Posts Tagged ‘Will Poulter’
From Clash’s second film issue. Photo by Samuel John Butt.
If you recognise Will Poulter as Son of Rambow’s boisterous Lee Carter or as part of Narnia’s fantastical adventures, you’ll see a new side to him in Wild Bill. He plays the fifteen -year-old Dean who has to look after his younger brother after seeing his father Bill go to jail and his mother abandon them. “Wild” Bill’s freedom should establish some stability in the family equilibrium, but the relationship between them requires rebuilding.
“Dean bears the responsibilities of an adult,” begins Poulter. “I couldn’t really relate to him as I’m really lucky in that respect. He’s messed up in many ways because he’s had to suppress the pain and the hurt that he feels with regards to being abandoned. Despite the backdrop of such bleakness and it being set in such a dark world, there’s a theme of hope.”
Poulter’s dyslexia meant that he struggled in school, but his passion for drama lead to him joining the School of Comedy sketch team and landing a role in Son of Rambow.
“We had no idea what Son of Rambow was going to be,” he recalls. “We were so lucky in terms of how it exceeded its expectations because it was this tiny little film that we made for absolutely no money.”
As a huge music fan (everything from Nas to Red Hot Chili Peppers), Poulter is excited to have been cast in Shoplifters of the World Unite, a new film based around the music of The Smiths: “I’m a big Smiths fan and it’s really cool that there’s going to be a film celebrating their music too.”
Refreshingly, Poulter is still humble enough to be dumbstruck when his own heroes appreciate his work – as evidenced when Kano came to see Wild Bill. “He said he liked it,” he smiles. “And I melted a little inside.”
“There’s a load of films being made where a film-maker’s going to a council estate, and ninety per cent of the people there are functional; getting their kids ready for school, paying their taxes, working. And ten per cent are dysfunctional – and they go, that’s what we’re going to make a film about,” said Eddie Marsan (slightly ironically too, given his starring role in next month’s Junkhearts). And that same complaint could be levelled at Wild Bill, the directorial debut from Dexter Fletcher.
The locale is very much the stuff of cliché – rundown shops and gloomy tower blocks in the shadow of the Olympic stadium that are inhabited by bleak back-storied souls and seemingly the same motley crew of bad boys that featured in Turnout. So when Bill (Charlie Creed-Mills) is released from prison, it seems like – cliché alert number two – his desire to escape the city might be compromised by the plans of his old associates. Equally problematic is that his two sons have been deserted by his ex-wife. While Bill is eager to leave them to it, he’s welcomed by his younger son (Attack The Block’s Sammy Williams) but the older Dean (a beefier Will Poulter) isn’t convinced. Thanks to the sudden interest of social services – over convenient plot device number one – this disparate family are stuck with each other.
After scraping through that dubious introduction, Wild Bill establishes a sense of worth, first through some nicely judged comic moments and then through the slowly building connections between the core characters. When Creed-Mills slowly builds his selfish, dopey-faced geezer who can rise above his lack of parenting skills to become an unorthodox father, it’s a surprisingly positive experience – especially as his vicious undercurrent is still lurking if needed. Williams and Poulter compliment him extremely well too, with both able to extract the nuances of growing from boy to teen and from teen to man. Fletcher’s ability to call upon the talents of Andy Serkis, Olivia Williams and Neil Maskell makes for a very credible supporting cast.
While an actor like Paddy Considine was almost expected to make a smooth transition to directing, few would’ve suggested the same for Fletcher. That he manages to create a decent film from a mediocre idea is testament to his potential.