You may know Noel Clarke for playing Mickey Smith, boyfriend of Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) in Doctor Who, but since leaving the regular cast in 2006, the actor-writer-director-producer has been mighty busy.
Having written hugely successful movies Kidulthood and its follow-up Adulthood (which he also directed), Clarke has recently landed a part in the much-hyped Star Trek sequel alongside fellow Brits Benedict Cumberbatch and Alice Eve.
Today (Friday 15th) sees the release of his latest offering, Fast Girls, which he wrote and starred in – a feel-good movie about a group of girls training for the 2012 Olympics, only you wouldn’t know it’s London 2012 as halfway through the shoot Clarke was informed he couldn’t mention the words “Olympics” or “2012” because they were copyrighted.
“It’s a disgrace. A total disgrace. We had to approach the Olympic Committee and they had to check with all their sponsors.”
“This is the problem with films in this country. They are not respected enough and not helped enough. In America that would never have happened. The sponsors would have got involved and said ‘Yeah, great’. But this is how we treat ourselves.”
Fast Girls – warm, sugary and uplifting – represents Clarke’s desire to make varied films. His successes with Kidulthood and Adulhood led to the industry consigning him to the ‘grime’ genre: “I wrote loads of films that were different, and people weren’t interested – they just wanted another hood movie. So I said, well I kind of grew up in that environment, but it wasn’t me. If it was me, I probably wouldn’t be writing, d’you know what I mean?”
He admits he didn’t have a clue about directing when he made Adulthood. Wasn’t he scared? “No, no. I think I’ve got a bit of cold blood. If you’ve got to do it, you just do it.”
Clarke’s breakout role was in Doctor Who where he worked with two doctors – Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. Which is his favourite?
“Matt [Smith]. He just brought something different to it that I like. No disrespect to the others. I’m not going to say them just because I worked with them. Also when Matt got on, the budgets were larger and the show was more ambitious.”
Nowadays Clarke’s priority is to give British film its fizz back: “I want to be ambitious. I want to see spaceships in British films, I want to see aliens, athletics, cage fighting, action. There’ll be ninjas running across New York City and you won’t bat an eyelid. Why can’t they be running across Canary Wharf?”
Fast Girls is released in cinemas nationwide on Friday 15th June. Read the Radio Times’s review here.