Each one of us has a story to tell and everyone we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about. This section “The Q & A Interview with inspiring people” is dedicated to exceptional personalities, who either have something to educate us or to inspire us.
Today I want you to meet Award-Winning British Actor Kevin Leslie. Kevin has been involved with various British Film, TV and Theatre projects. His film credits are from small roles in features to the leading role in internationally shot feature, Pearls of Africa.
Kevin was recently crowned the Best Actor 2015 at the prestigious Marbella International Film Festival and received an award for his portrayal of Reggie Kray.
Since Kevin’s most recent role as a Kray twin he has been catapulted into the lime light. Kevin’s work reveals that he honor’s each project (big or small) with the same raw talent and commitment that drives his career to success.
“When I started pushing myself/taking risks and going first that's when I really started to achieve bigger things.” Kevin Leslie
Kevin I have discovered you through Social media and I must say I love the quote on your Twitter account which says: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” So hand on heart how many times did you try and fail in Life?
Hand on heart its been one of the most challenging things I've had to discover. As I've always been someone that has tried to be the best, succeed and achieve big. So learning that taking risks and perhaps not getting it right is okay as you learn from those experiences. The time when I was truly discovering this was in training, as when we were asked to get up and try out an exercise or technique I would always go around third or fourth to demonstrate because I'd have learnt from the first couple, seen where they went wrong. So when I got up, I did it correctly but it meant I wasn’t learning for myself and I was just performing things okay but when I started pushing myself/ taking risks and going first that's when I really started to achieve bigger things.
When and why did you feel that acting is your passion and determination? Did any specific film or actor inspire you?
To be honest I kind of just fell into acting. I was very sporty as a kid but got involved in school shows, which I really enjoyed. When it came to making a choice about whether to study BTEC Sport or BTEC Performing arts I went with my heart and chose to study what I was enjoying doing.
I'd say for me the most interesting moment was in my second year. I was studying Shakespeare and Greek tragedy simultaneously this was the moment I had a real breakthrough as an actor. It was the moment I realised I was good enough to do this as a career. I discovered my vocal tone and style as an actor.
I imagine being an actor can be emotionally and physically extremely difficult, depending on the role that you’re playing. You have to be able to switch on and off your feelings, emotions, Life struggles and worries regardless of how you feel privately. What has been so far the most challenging character for you to play and why?Firstly, that is the skill of the actor – you can't allow your own current circumstances to influence your portrayal, i.e. if you are having a bad day but your character is happy, you still need to portray happiness. Dracula is probably my most challenging character as it was both mentally and physically draining, with the added challenge of an accent. I made a decision to portray that character in a very animalistic way, seeing all beings as sustenance or sex objects.
You have been working in several short movies, TV series and Films. What has been so far the most emotionally touching experience for you during a film production and why?
It has to be shooting a feature in Kenya, where I grew not only as an actor but as a person due to experiencing many fascinating moments from animals in the wild to people happily living with nothing. This aptly brings me to my point, which was when filming I joined a group of young boys playing football with a homemade ball of plastic bags. We played for hours. I won't ever forget the smiles, enjoyment on their faces. I wanted to do something as it saddened me to see they didn’t even have a real ball to play with, something I took for granted growing up, so I went and bought them a real football.
I personally love movies that touch my heart. As I write in my monthly movie Review #Lilywood, I love movies that are either funny, romantic, inspiring, entertaining, historical or educational. But most of all films that are based on true stories. What kind of movie genres do you watch? And what is your favourite film of all time and why?
I like all genres of movies as I like to have a diverse knowledge, but I agree that ones which have a really good story stand out most for me. Trying to focus my answer more directly to your question is difficult as I cannot choose one favourite movie of all time. My favourite movie for its story would be a film called 'Pay it Forward'; a young boy comes up with a beautiful concept for a school project, and if people followed it we would live in a much more peaceful world.I wonder can you as an actor ever watch a film and relax. Or do you look at every scene and every detail from the professional point of view? Which I imagine must be really annoying. :-)
Haha, it is indeed. As soon as you're trained in this art form I don't think you can take a film completely at face value. I think you are always going to look at it and notice a good shot and wonder how they filmed it, or admire the score or filmmaker's work.
Dead or alive, who is your favourite actor/actress off all time and why?
Wow, hard question – how long have you got? The female is easy – it has to be the one and only Meryl Streep purely because she is a genius performer; you never see 'Meryl' in the role, you always see the character. For male, I will go with Leonardo DiCaprio as I have always thought he is a phenomenal actor and underrated.P.S. Shout out to Denzel Washington as he's up there.
I have to ask you this question since you’re a British actor. Can you imagine ever playing James Bond? And who is your favourite James Bond and why?Way to make me feel like a cliché lol, as yes, James Bond is my dream role. But it looks like Tom Hiddleston is going to pip me to the post this time.
What I admire about inspiring people like you is your selfless support for people in need. You’re currently using your popularity and supporting “Haven House Children's Hospice” @HavenHouseCH, which provides care for children with life-limited and life-threatened conditions. How come that you have decided to support this specific charity?
I was introduced to Haven House as they are local to me and it only took me minutes to fall in love with and admire the work that the real people are doing to help these children. Since then, I have done what little I can and hope to continue to do more in the future. It is these real people that offer support, care and raise money 365 days a year – they are the real heroes; the people that should get the accolade for the work they are doing.Do you have any desire to ever work on a film project in America or are you happy to be successful in United Kingdom?
I was always advised to crack the UK first and the transition to America would become easier i.e. green card, visas etc., but it is something on my radar. I do want to get involved in the bigger blockbuster movies while also still staying involved with British independent film.
Everything seems to go very well for you right now. But if I was an Angel and would ask you right now and right here, what is your biggest professional dream, desire, goal or wish. What would it be?
Seeing as James Bond has gone for now :), I would love to be a lead regular in a drama series like Game of Thrones, Narcos, Peaky Blinders. Away from that, I would also love to be cast as a lead in a timeless classic like Gladiator, Goodfellas etc.
Ever since I’m working on my book “Definition of Love”, I ask my inspirational interview partners these two questions. What is your definition of Love in three words? What is your definition of Love in one sentence?Love conquers all.
Love knows no boundaries; It's the only thing that makes this life worth living.
Kevin, it was a pleasure to do this “Q&A Interview” with you. I have a feeling that you will make it BIG in the international film industry and I wish you the best of luck! Some of your answers really touched my heart and inspired me. Keep up the good work and don’t let the movie industry change your caring, loving and down-to-earth personality. Because THIS will be the KEY to your success! My best wishes & God bless. Lily Amis
Pictures from behind the scene:
Behind the scene:
If you like to find out more about the Haven House Children's Hospice and support this great charity, please visit the official website: www.havenhouse.org.uk or follow them on twitter @HavenHouseCH.
Source Pictures: Thx @ Kevin Leslie.