Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Clarke proud of sci-fi lead role

Noel Clarke plays the action hero in his new British sci-fi film The Anomaly
Noel Clarke plays the action hero in his new British sci-fi film The Anomaly

Noel Clarke has said how proud he feels to be a black actor taking the lead role in a sci-fi thriller on the big screen.

The Doctor Who actor directs and stars as the action hero in new film The Anomaly, and said if he hadn't taken the role, it would not have gone to an ethnic minority actor.

Very different to his gritty urban films Kidulthood and Adulthood which made his name, The Anomaly stars Noel as Ryan, a former soldier who is taken captive and wakes up in the back of a van, only to realise he has just minutes to work out how he got there and how to escape before he loses consciousness again.

The Adulthood director said: "It's very important, and I feel like it's unappreciated how important it is. Because the truth of the matter is, most likely, if I didn't play this role, no actor of colour would have got this role. That's the truth.

"We've got great actors like John Boyega now, who's going to be in Star Wars. Hopefully he'll be the beginning of a massive change.

"I'm in this weird situation where I'm still able to finance films, and if it means that some kid somewhere is inspired, that never thought they could play a part like this then hopefully they see that they can."

The 38-year-old actor also said he had felt it important not to draw attention to the fact his character was black within the film.

He said: "We thought that having an actor of colour play the part without it being an issue, or mentioned, was important, because we didn't really see that much. So we decided to just go with that, and not make an issue of it. He's just Ryan and that's how it went from there."

Noel said diversity in British film and TV was important to him, but he would rather get on with making the films than sit on a committee campaigning for it to happen.

He said: "I have to just look at the glass as half-full all the time, as I do.

"I'm not going to sit around waiting for reports, I'm not going spend an hour-and-a-half reading a report when I could be writing a film that's going to help actors of colour, or any actor.

"I just feel society needs to be reflected. Where are the Asian actors, where are the Chinese actors? It's not just black people, it's a whole mix.

"And I'm not saying you should have a film that looks like United Colours of Benetton or anything like that, but you should reflect the country you live in.

"But I haven't got time, I'm just going to get on with it. And hopefully by doing what I do there are people of any race, of any disability that are going, 'If he can do it I can do it'."

:: The Anomaly opens in cinemas on Friday July 4.

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