Top Takeaways from MetFilm Masterclass with Actor, Tim Roth
Actor Tim Roth has over 100 acting credits across film and television, and is best known for his iconic roles in Quentin Tarantino films: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight. He won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for Rob Roy as well as an Oscar nomination for the same film. He has most recently been seen as Jim Worth in the hit TV series Tin Star and the film The Song of Names released last year.
We were thrilled to welcome Tim to MetFilm School for an exclusive conversation discussing starting out, his career and stepping into the role of a director. Here are our top takeaways from this MetFilm Masterclass…
I had a friend at school who would write scripts, and as a joke we thought it would be funny to audition for the school musical; Dracula Spectacular. It backfired completely, and I got the part! I had to sing, dance and play Dracula in front of the whole school – but I was bitten by the acting bug! Meanwhile I had applied to go to Art College in Camberwell to study for a BA in Sculpture and got in; much to the surprise of a lot of people. I quit shortly after, as I was obsessed with acting, I was spending more time acting, than studying for my course.
GETTING MY FOOT IN THE DOOR
I didn’t want to be a stage actor from the start, I wanted to work in film. My heroes were Ray Winstone, and Alan Clarke – Director of Scum; I watched this film back to back non-stop. My first job ended up being Made in Britain, which was directed by Alan Clarke; it was surreal. On the last day on set, Alan approached me and asked me what I wanted to do, who I wanted to work with etc. I’d seen a lot of Mike Leigh’s work and was fond of it. So Alan rang Mike up right there on the spot and got me a meeting with him. The meeting resulted with me being cast for Meantime!
I knew from just 20 pages of the script for Reservoir Dogs that this was life changing. It’s a great read, I would recommend students to read the script! I was so bad at auditioning which in the past had cost me several roles; on this occasion I refused to do the script read through alongside Harvey Keitel, as I knew from previous experiences, it didn’t do my acting justice. Quentin is one of the few people that has done all the improvisation and script work for you by the time you come to reading the script – it’s quite remarkable. Most directors have this as an ongoing process throughout.
STEPPING INTO THE DIRECTOR SHOES
Through the different roles I’ve had over the years, and the fact that I enjoy getting involved with the whole process and sharing ideas etc. lots of people had told me to direct my own film; that’s where The War Zone originated from. I saved and could afford to take a year out to make it and I asked my agent to let people know that I was looking for something to direct. Sarah Radclyffe and Dixie Linder, producers of The War Zone happened to be in LA at the same time. We met and Dixie put a book down on the table and prompted me to read it. I was not looking for a film about child abuse, but I read it and collaborated on the script alongside writer Alexander Stuart.
ADVICE FOR UP AND COMING DIRECTORS WORKING WITH ACTORS
1.Be prepared to admit that you may have gone down the wrong path if a better path presents itself, don’t be stubborn!
2. Learn to be flexible – you need to be a different Director to each Actor, as every Actor is different
3. Get out with your camera/phone and just start!
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