Joe Gilgun (‘This is England ’88’) interview

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Misfits star Joe Gilgun returns as Woody in This is England ’88, Shane Meadows’ follow-up the Bafta award-winning This is England ’86, available on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 12th March.

> Buy the DVD on Amazon.

Haunted by the devastating events that took place 18 months ago, Lol (Vicky McClure) and Woody both find themselves struggling to cope with the emotional fallout. With her soul mate Woody heartbroken from her betrayal and in self-imposed exile from the gang, Lol becomes increasingly isolated and alone.

CultBox caught up with Joe to find out more…

This is England is brilliant but bleak. Is it hard to film such tough, emotional scenes?

“Christ yeah, it was difficult. I probably found it one of the most emotionally demanding shoots of my career to date, which isn’t massive I know, but it was tough, it nearly killed me.

“I’ve never cried like that as Joseph, never mind Woody, so it was a big, big deal. It was difficult and it took a lot of searching, and it was an exhausting experience just crying all day.”

Do you have a favourite scene or one you were in that you’re most proud of?

“I couldn’t ever say there was a favourite scene. One of my favourite scenes is Smell (Rosamund Hanson) catching Fay (Charlotte Tyree) and Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) together in a sexual interlude. It’s just brilliant that bit. It’s some of the best acting I’ve seen from all three of those young actors. It’s just so entertaining in all the right and wrong ways.

“But I think, as a whole, I don’t know… that’s a really tough question, ‘cos it’s very difficult to answer a question like that about yourself without feeling like a twat. Do you know what I mean? Like, ‘I was brilliant in this particular scene’.

“I always remember, and people tend to remember, the scene where Shaun gets his head shaved or the bit under the subway. That’s the one that’s spoke of the most. I guess I should be most proud of those moments.”

Are you going to be in This is England ’90?

“Yeah man! The thing is with this business, you never know when it’s going to happen or what’s going to bloody happen, particularly with Shane Meadows (This is England‘s writer) – you have one idea of how it’s going to happen in your head and it’s going to be completely different when you get there on the day.

“And it’s always terrifying as well, because you know you’re about to put yourself through the mill. So yeah, I’d love to do a ’90s one with all my heart.”

Woody likes to keep everything bottled up, would you like him to become more assertive in This is England ’90?

“Yeah, absolutely, he’s really irritating. Particularly in people you know like that it’s such a really irritating fucking trait to bottle everything up and not want to let people help you out. It’s just like ‘get a grip!’.

“I wouldn’t mind him getting a grip to be honest and remembering his roots a little bit and just having a bit more fun as Woody. And Shane, the man’s a genius, he knows where to take the character and you just have to go there with him.”

Maybe Woody’ll keep the scooter though…

“Well, the scooter belongs to a man and it’s his pride and joy, he spent like 9 grand on it.

“It’s exceptional, it’s very heavy ‘cos of all the work on it and stuff – there’s probably more filler in it than metal – but yeah it’s a stunning bit of work. I love riding that. I got paint on the seat once and fell out with everyone!”

It sounds like the This is England cast is like a real family. Is that the case?

“Yeah man, it is on every shoot really, in your own different ways on these different shoots you do, ‘cos you’re filming and your family goes for quite a while ‘cos you can’t get back and see them, so the people around you become this sort of surrogate dysfunctional mental family. Particularly This is England.

“I’m terrible, me, having said that, I’m really bad at keeping in touch afterwards, I sort of shut down and get right into depression.”

> Read the second part of our exclusive intereview with Joe.

> Buy This is England ’88 on DVD on Amazon.

Watch the trailer…

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