BBC One’s Boat Story Interviews: Craig Fairbrass



Boat Story Criag Fairbrass

Craig Fairbrass is a well-known British actor, and he has starred in four films in the Rise of the Footsoldier (2007–present) franchise. Muscle (2019), Villain (2020), and A Violent Man (2021) are just a few of Craig’s powerful, critically acclaimed, independent films; for his role in the latter, he won Outstanding Performance at the 2022 National Film Awards. St. George’s Day (2012), Devil’s Playground (2010), the box office hit Cliffhanger (1993) opposite Sylvester Stallone, and For Queen & Country (1988) opposite Denzel Washington are a few more of his notable previous film roles. Craig has also established himself as a formidable television actor with leading roles in shows like Stargate SG-1 (Showtime, 2007) and David Mamet’s The Unit (CBS, 2007).

Both the latest Footsoldier smash hit film, Vengeance, and the international Netflix series One Piece, in which Craig plays the regular role of the iconic pirate chef Red Leg Zeff, feature Craig as a leading actor. Here he tells us all about his role in the new Harry and Jack Williams thriller Boat Story premiering soon on BBC One.

How did you feel when you first read the script?

As actors, we get lots of scripts to read and some are good, some are bad. But when you get something that is so special, it’s amazing. I got sent the first two episodes and I just didn’t get up. They were so good. It’s so well written, and so original. They literally blew me away. That is an amazing thing when you’re turning the page and you’re wondering where’s the character going and the stuff that comes into the story is amazing.

Who is Guy?

Guy’s methodical and very disciplined. He’s very loyal to The Tailor and he wants to do his best and wants to show that he’s a professional. He’s not got time to waste. Anyone who gets in his way, it doesn’t end up nice. He’s a very loyal man and a professional who takes his job very seriously. Jack and Harry Williams are so clever. They’re such smart writers that you think that Guy is just another henchman, but he’s got so many layers and I’ve been very lucky in my last four or five films, that the roles I’m doing now have got a bit of subtext and depth to the characters.

Where do we find Guy at the start of the story?

Guy works for The Tailor, he’s a gun for hire who has been brought up from London, because the two people who have found the illegal drugs on the beach, decided to keep it and are thinking about selling it. So, he has the job of finding out who took the drugs and getting it back for The Tailor, at any cost. Guy’s very ruthless; he takes no prisoners to the point that the body count quickly begins to grow.

What can audiences look forward to about the series?

It’s a very wild ride and it’s an incredible story. It’s got a human story at its heart with very complex characters. It’s got a lot of dark humour, and it’s very moving at times. The great thing about this is that the violence is there for a purpose and it’s not just violence for violence’s sake, they’ve got a limited amount of time before the drugs are sold; Guy realises this once he starts putting two and two together and nothing will stand in his path – he leaves the Terminator roasting. He’s on a mission to get those drugs back.

What has it been like filming the various action sequences?

It’s very unusual for a UK show to have that amount of action in it, but it’s clever action, not silly action. It’s the right action for what actually goes on. There’s one sequence in particular, which was like nothing I’ve ever read before, it reminded me of a big American action sequence, it’s very explosive and very violent. You’ve never seen an opening like this in any British show before. We were also lucky on this as we had amazing firearms experts who were monitoring us 24/7 and two to three cameras on every shot, Steadicams and lots of other moving parts, all choreographed to perfection.

How was it working alongside the rest of the cast?

I was always a massive fan of Tchéky’s and I love Daisy, Paterson and Ethan. All the actors that I’ve had some really big dramatic material to share with have been incredible. It’s lovely when you’re working with people of that calibre, I can’t thank them enough. I’m only too pleased and honoured to be in their company.

How does Guy compare to other roles you’ve played?

My career as an actor and in the last 45 years has been predominantly action, so I’m used to that aspect of it. It’s the drama that’s new. I got hit with an eight-page dramatic scene for Boat Story and had about 14 hours to learn it. I can run around all day with guns and fighting, but Boat Story is a stunning drama, about people who have got an Achilles heel. Tough guys who are a little bit damaged, a little bit more interesting than just being a thug and Guy has those qualities. There’s a lot more to him than just a man who walks around shooting people and you get to know him, and you get to know what his real passion is…

What has it been like filming in Yorkshire?

I think it’s my third job in Yorkshire, I love it. The people are amazing. Very friendly and very different to London; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Why should audiences watch Boat Story?

It’s so original and so different. I’ve been an actor for a very long time, and I’ve not read a story like this. It’s just very, very gripping and fresh, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s the writing and it all begins with the writing in the scripts, then the actors bring it to life, and it is quality, absolute quality.

Boat Story premieres soon on BBC One.

Image Credits: Two Brothers Pictures/Matt Squire

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