08th Feb2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Jack Armstrong talks ‘Empire of the Sharks’

by Philip Rogers

Following the showing of Empire of the Sharks at Horror-on-Sea I got a chance to talk with actor Jack Armstrong about how he got involved in the film, what attracted him to the role and what it was like working on the set of the film.

Photo courtesy of J.Douglas Imagery

Photo courtesy of J.Douglas Imagery

We have come out from the screening for Empire of the Sharks, how do you think it went?

It went really well, it was good to see it on the big screen for the first time. I have seen it once or twice before, but to see it with the directors and the people who made it so special is the right way to see it I would say.

How did you get involved in the film originally?

It s a very funny story actually. I was on Facebook and something popped up from Actors UK because my friend had commented on it, and it was a casting notice.  I saw it and thought this looks really interesting Empire of the Sharks, filming in South Africa, so I thought, ok I will check it out. So, I sent a self-tape on Thursday to the production assistant. On Friday I was talking to them and they said they wanted to cast me, and on Saturday I flew out to Cape Town. It was a quick turnaround.

And this is your first feature?

Yes, first feature film. I’ve got a blink and you’ll miss me cameo in Wonder Woman (2017). Which is when she arrives in London and says, “Why are they holding hands” I’m the guide (laughs). So yeah that is my limited feature film experience, but this is my first lead.

So, what was it like working on the set?

It was a lot of fun. It was very long days obviously all films set are, you are up at five and you don’t finish until seven or maybe eight. But you’re in Cape Town, the sun is shining, it’s beautiful so you can’t really complain. It can be tough, but they are a really lovely group of people the at Artemisia Productions and they are just looking to create the best thing they can on the day. That is what everyone is trying to do, I can’t speak highly enough of them.

Apart from going to Cape Town what else attracted you to the role itself?

I love science fiction so when I saw the title I though surely this is gonna heavily feature sharks, but what is really going on? It reminded me of Waterworld (1995) and they sold it to me as Mad Max (1979) on water which ecstatically it is, but it’s not the same. It’s just mad, I think it kind of embraces the fun and the heightened nature of the material and just has fun with it.

The characters are evolved a lot more than some of the other shark films where it’s just about the sharks…

It’s quite funny because the film is called Empire of the Sharks, but the sharks are almost side characters in it. Its about my character going off to rescue Willow (Ashley de Lange) and what she means to the people of our village and out uprising against this terrible dictator. There is actually more going on than you would think. It’s always nice to have a few dramatic options and the director obviously wrote it as well, so to be able to talk to him about it and to always have him there to clarify things is always useful.

This is the first time you have worked with Mark Atkins are there any plans to work with him again in the future?

None yet, but if he asked me I would jump at the chance to work with him again.  So, who knows maybe in the future.

Do you have any other projects which you are working on at the moment?

I am in a piece of theatre which is touring the UK its called Stay. It’s a piece on new writing and we’ve just finish a run at the Old Town Hall Theatre in Hemel Hampstead, we are going to the Courtyard Theatre at the end of February for 4 days and then the Bull Theatre in Barnett for one night.

For someone who is looking to get into acting what advice would you give them?

Run! It is very, very difficult and you have to have a lot of resilience, a lot of drive and be a bit insane. You just can’t give up is the main thing, because you are going to have days when you get knocked down. You go for five things and don’t get any of them and you might go along to something, thing you are terrible and get it. I have just come out of that and all I can see if things I didn’t quite like, things I didn’t get quite right and so on, but I am happy with it, but I think you should never be complacent. Always working to be a better actor and have that hunger and drive to keep going, otherwise you are in the wrong industry. It’s not all glory and stuff because it’s so difficult to get there, so that’s what I would say.

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