What’s it like to work with Mark Arnold?
Mark’s a consummate professional. He’s very highly regarded in the States and he brings a great presence to the set because of the experience he has. He’s very well known for his roles in American films like Teen Wolf with Michael J. Fox, and we were very lucky to get him onboard because he’d relocated to London. On his showreel there’s a clip from a US TV series of Mark playing opposite James Caan, who was Sonny in The Godfather. As soon as I saw that, I just knew we had to try and get him to do MILE END.
What did Mark bring to the film?
The character of John is very challenging to play because he’s essentially a sociopath, but he has to be charming too. Mark’s got a remarkable ability for portraying characters who are on the edge between serenity and psychosis, and somehow he makes it really funny as well. He has a very light touch he can bring, which is crucial for making such a dark character believable.
As an actor Mark’s very precise. He really gets scripts, really understands character, and then when he’s interpreting the character he knows exactly what he wants to do. All actors are unique. Some actors will give you something different each time, but with Mark there’s never any guesswork, he’s incredibly consistent. He’s also very attuned to the director. We discussed the character a lot in advance of the shoot, so when we were on set we really understood each other, and I think Mark’s performance is very nuanced as a result.
What’s it like having Mark on set?
He’s a very gracious and sociable guy. Brilliant company member. He’s also really funny. We had a lot of fun with cultural references, the American/British differences. I’d get him to explain American slang to me. Mark, myself and Alex Humes, who plays Paul, had a great time joking about that on set.
Did you plan for John’s character to be an American?
When we held the audition, I had never thought of John as an American. It was Mark who sold me on the idea, that it would give John an extra dimension. And the more I thought about it, I thought, “yeah”. There are things John says that are British traits. It’s the chip on the shoulder, the self-lacerating thing that we Brits can do, we can often be hypercritical of ourselves.
So to have an American say those things is really interesting, it brings a universal quality to the character. I really liked that about it, and it extended across the film because we ended up with quite an international cast – Heidi Agerholm Balle who plays Kate is Danish, and Adrian was played by the Trinidad-born British actor Valmike Rampersad.
MILE END premieres exclusively on Flix Premiere in the UK on Saturday 15 April from 7PM and in the USA on Friday 28 April flixpremiere.com/film/mile-end