You might be one of the people with “making a road trip” on your bucket list. Where would it go to? To America, to Australia or to somewhere. Well, in the newest Jeremy Wooding (“Blood Moon”, “The Magnificent Eleven”) film “Burning Men”, two friends and bandmates make a trip from the UK to the US.
But how turns a funny and witty story about a vacation into a sinister, (dark) magical and experimental film. Well, we spoke to one of the leading actors Edward Hayter ( “Daughter”, “Grounds”) and we tried to find it out.
Liselotte Vanophem: Hi Ed, how are you doing?
Edward Hayter: Good. Not too bad. Thank you!
LV: Congratulations on your new movie “Burning Men”. It has an amazing script written by Neil Spencer and Jeremy Wooding. What were your thoughts when you read it for the first time?
EH: I thought it was very interesting and very ambiguous. There’s a lot of music and I also like the references. They used a lot of references and a lot of them were missed on me initially but Jeremy and Neil wrote the script in which they referenced to all those 1960’s films and there’re also these quotes embedded in the script. Almost like Easter eggs. That element became apparent to me as the film unfelt. Initially, I didn’t really know what was going on. It just seemed to unravel along the way.
LV: Did you discover more of those Easter eggs after you’ve watched the film or did you find them all beforehand?
EH: I found them all during the filming. Jeremy would come up to me and said: “this means this and this means that”. There was a lot of that and that was part of the fun.
LV: In this movie, you portray Ray, a young musician who wants to make it in the industry but sadly that doesn’t go according to his plan. What was it that made you wanted to portray him?
EH: I just thought he’s a reflective guy but he’s kind of stuck. It’s also about the London life grinding you down and the sacrifices people to come and move to London and to follow their dreams. When their dreams don’t happen, they get quite lost. I think a lot of people are in the same situation and who don’t really know a way out of it. In this movie, it’s all about getting out and spreading your wings. However, that may be. For the characters in this film, it’s was going on a road trip. Getting out of the city and reconnecting. There’s also the element of going back to nature. It’s also about getting independence and growing some distance. We, as people, should be moving. I’ve done a lot of bike rides and road trips and after coming back from them, I feel inspired. I’m sure it’s the same for you?
LV: Did you had to learn how to play the guitar and how to sing or did you already know how to do that?
EH: Well, it’s kind of funny because my dad’s a very accomplished guitar player. I’ve played guitar before but I wasn’t all that invested in it. I’ve got a lot better at playing it since filming. It spurts something on in me and I’ve put a lot more into the guitar playing post filming now. I played it a little bit but I don’t think I was skilled or highly-skilled. It was just on a rudimentary level. During the filming, it got me and it inspired me.
LV: Do you still buy vinyl [Vinyl plays a very important part in this film] or CDs?
EH: Well, I’m going to be perfectly honest and just say “No, I don’t really”. I like the idea of it but it’s just the ease of buying it via Itunes or anything like that. I haven’t invested enough in it really. However, pieces of vinyl are a very nice thing because you got a whole album and no one ever plays a whole album nowadays. It’s very nice to listen to and it has a big book with it and that’s how it should be listened to. It gives you more commitment. It’s all about commitment because once you’ve got the vinyl it’s yours.
LV: Burning Men is mostly about Ray and his friends. Do you still remember the first day on set with your other cast members?
EH: Yeah, I do. Aki was cool. We were in the car scenes straight away and he just had passed his driver’s license. Him driving in Central London while being followed by a camera. So that was fun and scary too but we did it. Me and Aki got on really well during the whole shoot. Bonding from the start. I still speak to him. It’s the same with Elinor. She’s a good friend of mine. Katie is travelling but we all stay very close.
LV: I was about to ask about the funniest moment on-set but I guess that first driving scene might have the funniest one?
EH: Well, the caravan scene was hilarious. I remember we had a lot of fun with that. We made it very silly and maybe a little bit too silly. What other standout moments? Oh, yeah. We managed to drive the car on a live runway as the walkie talkies were down which was pretty scary. I remember Jeremy and others frantically beckoning us off the runway. That was pretty nuts. John, the soundman, was fantastic. He kept us all entertained during the shoot.
LV: In this movie the band is called “The Burning Men” but if you ever start a band on your own, what name would you give it?
EH: I probably would think of something else. I thought “Crooked Billet” was a good one but that’s already a band name. I saw that on a street the other day and so it’s already been taken. I thought about The Beatles but apparently, some band got that and also The Rolling Stones was already taken.
LV: You didn’t hear about The Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
EH: No, they’re quite underground. They just have one album on vinyl and that’s it (laughter).
LV: Tyler is trying to pursue his dream as a musician and his passion for music. Where did your passion for film come and what made you want to become part of the film industry?
EH: Good question. While I was at University, I did a short film and I’ve always loved film. I loved the idea of being an actor but I just didn’t think it was a real possibility. That short film kind of got me interested. I remember I did a modelling job and use the money I got from that to go to Los Angeles for three months at the Stella Adler and followed the training there. I did a small play at University as well. I just didn’t think it was possible but I always love the idea of it and thought it would be fun.
LV: Do you have any advice for aspiring actors who want to get their foot into the door of the industry?
EH: Well, yeah persevere. Might sound ridiculous. Be patient and believe in yourself. There are probably so many moments when you think it might not happen but then when things are coming in, it might happen. For example, the guy I did one of my first projects with, he just won an award. Also, stay close to people you’ve worked with early on. Find a group you can get on with. Me and my friends, we were just starting out and now everyone’s doing well because we connected, have the same energy and we’re lifting each other up. Also, don’t lose touch. Keep working on yourself but also travel. You have got to build your own things and be confident you have something to offer once you get there. Otherwise, you might end up being an empty shell when you can’t offer anything.
LV: One last question: Do you already have other film projects coming up?
EH: No, I don’t. Just had a nice audition for HBO so fingers crossed for that. Sounds very nice, doesn’t it? I also just finished the Touching the Void at Bristol Old Vic where we did a hundred shows and with that, we went to Hong Kong.
LV: How did the play get Hong Kong? Cause it’s a long way from Bristol to Hong Kong.
EH: Well, it was mad. The transition. We went from Edinburgh Lyceum to Hong Kong and I’ve never seen anything like that. We were jetlagged. The scale of the buildings is just so high. It’s almost like 4D. It’s incredible and so efficient as well. The elevators move like 50mph. It’s just like 30 years ahead of its time. Lots of respect for that. I wish I went to mainland China but it was really something. If you have to chance to go, go for it!