Kevin Layne is an actor who is making waves in the film industry. He has worked on films such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Kevin is busy with a lot of exciting film and TV projects that almost every actor would be like to be a part of. One of his biggest inspirations to become an actor was his father.
Kevin, can you tell us about your acting beginnings?
My journey into acting started with a seed that was planted when I saw my father on TV one day. Ever since I was a young boy I loved the James Bond franchise and one Christmas Day, I was told to watch closely when we were all sitting around the TV as a family. My father started to point out his involvement in the James Bond film Live and Let Die and there, at that moment, I was left bemused, shocked and totally in awe. I remember thinking, “Wow, Dad must be famous! How could he be in a James Bond film?” I can’t say that was the magic moment when it all clicked and I was like “Yes! I know what I want to do with my life! I want to be an actor!”, but it certainly laid the foundation for my desire to want to be on the screen.
It was very cool. I started out doing ‘extra’ work here and there. I remember that it was actually my father who got me my first extra job on a Channel 4 show called Get Up, Stand Up, which was a comedy show on the channel at the time. True to my roots, I was an extra in a scene that involved a party scene where we all had to dress up in Carnival costumes and dance. Needless to say, this was easy for me as I have deep roots in Carnival; however, although I knew that this was not exactly acting, it was a good start. Anyway, many years later I found myself auditioning for drama school.
I got into the Arts Educational School of Acting and stayed for two years, acquiring a master’s degree in Acting and getting a lucky start with a Co-op, which is essentially an acting agency run by other actors who submit each other for jobs. This was not an ideal situation for me at the time so I sought new representation. Luckily, I managed to audition for a play of which the producer was also running an acting agency and she saw my potential and wanted to take me on. The rest I guess is history, as we are still together now.
Where do you think is the best place to be as an actor and why?
Well, today, the best place for an actor to be is in a place where you are totally comfortable in your own skin, with who you are. It’s easy to see other successful actors pursuing their careers and winning, but you have to remember that it’s not a race or a competition. I have always had the mindset that the only competition I have in the acting world is with myself and that all I can be is a better version of myself. You go into an audition room with an attitude that is more along the lines of “how can I solve your dilemma”, the dilemma being, of course, we need a good actor to play this part.
This thinking enables you to be present in what you are doing and clears your mind of the other distractions that can throw you off. So you’re never really asking for a job, no more than asking if you are the answer to their dilemma. I believe that when an actor is always trying to challenge him/herself and is as hungry as they were in the beginning, this is a great place to be, as you will always have the desire to keep pushing and be better and better. For me, acting is a thing that is developed over a lifetime of experiences, so one must always be willing to learn and expand. Longevity is the key.
What are your best projects to date?
It’s difficult to say what my best projects have been so far, as they have all been so varied and fun to do. Working on Star Wars: The Last Jedi was tremendously exciting for all the obvious reasons, but more so than any other job for the sheer fact that “It’s Star Wars, man!!”. I was also blessed to earn a role in the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which is another insanely huge film franchise with a massive cultural following.
These films have completely changed my life with regard to gaining experience as an actor working in the studio system and having the chance to work at the highest level in the movie world with some amazingly talented individuals. Having said that, I believe that my best project so far is a film called 15 Minutes De Guerre (Working Title) based on the 1976 Loyada Hostage Rescue Mission.
I play a freedom fighter named Barkhard, alongside Olga Kurylenko, who leads a rebel faction that takes 31 school children hostage to liberate his people from an increasingly oppressive French regime in Djibouti. This is also my biggest role to date and one which I am very proud of and can’t wait to see. We shot for three weeks out in the Moroccan desert and I think we are all in for a treat when this film is released later this year.
Do you have any interesting film or TV projects coming up?
I can currently be seen now on Sky Atlantic in a new hit show called Patrick Melrose, in which I play a character called Shades alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the first episode. I am currently shooting a small role in another film I cannot mention right now, but I can also be seen playing a submarine pilot in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in cinemas nationwide from 6th June.
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