By James Whittington, Saturday 22nd November 2008
Andy Nyman is a man of many talents and a real star on the rise. At the moment he’s appearing in one of the most talked about shows in years, E4’s Dead Set so we thought it was time we caught up with this in demand performer and see what makes him tick.
ZH: Did you always want to be a performer?
AN: Yep! From the moment saw ‘Jaws’ at the pictures I knew I wanted to act.
ZH: Your big break came with a role in the controversial piece ‘Dead Babies’, how did this change your career direction?
AN: I always knew that movies were what I wanted to be doing. To be able to go to the pictures and see yourself was something I always dreamt of. When I made ‘Dead Babies’ it was a lifetimes ambition fulfilled, in that respect it freed me to do whatever I wanted in my career, it also took me to the Cannes Film Festival and LA which was a great launch.
ZH: You made a huge impact in the fabulous movie ‘Severance’, what was the shoot like, as a lot of it seems to have been shot on location.
AN: ‘Severance’ was a joy to shoot, a very happy experience. The cast was great and Chris Smith is a fellow horror geek. The whole movie was shot in Hungary and the Isle of Man. I love shooting on location, it so exciting to go to visit different places in the world and get paid for it.
ZH: You’re a gifted magician and direct all of Derren Brown’s live shows. When did you first become interested in magic?
AN: I’ve loved magic since I was 12, but I really got addicted to it when I was 21.
ZH: Have you ever thought that the magic you’ve conjured up was too scary or dangerous to perform thus censoring yourself?
AN: No, although a couple of the routines we’ve come up with for Derren’s TV show have been a bit close to the bone.
ZH: Can you explain the special award you were given by the Magic Circle?
AN: I was awarded the MIMC – which is ‘Member of the Magic Circle’. It is the highest accolade a magician can get. You have to be invited be a MIMC, you cannot apply. There are very few MIMC’s in the world, so it’s a great honour and I was very surprised and touched to get it.
ZH: What was it like working with the legendary Frank Oz on the movie ‘Death at a Funeral’?
AN: Just incredible. After ‘Severance’ I didn’t think another movie shoot would ever be as much fun, but ‘Death at a Funeral topped it. It was such a brilliant script and such a phenomenal cast, Frank was the icing on the cake. He is a genius and a very sweet man.
ZH: Tell us about your new TV series, Dead Set.
AN: The show is written by Charlie Brooker and it is a great script. It is the most cutting edge spin on the zombie genre, Britain is decimated by a ferocious zombie plague, the only people who don’t know that it’s happened are the inmates of the ‘Big Brother’ house. It’s such a clever take on being holed up in a house and having to survive. As Charlie says it appeals to people who love big brother, people who hate big brother and, of course, horror fans everywhere. I play Patrick, the producer of the show. He is a force of nature who is an animal in his own right.
ZH: Being a TV series have you had to turn the blood and gore down at all?
AN: On the contrary. The channel is 100% behind the show and I think the gore will amaze and upset people, it is full on.
ZH: Is it designed to be a one off or is there a master plan/story arc built into it?
AN: I can’t say I’m afraid.
ZH: Of all your career strands, which one gives you the most satisfaction?
AN: Acting, acting, acting!
ZH: You’re a long-term supporter of FrightFest, what is it about the event that keeps you going back?
AN: I love horror films, it’s as simple as that. On top of that I now know and like all the guys, so it is so nice to see the same faces each year.
ZH: What else have you got planned for the next 12 months?
AN: I’ve got a couple of films coming out – ‘Brothers Bloom’ and ‘The Tournament’. I am also about to shoot something for the BBC. On top of that there will be a lot more Derren stuff to come. So it’s going to be a busy time…thank goodness.
ZH: Andy Nyman, thank you very much.
AN: Thank you. See you at Frightfest next year.
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