Antonio Aakeel Interview

It Was A Story I Really Saw Myself In

by Liselotte Vanophem

THE QUICK SELL
Antonio Aakeel: It was a story I really saw myself in and just something I had a natural gravitation towards.

CAST & CREW
Antonio Aakeel

 
 

Liselotte: Congratulations with Eaten by Lions. It’s a very funny and heart-warming movie. What was the aspect of the movie that attracted you to it?

Antonio: When reading the script I loved the fact the writers created something that felt very familiar to my own experience of growing up feeling like an outsider. It was a story I really saw myself in and just something I had a natural gravitation towards. The familial bond between Omar and his brother was something I really loved reading and felt would be really interesting to translate on screen.

Liselotte: In the film, you portray Omar. Can you tell us a little bit more about him? 

Antonio: Omar is a shy young man, searching for his identity. After the loss of his beloved Grandma he becomes the sole carer for his disabled brother and feels the immense pressure that weighs upon him. He’s always been very easy going but the reckoning of imminent adulthood sends him into a personal crisis where he questions himself and his place in the world. From there he goes in search of his estranged father, finding him in Blackpool.

Liselotte: The story is based in Blackpool, which seems like a very vibrant area. Did you guys have time to discover the city after filming? 

Antonio: We had a great time filming in Blackpool. It’s such an interesting place and I feel it comes across so well in the film. We had a few nights out and visited the pleasure beach with the whole cast and crew. I think everyone who worked on this film has some great memories of that summer in
Blackpool.

Liselotte: The movie will have its world premiere during the Edinburgh Film Festival this year. Are you excited about that? Will you attend the film festival yourself? 

Antonio: I’m incredibly excited to see how Eaten by Lions will be received at Edinburgh. I have high hopes it will resonate with the audiences and I will definitely be attending!

Liselotte: You didn’t only star in “smaller” films like this but also in blockbusters such as Tomb Raider. When did you know that you wanted to become an actor?

Antonio: I always knew I was going to be an actor. I understand that can sound like a cliché but it wasn’t sprung upon me and I didn’t accidentally fall into it – I specifically designed my life to tell stories in any way possible. I’ve been very fortunate so early on in my career to be involved in brilliant projects but there’s no secret formula to landing a film or a play. You just have to treat every job as a chance to do your best work and hopefully it leads onto the next opportunity.

Liselotte: Do you have any advice for actors who want to take their first steps in the film Industry?

Antonio: I’d say go and do some theatre first. Learn the ropes and become the best actor you can be. Train anywhere and everywhere possible. Just because you’re not acting in something right now does not mean the work stops. Read plays. Watch plays. Go to the theatre and cinema – meet people who are like you and create a network of good friends who will be honest about your work. The greatest advice anyone has ever given me about acting is be open to always learning.

Liselotte: One last question: Do you have any upcoming projects? Whether it’s a film, television series or theatre play. 

Antonio: I have just finished shooting the lead in a new film called Granada Nights coming out next year and I’m about to start shooting another feature film in Scotland alongside an actor I have admired my whole life. Aside from that, I’ve begun writing my own work with an aim to start producing as soon as possible. I’m pretty excited to see what happens next.

You can read our review of Eaten By Lions here.

 
 

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