Richard Goss is from Swansea, a coastal town in Wales, and he now lives in London. He trained and performed as a classical violinist from the age of 5 to 16 through the Royal Academy of Music, then he toured the UK, Europe and Japan as the frontman of a metal band, before discovering his passion for acting and writing.
Hi Richard, congratulations for your series, Fried, when did you discover this was your career path?
Thank you! I was on tour in Japan, and I'd been thinking about acting for a while. I was dissatisfied with how my life and career was progressing, and films started calling to me. I was watching movies back to back all day, sometimes five or six films in a day. Then, one evening, I watched Michael Mann's 'Heat', and decided to become an actor immediately. So, I sold everything I had and headed to London, where I spent months sleeping on friends floors, sofas and even park benches, to pursue my career.
Fried is such a raw and intense series, plot and acting wise, what was the process and what inspired this project?
No one was giving me any opportunities, I wasn't getting called in for any auditions for long periods of time, so I decided to create my own work. Fried started as a two-minute showreel scene and is my first attempt at writing. I began by using my own experiences of working in minimum-wage hospitality jobs in London. As my writing continued, I started to incorporate more and more of my own experiences, frustrations, disappointments and anger into the plot and realised it could be expanded into a bigger production. It's very much a channel for the rage, frustration and despair one feels as a struggling actor, working multiple low-wage day and night jobs to make ends meet between roles.
I was inspired by a few filmmakers - primarily Sylvester Stallone and the legend of the Rocky story. No one would give him the opportunity to star in a film, so he wrote his own and got it produced through sheer tenacity. Vin Diesel also had frustrations as an actor and decided to write and produce his own short, which caught the attention of Steven Spielberg at a film festival.
I'd also like to give a shoutout to UK filmmaker Stuart Brennan. He wrote, produced and starred in his own boxing film, it took him around five years to complete and he won a BAFTA for it. Martin Scorsese is an executive producer on one of his other films now. I read his story and reached out to him on social media to tell him how inspired I was by it. He was very kind and offered to meet with me for a coffee and gave wonderful advice. Really cool guy.
Can we safely say this is a social complaint and a statement against the system?
Very much so. An overwhelming amount of the feedback I've received from festival viewers have empathised with the characters and the story, many telling me they've experienced those feelings and situations themselves. Many people do not feel represented politically, and especially in the UK there is a sense of hopelessness - you work full time and an additional job and you still can't afford a house, rent, car, holidays. The pressures are insane.
You directed and played an intense character, was it hard to combine these two important roles?
No, not really. I'd prepared relentlessly before hand, planned meticulously and tried to mitigate any potential issues which can arise on shoots. I was also producing, financing, sourcing locations, even building the props, and I'd ensured Jake and I had rehearsed together thoroughly a few weeks before shooting began, so we all knew the script inside out. I'd hired a superb D.o.P, Zak Fenning, who I'd known and worked with for many years before. He knows exactly what's needed for a shot and how to set it all up efficiently, which removed a lot of pressure as I could trust and rely on him completely, which freed up a lot of energy and time for me to focus primarily on the character.
Fried surprised us with its final plot twist, was that the ending all along?
How did you come up with that?
Yes, that was my planned ending all along. I wanted that reveal to be at the last moment, then viewers are left thinking "woah, what the hell just happened?!" and discuss it as the credits roll. If you then go and watch it a second time, you see there are many subtle clues throughout leading up to it.
Are there filmmakers that inspire you? And why?
Absolutely. I think Chris Nolan is fantastic. As a massive Batman fan since I was a young boy, it was so good to see him really delving into the characters psyche in Batman Begins, and then of course The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker, and Tom Hardy's Bane in TDKR. I love all of Chris Nolan's films. I saw Oppenheimer a few nights ago and was awe struck. During the bomb-testing scene, there was not a sound in the entire cinema.
I love Sergio Leone for his Spaghetti Westerns, Tarantino for his dialogue, Michael Mann, Brian de Palma, Angelina Jolie, Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott.
I also think Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are geniuses - to create Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, phenomenal writing and directing.
This short has an excellent cast composed mainly by you and Jake McDaid, your chemistry is incredible, what was the process of reaching that comfortable space?
Thank you! Jake is fantastic, an incredibly talented and fearless actor. He's ready to give it everything, take after take and really dig deep into the character. We rehearsed for a few weeks before hand which helped and shot long takes. It was similar to running a theatre play.
I must also mention the other cast members who are superb, Andrew Norman as our deranged Preacher, Marcus Massey as the Supervisor - we really put his character through hell and he didn't complain once, despite some intense and challenging scenes, a true professional, and Clifford Hume as the unsympathetic Therapist. Clifford improvised all of his dialogue and gave us so many excellent takes, it was difficult to pick which ones to use in the final edit and I wished we could have included them all!
The bathtub scene looked intense, was it hard to shoot?
Hahah yes, it was challenging! The room was quite small, extremely hot, covered in sticky fake blood, and we had to fit six of us in there with the lights and sound equipment.
This scene had been delayed nearly a year, due to the Covid lockdowns, so I had to cut my hair and beard back for continuity too. But despite the challenges, it was my favourite scene to shoot because of how intense it was.
What was the biggest challenge for you?
The pandemic, and managing the scarce resources I'd accrued. Covid shut down and delayed production significantly, and at one point during production I'd lost half of my budget and had to begin saving again.
A fun fact about your short.
Many of the experiences in the film have actually happened to me, including being electrocuted.
Also, the replica of Marcus' (The Supervisor) head was made from a mannequin from eBay, with a wig replica of Slash's hair from Guns N Roses. Then I covered it all in the duct tape and fake blood.
Wait, hold on, you've been electrocuted?
To elaborate a little on the electrocution - I was working for a large catering company, in one of their bars, which had numerous issues and was poorly run. As Jake's character describes in the scene, I reached down to switch on the fridges from underneath, they weren't clearly visibly, you had to feel around for the power switches. Somehow, there were live wires hanging there which electrocuted me.
I was taken to hospital for tests on my heart, blood and kidneys, etc. The management left me there whilst I was being tested and I had to make my own way home. They did not follow up to see how I was, if my health was ok, and simply replied to my complaints email with an updated rota with my name removed. They then proceeded to block my email address.
It was disgusting behaviour, but I turned that horrible incident into something positive and incorporated it as one of the main plot points of Fried!
Wow, we are so sorry you went through that! Thank you for sharing, we're glad you're okay now and that you get to do what you love.
You have worked with James Cosmo, Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Kacey Ainsworth, and your portfolio is impressive, what did you learn from these names and what's your feedback on working on big productions?
I learned a hell of a lot just watching them on set, how they conduct themselves, how prepared they all are and open to last minute changes if and when required. Mister Cosmo is a real gentleman, I'd seen him for years in films like Braveheart, Troy and then as the Lord Commander in Game of Thrones, so getting to work alongside and chat with him was fantastic. He also had a shot of my favourite Welsh alcohol, "Merlin", with me and the crew on our last shoot day.
You are a multitalented individual, you're also a musician and you are a brown belt in Krav Maga! That's inspiring! Tell us more about that and how do you manage to do all that and acting?
Thank you. I began playing music when I was five, with classical violin and orchestras. I won some young musician and best unsigned artist awards which was nice. I loved Motorhead after seeing them on the TV show The Young Ones, which really got me into heavy metal and guitar, playing heavier music influenced by Megadeth, Pantera, Judas Priest, Slayer.
Krav Maga started out for me as self defence. I was living in a rough, bad neighbourhood and wanted to learn how to handle myself. It's come in handy for stunt work and fight scenes over the years. I'm going to train for my black belt next year.
You mainly live and work in the UK, what's your opinion on UK's filmmaking and what would you change about it?
There are no opportunities being given to 'working class' actors who could not afford expensive drama schools. Almost everyone who is successful in the acting industry here went to expensive private schools, the elite drama schools, etc and it's such a shame. There are so many fantastic, talented actors not getting looked at. There's also an obsession with period dramas, the class system and awful gangster films in the UK. I don't find any of it particularly exciting.
What's the best part of your job, what's your favorite step in the process?
The best part for me is always being on set. That buzz, the excitement, it never dissipates. It doesn't matter to me if it's a student film, a massive blockbuster set, a workshop or rehearsed reading, I just love performing anywhere.
My favourite part is when you're rehearsing or filming a scene and you find something new and interesting that you hadn't thought of before. It could be following an impulse, a different tone of voice, anything like that which can take the scene in a new and exciting direction.
What's the hardest role you've played?
Each one has its challenges but I'd say my next film, A Choice, will be the hardest. I'm playing a recovering addict so will have to make physical, mental and cultural transformations. I'll also be writing/producing again.
Physically the hardest role I've had was on Wrath of the Titans and Rise of the Krays. I was doing long days of fight scenes, hit reactions, etc. Quite demanding in brutal weather conditions but a lot of fun.
What would you say to someone that wants to start this path as you did?
Go for it. Don't let people discourage you, be smart about it and make your own opportunities.
What do you regret and what would you have wanted to know earlier?
No regrets. Life's too short for that. Learn what lessons you can from any mistakes you make and move forward.
In retrospect, I would have started writing and producing my own work earlier, but everything happens for a reason. I'm doing it now, and that's what matters to me.
Who would you suggest this short to, and why?
Anyone seeking something fresh, who enjoys slower-paced work, with intense dialogue scenes. It's certainly not a fast-paced action-packed film.
What's your take on the writers ad actors' strike that is currently happening?
Good for the actors and writers, I support them. There's more than enough wealth at the top of these companies and a total lack of fair distribution of it. This applies to most industries too, not just entertainment. More than enough wealth, all being horded by a select few CEO's. They remind me of the dragon Smaug in the Hobbit, sleeping on top of a pile of stolen, horded wealth. "I will not part with a single coin!" It has to change.
What do you expect from the future? What do you hope it will bring you on a professional level? Are we going to see you directing and acting again?
Absolutely you will. I'm still an actor-for-hire in other directors films, and I'm auditioning for various TV & Film projects, but I'm preparing my next productions in the meantime too. I have four feature film scripts in various stages of development. One of which, A Choice, I'll likely finance myself and begin production next year. The other three I'll pitch to investors.
What's your dream role/ project?
I'd love to book a role on The Batman Part II, the first one was outstanding, and the Assassin's Creed series being developed at Netflix, I'm a huge fan of those games. It's also an ambition to work with A24, their films are mesmerising. I'm currently writing a Viking-era film too which is one of my dream roles.
Your short won different awards with us, and earned nominations, we truly enjoyed this work, how is it going with festivals so far? Thank you, firstly I'm really grateful and proud of the awards and nominations from Morgana Film Festival. The support you've shown Fried has been truly wonderful! It's had a great response from festivals, we've won 24 awards so far with 49 nominations. We still have more festivals we're waiting to hear back from so fingers crossed the success will continue.
Are there any upcoming projects for you?
My next film will likely be my script A Choice, which is a full-length feature film around a recovering addict who's road to redemption is severely challenged by a toxic relationship. I've already filmed one key scene as a short film and am currently working on the script.
Fried is still on the festival circuit for a few more months and I'll be announcing the release date and platform later in the year. I'll keep you informed as soon as it's ready!
Thank you for your time, we wish you the best for your career and your future projects and we can't wait to see what's next for you! It was an honor having you.
Thank you, I truly appreciate the kindness and support!
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