Interview: Hugh Coles shares funny stories from behind ‘The Festival’

Hugh Coles

HUGH COLES has an incredibly exciting few months ahead of him.

The young actor who recently graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art – is about to star in ‘The Festival’ – a hilarious new comedy flick from the creators of ‘The Inbetweeners’.

It has also been announced that this Autumn, Hugh will star in the upcoming BBC comedy series, ‘Defending The Guilty’ opposite Will Sharpe.

We had a chat with Hugh about his upcoming comedy projects, as he recalls some funny stories from on-set.

AC: You’ve only recently graduated from LAMDA – how long had you been studying there for?

HUGH: I finished LAMDA in July last year, I was on the two year post-grad course which I joined straight from the University of Leeds in 2015. So I’m brand new.

What does studying there look like?

If I told you what went on behind those closed doors on the Talgarth Road, I’d have to kill you. But what I can say is that there is a host of teachers and professionals in there who are absolutely on top of their game – there is simply no better drama school in the world. There, I said it. Don’t ‘@’ me.

From the things I’ve heard about ‘The Festival’, it sounds like it’s going to be hilarious – how much can you say about it? Being made by the same people as ‘The Inbetweeners’ – can we expect a similar style of humour?

Yeah I think it’s going to be great. Iain Morris and Joe Thomas are a brilliant team, as everyone saw with ‘The Inbetweeners’. So to get the chance to work alongside them was a privilege. Also to walk onto set and see Claudia O’Doherty and Jermaine Clement was a bit crazy. These comedians who I’ve looked up to for ages – who I’ve seen at the Fringe and in ‘Flight of the Conchords’. I was just like, “wow. I’ve got to really try to not be rubbish here…” 

I did walk onto set one day to see a props master pumping fake wee through a prosthetic rubber willy. “No no, it has to be more yellow”, so that’s all the spoilers I’m giving.

I think if it’s close to being as funny to watch as it was to shoot – we’ll be onto a winner. Also FYI – Hammed Animashaun is an absolute dreamboat. Learn that name. You’ll need it.

Hugh Coles

Can you recall any funny stories from your time on-set?

Filming at Camp Bestival was an experience. I don’t think you realise it when you go to a festival – but there’s this weird kind of twilight zone around 4-6pm when everything turns from: acoustic bands, kids, facepaint and fairground rides – to beers, house music, and bottled water.

So me and Lizzy Connolly (another drop-dead legend) were out filming in that – totally sober. And this guy strolls into shot with a crate of 24 Fosters cradled in one arm, and the 25th battered can in his right and starts swaying about and singing at the camera.

I tap him on the shoulder and say “look – sorry mate we’re trying to film”. And he turns around, takes one look at me in my wine red chinos and hunting jacket and yells “EY EYY POSH BOY!” and staggers off into the tents. I don’t know if he knew what was going on, but I hope he’s okay.

What’s the worst joke you’ve ever heard?

The worst joke I’ve ever heard – is my Mum’s favorite joke. How does an Eskimo build his house? Ig-loos it together!

Hugh Coles

Later on in the year you’ll begin filming for a very different comedy ‘Defending The Guilty’ – what have you learnt about the world of Barristers?

The world of the Barrister and the courts of law are totally alien to me, thank god. But looking into the training and the arduous process that you have to go through to become a Barrister in the first place is mad.

As a defendant you meet with your lawyer and discuss the finer points of your case i.e. did you put that cat in the wheelie-bin or not. Then maybe a day or two before your case is heard – you meet your assigned barrister who looks at your case notes and goes: “Great. Thanks very much”. From then on your life is in their hands. This person you have only just met (and only knows about you from your case notes) will be fighting your corner in a court of law. And they aren’t always saints when the doors to the Barristers chambers is closed.

Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment – what would yours be?

I quite like playing Basketball in my spare time, but I’m terrible, like properly – Phillip Seymour Hoffman in ‘Along Came Polly’ – terrible. 

And usually – everyone else on the court is pretty good. They’re like the guys in the center of your local ice rink who brought their own flashy skates and I’m clinging to the side in a pair of rentals. Anyway, it’s always embarrassing to have them watch me miss again and again.

So I’d love an app that said where all the empty basketball courts were in London – so I could go on my own and miss the basket in peace.

Hugh Coles

PHOTOGRAPHY: JAKE TURNEY

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Interview: Thomas Barbusca talks about his new film ‘Searching’

THOMAS BARBUSCA landed his first leading role last year in the TV sitcom ‘The Mick’, after many guest appearances and recurring roles on shows like ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘Preacher’.

Now, Thomas is about to be seen in what looks set to be the psychological thriller of the summer – ‘Searching’, alongside John Cho and Debra Messing.

As Thomas Barbusca’s profile continues to rise, we had a quick chat with him to talk about all-things ‘Searching’.

AC: Tell us about your role in ‘Searching’.

THOMAS: I’m excited for everyone to see this movie. People will be blown away by this film. It’s produced and directed by Aneesh Chaganty who I did my very first short film with. It’s an innovative movie with so many twists and turns it will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.

‘Searching’ is a thriller that’s staged entirely through computer screens. How did this change the way you acted?

It didn’t really change my acting but going into it I knew I had to keep it “real”. Given the computer screen perspective, everything has a more realistic feel in general. It’s all very in the moment when you see it which is how it would be if you were really talking to someone screen to screen.

The film is getting a lot of praise. Why do you think the film is appealing to audience so much?

Right off the back, it’s different than what you normally see. The whole idea of being shot entirely through computer screens had not been done before and I think when the film premiered at Sundance it was a bit of a surprise how it all worked and came together.

‘Searching’ is Aneesh Chaganty’s first feature film. What was it like working with him?

It was great. My first short film was directed by Aneesh and when he called me to be apart of this movie I jumped at the chance to work with him again. He’s a great director and has such an easy going vibe.

How do you find auditioning?

Auditioning is just being prepared and doing the best you can. If I don’t get a role, I don’t take it personally. I’ve been pretty lucky lately and I don’t audition as much as I used to. I get a call and a script and if I’m interested in the project I do it.

You’ve starred in ‘The Mick’ – do you have any funny stories from set?

Everyday there was a funny story. We were always laughing and playing around. I think one of the funniest was when I grabbed a lollipop from craft services in between scenes and when we had to get back on set, Kaitlin told me my tongue was blue and we had to like scrub my tongue and delay filming. Kaitlin never let me live it down and took pictures of my blue tongue and put it on social media.

Who was the last person you were starstruck by?

I am not super starstruck by anyone but maybe if I met Leonardo DiCaprio I would be totally starstruck.

Which actors do you look up to?

I would have to say Leonardo DiCaprio again – I really love the way his career has gone. I definitely would love to emulate his career. He’s done it all.

What’s on your music playlist at the moment?

Steve Lacy.

Being of Italian descent, have you been spending any time in Italy recently?

I would love to go in a trip to Italy very soon.

Is there one particular thing that you’re most excited about for the future?

I’m just excited right now about finishing the film ‘Big Time Adolescence’ – with Machine Gun Kelly and Pete Davidson and then I’m jumping into another project.

PHOTOGRAPHY: BENNY HADDAD

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Interview: Jenn Lyon on ‘Claws’

JENN LYON is giving us all the laughs both on and off-screen.

We’re now in the second season of the hilarious TNT comedy ‘Claws’ – in which Jenn has a leading role alongside the brilliant ensemble of Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston and Judy Reyes.

She has also starred in FX’s ‘Justified’ and ‘Saint George’. We had a chat with Jenn Lyon about all-things ‘Claws’.

AC: Claws’ has a great ensemble of women who we’ve seen on so many other great shows. Coming into this, who were you already a fan of?

JENN: I knew Niecy [Nash] from ‘Reno 911!’ ‘Soul Man’, Judy [Reyes] from ‘Scrubs’, and Carrie [Preston] from ‘The Good Wife’. I didn’t know Rooch’s acting work, but I thought she was a badass. I was nervous to meet everyone, not to mention the roster of men we had. I was thrilled to get to work with actors of this caliber.

What can we be expecting from this new season?

Listen, I am surprised every time I get a new script! Your guess is as good as mine.

Have you got any funny stories from your time on-set?

We laugh and play so much! We have fake talk shows, we invent items and pretend to pitch them on Shark Tank, we send each other awful pictures in serious moments; just general jack-ass-ery every day.

You’re a big advocate of women in Hollywood. How much progress do you think has been made in the past year?

I think great strides have been made, but we are just getting started. It is past time for parity and representation.

Across a lot of network shows, we’re seeing more and more actors have a go at directing episodes of their shows. Would that ever be something you’d take up?

I don’t know! I have written and directed my fair share of sketch comedy and theatre, but never film and TV. I think I prefer acting and producing in that medium.

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH JENN LYON

What’s the strangest food combo you’ve ever had?

Cauliflower and strawberry jam.

Everyone has a cool app idea, what’s yours?

An app that generates cool app ideas so I’m ready for this question next time.

What’s on your music playlist at the moment?

A shit ton of hip hop – both current and old school.

Is there a sport you wish you could play?

Pole vault.

Do you have a philosophy?

Shit, was I supposed to? I’ll get one.

What’s the last film you watched?

The Trayvon Documentary on HBO

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

It’s a tie between being able to transport myself anywhere instantly, the super power to end suffering, or the power to have cold Diet Pepsi shoot out of my pointer finger whenever I want.

What’s the last photograph you took?

A screenshot of a dumb looking dog meme to send to Carrie [Preston].

Is there thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future?

I’m excited for voting in November.

The season two finale of ‘Claws’ airs August 12th on TNT

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ANN OGBOMO is taking on the iconic mantle of General Zod in the new series ‘Krypton’ – set hundreds of years prior to the birth of Superman.

Ann is best known for her illustrious theatre career. A favourite of Michael Boyd and Phyllida Lloyd, Ann has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and will undoubtedly bring the full gravitas of her training and experience with theatrical drama to her role in ‘Krypton’.

She is perhaps best recognised in the role of an Amazonian warrior last seen in Warner Brothers’ ‘Justice League’, following her debut in the role as part of Patty Jenkins’ ‘Wonder Woman’ in 2017.

AC: You were in two of the biggest blockbuster movies of last year – ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Justice League’. How did you land the roles?

ANN: I landed Philippus in ‘Wonder Woman’ by passing a dynamic and rigorous audition process. As well as meeting with casting in the preliminary stages, I had to do pass various physical tests from horse riding and general fitness to armed combat. Once I had passed all of these stages I got to meet with the director Patty Jenkins.

Do you have any funny stories from the sets?

In general when anyone fluffs a line in an intense moment I am the worse for corpsing (laughing). A serious train of thought followed by an expletive is a sure winner.

You are the first ever-woman to portray ‘General Zod’ in the Superman universe – where did you look to for inspiration with the performance?

I’m the first woman to play General Zod’s Grandma. The show is set 200 years before Superman’s Birth and there were many Zods that came before the general we a familiar with as Superman’s nemesis. In the show, I’m actually referred to as Primus. My inspiration came primarily from the text. The character was so clear to me from the page that I worked mainly on instinct. Throughout the filming process I immersed myself in books that were relevant to the role. These helped to confirm I was making the right choices and keep me occupied during long off set periods.

Tell us about the character – where does she fit into the story?

She’s a warrior, a leader and a mother. She is responsible for protecting the City of Kandor from all external and internal threats. Her inherent role is to maintain and ensure the continuance of the Zod legacy which is grounded in honor and putting the states safety before one’s own interests.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Foresight

Do you enjoy filming abroad?

I loved filming the pilot in Belgrade. Its a unique city with a lot of character. There were so many independent shops to explore. It’s how I imagine the Kings Road and Shoreditch were once upon a time.

Who do you particularly enjoy working with on-set?

No one, they are all horrible [laughs]. It’s glorious working with directors who are responsive to the relationship between characters and their nuances.

You’ve also been doing a lot of theatre, are you looking to do some more in the near future?

I have a theatre project lined up that I am really excited about. It’s is an unseen play written by Shelagh Delaney and her daughter, Charlotte. Shelagh wrote the first act of the play in the seventies as a response to her daughter running away from home. Charlotte wrote the second act, set thirty years later, looking at the relationship between a mother and daughter.

What’s it like performing at The Globe?

It’s the closest I’ll ever get to being a rock star. The audience are like no other in the theatre.

Across all your projects, what’s the funniest directors note you’ve ever received?

The late John Barton who I worked with a lot at the Royal Shakespeare Company saw me after a show he had seen at the Donmar and said “the actress who played Worcester was quite good.” I don’t think he realised it was me.

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