Ian Whyte might not be a familiar name and – until recently – he wasn’t even a familiar face, but Ian has acted in a number of high profile projects and pivotal roles in both television and film.
Remember the gigantic Engineer in Prometheus? That’s him.
The White Walker in the very first episode of Game of Thrones? Ian.
The flame-sworded Reaper in Solomon Kane? Ian.
Think what you will of the much-maligned Alien vs Predator ‘franchise’, we can all at least agree that the Predator is an ice-cold badass. And yep, Ian played him too. Twice.
Often the ‘man in the suit’ is the unsung hero in the world of film and TV, but he’s begun shedding the mask and has recently appeared in Game of Thrones as Ser Gregor Clegane, proving he’s one of the most diverse actors working in the industry.
He is also incredibly tall. We had to say it here. Seriously. He’s 7 foot 1 inch! Yet rather than being an imposing scary bastard he’s – seriously – one of the nicest blokes you could ever meet. Ever. Patient, kind, funny, a total gentleman and a dedicated family man.
As versatile as they come, Ian enjoyed a period as a professional basketball player with a 9 year international career, clocking up 80 caps for England, before hanging up his oversized shirts and moving into a very different career.
Luckily b-ball’s loss was our gain as Ian jumped straight into acting and – after a number of years doing some particularly spectacular work – he very kindly accepted a role in Bloody Cuts’ “Don’t Move“, bringing his immense talent to our eighth episode as the “Demon”.
And he was fantastic.
Fully masked, clawed, and forced to wear a huge black rag that accidentally acted like a giant banana-skin (sorry Ian!), he took the role of the Demon in his (immense) stride, providing an incredibly imposing monster that dominated every moment he was on screen.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Ian about his work on “Don’t Move” and beyond, so sit back, relax, and read what our unmasked Demon has to say…
BLOODY CUTS: Firstly, lets get a little bit of background on you – how did you get started in acting?
IAN WHYTE: Well, you know when actors say, “I was in the right place at the right time!” Or “The phone just rang one day!” Well that’s what happened! The truth is I didn’t really know I wanted to be an actor until I was given an opportunity to be one and I grabbed hold of that opportunity and didn’t let go! That opportunity was Alien Vs. Predator back in 2003 and it was a baptism of fire quite literally!
BC: It’s more than likely that a large percentage of our readers will have seen you in films or TV on more than one occasion, and probably not even realised it! Can you tell us some of the roles that we might have seen you in?
IW: Yes, I am the most unrecognisable actor nobody’s ever heard of! I was the Predator in Alien Vs. Predator and the sequel AVP: Requiem. I have been in two Harry Potter films doubling for Francis De La Tour… (I had lovely frocks!) I played the Devil’s Reaper in a film called Solomon Kane which I always say is the best fantasy film nobody’s ever seen! I was Sheikh Sulieman in Clash of the Titans and I was the Engineer in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus… amongst others!
BC: And out of those, who has been your favourite character to play and why?
IW: Well, they all mean a great deal to me for different reasons. The Predator is one of the most iconic characters of Sci-Fi ever conceived and it was my first film. Being in a Harry Potter film surrounded by denizens of film and theatre was just a magnificent experience and a great way to learn on the job! The Engineer was a figment of Ridley Scott’s imagination for over 30 years, to finally bring that to life was an absolute honour. But if you put a gun to my head and say: “Choose ONE” I would have to say the Wolf in AVP: Requiem. The film was cooly received that must be said, but I put so much work into preparing for that role and had so much more of opportunity to explore its character… I’m still quite proud of it!
BC: You’re currently playing Gregor Clegane (and the White Walker!) in Game of Thrones. What’s it been like to be in such a highly regarded and popular TV show?
IW: I’m actually playing “The Giant” in season 3 (episode 1) and I do hope we get to see more of him, he really was an awesome character to play and ironically, the first time I’ve actually played a PROPER giant! George R.R. Martin has created such a vast and wonderfully diverse stage for actors, so it’s an absolute privilege to be a part of something that is proving to be so popular and is so lovingly adapted from its source.
BC: Onto Bloody Cuts, and your starring role in “Don’t Move”. What first attracted you to the project?
IW: Quite simply I love playing this sort of character. As an actor you can watch people getting on the bus, or having a coffee, or walking down the street, but you can’t watch a demon eviscerating a helpless victim. That you have to make up, so I love the creative process involved in just inventing this sort of reality.
BC: Your performance in “Don’t Move” is so well played that it’s easy to forget there’s a human under all of that monster makeup! How long did it take you to work out the movement and physical performance of the character?
IW: That’s the trick isn’t it; convincing the audience that you’re not an actor! When a character is so well defined by it’s look, you never really know how it’s going to play until you get in full costume for the first time. I had a basic set of criteria that I wanted to use based on other characters that I have played, but it really comes down to the moment you are there doing it with the other actors, on location… being inventive.
BC: What’s it like wearing prosthetic makeup, it must be quite an endurance test?
IW: Well, yes, it is, but it’s something that you get used to and really, the only thing you should be concerned about is delivering a performance for the director. After all, it’s not the makeup or the costume that’s telling me how to act.
BC: What’s your favourite memory from the shoot itself?
IW: I actually made a lot of new friends on the shoot and reconnected with a few old ones which was great.
BC: Cliff Wallace is a bit of a legend in makeup, what was it like to work with him and what did you think when you first saw his design of the Demon?
IW: Cliff was great! I first saw his design about a week before the shoot, I thought it had a beautiful simplicity… absolutely not the sort of thing you’d want to find lurking in the shadows of your own house!
BC: If there was a “Don’t Move 2″ or a “Don’t Move” feature – would you be interested in putting on the Demon makeup again?
IW: HELL YEAH!… is there?
BC: No comment! Finally, we know you’re a very busy man, so what do you have planned over the coming months and what else might we be seeing you in?
IW: I’m off to parts foreign very soon to begin shooting a studio feature… very exciting stuff!
BC: Good luck with that – we look forward to seeing it!
And, if you haven’t seen it (where’ve you been?!) check him out in Bloody Cuts episode 8 “Don’t Move” below:
Film School Rejects calls it ‘more horror brilliance from Bloody Cuts’, while Dread Central reckons it’s ‘another high quality Bloody Cuts slice’. They are, of course, talking about Death Scenes, and if you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favour and rectify that right now. Then meet you back here for a Q & A with one of its stars, D.I. Collins, aka actor Ayden Callaghan. READ MORE
Today, Bloody Cuts speak to the man with the headache like no other – Reggie, the drug-dealing scum-sucker from Death Scenes (if you haven’t yet, watch it now). Well, actually we’re speaking to the man who plays him, actor Paul Jibson, who’s a very nice chap. But let’s try and keep the nastiness going, eh? This is a horror site after all… READ MORE
If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet watched Death Scenes, the seventh link in the Bloody Cuts chain of horror, then rectify that this instant. Once you’ve done that, get your freshly-enlightened ass back here for a Q & A with Robin Berry, one of the stars of Death Scenes and also the man behind the mask of that lovably lethal critter, the Suckablood. READ MORE
Itching to learn more about ‘Suckablood’ and the sinister minds from whence it came? Bloody Cuts spoke to the writer/directors of our forthcoming episode about film-making, working with the team and elements of porcine anatomy…
WHO ARE YOU?
We are Jake and Ben. We are also Half Baked Films and have the honour of taking the helm of the 5th episode of the BloodyCuts series. It’s nice to meet you.
WHERE DID YOU MEET?
We met at acting school. Our girlfriends shared a flat together so we ended up spending a lot of time on the couch. We disliked each other from the start.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
Since training we’ve been working as professional actors, writers, editors and storyboard artists over the last 8 years. We’ve relatively recently turned our attention to directing film but have been encouraged by our early results and failures. We feel we’ve got an interesting set of skills to bring to the table from our backgrounds in other roles of the industry.
TELL US SOMETHING INTERESTING
Male pigs have corkscrew genitals.
Ben tinkers with basic robotics in his spare time. Jake used to be the gay priest on Hollyoaks.
HOW DO YOU WORK?
Script first. We sit down and filter out all our rubbish ideas until we find something we get excited about, then we bash it into shape. Strip down, rewrite, edit, rewrite. Like making a good single-malt whisky; the longer this distilling and refining process goes on the better the end product.
Generally we fall in and out of love with our idea several times over, but if we still like it at the end of this process, that’s usually a good sign. We visually sketch out our ideas early on with mood boards and artwork showing how we imagine it to look. We then surround ourselves with hugely talented people to make it happen and take all the credit ourselves.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH BLOODY CUTS?
We met Ben Kent and Ben Franklin at an independent networking event and recognised each other from our entries in the 2011 SciFi London 48hr film competition. They mentioned they were putting together an anthology of horror films, and that they would consider collaborating if they liked what we had to offer.
We went away and came back with a script, got our foot in the BloodyCuts door, and like a rabid cross between door-to-door evangelists and commision-based salesmen, we weren’t leaving until they’d read it. Thankfully, they said they liked what we wanted to do.
WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT THIS PROJECT?
Without giving too much away, just seeing the pictures, characters and ideas that started in our heads coming to life. That’s going to be a real treat.
Plus working with the BloodyCuts crew. We’ve seen them in action on mother died, and watching the costume, art, sound, lighting, production and effects departments all swinging into action is awesome.
So yeah, that. And the legendary BloodyCuts catering, obviously.
We are in the early stages of pre-production for a feature film with Vertigo’s help as a result of winning the SciFi London 48hr film competition (can check it out here: http://vimeo.com/39084571 ). So that will be our main focus but we’ve also got a couple of other stories we’d like to tell this year, so we’ll see what we can juggle around our work.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY?
Just that we’re very excited about this project. BloodyCuts have been great to collaborate with. All the signs are good, we have a cracking pool of talented and enthusiastic people building on and learning from the successes of the previous films and we’re looking forward to what lies ahead.
We hope you’ll like the result.