Since starting his acting career, Jamie Satterthwaite can be found in many stage and screen roles including guest appearances in BBC’s Casualty and ITV’s Mr Selfridge. Being a regular in the Shakespeare shows at The Watermill Theatre, he’s due to appear in their upcoming production starting in May. Having chatted to Jamie last week, we find out about his future roles, training and all things Shakespeare.
Have you always done acting, and what was your first role?
Acting definitely wasn’t my first thing. At school, I was always into sport, but then I took Theatre Studies at seventeen and caught the bug slowly from there. My first role was as one of the men in Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard, I forget who… I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
Who were your favourite actors growing up?
Once I decided acting was for me I became obsessed with Marlon Brando. There’s such a mythology around him and his performances which for someone who was dreaming about becoming an actor was like Catnip. He’d still win the Oscar today for On the Waterfront, which is extraordinary really… I’ve always loved Joaquin Phoenix, right from when I saw him in Gladiator. I remember seeing Julianne Moore in Savage Grace and being amazed. Young De Niro… Young Pacino…
How long did you attend Guildhall School of Music and Drama?
Three years. I wasn’t someone who could’ve been an actor if I didn’t train. I was as raw as they come, but the teachers there are incredible.
How was it filming your episode of Casualty?
Great! It’s such a well-oiled machine, which makes sense as it’s been running thirty years. I learnt a lot from Derek Thompson who’s been on the show since the beginning. He’s so relaxed and brings such warmth to what he does.
What was it like on set of a period drama for your role in Mr Selfridge?
I was still in my first year out of Guildhall, so it was all massively new to me. Suddenly I’m standing across from Zoë Wanamaker, trying not to sound like a complete mug. You get dressed up in the period gear and stand around drinking ‘champagne’, which is actually ginger beer. I loved it.
Would you like to be a regular character in a TV series or do you prefer the variety?
I really want to play a regular on a TV series. I think it would be an amazing training. Acting on screen is so different to acting on stage, whatever anyone says. I guess the challenge if you’re in episode after episode on a series is finding the variety within that.
Is there anything you can tell us about Indie Film and your character Jeff?
Nothing much yet, other than the person who’s written it, Richard Summers-Calvert, is one of the funniest people I know. We’ve done a couple of films together for Pinpoint Productions, and it’s such fun acting with him. I read a draft of it a while back and it made me laugh a lot. Richard is ridiculous.
How was it filming on the set of Charismata, what can you tell us about the film and where can people watch it?
It was my favourite role I’ve ever played. It’s such fun being the villain! The team behind that are all a great bunch. The film’s doing so well on the festival circuit, and people really should seek it out for Sarah Beck Mather’s performance. She’s brilliant. The film’s representative Raven Banner is sorting out distribution right now, so people can follow @CharismataFilm on Twitter. There’ll be news soon.
Have you always enjoyed Shakespeare?
No. But I started to at drama school. I absolutely loved performing last year at the Watermill Theatre, where we did Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet. The Watermill blends music into their productions really well. Everyone but me could play about five instruments and sing really well so the music in both the plays was pretty special.
What’s your favourite Shakespeare play to watch?
Twelfth Night and Comedy of Errors are very funny. King Lear just because… well it’s King Lear. Richard III.
What’s been your favourite Shakespeare character to portray?
Duke Orsino in Twelfth. You get that amazing opening speech and some great scenes with Viola. It was great fun as well telling off musicians who weren’t playing in alignment with my ‘vision’ of love.
Which of your theatre roles has received the best audience reaction?
Probably playing George Balfour in POSH. That was just a gift of a part. Every single one of his lines is funny, it was almost about just saying it and letting it do the work for you.
Would you like to direct a theatre show?
Nooooooooooooooo… I don’t think I’d be very good at it. I’m writing something for a film I’d like to do, but even then I’d probably have to get someone else to direct. I’d get jealous of the actors getting to act.
Have you done any musicals?
Only at drama school. Company and Rags. I was deeply offended when I was told my microphone wouldn’t be switched on! It was probably for the best…
Would you consider doing pantomime?
I don’t see why not. I’m not sure about having to perform on Christmas Eve, but I bet the audience interaction is great fun.
Which of your acting roles has been the most challenging?
Charismata because I didn’t want to balls it up… and probably Antonio in Duchess of Malfi. I didn’t prepare in the right way for a part like that. I should’ve spent way more time on the text itself and not coming up with such an elaborate backstory! It really is true though, you learn from your failures far more.
Do you have any stage or screen roles coming up which you can tell us about?
I’m doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the newly formed Watermill Ensemble, which opens early May. I’m playing Oberon. I did a film last year called Toy Men, which is nearly ready. That one’s really good I think… I’ll hopefully be working on something later on in the year with the Charismata team but nothing concrete yet.
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