Mark Fleischmann plays Frank in the two already-released films of The Princess Switch, and with the third film set for a Netflix release around Christmas 2021, Mark and the rest of the cast were on set during the current pandemic. For his first ongoing screen role, Mark was cast in Being Human airing in 2010 and has since gone on to work on a number of other screen projects including as the Prosecution Barrister in Coronation Street in the Sally Metcalfe prison storyline and feature film Infinite starring Mark Wahlberg. In 2012, Mark was cast as Mr. Jeffries in CBBC show Wolfblood which ran for five hugely successful series, and he reunited with his Wolfblood co-star Louisa Connolly-Burnham for her short film The Call Centre last year. Having started his acting career in theatre, one of Mark’s stage roles saw him play Nigel Slater’s dad in Toast, the play about Nigel’s early life. Speaking with us, Mark tells us about playing Frank in The Princess Switch films, his time as Mr. Jeffries in Wolfblood and some of his guest roles over the years.
You play Frank in The Princess Switch films on Netflix, what is the character like to play?
It’s a great character to play, it’s so much fun. I originally got cast in 2018 and I found out that I got the job when I was on my honeymoon in Turkey. I then flew to Romania to film there for six weeks. Frank’s just so much fun because in the original film he was the bad guy but then he had a bit of a turnaround and became part of the Scooby gang.
How was it seeing the response to the first film in the trilogy?
None of us knew how successful the film was going to be. We found out that 65 million people have seen the film worldwide, which is incredible! I get recognised all the time for being in it, which is fabulous.
What was it like returning to film The Princess Switch: Switched Again and reuniting with the rest of the cast?
It was brilliant to reunite with all the cast. We’ve become like a family, and I know people always say that in interviews but it’s true! Me, Nick Sagar and Sam Palladio were a very funny three doing the first film. Then Florence Hall and Ricky Norwood came in for the second film, with Lachlan Nieboer playing the bad guy, so it’s great!
How did you find the experience filming the third film during the pandemic and what are you looking forward to for the release?
It was hard filming during the pandemic. We were tested three times a week and we were always worried because we could be closed down at any moment. I’m looking forward to the release because this film’s quite different. I’m not really allowed to say anything about it other than it’s quite a departure. It moves away from the Royal aspect and goes somewhere else.
Can you tell us about filming Infinite and what was it like to work on?
Working on Infinite with Mark Wahlberg was great. It was a very high pressure production and we were turning around quite quickly. It was my first time working in American so that was quite a worry. I remember being up until about 2/3am just getting all my words right because I was working alongside not just an American but a big movie star. Having said that, I think it went very, very well.
You filmed The Call Centre as Simon, with the film written and directed by your Wolfblood co-star Louisa Connolly-Burnham, can you say more about this?
It was great working with Louisa on The Call Centre. I had a very tiny cameo part. I’ve known Louisa since she was 19 and she’s now nearly 30! She’s a very, very talented writer, and a very talented director.
What was Nemeth like to play in Little Kingdom?
As a Jewish man, it was quite interesting playing a Nazi, I have to say! We were filming in deepest, darkest Slovakia in very authentic locations, and all our costumes were actually from that era. I had a working Luger gun which was very good. It’s always fun to play the bad guy!
How was it working on Coronation Street as the Prosecution Barrister in 2018?
Working on Coronation Street was brilliant. I was in such an exciting storyline playing the Prosecution Barrister that put Sally away! I’ve been a massive Corrie fan for years so it was amazing to be in that world and have the cast as colleagues.
How do you find the experience filming a guest role in shows such as Doctors, Dark Heart and Unforgotten?
Filming guest roles on things like Doctors is always fun, in Dark Heart I was playing another really horrible guy, and being part of Unforgotten was also a brilliant experience. I love TV and films and I watch everything I can get my hands on so when I’m able to be in things that I really admire and be able to tick these boxes as an actor it’s fantastic.
You played Mr. Jeffries in the long-running CBBC show Wolfblood, what drew you to the role and what was he like to play?
Playing Mr. Jeffries in Wolfblood was a real break for me. We started nearly ten years ago and I hadn’t done that much TV. Mr. Jeffries was originally quite a small role but I was just throwing ideas at the producers and directors all the time and then eventually I became a very large piece of that, which was brilliant.
Your first ongoing screen role was in Being Human, what do you remember most from filming the show?
I was such a big fan of the first series of Being Human so being asked to be part of the whole of the second series was fabulous. It was an absolute honour to be part of such an amazing show.
On stage, you played Nigel Slater’s dad in the stage show of Toast, can you say about the run and what it was like to appear in?
It did brilliantly. It was a very challenging piece to do because there were some quite violent scenes where Nigel Slater’s father was quite violent with his son. Nigel would come into rehearsals and, on the first day, we were actually doing that scene so it was very strange to have Nigel Slater sitting there seeing me play his dad.
What TV shows and films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a big box set fan so things like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and The Wire. I also love Scandinavian shows like The Killing and The Bridge. I recently just finished Ragnarok, which is a Norwegian show about a teenager finding out he’s Thor, and that was excellent.
Had you always wanted to be an actor and where did you start?
I think I did always want to be an actor but I was quite late to the party. I started in theatre when I was about 21/22 and it wasn’t until I was about 35 that I broke into TV and film… it’s a very difficult arena to break into. It’s quite odd because a lot of my colleagues when I was growing up were working steadily through their twenties and I wasn’t at all, so to be given this opportunity now is really fantastic. I have now moved over from being a theatre actor to a film and TV actor and I think I prefer it. I’ve got quite a short concentration so it’s perfect for me. One of the things that’s great about filming is you can completely nail a take and it’s brilliant, whereas with theatre, it’s like you’re just trying to get back to that moment when you first nailed it.
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