Lance West made his TV series debut as Nicu across both series of Heirs of the Night, about children with special powers attending vampire school, which was shown on CBBC in the UK and led to Lance having a guest appearance on Saturday Mash-Up. Other screen roles for Lance has seen him play Dandy Boy in short film Bobby Jaws, where he was directed by his on-screen mother from Heirs of the Night, Christina Chong, and has worked on commercials for TikTok and VeeLoop, which was also his first professional job. Chatting to us, Lance talks about playing Nicu in Heirs of the Night, being a guest on Saturday Mash-Up and short film Bobby Jaws.
How did it feel booking the role of Nicu in Heirs of the Night and can you tell us about your character?
It was absolutely unbelievable. I felt so incredibly lucky being so young and having an opportunity like this arise. I think my best friend Alfie was just as excited, if not more excited for me, which really made the whole situation even crazier. To know I was playing a character who had similarities to me also was very exciting. Nicu is a latchkey kid who finds peace in reading books. He struggles with his relationship with his mum as he doesn’t believe in vampires and she is a vampire hunter. He knows that he should value family but struggles to find an idol in his mother.
What drew you to the script and how much did you know about it before booking the role?
I really knew nothing at all. I heard it was about vampires and I was incredibly excited to audition. All things fantasy and period are what my childhood was made of. The writing of it felt natural and felt as if I was just reading a book. It truly was an incredible interest for me.
How did you find the experience on set of the show and filming on location?
It was incredible. From the crew to the cast to just the area, I have never felt so at home. Work wasn’t work, it was a time to create and it just felt right. The costumes were phenomenal and the sets were always so beautiful and it really transported you to Rome or Norway or wherever the vampires had decided to set off to. Movies are magic and the making of it is even more so.
Why would you recommend watching Heirs of the Night and how has it been seeing the viewers’ response?
I would recommend Heirs of the Night as it not only follows a great story about Alisa and a phenomenal power she has that connects her to Dracula, but it also teaches people about morals and about love and family. The response has been insane. It’s so wonderful seeing fan edits and having people recognise me. It’s baffling that it’s me but I couldn’t thank the viewers enough for how kind and how wonderful they all are.
Do you have any favourite memories or highlights from filming the two series?
I absolutely loved the brick factory. Filming the final fight was so, so cool. The director of photography, Rolf, decided to jump in on it and is actually a Upiry in the final fight. It took so much preparation and so many rehearsals but to have the entire cast and crew all together doing the same scene just felt amazing.
Can you tell us what it was like being a guest on Saturday Mash-Up?
A moment of a lifetime. As a kid I’d watch all the early morning live TV shows like Blue Peter, but to be invited on to play was such an honour. I feel so lucky to have these experiences and I hope one day I can do many more.
What can you tell us about short film Bobby Jaws where you play Dandy Boy?
Calvina, Nicu’s mother in Heirs of the Night, was actually the director of Bobby Jaws, so it was really, really nice to work with Christina (Chong) and enter her world of creativity. Dandy Boy is a troubled kid who took up boxing as it was a place for him to go and feel safe. He knew Bobby since he was a child and ever since, Bobby has been like a father to him.
How was it working on the short film and playing the character?
It was a short shoot, but it was, again, amazing. Some of the people I met were really incredible. Shout out to Kurt Deed for holding onto the heavy bag while I hit it. Just being on a set is the best feeling and I hope I can do it in the future.
Can you say about working on the commercials for TikTok and VeeLoop?
VeeLoop was the first ever professional job I had done. It was a stop motion advert for a clothing website. It took one day and I did it with my friend. It was fun and was a great insight to being on set. The TikTok advert was fun. It was in London with a bunch of incredible other people. It was hectic and a rush but it was the best sort of rush.
Where does your love of acting come from and is it something you always wanted to do?
I never wanted to be an actor as a kid, but the more I grew into my skin and the more I began to be myself, I realised it was something I aspired to do. I love films and I love TV. I love theatre and I love watching people perform. I’ve always wanted to entertain people in one way or another but I find my passion and my love is acting. To step into someone else’s shoes is the best feeling. My sister is in the West End and to see her grow up and strive for her dreams only made me want it more. I hope one day that I’ll be able to call myself a full-time actor but for now it’s about training and becoming the best me I can be.
Can you tell us about your training?
My acting director is actually my agent. This dynamic couldn’t be better. My agent knows me through and through and knows what parts would suit me. We work on all things vocal to physical and train my weaknesses to be strengths. She’s my other mother in life and I love it so so much.
What are some of your favourite TV shows and films to watch?
I love Notting Hill. It is my favourite film ever as it is just so British. I love Hugh Grant and I love Julia Roberts. I aspire one day to be somewhat as talented as them. I’m really into Shadow and Bone at the moment and I’m really, really happy with all the Asian representation on TV. It really makes me feel like I fit in.
How do you like to spend your time away from acting?
I like to write songs and play sports with my friends. I’m super into football and really enjoy watching and playing it. I’m a Sheffield United fan through and through. Sometimes I struggle to talk about how I feel and I find writing it down and turning it into a song is an easier way for me to express myself and really let out how I feel. It used to be poetry but I love music so it worked better as songs.
What are you hoping 2021 brings for your career?
I hope it brings excitement and fun.
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