BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Why Harry Potter star Alfred Enoch is now Wilde at heart
Alfred Enoch is discovering that not only does the devil get the best lines, he gets the best clothes, too.
Enoch, who played Gryffindor good guy Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films, is a fan of the louche looks he displays in an updated filmed play of Oscar Wilde’s 19th-century tale of depravity, The Picture Of Dorian Gray.
The 32-year-old jumped at the chance to play Harry — modelled after Lord Henry Wotton in Wilde’s story.
Pictured: Alfred Enoch as ‘Henry’ in a filmed staged production of A Picture of Dorian Gray. Enoch, who played Gryffindor good guy Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films, is a fan of the louche looks he displays in an updated filmed play of Oscar Wilde’s 19th-century tale
Harry’s the creepy hedonist who corrupts the young Dorian (played by Fionn Whitehead, star of Dunkirk) in the tale of a portrait that ages as its subject remains forever young.
‘I don’t think Harry will be viewed entirely sympathetically,’ Enoch admitted. ‘But having just played him, I want to take his side!
‘There’s a lot in the part that’s juicy — and fruity — but there’s a very human side to it, too.’
Henry Filloux-Bennett’s adaptation shifts the action from the Victorian era to the present day world of social media, where Facebook, Instagram and Twitter draw Dorian to the darker side of being an influencer . . . with Harry’s help.
Enoch conceded that Harry’s dissolute behaviour comes, in part, from him being a member of the one per cent. ‘He’s certainly a privileged individual, who wears all the entitlement that comes with that.’
Yes, and some pretty fabulous clothes, too. ‘The biggest sell of the whole thing was the clothes,’ said Enoch, who’s ordinarily to be found in a tracksuit.
Enoch said he was thrilled to be cast alongside Joanna Lumley, Russell Tovey, Emma McDonald and Stephen Fry; but because of Covid protocols he never saw them — though he did film a socially-distanced scene with Whitehead at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester.
Pictured: Alfred Enoch (third from left) in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The 32-year-old (pictured) jumped at the chance to play Harry — modelled after Lord Henry Wotton in Wilde’s story
The filmed play is a co-production with several regional theatres including Theatr Clwyd and the Lawrence Batley Theatre. It will stream from March 16 through to March 31.
Enoch’s now in London waiting to resume filming on Foundation, the Apple TV+ version of Isaac Asimov’s science-fiction classic, in which he plays knife-wielding hero Raych.
But his immediate concern is for the welfare of his 96-year-old actor father William Russell. ‘He’s had his vaccine. That was a relief, but you spend time worrying,’ said Enoch.
Visit pictureofdoriangray.com for ticketing details.
Belfast Brogue? That’s a drawl order for Seana
Seana Kerslake, pictured in 2019. When she signed up to star in a film to be shot in Belfast with comic Patrick Kielty, her biggest fear was getting the accent wrong
When Seana Kerslake signed up to star in a film to be shot in Belfast with comic Patrick Kielty, her biggest fear was getting the accent wrong.
‘I’m from the South,’ said Kerslake, of Tallaght, South Dublin County, who had never worked in Northern Ireland, where Ballywalter (now in post-production) is set. So she’d been anxious about ‘pulling off a believable, subtle accent that people wouldn’t question’.
Director Prasanna Puwanarajah suggested she stick with the Belfast brogue, ‘even when I was off, in my free time’, Seana recalled. And the film’s crew were none the wiser.
Producer James Bierman joked that, when the truth emerged, they were ‘devastated when they realised she wasn’t from East Belfast’.
Ballywalter, written by Stacey Gregg, finished filming last month. But when I spoke to Kerslake at her home in Dublin this week, I thought I could still detect a little bit of Belfast in her voice. ‘It’s taking a while to lose it!’ agreed the 28-year-old, who also stars in Netflix series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope.
Ballywalter is about two lost souls who meet in an unlicensed minicab driven by Kerslake’s Eileen, who has returned from university in London to live with her mother and pregnant sister.
Kielty, who plays passenger Shane, is trying to deal with a marriage break-up by enrolling in a stand-up comedy course which he hopes will bring his confidence back.
The comic and One Show presenter, who returned from living in Los Angeles with wife Cat Deeley and their two sons, Milo, five, and James, two, ‘just as the pandemic was happening’, had fears of his own.
Ballywalter is about two lost souls who meet in an unlicensed minicab driven by Kerslake’s Eileen, who has returned from university in London to live with her mother and pregnant sister
Won’t Cope with Seana Kerslake as Aisling O’Dowd and Nika McGuigan as Danielle Mullane
‘I hadn’t done film acting before,’ he told me. But Bierman and fellow producer Nik Bower felt he could bring poignancy to the role.
They’d seen Kielty’s award- winning documentary My Dad, The Peace Deal And Me, which explored how his father, Jack, was killed by the IRA in Co. Down in 1988 when Kielty was just 16.
‘Within two years, he was doing stand-up comedy in Belfast. Patrick is sort of wedded to this story,’ Bierman said.
Kielty (left), who plays passenger Shane, is trying to deal with a marriage break-up by enrolling in a stand-up comedy course which he hopes will bring his confidence back
Kielty was also worried that his stand-up experience would make it tricky to play someone with no comic chops.
However, he soon realised that the course Shane takes ‘doesn’t have anything to do with comedy. It’s about Shane trying to rehabilitate himself.’
Backed by Screen Ireland, the BFI and Northern Ireland Screen, Ballywalter is expected to hit screens in the autumn. We could certainly do with the craic.
Watch out for…
Pictured: Dominic Cooper attends the #IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con 2019
Dominic Cooper, Paterson Joseph and Christian Cooke, who are in discussions about saddling up for a spaghetti western TV series, but one with a twist. Not a new pasta shape! But rather a genre difference.
That Dirty Black Bag, created by Mauro Aragoni and to be directed by Brian O’Malley, is what’s known as a ‘steampunk’ spaghetti western.
Imagine, if you can, a sort of retro-futuristic vision: dystopian high-tech teamed with mid-to-late 19th-century industrial paraphernalia. So a marked change from the kind of films pioneered by Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood in the 1960s.
That Dirty Black Bag is due to film in Italy’s rugged Apulia region in May.
The eight-part series explores a confrontation between a sheriff and a bounty hunter, who cuts off the heads of those he’s tracking, depositing them in . . . you guessed it . . . a dirty black bag.
Cooper, who starred in Preacher, The History Boys and the Mamma Mia! films (I wonder if he’ll pop up in Mamma Mia! 3?) is also working on two other projects for television.
Joseph, meanwhile, can be seen in Noughts + Crosses on BBC iPlayer.
And Cooke filmed a TV adaptation of Annie Proulx’s novel Barkskins last year.
Paterson Joseph (left) and Christian Cooke (right)are set to stay alongside Dominic Cooper in That Dirty Black Bag, created by Mauro Aragoni and to be directed by Brian O’Malley, is what’s known as a ‘steampunk’ spaghetti western
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