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Interview with Ray Panthaki

23 June 2015 | Marina Nenadic

Ray Panthaki, actor, producer, writer, and director, has a list of TV credits including Eastenders and Ali G. Recently, he's worked on an impressive series of films, both on and off screen. London Calling caught up with him ahead of the premiere of his new film One Crazy Thing at the East End Film Festival.

 

London Calling: How did you get involved with the film?

Ray Panthaki: I'd worked with Amit Gupta on his last movie and we got talking about the possibility of collaborating on something else. We threw a few ideas around and soon realised that celebrity and the relentlessness of the Internet was something that interested us both. The whole thing was a super quick process. Amit wrote the script in 3 weeks and 3 weeks later we were shooting. Basically, no time to get my body in shape for a sex scene. So apologies.

London Calling: You both star in and produced One Crazy Thing – do you prefer being in front of or behind the camera?

RP: I couldn't say. I act, write, direct and produce and am equally passionate about them all as they each allow me to express myself creatively in different ways, plus it works with my immutable need for change! My roots are in acting so there's that, but on the other hand there's not many better feelings than having something you've dreamt up and written being responded to well.

LC: You were selected for the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2014 award. How has this impacted upon your career so far?

RP: Amazingly. It's helped open doors you can spend your whole career trying to open. Aside from the glitz and glamour of the awards, not a lot of people are actually aware that Bafta, behind the scenes, quietly support and nurture so much home grown talent. I owe a lot to them. A year ago I wouldn't have been talking shop with Barbara Broccoli or meeting Christopher Nolan.

LC: Who inspires you in the industry?

RP: Anyone who isn't limited by boxes or boundaries. Pioneers. People who think outside the norm and will go out there and fight for it. To me, versatility is the thing that equals true greatness and for that reason I'd admire the likes of George Clooney and Ben Affleck for simply being storytellers in whichever discipline it may be. Also, someone like Richard Linklater who can't be defined by genre or style and is always taking risks in his filmmaking.

LC: This is your second time at the East End Film Festival (Life Sentence, 2013), how does it feel to have the International Premier of One Crazy Thing screened at the Opening Gala?

RP: Incredible. EEFF has a wonderful independent ethos with a keen eye for emerging talent and is doing something different.  I'll never forget the honour at winning with Life Sentence in 2013, especially as it was the first film I'd ever written and directed and to be back here with something this time as an actor/producer and completely different in tone - is not only a good feeling but is so representative of the festivals commitment to evolving with filmmakers.

LC: Will you be checking out any of the other films at the festival?

RP: Amy. I've been a massive fan of Asif Kapadia since he made one of the most beautiful, yet under exposed films of our time - The Warrior. He's a great storyteller and I look forward to anything he's part of.

LC: What other projects have you got coming up?

RP: I've recently had a TV series I've written picked up called 'Down & Out in Dalston' and I'll also be directing my first feature later this year.

LC: Being from London, if you had a day off in the city what would you do?

RP: It's a complete cliché but strolling up and down the south bank on a beautiful day is something I'll probably never get bored of.

One Crazy Thing premieres at the East End Film Festival on 1st July, at the Genesis Cinema. To book tickets, and to see what else is on at the East End Film Festival, please see their website.
 

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