James Martin Q&A

James Martin is one of YAFTA’s Talent Agency actors. Having recently won multiple awards for his role in BBC NI drama, Ups and Downs and also set to appear in the new series of Marcella this Spring, we caught up with James to find out abit more about his journey into screen acting.

Q1. How did you get into acting?

I began 16/17 years ago when I joined a drama group called Babosh for people with learning difficulties. Some have Down’s syndrome like myself, others have things like autism.

I began in sketches and short drama pieces but my first lead role came in a production of ‘The Oriental Tale’ in The Mac in Belfast. Since then I have enjoyed being in shows like ‘The Waxworks’, ‘School For Scandal’ and a musical production which included scenes from ‘Grease’, ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Mama Mia’.

I was also in a production of ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ about WW1 at the Lyric Theatre in 2014.

One of my biggest thrills was performing ‘Titanic’ at an international trade and haulage conference at Belfast City Hall in 2015 when we received a standing ovation.

My experience of screen acting is only recent, with my appearance in Ups and Downs, and Marcella coming up soon. I couldn’t have wished for a better start! 

Q2. Who is your acting inspiration?

I have always enjoyed watching Robert De Niro but the success of actors from Northern Ireland like James Nesbitt, Jamie Dornan and Liam Neeson proved to me that people from here could make it.

I have also drawn inspiration from working with actors like Susan Lynch on ‘Ups & Downs’ and Anna Friel on ‘Marcella’. They were both very good to me and I learnt so much watching them work.

Q3. What would be your dream role?

I’d love to have a go at a something like ‘New Tricks’ which I enjoyed so much on TV and had so many top actors in the cast. I would also love to be in a movie along the lines of ‘Little Fockers’ or ‘Meet The Millers’. I like a good comedy and I laughed out loud at these films.

Q4. What advice/top tips would you give to someone looking to get into the acting industry?

I personally started in theatre at a young age, which I thought was fantastic way to start. You learn that being in the cast you are a member of a team. In theatre, be your part big or small, you aim to own the room when you are acting. You need to recognize what you are good at and seek out suitable parts in your area of drama.

Q5. Which three actors would you like to have round for dinner and why?

Susan Lynch, Anna Friel and Daniel Radcliffe.

The first two obviously because I have worked with them previously and it would be great to catch up. 

For example since I last saw Susan she has been in the ‘Downton Abbey’ movie amongst other things and I’d like to hear about that.

Same with Anna who after we finished shooting ‘Marcella’ went off to complete ‘Deep Water’ and recently her new film ‘Sulphur & White’ had its premiere in London.

As for Daniel Radcliffe well I feel like I have grown up with him from his Harry Potter days. But he has done so much since there would be loads to talk about.

James Martin Q&A

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