Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I have just wrapped on The Snap Chat original series “The Dead Girl’s Detective Agency” and have finished filming on a Netflix film A Knight Before Christmas with the beautiful Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse that should be released around the 20th of November. Both of those were a lot of fun.
Q) Please tell us the premise for the film High Strung Free Dance.
A) High Strung Free Dance follows an aspiring pianist, Charlie (me) and a dancer looking for her shot, Barlow (Juliet Doherty), who are cast in a Broadway show by talented but unpredictable choreographer Zander (Thomas Doherty). It involves a love triangle and is driven by passion for dance and music!
Q) What made you want to be a part of the movie?
A) The script, the score and the opportunity to play piano to a new level! As I said before, it’s a very passion-fueled movie and I could tell that just from reading the script. The finale scene was written so beautifully that I was utterly entranced reading it and once I heard the score and saw that Juliet had been cast as the principle dancer, I knew this was a movie I had to be a part of.
Q) How was your character originally described to you?
A) A maestro on the piano with a drive to succeed but with a very good heart. To me, Charlie is the kind of guy you can absolutely trust and perhaps his only flaw is being too sensitive in an industry that can chew up and spit out the thinner-skinned artists. As the movie progresses, I think he begins to put himself out there more and grows into himself.
Q) Was there anything you added to the role that wasn’t in the initial breakdown?
A) Although it wasn’t written, I wanted Charlie to initially have an awkwardness to him as it would explain his struggle to break into the music scene in New York. I also felt it would give him an opportunity to grow as you always want your character to develop and end the movie differently to how they began it. Whether that’s maturing, falling from grace or taking on a new perception of the world, it’s important that you change and grow throughout the movie. And I think that’s quite representative of real life.
Q) What kind of physical and mental work went into getting prepared for this role?
A) Firstly, I learned to play piano. I had eighteen concert pieces to learn and for my relatively basic piano skills that was difficult but a fantastic challenge. They had planned on using a hand double for most songs, but I’m told he was not used because I had learned all the pieces which was a great feeling. I practiced for 7-8 hours a day over about six weeks. It was tough going, but I am so lucky to have learned such an amazing skill and I can now play the piano!
Q) What advice did director Michael Damian offer while shooting that you took to heart?
A) He was always extremely supportive and he’s a very generous director. If you have a slightly different view of the scene, he will allow you to try it your way and workshop it until you find something that you’re happy with. He was very invested in the actors on set and gave direction, which is always great for actors! He told me to trust myself, which really helped me as I was nervous about the piano surrounded by all these incredibly talented dancers and musicians and he told me to trust my ability because he trusted me. That’s always stuck with me. [smiles]
Q) What were some of your favorite moments from filming?
A) Juliet’s “Liar” dance was incredible. The jazz club scene was electric and Manuel Pacific who plays Kid Diamond has bags of stage presence, but I particularly enjoyed messing around with the cast. I especially remember taking fifty outtakes to complete a scene because Thomas [Doherty], Juliet and I were in a fit of giggles. Apologies to the crew on that one!
Q) How did you shake off a long day of filming?
A) Hanging out with my co-stars Thomas Doherty and Juliet Doherty, we became such good friends and hung out every night. Thomas and I went to the gym quite a lot and we hung out in the hotel hot tub with the cast which was bliss. But, honestly, just chilling and chatting with everyone. Pretty much all of us were at the same hotel, apart from the Romanian local dancers, so we’d all have dinner together and just have a real laugh.
Q) What do you think it is about High Strung Free Dance that will make it a fast fan favorite film?
A) Well, first of all, the dance and composition are breathtaking and you’ll be absorbed by the sheer beauty of it, which is made even more powerful by the incredible cinematography from our wonderful director of photography Viorel [Sergovici]. But it has a real story and heart to the film. I think for anyone pursuing their dream, whether it’s art related or not, it’s an inspiring film.
Q) You are a part of social media. What kind of fan feedback have you been receiving from viewers?
A) It’s been quite overwhelming. I’ve been trying to talk to as many fans as possible because I’m so grateful for the reaction, but please, if you’ve seen it and you liked it, keep letting me know because it’s making me so happy. Everyone put so much effort into the film so every positive response is gratification that all the hard work paid off.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and the work you do?
A) Wow, honestly, it’s so unreal to think I have fans. It’s been a really long, fun and challenging journey to this point in my career. All I can say is that I appreciate all the support. I’m honestly just a young London boy who can’t believe the journey he’s on. Thank you for all the support and I couldn’t be thankful enough. Even if you don’t know it, every complimentary message makes my day and I hope that anyone out there who is a fan realizes if you want to do something it’s possible if you set your mind to it!