For his feature film debut, Alexander King stars as Warren in the independent British film In From The Side, which has been touring film festivals. The film is directed by Matt Carter and Alexander works alongside Alexander Lincoln (as Mark), with In From The Side having had a gala screening on September 6th at Leicester Square and is currently showing in cinemas across the UK and Ireland. Alexander trained at the International School of Screen Acting, and alongside his acting career, he is writing a sitcom and is hoping to pitch it in the future. Answering our questions, Alexander talks about making his feature film debut in In From The Side, playing Warren in the release and attending the gala screening at Leicester Square.
Can you tell us about your new film In From The Side, which has been touring film festivals?
It’s an independent British film directed by the brilliant Matt Carter. It is about two members of the same gay and inclusive rugby club who start an adulterous affair and try to conceal their rapidly growing feelings not only from their partners, but also from their teammates. Friendships and loyalties within the team certainly get tested. There is drama both on and off the pitch with plenty of romance, humour and action thrown in as well. It’s a forbidden love story, but what’s great is that the forbidden part has nothing do with their sexuality. There are many themes throughout the movie, but for me, ultimately the movie is about belonging, finding your tribe, and realising what’s important. This is something I think we can all relate to.
You play Warren in the film, can you tell us about the character and what is he like to play?
Warren is an established member of the A Squad who many describe as the alpha of the
group. He’s a dominant force both on the pitch and in his love affair with Mark (Alexander Lincoln). Warren is cocky, arrogant, selfish, thoughtless and at times rather unhinged. He is a deeply troubled, damaged and complex character. It was fascinating digging into the deeper truths behind his behaviour and actions. Underneath his macho armour and bravado lies a deeply insecure and vulnerable man, which he is desperate not to show. There is so much depth to his character, which any actor would relish playing. Warren was challenging, but so much fun to take tackle (pun intended).
What was it like reading the script and meeting the rest of the cast for the first time?
I was completely blown away by the writing and the story. I had never seen or read anything like it before. It was so easy to imagine and immerse yourself in the story. I also loved that none of the drama had anything to do with their sexualities. There was no homophobia and no characters struggling with their sexuality. This was a forward-thinking movie, and it was great to see so many universal themes explored through the lens of a gay rugby team. The cast met prior to filming to do some rugby training sessions, which enabled us not only to get our hands back on a rugby ball, but also have some good old team bonding. I was instantly enamoured with the group. An incredibly special cast and crew had been assembled full of talent, love, and kindness. I was so excited to start working with them.
How was the experience on set of your feature film debut and what did you enjoy most about being in the cast?
It was magical! I couldn’t believe I was playing a lead role in such a high-quality feature film. There was an overwhelming sense of achievement and pride. These are rare things to feel for an actor! Working with Matt Carter was a privilege. He is such a kind soul and a phenomenal filmmaker. I learnt so much from him, which I will carry forever. My co-star Alexander Lincoln was also an absolute joy to work with. Alex made things so much easier for me and gave me so many gifts to work with. He’s a lovely guy and so talented. We were also surrounded by the most wonderful supporting cast who I adored being around. It was a fun, supportive, creative, and loving environment throughout. The thing I enjoyed the most was the new family I became a part of. There was a special camaraderie within the group, and we have shared the most beautiful adventures together. They are friendships I know will last forever.
How has it been seeing the success to the film and how does it feel having the film released in cinemas?
It’s been quite surreal! We all knew we were part of something special but could never have imagined the movie would hit such heights. It’s wonderful because I know what a labour of love it’s been for those involved, especially Matt Carter, who has worked tirelessly for over five years to bring us to this milestone. I can’t say it’s not been earned, but it’s been surprising to see the movie go so mainstream. That is amazing and I hope the movie breaks down many barriers and unleashes a whole new wave of gay cinema. The reviews and feedback so far have been truly flattering. To have a cinema release, not only in the UK but all over the globe, is absolute dreamland. I feel so grateful for everything that has happened and blessed to have had all these wonderful experiences. I also feel immensely proud of the group for what they have all achieved!
On 6th September, the film had a Leicester Square Gala Screening with a live Q&A, can you tell us about this and how did it go?
Coming around the corner to the Vue Cinema and seeing my mug on a huge electronic advertising board was unreal. I really enjoyed having a few drinks prior with our guests and certainly needed them to settle the nerves. My heart was going like the clappers! Doing the press photography was great fun as well and it was so lovely for the group to be together again in the same place. The atmosphere inside the cinema was electric and the audience reaction was superb! Having attended a few of the film festivals this year, it’s always interesting to see a new audience’s reaction and this one certainly did not disappoint. The Q&A was hosted by Boyd Hilton, who was fabulous and riffed brilliantly with us. It was without doubt my favourite Q&A that myself, Matt and Alex have done together. The whole evening never missed a beat and was full of magic moments. The only problem was it went far too quickly!
Why would you recommend watching In From The Side and who do you think it will appeal to?
Firstly, because it is a fantastic story that is beautifully made and with a cast full of likeable and relatable characters! It has universal themes that anyone can relate to regardless of their sexuality or whether they know anything about rugby. It has drama, romance, comedy, action, and suspense in abundance. The cinematography is stunning and, due to Matt Carter’s ridiculous skillset, it looks like it has been made on a Hollywood budget, but best of all it has so much heart! And heart is seriously lacking from most modern movies. I think it will appeal to anyone with an open heart and mind.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into it?
At about 14 years old, drama and PE became the only two subjects of real interest at
school. This was reflected in my rather poor GCSE results. I grew up with older siblings and we
were obsessed with watching movies and love nothing more than quoting them. Especially 80s
comedies! My first real thrill from acting came from performing in a school production. I was hooked and wanted to do more so joined a local amateur dramatics company. I did amateur theatre as a hobby for 16 years, always dreaming of doing it professionally, but not really knowing where to start. Five years ago, I decided to audition for acting school and after a successful audition got accepted. I was finally in a place where I felt confident to leave my little hometown in the countryside of Dorset and head for the Big Smoke. I felt like Crocodile Dundee when he arrives in New York! After a year of full-time intensive screen actor training, I had settled into London and my professional career began.
Can you tell us about your training at International School of Screen Acting and what was it like to attend?
It was superb! Although the transition from stage actor to screen actor was not always easy. I had to seriously calm down my animated facial expressions, especially in close shots. There were some excellent teachers who were a mix of working and ex professionals. We were taught many different acting methods and it gave me a whole new toolkit in which to develop a character and analyse scripts. Whilst I retained some amazing knowledge at acting school, a teacher said to me you’ll learn far more on the outside, and he was right.
Do you have any favourite TV shows and films to watch and how do you like to spend your free time?
I adore 80s comedy, action, and sci-fi movies. For me, it is the golden decade of cinema, and its magic will never be recaptured. I’ve just started rewatching The Sopranos for the fifth time round. It is my favourite TV show of all time, and the late James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano is my favourite TV character of all time. When I need a laugh, I will always revisit shows like Red Dwarf, The Fast Show, The Office, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
In my free time, I enjoy watching and playing sport, lifting weights, and consuming food like a human dustbin. The greatest time is always spent with the ones I love no matter what we are doing. When me and my fiancée walk our gorgeous little dog in the woods, it is absolute bliss. The simple things are always the best.
Have you been given any advice that has stuck with you and what advice would you give someone making their feature film debut?
The best general advice I was given, was to care less both on and off screen. That does not mean trying less and not giving it your all. But to relax about it more, enjoy the process and not worry about the outcome. Whether that’s an audition, a script you’re working on or a premiere. Being anxious and putting too much pressure on yourself affects you. I’d tell anyone to relax, enjoy yourself and don’t care about what people think. You are never going to please everyone. Be yourself always and be proud that you are putting yourself out there.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for your career?
Another role to relish like Warren in a project as incredible as In From The Side would be pretty nice! Whether that’s TV, film or stage. I would also like to finish writing my sitcom and pitch it, although based on current progress, that’s more of a ten-year plan!
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