BRITISH actor Sean Pertwee has found himself in some sticky on-screen situations in the past.
He’s been mauled by werewolves and massacred on a time-travelling spaceship.
But none of those compare to his experience of starring in John Langridge’s claustrophobic thriller Four.
Four is the story of a jilted husband who kidnaps the lover of his wife in a bid to scare him – but the plan goes horribly wrong.
With a tiny cast – consisting of Pertwee, talented Scot Martin Compston, Craig Conway and Kierston Wareing – Sean admits it was a tough shoot.
“It was like having an acting colonic,” he laughs. “There was absolutely nothing to hide behind.
“The whole process was intensive with just four of us. But it helped us form a bond.
“I actually came on to it the night before shooting began, but had already read the script. I was asked to do it and quickly agreed. On the first day we rattled through about 12 pages of the script.
“I was playing catch up, but in many respects it helped with the drive and intensity. It’s almost like Pinter without the pauses.
“For me, with such a small cast, it’s a theatrical film like Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was theatrical. Basically, it’s a kidnap movie that goes wrong.
“I’m delighted the film has come through the recession and now has a shot after being picked up and distributed. Just getting it made can be difficult during these times. But this can also result in an explosion of real talent in film-making.”
Four is the first of THREE films Pertwee will star in alongside Compston, who seems to be just as hard-working as his more experience co-star – zombie Nazi film The 4th Reich and hoody-hunting thriller Manor Hunt Ball will follow.
Speaking about Martin, Pertwee admits: “I’ve always wanted to work with him. He’s immensely talented.
“But he had a difficult time during Four. I was horrible to him for three weeks. He had seven bells knocked out of him every day, had a bag over his head and was thrown into the boot of a car.”
Next up, Sean is hoping to get filming underway on The 4th Reich early in 2012.
He explains: “I’ve been attached to this since the beginning. In fact, I got Martin and Craig (conway) involved.
“We’re very excited about it, partly because of the practical effects that will be used. There’ll be no CGI – all prosthetics. The make-up actually becomes a physical entity.
“It’s a brave brushstroke but we’re excited to be going old school.
“In the current climate it is incredibly difficult to finalise finance but things are down the line quite a bit. Everything will be announced when the money is in the bank. Until then it’s frustrating for everyone involved.”
On top of all this, Sean has managed to shoe-horn in a role in Finnish drama Naked Harbour – directed by Aku Louhimies.
Pertwee says: “Filming Naked Harbour was one of the most extraordinary experiences I’ve ever had.
“I play an American but the rest of the cast is Finnish. It’s about the underbelly of Helsinki and I’m very proud of it.
“The director is something else. He shoots 200 hours of unedited footage then decides how to piece it all together.”
The 47-year-old Londoner insists he’s still got the drive to try something different. So-much-so that he’s just finished a pilot with director Dan Cadan called Walk Like a Panther.
Starring alongside the likes of Stephen Graham, Steven Furst and even Tom Meighan (of Kasabian fame), the pilot of the proposed TV series has been picked up by Universal NBC in the US.
However Sean admits everyone is on tenterhooks as they wait on a UK channel taking it on.
He said: “It’s very hard to get a niche production off the ground in the UK, but it’s all about conviction and following through with it. With money hard to come by, there’s a slight attitude of ‘that’ll do’, which is also creeping into film.
“In my opinion, the difference between TV and film was you’d do a film by all means necessary or to the best of your ability because you were never given more time. Now that’s a luxury we don’t have with TV either.
“You need to be damn sure you know what you’re doing when you enter into it otherwise problems arise due to budgeting issues. When that happens, it’s hard to get anything off the ground and it becomes increasingly frustrating.”
Away from on-screen acting, Sean’s distinctive tones can be heard on TV ads and even computer games – including big-sellers Killzone 1 & 2 and Fable II & III.
The Mutant Chronicles star says: “I wish I’d get offered more varied roles, if I’m honest. But the majority of my career I’ve fought against being pigeon-holed.
“I never thought I’d do sci-fi or play a hardman but it’s all about bucking trends.
“Having played computers for a long time, I’m lucky to be considered – and used – by these guys.
“I had a film company and through that I realised how many units a company can sell of certain games. After Dog Soldiers, I was asked to provide a voice for a game and I risked it by telling the makers I wanted to be paid a film wage.
“I told them ‘if you employ me for a week, I want a film wage because I know you’ll sell five million units around the world at £40 a pop’.
“As for TV ads – my father (John Pertwee) done voiceovers years ago. I then got involved with the likes of Jason Isaacs.
“To me, it’s still a buck but I’m working and I love working all the time. Now you have the likes of Dame Judy Dench doing Tesco ads, so we’re proving to those who turn their nose up at it that we weren’t wrong to try our hand at it.”
He even takes time out to bemoan the state of the UK film industry, saying: “God knows how young actors survive in this industry now. It’s hard. I’m lucky enough to have other strings to my bow – voiceovers give us the opportunity to take risks. However, we don’t get residuals like we used to.
“We have no proper union in my opinion.
“In the US I’m a SAG member (Screen Actors Guild) and every once in a while I’ll receive a cheque from films played on American Airlines – that should also happen over here.”
The son of the the third Doctor Who, Sean has starred in movies that while not being big cinematic hits, have become cult classics since they were released on DVD.
In 1997 he played ‘Smith’ in Paul Anderson (now Paul W.S Anderson)’s sci-fi horror Event Horizon alongside Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne.
The ‘haunted house in space’ provided enough scares and blood to keep the most fervent horror fans happy.
He reveals: “I love working with fledgling directors. After being introduced to Paul we made a film called Shopping. Through that I went on to Event Horizon, although I had to go to LA and be cast in it properly.
“It didn’t do too well theatrically but it is a huge hit on DVD.
“Watching Paul work was an eye-opener. Event Horizon is a great example of model making. He built these whopping great models, including the main spaceship the Lewis and Clark.
“The entire interior – with two levels – was about 1000ft long and was on gimbles so it could vibrate. It was an astounding piece of work.”
The other cult hit was Neil Marshall’s werewolf vs squaddies horror Dog Soldiers in 2002.
Sean adds: “I’m exceptionally proud of that film. We knew we were doing something great at the time. Neil’s writing was brilliant. He understood army language. In fact, the greatest compliment we received was from units watching it in Afghanistan to cheer themselves up. They all said we got the language right.
“Neil shot it all chronologically – which is very rare and probably one of the reasons why we all enjoyed filming it.
“Everyone got on so well. The minute we finished filming we’d go to the bar. When someone died on screen, we were all so close that it was like losing one of our own.
“After an intensive week of shooting it was just myself and Kevin McKidd in a wardrobe. Then I died. After that Kevin was ringing me up every five minutes asking where I was.
“I love the fact there’s no CGI in Dog Soldiers. It takes you back to creature features like The Creature From the Black Lagoon and gives it an almost fantastical feel.
“As for Neil, we were all very loyal to him. In fact, I look forward to working with him again. If he asked me to do anything, I’d do it.”
As for being the son of Doctor Who – Pertwee admits he’d love to be cast in the hit BBC show.
He finishes: “I’d love to be in it one day. I’ve never been asked but it’s on my to-do list.
“I think it’s been regenerated very well. It’s a vital show for families to watch on a Saturday and Matt Smith is a great Doctor.”
Four is released on October 21.