LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
By James Whittington, Thursday 22nd October 2020
A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.
HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?
SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown apart from your family and friends and the next minute you are gigging in arenas and things like that, and you're in recording studios around the world working with producers that worked with people you listened to when you were growing up. It changes your life and its one crazy ride. It's scary at the same time as it's a very tough industry.
HC: You then moved into musical theatre with Rock of Ages and Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. What acting skills did you pick up during these?
SW: Oh, so, so much. The West End... I literally take my hat off to the people there, they are incredible. The talent there is second to none. You have to be a sponge whenever you go into these types of jobs and I did. I went in and I said that I was here to learn, teach me, and I watched very closely. You know yourself; you never truly know everything, and you'll always learn something, and I loved that about it, and I gave it a really good crack. At first, I didn't even know that it was an American accent when I first went for the audition for Rock of Ages so and they said, "We like you. Now can you do an American accent?" and I was like, "What?!" (laughs) but luckily the character I played, Stacee Jaxx was the biggest rock star of the time who has passed his prime in a sense, but he is always very much drunk. So, I drew upon, my family who was born and bred in Ireland, so I used a lot of my Irish accent mixed with American and the fact that I'm acting drunk and it worked (laughs). I did that for a year which was amazing and then Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, that was just a complete eye-opener for me. That was just so completely different, you know, I played The Artilleryman, acting in front of a big screen with a hologram of Liam Neeson and it was just brilliant like you've got Herbie Flowers on bass, you've got the orchestra and the band and Jeff Wayne conducting. It was brilliant and I had the most amazing time and I learned so much from that.
HC: Then you went onto Corrie. Continuous drama must be such a hard slog at times creating content for six episodes a week?
SW: It changes all the time but I do think that they work three months in advance, so there's enough episodes to go out so we do so much filming and it is six episodes a week. I had the most amazing time, three years playing Aidan Connor. And rightly so in every job that I do I felt very humbled and very blessed every day I went in, maybe people thought that I was a psycho talking to myself, I always sued to mutter the words, "This is my job, this is amazing. This the Mike Baldwin's factory!". I loved it, I miss the people, just miss the feeling of playing the character and what an amazing ride it was.
HC: You left the series on an incredibly powerful storyline.
SW: Well what tends to happen every year, depending on if you're a family in the show and where storylines are going, you're very blessed if you get a big storyline. I had a few good storylines, I had the affair storyline and then the male suicide and that came from "The powers that be", to do that storyline and they approached me about it and it was scary because it was a decision should I do the storyline or do I not and do other storylines and stay in the show. I had important conversations with my mum and my wife, Sophie and they wanted me to stay because they absolutely loved the show and knew how much I did. But I just knew, you have to trust your gut and I knew that was the right thing to do, to take this on because it's about real life, its affecting real people it's still ongoing and it's an opportunity to use this platform which the soaps use all the time in an incredible way, in a delicate way but to use it to break that taboo of getting men to talk. So, I'm very proud of the whole team, the way it was handled, and it was perceived very well.
HC: It was incredibly emotional.
SW: You have to do your homework completely because, like I said, you have to handle it so delicately and people who were watching it have come forward and have connected with the character and what was going on and to just highlight the fact that a lot of the time, the signals are there, they are not always just in front of your face, you've got to ask how somebody is and that is one thing we were trying to do was going to do it in such a subtle way and we did. And it was such a shock and when the BBC or ITV do such storylines they have to prepare the public and say there's upsetting themes and about a week before they let them know it's going to happen so a lot of the people like the fans who love the show when they say they were shocked and they weren't expecting that, when we then asked them to watch back the week leading up to it, it was as if it were jumping in their face and they were like, "The signs were there. There was so much going on, those other distractions" and that was the message. It was handled very well, it was a place that I hope I never go to in my life and my heart breaks for those we know, and those who know someone. It was a tough place to go to.
HC: How did you get involved with The Ascent?
SW: My partner, Sophie, she's an actress and it was through her agent actually, she used to look after, before she parted ways with the agency she created, Williamson and Holmes she was looking after the director, Tom Paton and she said, "You should go and introduce yourself" and he was at an award show for a film festival and he won two or three awards that night and the orders were, "Go up to the table and ask for Tom", simple as that and he knew someone was coming over so I went over and (deep voice), "Is your name Tom? Who's Tom?" (laughs) and it was straight from there we just immediately hit it off. We had a long conversation, me, him and Sophie as Sophie is in the film as well and we went for something to eat out a couple of days later and then before we knew it we had the scripts and we were filming it. It was an amazing gear shift from my Coronation Street days to play the lead in a film.
HC: How exciting is that when you see you name on the big screen?
SW: I got to do some real good, proper action. I wasn't selling knickers or throwing knickers (laughing) I was throwing punches and using big guns (laughs) and running away from a tank! How I dodged those bullets from a tank I've no idea. It was such an amazing experience and it just completely keeps the fire alive and I want to do more from that ilk. Then Tom very kindly said I've got another film would you like a shot and I said, "I'll take it. I like your direction; I like what you do" which was for G-Loc.
HC: Were you nervous the first day on set?
SW: Yeah. You are nervous but the great thing about being on a set like that is, my Mrs always says this to me all the time, "Know your work! You know you've been given an opportunity for this role for a reason, you're a great actor", and that's just all you need. It was good to show a different side to my character and what I am able to do.
HC: So if Die Hard got a British remake you'll be up there for the main role?
SW: Yippee ki yay mother f****r! (laughs)
HC: It's an incredibly tense film, what was the atmosphere like on set?
SW: It was long days naturally as we had such a short period of time, and as Tom would say, "Budget" (laughs) but the camaraderie between us all was just wicked, no egos and there very rarely is and if there is an ego you stay well away from it. We had an absolute scream. There's a great shot actually because Tom's film is in a time loop, and there's a great shot where we're all stood around before they bring the prisoner in and I'm giving orders and there's a wide shot and we're all mic'ed up and I think (laughs) we heard the direction, "Ok everyone and action! Right, you're all looking at Stanton (Shayne's character in the movie). He's about to give you orders. You're all making sure you're listening to him and go!" and from afar that what you see but up close I'm like, "Right guys. First, I was afraid. I was petrified. I thought I'd never live without you by my side" (laughs) So we did that. I sang four or five classics!
HC: Are you a fan of this hybrid of horror and sci-fi movie?
SW: Love it! Love it! One of my favourite things is Horror, my birthday is in October so it's the month of Halloween. I'm a big kid basically so we've already been pumpkin picking. I went to a drive-in cinema to watch the classic Halloween, of course I like The Exorcist and Freddy Krueger so when I got an opportunity to be in this, yes, its very gory with a sort of demon in it, so yeah, its one of my favourite genres.
HC: Would you like to be in any of the classics that you just mentioned if they were to be remade?
SW: 100%! I would love to be in a remake of any of these films. I would like to be in any psychological horror film, you know, change my appearance. I'm a nice guy but I'm very convincing as a serial killer (laughs).
HC: The film is having its UK TV premiere on Horror; how would you sell it to our audience?
SW: Simply to see my singing, well mouthing, "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor! (laughs). The way that I would sell the film in general is that Tom Paton is a brilliant, brilliant director and its one of those films where you can't go to the loo! You need to go beforehand as you'll lose where you are as the film is on a time loop. Its just a very, very clever film where you can get really invested in the characters and you'll really hate Stanton!
HC: Shayne Ward, thank you very much.
Related show tags: THE ASCENT MORE INTERVIEWS Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.
Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?
It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.
HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.
HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.
HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!
Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.
HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?
MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.
HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?
GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?
CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.
HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?
SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.
Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!
HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?
SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.
HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?
RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?
DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.
HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?
FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.
HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.
HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?
CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Saturday 25th September
Tuesday 28th September
Thursday 23rd September