Rising actor Dan Richardson outside Griffin Park
RISING actor Dan Richardson is a West London man through and through. In a couple of weeks his film The Harsh Light of Day is released in cinemas and although not his debut in movies it does mark his first ever leading role. CHRIS LONGHURST speaks to the man who only began acting in 2008 at the age of 37 to find out how he plans to handle the harsh light of publicity.
“IT’S all happened so quickly, I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been these last few years.”
We have heard this phrase a hundred times over, usually from the latest soon-to-be forgotten singer whose 15 minutes of fame has come courtesy of a television talent show.
But this is Dan Richardson, a 40-year-old former IT worker whose ascent to the top involved film and acting and has been achieved not through sob stories and self-promotion but through quiet determination, guts, heart and, yes, a fair amount of the above-mentioned luck. And all without a TV crew in sight.
The film is called Harsh Light of Day and as he says he was incredibly fortunate to get the role.
He said: “I was in Canada, and I knew nothing about this film because I had been out of the country for two months. On the day I got home there was an email from the production company asking me to audition for the role, they had spent a few months looking for the right person.
“They needed an actor who could portray a regular guy at the start of the film (an author publishing his first book) but then as the story unfolds he becomes a vampire with superhuman powers.
“The people they had seen before me all had middle age mens paunch, despite being 40 I take care of myself, I had been surfing in Costa Rica for a month previously and had a pretty good physique. The only problem was thanks to the surfing I also had a pretty good suntan.
“Obviously to be believable as a vampire a tan is not the best thing to sport, so I had to be powdered down with makeup a lot to give me a pale and gaunt appearance.”
Dan is quick to deflect any critiscm of this being another vampire film and said: “I know the vampire thing may seem overdone now, but we actually shot this back in 2009 when thanks to books like Twilight vampires were all the rage.
“The thing about being only a small independent production is that while we can film much quicker than Hollywood (the whole thing took only six weeks to shoot on location in Dorset), we lag behind when it comes to post-production. The studios we needed for visual effects and sound etc all had bigger clients who could afford to pay for things to be done first.
“This meant it has taken until now to get it all done and dusted and I’m hoping there is still some love for pointy-toothed creatures of the night to make it the success it deserves to be.”
The resident of St Margarets, in the borough of Richmond, has come a long way since he used to earn a crust as an employee of Apple based at Stockley Park in the London Borough of Hillingdon.
As a child there was nothing he liked better than getting together with his mates to ride BMXs over Kew Bridge through Brentford, up past the Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre and the doubling back into Isleworth.
He said: “We always headed for a park we knew as Greenhams (Thornbury Playing Fields off London Road which contain Greenham House). There was a purpose built bike track there.”
These days, as well as making regular social trips to Chiswick’s pubs (look out for him in All Bar One) and the Natural Cafe, there is one thing guarenteed to get him to visit - Brentford FC!
“It’s true,” he says: “I am a big fan of The Bees. I got into them through my brother Matthew who now lives in Portsmouth. I remember going along regularly when Dean Holdsworth was playing and singing ‘Deano we want a goal and we want one now!’
“I missed their great outing to Wembley for the Johnson Paint Trophy Final against Carlisle but I was gutted when they lost. I reckon under Uwe (Rosler the manager) good times are on their way back.”
Asked to comment about the borough these days he reluctantly admits: “It does feel like a place that has seen better days. I know lots of people from abroad who are coming into Heathrow for the Olympics and some of what they will see won’t impress them.
“I really support what the Chronicle is doing with its Clean Up Our Borough campaign, if I ever become really famous I’ll do all I can to get more people involved.”
So is proper fame likely to become a reality on the back of this new film?
“I won’t lie, if fame was a ladder I’m still on the lower rungs,” he admits, “but I’m getting my name out there a lot more now and bigger directors and companies are hopefully going to see me more often. I’d love to work with Ridley Scott, he’s a big hero of mine.
“Acting is a tough business, for every film that is seen there are thousands that never get noticed, so I’m under no illusions. I’m just so pleased with all the success I have had so far and owe that to the incredibly talented and generous group of people I have worked with so far. John Lennon said ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ and for me I think that says it all.”
Harsh Light of Day directed by Oliver S Milburn is released on June 8