That’s made me grow up.” At the sound of his name, Rocky patters over to Tovey, who lifts him on to his lap. “What is definitely known about that night is that Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Cassius Clay hung out in Malcolm X’s hotel room at the Hampton House hotel, rather than Sam Cooke’s hotel in the Fontainebleau [as it is in the play] and on that night they had ice cream. Today Tovey is fully dressed, bright and relaxed after flying in from New York where he’s shooting the crime drama series Born in Billericay to parents who run a coach company, Tovey was first noticed for roles in Last year, he casually suggested he had benefited from not going to drama school, suggesting it would have made him “prance around” being “effeminate”. “I only get recognised if I wear blue,” Tovey confides. When he was a puppy, Rocky used to eat his own shit. “It has the effect of pushing the blame on to fans and gay players themselves. Arinzé is a writer and performer whose most recent one man play, Misty, ran at the Bush Theatre & Trafalgar Studios to widespread critical acclaim including two Olivier nominations for Best Actor and Best New Play. I think about him all the time. And I’m so glad I didn’t. A romantic drama set in Camden, Been So Long sees Michaela Coel and Arinzé Kene shows off their singing skills in a beautiful tale of love, motherhood, and … “My character has it all, but is hollow, while the other guy [played by Today, Tovey says he feels a “calmness”. Write that it’s a football hooligan movie. ” OK, I say. “I play Auror Johnson, a detective of the dark magic world. How many gay footballers do we know?”“The fact that it’s set in the football world, it’s heightened reality, the stakes are really high. Muhammad Ali’s cadence, for example – the inflections when he speaks, we know it. It’s a football hooligan movie.
My character walks around with a wand that looks like a twig. Since then he has written seven plays, the latest of which, good dog, will have a run at the Watford Palace Theatre next February. The moment my parents told me she had died. “When I was younger, towards the end of Which moments? He also subsequently ended up writing episodes of the soap’s spin-off E20. But it just made him love pineapple.” He giggles.What matters to him is that people see this film. He can currently be seen on stage as the soul singer Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami at the Donmar Warehouse, he’ll soon be seen on TV in E4’s new Buffy-like show Crazyhead, and he has two films due for release: Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Pass, a film which delves into the uncharted territory of homosexuality in Premier League footballers.Most interesting, perhaps, is the latter, based on John Donnelly’s play of the same name, which sees Kene appear opposite Russell Tovey. When he received his first cheque for The other day he was organising a quiz night with his mates, thinking of funny names for their team, “And I was like, ‘But we can’t be too rude because there’ll be adults there.’” It wasn’t until his friends snorted with laughter that he remembered he is 35. The extent of how hard that is – for young male athletes to open up emotionally – shocked me,” Donnelly says.“This feels like a really important film,” Tovey says. “I felt so down I was ready to call acting quits. “I grew up never knowing my dad, and on some level it was a place to observe men.” If the story started with the photograph, it ended with Donnelly and Tovey questioning what it means to be a man. In his latest role, the actor tackles homophobia in football. It’s happened before, I ruptured my Achilles when I was down to get these two great parts in 2012 and I was out for six months after an operation. It altered my journey but I learned loads. In the same way that films before this have done.”Kene started out, aged 18, with a role in EastEnders, appropriately enough since he was raised and now lives in East London. You’ll love it.’m a footballer,” laughs Russell Tovey’s character in his new film, ‘There’s not just one story to tell’: on stage with Mark Strong in New York in A View From The Bridge.Where the art is: at home in London, where Tovey displays a rotating collection of art. “I do have that ability to compartmentalise my feelings. Brinkhoff Mogenburg. I understand why: we know so much about all of these men. It begins with a night in a hotel room in Romania, with two players, Jason and Ade, who are 19 years old and have been trained for football stardom since childhood. We had special wand workshop training. “Two of my sisters are gay and understanding how difficult it can be to in some cases be seen as equal, it just made me want to do it… I believe that regardless of how the film is perceived it needs to happen because it chips away at that wall, and it will help to break down those barriers. It was really fun.” Kene adds: “I filmed this after The Pass, so this was me having therapy after the heartbreak – The Pass is brutal, but beautifully brutal.”The whole process of The Pass was intense.