At the end of last year, Miles Mitchell joined the cast of Holby City in his first regular role of Alex Duval, with his last appearance in the show in March, and this year, he is due to play Dillon in Breathe, which he co-wrote and worked with director Mo Ali and will play lead Ben Bloomstein in Dawn Chorus, which he filmed in Switzerland in 2019. As a stage actor, Miles has worked on a number of productions including The Tempest, where he played Antonio, and King Lear, which won him an award for Best Emerging Actor for his role of the King of France, and the show was filmed for release in 2016 and is available to download on Amazon. Chatting to Miles, he tells us about playing Alex Duval in Holby City, co-writing and starring in Breathe and his time in King Lear.
Can you tell us what Alex Duval was like to play in Holby City and was there anything that drew you to the role?
Playing Alex Duval was an absolute joy. I have been a huge fan of Holby City since I was a kid and was really excited when the opportunity to audition came about. I have also worked with Marcus Griffiths, who played my on-screen brother (Xavier Duval), previously in a theatre production at Shakespeare’s Globe. We are also friends so I was really invested in the dynamic new storyline the producers had in store for my character. I knew a lot of people would be torn by the predicament he found himself in with Donna Jackson, I was drawn to the fact that his intentions were pure and he wanted to be a light in a very dark time for Donna.
How did you find the experience on set and having Alex as your first regular character?
It’s a very strange time to be filming, however, I felt so incredibly fortunate to be working in a pandemic. It became easy adapting to a new way of working because the production team at Holby City are so great. Also, I think as creatives, by nature, we are used to problem solving. Believe it or not, but Jaye Jacobs, who plays Donna, and I never got closer than two feet of each other, ever. We had all sorts of creative solutions to make it appear as if we were. Watching the episodes back I was blown away by how close together we seemed, especially the more intimate scenes.
Do you have any highlights from your time in the show and what was it like working with the rest of the cast?
One of my highlights was my very first scene, it was a night shoot directed by Steve Brett. I was so excited to wear my new Scrubs and iconic Holby hoody. The scene involved Jo Martin, Nic Jackman, and Jaye Jacobs, who all were reunited after a break away from each other due to the lockdown restrictions. It was a very special moment and scene. They are a brilliant bunch and I felt at ease instantly.
You co-wrote Breathe, which is due for release this year, can you say more about this?
Breathe is a special project and an absolute dream collaborating with director Mo Ali. Mo had the idea to create a series of vignettes centering on black identity after the murder of George Floyd. I’ve recently seen a preview and I am really proud of the project.
What was the film like to work on and how did it come about?
I have admired Mo Ali’s work for such a long time so when he got in touch it was a no brainer. Generating ideas for the film was a creative rush. Working with on this project was so cathartic, it almost felt like therapy. It also meant a lot to me to work with Wil Johnson, who played my father in this, I was so pleased he was cast in it.
You star in Breathe as Dillon, are you able to say more about the character?
The character of Dillon seeks advice from his father on how to raise his own young son in a world of racial bias and race-based murders. He is conflicted as he doesn’t want to ruin his son’s innocence. But also doesn’t want him to make the same mistakes he has made.
You will also be playing the lead role of Ben Bloomstein in Dawn Chorus, what can you tell us about it?
Dawn Chorus is about four backpackers who find themselves on an unexpected stop amidst a beautiful tropical island. I play Ben, an energetic Londoner who finds himself outside of his comfort zone. The film, like so many other projects, has been delayed due to the ongoing situation. It is my first leading role in a feature and I can’t wait for it to be released. I moved to Switzerland in Autumn of 2019 to film it. The film is directed by Alessio Pizzicanella and also stars Annabelle Belmondo.
How was it filming your episode of The Irregulars for Netflix?
Shooting The Irregulars was so much fun, it was filmed in Liverpool and is a period piece. I love the Victorian era, so the costumes and set were so great. It’s also the most diverse project I’ve been a part of.
In 2018, you appeared as Antonio in The Tempest at Lawrence Batley Theatre, what was this like to be part of?
The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I really enjoyed playing a villain for a change, it was great playing Antonio and unpacking his complicated darkness. The production was a collaboration between CBeebies characters and actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company. I was fascinated at the new vibrant energy of the CBeebies actors and the techniques they used to captivate a young audience. It meant a great deal to me to be part of something that made Shakespeare accessible to a wider audience due to streaming services, it was also accessible for children which is great.
Having performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company on Dido, Queen of Carthage and Salomé, how did you find the experience working with the RSC?
I have always wanted to be a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Both Dido, Queen of Carthage and Salomé were brave and powerful shows. We all were incredibly proud to be a part of these productions. Stratford-upon-Avon is so idyllic and peaceful, it was a welcome break away from the big smog here in London.
How was it playing the King of France in King Lear which was also recorded and released in 2016?
The King of France in Talawa’s production of King Lear was a special moment for me. It was where I won my first ever award for Best Emerging Actor. The production was directed by Michael Buffong and staged at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. The theatre itself is one of a kind, it’s like performing in a glass dome and the production is available to stream on Amazon.
Over your career so far, you’ve worked on a number of stage shows including Great Britain and A Taste of Honey, can you say about some of them?
A Taste of Honey was my first project at the National. I love theatre so much and the National Theatre was the first theatre I ever went to. I also have worked on Great Britain, which starred Billie Piper and was performed in the Dorfman and subsequently the Theatre Royal Haymarket. I have also performed in The Comedy of Errors at the National and all three projects have been very different. I loved all three shows but for different reasons.
Had you always wanted an acting career and how did you start?
My career began after enrolling at The BRIT School to study acting when I was fourteen. I saw Measure for Measure at the National Theatre and became passionate about theatre. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I occasionally go back there and host a masterclass or lead workshops.
Do you have any favourite TV shows and films to watch and what do you enjoy doing away from your career?
I have so many shows I’m currently watching on Netflix, Amazon and Sky, I think ten in total at the moment. It really depends on my mood in the evening but I’m constantly going between different shows. In my spare time, I enjoy my fitness journey and training with my brother. He owns a boxing fitness company called Q’Phiit and I’m really enjoying my fitness journey.
What are you hoping 2021 brings for your career and what are you looking forward to most for when the industry can fully return?
I am hoping 2021 continues to be good for me. I have been able to do the things I have long aspired to do. I’m most looking forward to doing some more theatre, equally, I’m really excited about being sat in the audience too, it’s been too long!
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