into song in front of her friends. He loves his family, but is struggling to get his life and his relationships back together following the loss of his wife. I felt a real connection with Tony and found him very relatable. He’s more of a peacekeeper than a natural leader, and is always conscious of trying to do the right thing, but has the inner strength to step up when the ones he loves are threatened.

Q: How did you get involved with the project? A. I’ve known James for a long time - nearly twenty years, when we were both in bands playing the local music scene in and around Coventry. I played a small role in his first feature film, 4th Floor of Singapore and it was fun. I haven’t done any acting for quite a long time, but when he saw that I was doing some work on another project he got in touch to see whether I’d be interested in this. It was my first lead role in a feature film and it was a fantastic experience.

Q: How did you approach playing Tony? Was there any aspects of his character that were challenging? A. I could see a lot of myself in Tony, so for many of the more relaxed scenes, particularly the earlier scenes in the movie, it felt quite natural. It was always important to consider context, and with much of the film being shot out of sequence it was important to remember what came before and after so that his mental journey all connected together. There are some scenes where Tony and Emma have some real moments where they need to connect, and in those moments I found myself considering my relationship with my own daughter. Putting myself in that headspace made it easier to be a dad in those scenes.

Q: What was the experience of working on “The Shimian” like? A. Honestly, it was brilliant. I loved it. Every member of the cast and crew were just great to be around and it always felt like a real team effort, with full commitment to quality.

Q: Any favourite memories from the set? A. So many. A practically daily feature of being on set was of me and Sophie constantly bursting into song, which was always fun. But one memory that cracks me up was when we were filming a shot of me and Ashlea (Sarah) standing at the bar. In that shot, we weren’t the main focus, we were supposed to be just chatting away in the background, and we knew that the sound was recording but wasn’t going to be used, so we were cracking each other up with the dirtiest jokes we could think of with James (director) and/or Geordie (sound recordist) as the butt of the jokes as we knew they’d hear them later during the edit. Still makes me laugh to think about it.

Catch Blake as Tony on the giant screen at Millennium Point Birmingham on the 29th September 18:30. Book tickets HERE

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