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Interview with George Webster

18 April 2017

Up-and-coming British actor, George Webster, sat down with us at Brighton beach to talk to us about his steady three-year rise from wide-eyed newbie, to a sought-after leading man who's already grabbed the attention of Hollywood heavyweights in the casting room.

 

 George wears Colston sunglasses in black

 

George's credits are already in a remarkable state considering he only started dabbling in acting in 2014. A charismatic and scene-stealing individual with multiple talents, George has already starred in a range of TV shows including BBC 2 drama 'Versailles', E4's 'Tripped' opposite Blake Harrison and National Geographic series, 'Genius: Einstein', as well as award-winning indie film 'My Name Is Emily' opposite Harry Potter star, Evanna Lynch, and Sky1's 2016 Christmas hit, 'The Last Dragon Slayer'... phew!

Ever the creative soul, George has also written and directed his own feature film, 'Further Ed' and has TV networks knocking on his door for more. Taking a risk and pursuing your passions is always daunting, but it's always worth the leap ... 

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What made you decide to pursue acting?

I always wanted to be involved with film. Films were the only things that made any sense to me ... they still are. So I naturally just wanted to be some part of that process. I've done pretty much every job on a film set to one degree or another, from runner, to camera assistant, to director ... but acting was the thing I got most enjoyment out of, so I thought I might as well stick at that.

 

Do you have a pre-filming ritual to psych yourself up before a scene?

Well, I have this weird process that I've never really told anyone before! It starts just before action is called. I tend to close my eyes and imagine the character kind of floating behind me, and then almost phasing into my body, like I'm being possessed by their soul or spirit or something. I understand that makes me sound all kinds of crazy, and I'm totally fine with that.

 

   

George wears Brook sunglasses in marmalade tortoiseshell

 

What's been your most memorable day on set so far?

There's a scene in a movie I did in Ireland, My Name Is Emily, where my character puts on this strange old vaudeville-style dance act on a rooftop. The scene was originally supposed to be me setting off fireworks, but we couldn't get the permit to shoot the fireworks, so the producer and director came to me like, "any ideas?" I told them to leave it with me. I think they were all, rightly, shitting themselves as to what I was going to come up with as the days were ticking down. I watched a lot of Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and came up with this hybrid mime / circus / silent dance act. It's weird to describe, but I think it really paid off in the end. It was one of the best days of filming I've ever had.

 

What's the best piece of advice you've heard along the way?

I think it was Philip Seymour Hoffman who said it; "see every audition as an opportunity to just perform, and not worry about the outcome". I think that's pretty sound advice. It's easy to get caught up with the hopes and dreams and worries of getting a part. So just learn the lines, go in the room and play. It takes a lot of the pressure off.

 

What advice would you give to a newbie looking for extras work or beginners roles?

There are so many websites that help cast student films and music videos for bands and stuff. Get on those, and just apply for everything. It's what I did. Not all of them are going to turn out great, in fact, 99% of them are going to be complete and utter garbage. But it doesn't matter. You're getting footage of you performing, and that footage can make for a kick ass showreel if edited right. ALSO, learn how to edit! That way you don't need to pay someone every time you want to add stuff to the showreel.

 

George wears Brook sunglasses in marmalade tortoiseshell

 

What's your favourite part about the writing process?

Those first few days when you get the seed of an idea, and you just let it float around your body for a bit. Picking up inspiration in music, pictures, walks, train rides, all of that. Everything you do is aiding and helping that idea come to life. I'm constantly chasing that rush of a new idea.

 

What do you love most about London?

I love the class of London. I like looking in the shops I could never afford to buy anything from and spending a fortune in restaurants I have no right being in. My favourite spot in London is Forbidden Planet though, a comic book mega shop on Shaftesbury Avenue that I have to visit every time I'm near it.

 

Who is your icon / would you be most starstruck to meet?

I try not to put actors or people I might actually work with on pedestals, not those who are alive anyway. Marlon Brando, James Dean, Charlie Chaplin and people like that are the only ones I hold in particularly high regard, or see as icons. Mind you, I can't imagine I'd be able to keep it too cool meeting Tom Cruise!

 

George wears Brook sunglasses in marmalade tortoiseshell

 

What's been the biggest hurdle / challenge you've had to overcome so far?

Not having any classical training, or any training at all for that matter, is certainly something I've struggled with. People always expect you to have gone to drama school. The question is never "did you go to drama school?", it's "what drama school did you go to?" So when I was starting out I felt out of the club almost. I probably had to work a little harder, or prepare a little longer, just to prove I could do it. But I think that has really helped me in the long run.

 

 What's the most challenging part of being an actor?

The downtime is a killer. If I didn't have my writing and film-making to occupy me when I'm not on a job, I honestly don't think I'd survive it. I always have to have some kind of creative muse bubbling away in my brain or I get very down, very quickly. Acting is such a unique and creative endeavour, in the fact that it requires so many other people in order to do it. A painter needs a brush. A musician needs a microphone. An actor needs an agent, casting director, producer, director, camera crew, hair and make up, other actors etc. So if that was my only outlet for creativity, I would be a very unhappy man because of it's sporadic nature.

 

What are you listening to right now to get in the mood for summer?

 I'm playing Colter Wall on repeat at the minute. I just need to close my eyes when I'm listening to him and I'm in the deep south of America, on my porch rocking chair, swatting mosquitoes and drinking Budweiser. That's summer. 

 

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You can next catch George on TV as William of Orange in the hit BBC 2 series 'Versailles' this Friday 2nd June at 9.30pm

 

Missed our last blog? Catch up with our 'Q&A with Jerry Williams'

 

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