From care worker to movie actor

January 10th, 2017 in Features

Four men sit around a table, talking

An interview with actor Jack Brady

Three customers who use Home Group's Kingston House learning disability service, met actor Jack Brady to talk about his earliest role as a care worker through to his latest role in the new Tim Burton movie, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Ben: Can you tell us about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? What is the theme of the film?

The main theme of the film is about how everybody is different and everybody is peculiar. They’ve all got special powers or gifts and they all live in a big house so they look after each other. It basically is just saying just be who you are, and if there is something different about you, don’t be embarrassed by it, embrace it. 

Mark: What’s Tim Burton like as a person and to work with?

Tim is absolutely bonkers. And very, very astute. He works in the world of chaos while also being very precise in terms of what he wants. He’s really, really good and really friendly. And he’s bonkers.

Mark:  What’s it like working with Samuel L Jackson?

Scary. Really scary. Because he’s Samuel L Jackson. And you’ve seen him in Pulp Fiction and a million other films. And he’s so good. He’s really good. But he’s such a nice bloke, so you kind of forget after a while that he’s Samuel L Jackson and just start chatting. And the best thing is you can have omelettes for breakfast. Because when Sam’s in, the omelette man is in. He’s very laid back, very cool and very scary – when he’s acting!

Ben:  How did you get into acting?

I skived out of double maths and went to see something called Hamlet and decided that was it – I had to be an actor. If I’d done my maths homework I wouldn’t be an actor. But I also have dyslexia and didn’t learn to read or write properly until I was fifteen. So that helped me learn to read and write, because I needed to read and write to be an actor. So everything kind of fell into place after that.

Anthony: You worked as a Care Worker to fund drama school. What did your role involve?

Well I used to do 24 hour shifts. I used to go in at 3.30 and finish at 3.30 the next day, so we used to do a sleep over. And there were four or five people in the house and we used to do cooking, look after them, make sure their medication was up to date, clean and just chill out with them really. Keep them company and have a laugh really. It was their house and you kind of just helped them out when they wanted you to. You get to know everybody really well. It was good, it was a good laugh.

Mark: Would you do it again?

I’d have to retrain now. I’d have to get more qualifications again. But yeah, I would be happy to do it again.

Ben: We live in supported housing and get support but are also able to come and go freely. What do you think is most important in the home environment to encourage wellbeing?

Freedom. And being able to cook. Learn to cook. It sounds silly but learning to cook is really important, because if you can cook you can survive anywhere. But having your own key to your own front door is the most important thing. Knowing when you go to bed at night, and knowing you have your own space and not being told what to do all the time. You need rules otherwise the whole world would be in chaos. But you need to kind of make your own set of rules.

Anthony: As somebody with severe dyslexia, what do you find most difficult about it and does it have an impact on life in general?

Well when I first moved to Hull, I moved to a street called Albany Street and there’s a big road in Hull called Anlaby Road. And Anlaby and Albany have exactly the same letters. So I looked at it and I couldn’t tell the difference because it was the same letters all jumbled up. So I couldn’t say where I lived. And it took me a couple of years to learn where I lived! So, you can see weird things. When you’re given a script you can say the stuff you think is there, and it’s not there. So you have to be really careful.

Mark:  You were in Coronation Street recently. What character did you play?

I played Ted Teddington who first turned up as a grumpy elf. At Christmas. I was dressed as an elf. All 6ft 3 of me with a big elf costume on. And I was really mean asking for money from Tyrone and I was demanding money with menace at Christmas while their daughter had cancer.

Mark:  If you could have directed a film which one would it have been and what films were an influence on you growing up?

Because I couldn’t read I used to just watch loads of films. So old black and white films were my influence really. Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles films. If I could have directed anything it would have been Citizen Kane because it was my favourite film.

Ben:  As a Northern actor, did you have to adopt an RP accent to get work?  What’s the view on regionalism, is it trendy again?

No. Not really, because I’m a character actor so I never sound or look the same in anything I do. I’ve played loads of cockneys and gangsters. And working up here I’ve played loads of northerners. But all kinds really. It hasn’t got in the way. If I couldn’t change my voice it might have done but I’m fortunate I can adapt and change it. At the minute, very posh is very popular.