Actor, writer, producer Amar Adatia is a bona-fide film-maker. Resolving to take the creative reins instead of continuing to be typecast into more minor and predictable roles as a young British-Asian, Adatia has launched a string of dynamic scripts to actively right the lopsided norm. His energetic escapade-comedy Gangsters, Gamblers, Geezers (2016), starring himself and a long-time friend in leading roles, is currently screening in cinemas across the UK and has opened to great commercial and critical acclaim, while action-fantasy Requiem and thriller Name of the Game are successfully being wrapped up in post-production. “If you’ve got an idea, just go ahead and make it,” he told the paper. “Once you’ve got the buzz, you can just ride off of that. I’ve gone from being a complete unknown to now having the pleasure of working alongside celebrated and popular names, all of whom have shown enthusiastic support for my work and my vision.” Gangsters, Gamblers, Geezers stars Richard Blackwood, Liz McClarnon of Atomic Kitten and INBF champion Jodie Marsh, in Name of the Game Adatia stars with Calum Best and the writer/producer is also in talks that will take him to the American film market. It is no wonder Adatia’s initial venture is the story of “two loveable losers” Krish and Lee, “who get fired from their call-centre jobs after a crazy month of partying and must then get their rent to an irate landlord” – it’s this fun-having, yet overall ordered trajectory that’s at the heart of Adatia’s success: “it’s about throwing yourself into things as well as working hard” he aptly added. “16 years on from my first acting gig and I don’t feel like it’s work at all. Carry on going until the end and your labours speak for you.”
What inspired you to write the screenplay for Gangsters, Gamblers, Geezers; had it been in the works for a while?
I’ve always loved comedy and I particularly love the American comedy Harold And Kumar. I wanted something along those terms. Whether you’re15 or 50, black or Chinese everyone loves the comedy element of that.
You’ve got a crazy cross trip across Europe happening and a cross-dressing dwarf making an appearance: where did you get these ideas from – all of them can’t be experiences from real life?
(Laughs). Yea, there’s an Irish gypsy, and a cross-dressing dwarf too! I love the comedy genre and they’re all concepts that came to me naturally. My co-producer and I sat there for three weeks brainstorming it. We had plenty of ideas: we just needed to get them down.
The script sort of reminds me of a Guy Ritchie creation meets Dog Eat Dog; what kind of style would you say describe the film as having?
The movie isn’t as serious as a Guy Ritchie film but he’s certainly a huge influence. We have a lot of random storylines designed to make you laugh.
What was the most memorable moment when shooting for Gangsters, Gamblers, Geezers?
It was more about memorable people. I learnt a lot from Richard Blackwood who’s a very, very humble guy. He had a lot of wisdom to share.
What do you like so much about comedy acting?
Comedy acting is a talent you either have or you don’t. Much of it is about timing: when to deliver the jokes, give the right facial expressions. I wrote the script for myself too so it was especially enjoyable.
What are your top three tips for being on set and having a good day?
As a producer: stay calm and don’t let any sudden issues throw you. That’s going to happen no matter how much you’ve planned. As an actor – don’t worry if you forget your lines, you can always have another go. That’s one of the benefits of film as opposed to live theatre or television. And as a piece of advice for the team - work in harmony. Get that movie shot. Everyone’s there for the same reason, and it’ll be much more rewarding if you can all work together.
Have you always been into acting; how did you get started?
I’ve actually always been a confident guy and my parents have always encouraged me to be the best I can be and never give up. I’ve felt the excitement and buzz of acting, since that first call at 14 and I’ve never looked back.
Tell us more about your other projects?
Requiem is a film about a fallen angel who falls in love with a suicidal girl: it’s very Twilight-esque. The other, Name of the Game, is about a pro-footballer who gets involved with the Russian mafia and they go on heists, embezzling millions of pounds.
Do you have a unique style emerging for yourself?
My films are all totally different, and that is the unique element of it. I’m not being typecast as a doctor or terrorist and I’ve been able to play very different roles. As Krish, I’m a silly ordinary sort of guy, in Requiem I play a ruthless angel and in Name of the Game I’m playing something different again. Writing my own material has really opened a lot of doors. I’ve produced an eclectic range of films, but stylistically what they have in common is an edgy thrill factor I think.
What do you watch to wind down?
My favourite film of all time has to be Ali G. I also watch a bit of reality TV to just chill out and switch off: Made in Chelsea for example.
Finally, do you have a motto to share?
Work hard because you’re only as good as your last film – you can only ever get better.