It’s been five years since Jonathan Raggett came onto our screens as Jimi in Wolfblood and he’s been no stranger to the entertainment industry since. Having ventured out into film and theatre, he is now preparing for his movie Trafficker to be released in the future. We caught up with him about a Wolfblood movie, what he’s been up to since leaving the show and his career so far as an actor.
Did you enjoy drama in education or did you get into it once you left?
I loved drama at school it was one of the classes I was almost quite excited to go to. I’ve never been one of those kids that can sit still I needed to do something so the fact it was different and active, drama was perfect for me.
What movies and TV shows did you grow up watching?
I actually watched a lot of cartoons on TV, I really liked the classics, Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry, I also watched a lot of TV sitcoms like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Scrubs and then movies I watched a lot of Jackie Chan films funnily enough so I like my kung fu movies and action films.
Was there anyone that inspired you to become an actor?
To be honest I can’t think of any one particular person that inspired me into being an actor. I’d say that I’ve always wanted to do it but my first ever part was Dandy Dan in Bugsy Malone, I really enjoyed it and I kind of got the bug from that. I’d say college especially, my teachers guided me in the right direction but I just kind of always wanted to do it.
How did you get the part of Jimi in Wolfblood?
It’s a funny story. I didn’t want to go to the audition for Wolfblood, the original character they wanted was a tall 6′ Indian bully type and I’m not that. Thankfully my dad pushed me in to going to the audition and said ‘you never know’ so I went to the audition and after a recall they thought I was really special they re-wrote the part for me to make him Jimi. I’m always grateful for my dad for that push because it was a life-changing experience for me.
How long did a series take to film?
Three months in Newcastle each series which was a lot of fun.
Did you enjoy your time on set?
Yes I loved it. The crew and the cast were brilliant to work with, I learnt so much off the directors and the crew about how a set should be run and it’s just an experience I’m really going to treasure.
If they were to produce a Wolfblood movie would you like to appear in it?
Of course, we actually spoke about it while we were filming and we thought it would be great to do one where are they are now ten/fifteen years on. You never know it might get written, maybe by a cast member or somebody, you never know.
Would you consider doing another CBBC show?
I have done other CBBC shows in the past and I really enjoy filming them.
What have you been up to since leaving the show?
I’ve done a lot. I’ve kept up with my hobbies a lot. I did a play about a samurai bunny rabbit which involved a lot of stage combat with Katana Japanese sword fighting so I’ve kept up with a lot of stage combats which help me with the RSC. I like horse riding and sports so I’ve just been doing workshops and classes and things like that.
Can you tell us about filming commercials, is it a quick process?
It can be depending on the commercial, funny enough some of the shots that would take the longest were if I was holding a phone and it would be a close-up with just me holding a phone and moving your thumbs because you need to polish your nails and things like that and it’s really precise. On the other hand, I did a Coca Cola advert about eight years ago and that took a week in Prague in a massive studio for a thirty second clip so it was a huge production with about fifty cast members, it was a massive production for a thirty second clip.
Do you prefer appearing in films or TV shows?
On one hand I like TV, it’s a very fast process and the scripts can change last minute, you need to be able to adapt to a lot of changes. You could be filming a scene from episode two and then later that day you could be shooting episode four, so you need to be able to adapt to the script changes and be able to pick up lines quickly, also there’s multiple shots because there’s a lot happening all the time so you need to be focused. On the other hand film, you have one script that goes through a few changes but once you get to filming it’s pretty set. You could spend all day on one scene or even one shot depending how big the production is, you can really focus on that moment but I’d say as a whole, filming is something I love doing, the fact that everyone there is working towards a common goal of a great piece of work and it’s something I’m always going to adore and appreciate.
Can you tell us about the play you appeared in, Snow in Midsummer?
It was based on a modern adaptation of a Chinese classic play about a wrongly executed young woman, she was wrongly accused for a murder she didn’t commit. It was a fantastic production, nothing like the RSC I’d ever seen before. Greg Doran, the artistic director said it was a really big production. I played a young frustrated people’s liberation army officer and an east end type town worker, both characters were really fun to play, it was fun.
What did you think of Stratford-Upon-Avon, had you visited before?
No I hadn’t visited before it’s a lovely little town but I think I’m too much of a city boy.
If you got offered a musical on stage or screen, would you take the role?
I grew up singing and dancing before I really focused on acting and that’s where I really found my true passion. If it was the right musical I would consider it.
You come from Brighton, do you support any of the local sports teams?
I am a massive Seagulls fan. I’m so proud of their premier league debut and it’s such an accomplishment and such an amazing thing for the town. I was here for the parade, I came down from London. I am actually going to a football game this weekend and then I’m going back to London and then I’ll be down for the opening game against Manchester City, so yes I’m a big fan.
Where do you feel more at home, London or Brighton?
I grew up in Brighton and it is my hometown I will always call it home, but I’m really enjoying my time in London right now and I can see my foreseeable future there.
What did you get to do for Formula 1 in London recently?
I helped run a tent for school kids. There was an activity where they could do the pit stop and they could drill out the tyres and put the tyres on against the clock, it was a really fun activity. They had a big pop up event with a big concert. They closed Trafalgar Square, it was really secretive so I wasn’t allowed to say anything. It was just a really fun event and I got to watch Kaiser Chiefs and Bastille live on stage which was cool.
Do you have anything coming up which people can see you in?
A little while ago I filmed a film called Trafficker by a director called Larry Smith. I was the joint lead and it was about two young brothers from Vietnam, the older brother basically gets into a lot of drug problems with his bosses and they blackmail the younger brother, played by me, to go to Singapore and shift heroin back and unfortunately the plane is searched so he doesn’t come off too well. I don’t know when the release date is but maybe we’ll see it soon but I don’t know.
Can you see your future career on stage or screen?
Both are very different. The filming and the joy that I get from a live audience is like nothing else and it’s the adrenaline rush, especially when something could go wrong you have to look upon each other and talk with your eyes about what you’re going to do and carry on. Funnily enough I remember more experiences that went wrong than all the really good runs from my stage experiences sometimes because they’re the ones you really have to focus on. Film is such a wonderful medium and the process I just love and I find it so fascinating. I’m always interested about the technical side of it and the acting side of it. I prefer filming so that’s the route I’d like to go to but stage is such a wonderful medium, I would never say no.
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