For Matthew Stagg’s most recent role, he plays bully Mandy Taylor in the new ITVX series Changing Ends, based on Alan Carr’s life in the 1980s, which saw him work alongside Oliver Savell as Young Alan. In 2021, Matthew appeared in an episode of A Very British Scandal as Brian Sweeny, and his previous TV roles have included Charlie Budd in Bodyguard with his on-screen father Richard Madden, and Nikolushka in the 2016 mini-series War & Peace. Matthew has also worked in films, having played Sam Marrowbone in Marrowbone (for which he was directed by Sergio G. Sánchez), Finn Greene in Mum’s List (starring opposite his real-life brother Will), and he filmed for the upcoming release of Bagman last year, playing the younger version of Sam Claflin’s character Patrick McKee. Catching up with Matthew, he spoke to us about playing Mandy Taylor in Changing Ends, filming for Bodyguard and his time as Sam Marrowbone in the feature film Marrowbone.
How would you describe your character Mandy Taylor in Changing Ends and what is he like to play?
Mandy was just a young kid trying to be tough, I suppose there are lots of kids like him. It was different to play a bully as I’m usually the one getting bullied as I’m small for my age.
How is it being part of Alan Carr’s series and how was it reading the script for the first time?
It was amazing being part of the show and everyone on set was great. It was nice to work with other children as I usually work with adults, I thought the script was really funny. I was one of the first to be seen and cast so I had to wait a while to get to work on this project. It’s been one of my favourites to work on and although I didn’t get to do any funny lines, it was great to see Oliver (Savell) work his magic and work hard not to laugh.
What was it like filming alongside the rest of the cast and what did you enjoy most about working on set?
It was great, hanging out with other kids my age was good, Oliver was really fun and I know he will do great things moving forward.
What has it been like seeing the viewers’ response to Changing Ends so far and why would you recommend watching it?
I have had the most feedback on this than any other project, it’s been great – I think that people love the 80s and the show is really well-written so just watch it and enjoy the story of young Alan. Anyone that watches it will just love Alan Carr within the first five minutes.
Can you tell us about attending the screening event earlier this year and how was it seeing the completed episodes?
I always get excited when the projects are close to being available to watch, I loved how it turned out, because when I was filming it felt like lots of work but the show just breezed past, really funny, I was so happy to have been chosen to play Mandy.
You played Brian Sweeny in an episode of A Very British Scandal, how was this?
Yes, it was a quick few days shooting at a loch in Scotland, it was nice to work with Paul Bettany and Claire Foy, I just wished it had been for longer.
What was it like being in the cast of Bodyguard as Charlie Budd and what was the series like to be part of?
It was fun – Richard Madden, who played my dad, was nice to hang out with and he did push-ups while I sat on his back. I’m not sure he could do them now I’m a bit bigger.
Do you have any favourite memories from your time filming for Marrowbone?
Marrowbone was one of my favourite projects because I was one of the main cast and spent nearly four months in Spain. By the end of the project, I was very sad to come home as it really felt like a family, Sergio G. Sánchez, the director of Marrowbone, bought me the Lego Millennium Falcon for Christmas and promised me we would work together again. It will always be a special project for me, it was a great summer with lovely people.
What was Sam Marrowbone like to play and how was it working on a psychological horror film?
There were times when it was scary and in a couple of scenes I did actually cry because we were supposed to be very scared, but Sergio always made sure I was ok.
In 2016, you played Finn Greene in Mum’s List, how was it filming alongside your brother and what was it like telling the story?
Working with Will was great. He is a really good actor and I wish he did it still. We also got to meet the real Reef and Finn Greene and chat to them for a bit, they are a nice family.
What do you remember most from playing Nikolushka in War & Peace?
Not too much, I was only five when we filmed that in Russia and Lithuania, it was really cold in January and we made slides in the ice. It was my first job away from home and my mum came along, I do remember the hot chocolate being really strong.
Do you have a favourite aspect of working as an actor and can you tell us about some of the other projects you’ve been part of over your career so far?
I like just being on set and seeing how it all works, I do like when we get to handle fake weapons. In Macbeth, I had a tiny dagger that was made of rubber but looked real. It was cool.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
My sister Eleanor, who is now a dancer, started and William and I somehow ended up tagging along for Macbeth and then we loved it and the jobs were pretty regular.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I love 80s films, I love Back to the Future, Ready Player One and BMX Bandits.
I love riding my Motocross bike and have been riding since I was three years old, my whole family rides. We also all train Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I also play airsoft, messing around with airguns in muddy fields and playing war. I have a really nice sniper rifle that was built for me.
Do you have any upcoming plans that you can tell us about and what are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
I worked on a project last year, Bagman, with Sam Claflin, I play his younger version (we have the same thumbs, lol). It was filmed in Bulgaria, it’s another scary one, that seems to be my thing! I thought the scenery was stunning and the people there were so nice and friendly. The director, Colm McCarthy, is someone that I really enjoyed working with, he gave me great feedback and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. I’m really looking forward to any upcoming opportunities but I would love to do a film that involves motorbikes or requires me to have to ride one myself.
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