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Live long and prosper

OUT OF THE WORLD: Jasmine and Noel Clarke

JUST before my friend, actor, writer and director Noel Clarke flew off to shoot his next film Star Trek 2 in Hollywood, he caught up with me and my London 360 reporters and let us grill him about all things London and life.

Unlike many people in my circle, Noel isn’t interested in any of the good life party perks that fame brings. He says: “Life is just work, work, work and looking after my family. That’s all that counts really. I don’t head out to all those events and stuff, I just stay home and do my work, look after the missus, look after the family; that’s what its about.”

He continued: “I don’t go to a lot of premieres, because I don’t think I need to flash myself everywhere. It’s not really me. I don’t want to be famous. I’m just interested in working hard and hopefully having the results speak for what I do.”
We congratulated Noel on his Hollywood role but he was as unfazed as ever, claiming: “It’s just an audition like all the others really. You kind of just do your lines and see what happens and luckily, this time I got the job.

“When they called to tell me I got it, I was happy, but I don’t get overexcited about things because I’m just kind of like that. I was happy but you know, a job is a job. Some you get and some you don’t get.
“You can’t get overexcited about stuff because that would mean if you got a review that was good then you would have to be really happy and if you got a bad review then you would have to be distraught. I think it’s just one of those things where it’s another level of accomplishment.”

Just to test Noel’s knowledge of Star Trek, we decided to do a quick fire round to see how good he was. Anyone that knows Noel, knows he isn’t always up for any silly foolishness, so it was good to see him half squirm and get involved!
After Noel successfully demonstrated Spock’s famous Vulcan salute (below), which was also accompanied by the line ‘live long and prosper,’ this is how it went down:

Jas: What would you say if you wanted to be teleported back to the ship?
Noel: Am I on my own or with someone else?

Jas: You are on your own
Noel: ‘One to beam up’. You won’t say ‘beam me up Scotty.’ No one really says that.

Jas: Why not?
Noel: Because they don’t. That was in the original Star Trek and since then there has been Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.

Jas: Who would be your captain, Jean-Luc Picard or James Kurk and why?
Noel: My captain would be Jean-Luc Picard probably because that’s the one I grew up with. The original series was done when I was little, but the Next Generation I watched quite a lot when I was growing up.

Jas: Are you a fan of tight lycra and will you be sporting any in the film?
Noel: Not a fan of tight lycra, no idea, no comment.


STAR TRECK: Spock

Once we’d finished the tomfoolery, we asked Noel about his career highs and lows.
“After I did Auf Wiedersehen, Pet I thought, ‘wow, this is where things are going to take off.’ But then I finished that job and nothing happened. There have been loads of downs.
“There’ve been films I’ve done where I had producers that were of the unsavoury variety, and I’ve not been paid on my own film. These things happen. The industry’s not as big as people think it is and its not like America where they can just throw loads of money at stuff, so there have been loads of downs.

“But how you pick yourself up is the same way you carry on. When you win an award, you don’t get overconfident and arrogant about it. Instead, you put it on the shelf and move on. That’s how you pick yourself up because when you’re at your lowest point you can’t dwell on it and get depressed. You’ve just got to move on.”

We laughed about the fact that so many critics suggest that Noel’s films Kidulthood and Adulthood are either changing the images of young people in the UK or cementing them. Noel didn’t agree with either opinion.
“I think anyone who’s actually inspired enough by a film to go and behave like that is an idiot. That’s like people saying that computer games make people go out and do stuff… I don’t go out zombie hunting, you know what I mean?

“I think the films themselves never claimed to represent young people. The films represented those young people in the film on that particular day. Just because you do something on a Monday doesn’t mean you will do it on a Tuesday. Also, they were films so they were slightly exaggerated.
“I don’t think anyone is really influenced by the films and if they are, then they need to be educated a little bit more.”

Asked if he has any career regrets, he said: “You can’t regret anything. You have to make mistakes to grow as a person. I’ve made choices like working with producers who, like I said, have done things, which meant I didn’t get paid for my own film.
“I’ve made choices where I’ve given jobs to actors who, if I could go back in time, I would never give a job. But you know what? You don’t know how people are going to treat you. You can only treat people how you want to be treated.”

Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV Producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her at jasmine@hiphop.com

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