Close-Up: An Interview With Jamie Bacon

Actor Jamie Bacon joins us to talk about Brighton, his love for film and surfing with Charlie Chaplin.

You star in the upcoming Stephen Cookson film, Brighton . Can you tell us about the project and what interested you about it?

Brighton tells the story of a typical day in Brighton during 2005. Two working class couples – Derek and Dinah, Dave and Doreen – are on a day trip to the beach, but Brighton is changing and the friends can’t keep up.

The result is a vengeful act of violence that exposes the gaps and similarities between class, gender and sexual orientations.

Brighton compassionately explores the mutual incomprehension inherent in the divide between the middle and working classes. The film opens in late ’50s where we meet Derik, who I play, and his best friend Dave, two Teddy Boys getting out of London for the weekend by going to Brighton. Throughout the film we flip between 2005 and the 1950s . 

The script was great, that’s what really attracted me to the project. I loved the idea of diving into a period piece. The script is an adaption of the Steven Berkoff play, Brighton Beach Scumbags. I love Berkoff, so it was really exciting to be a part of the project and Stephen Cookson did a wonderful job of bringing it to life.

Derek, who I play, is the younger version of  Larry Lamb’s character Derek. He comes from a working class family and, growing up in the East End of London, I really related to that.  

Derek is a Teddy Boy. A Ted is an adaptation of Edwardian romanticism; tailored velvet blazers and button-down shirts coupled with drainpipe jeans or trousers, skinny ties, and chunky leather shoes. Top off the outfit with a quiffed up hairdo, and you have the look of a classic Teddy Boy. However, the Teddy Boy was much more than just a fashion statement — it was an entire British subculture. Born from post-war gloom in the early 1950s.

What I really like is how we see these kids at the start of the film, who are vulnerable and kids, having a good time in Brighton. Then we see them older and how they have these strong views on the world and they haven’t really adapted – they are stuck in their old ways.

It was a really interesting, joyful process researching this period of time. When I was Prepping for the film, my bedroom wall was covered in pictures from the ’50s. There was lots of Elvis on the wall because, of course, his fashion and style really influenced  a lot of people in that period.

I worked on a lot of movement for the role as these Teddy Boys could definitely dance and they had a certain kind of way they held themselves.

What has life been like as an actor during the pandemic?

It was tough at the start. Auditions stopped but I write a lot and I spent a lot of my time working on a TV project that I have written. It’s in development with Sheridan Smith attached to play the lead.

What do you typically look for in projects and characters you take on? 

Something that is going to challenge me – I love a challenge.

What was your entryway into acting? Do you remember a moment when you got the ‘acting bug’ and had to pursue it? 

I remember being a kid watching an old film called Last Action Hero and this kid, Danny, gets given this magical ticket that transports him into the fictional world. I wanted to be that kid! I would highly recommended seeing it if you haven’t. It’s a fun film.

I love film. Growing up I would spend every Friday night with my dad at the local film store picking a film – those were the days! I miss that, but that’s what really got me into acting, my love for film.

You have credits in Brighton, White Lines on Netflix, The Hoarder and many others. What project do you feel has been the most important to you so far in your acting journey?

I loved working on White Lines and getting to work with Daniel Mays. I really admire him as an actor.

Away from acting, you love to surf. You’d be perfect for a Point Break remake! What do you love about being out on the water?

That would be fun. I just love being away from everything.

When you’re out there in the ocean, you forget about everything. Nothing else matters, it’s just you and the ocean . I would recommend it to everyone, it’s incredible. We really do take it for granted though – what we have out there .

Spending lot of time on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, I have noticed the changes over the years. Pollution is really a problem, so much more plastic is washing in and there are micro plastics in the water. We should all do a lot more because plastic is really a big issue. 

Jamie in Brighton

Random question time. Where’s one place in the world you’d love to surf? And one historical figure you’d take with you? 

The Mentawai Islands with Charlie Chaplin. He’s a cool dude. Imagine him on a surfboard – he would have a cool style for sure. 

You have a role in Jonathan Nolan’s new series, The Peripheral. Can you reveal anything about that?

It’s a fun small role and lots of action. It’s something  different from what I have done before. 

Do you have any other upcoming projects you’d like share with us?

Brighton comes out next month [June 7th] on Amazon Prime and will be in selected  cinemas from  July 6th. 

What do you hope the future holds for you?

To find that magical ticket Danny gets in the Last Action Hero

Title image by Georgia Baldwin

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