MOA: Your new film Once Upon a Time in London, Dramatising the violent reign of two of London’s most notorious gangsters, Billy Hill (Leo Gregory) and Jack ‘Spot’ Comer (Terry Stone), the movie charts the legendary rise and fall of a nationwide criminal empire that lasted until the mid-fifties and which paved the way for the notorious Kray Twins and The Richardsons. We are really looking forward to this Terry, can you tell us how the filming is going and when will we be on the red carpet for the premier?
Terry: I started developing this film way back in 2011 and at the time there wasn’t really many period crime films or TV series around and I was fascinated why no one had ever made a film chartering the birth of organised crime in the UK. I developed “Rise of The Footsoldier” which is arguably one of the best and most successful British Crime Films made over the past 10 years so I jumped in with both feet on this project with my producing partners and as Peaky Blinders, Broadwalk Empire, Black Mass and Legend came out and were all well received and have been big international successes I felt it was time to get this film into production. The filming has been great fun and very challenging as making a film set in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s in London is hard because nothing looks like it did back then, but where there’s a will there’s a way! The film could be released late this year but more than likely it will be early 2018.
MOA: A lot of the characters you play are gangsters, is this something you are passionate about in real life?
Terry: I grew up watching The Godfather, Goodfella’s, Casino, Carlito’s Way, Shawshank Redemption, Once Upon a Time in America and Scarface so you could say I was spoilt by watching some great crime films and whilst I like all films (even rom coms!) if I had a choice whatever I watched would be 18 rated and have an edge to it. Also, being a working class South London lad that used to box and run some of the biggest dance music nights throughout the 90’s and 2000’s I’ve rubbed shoulders with people like this all over the World and if you play a character in a film you obviously have to make it believable and I must be good at it otherwise I wouldn’t keep being offered these roles. Ray Winstone, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino have made huge movie careers off the back of playing Criminals or Working Class hero’s so I’m in good company. I wrote a book about my experiences in the club scene entitled “King of Clubs” and this gives you a look into my character and the real life experiences I’ve had and the life changing experiences which I’ve been through which obviously help me whenever I have to build a character or pretend to be someone I’m obviously not, you can download it here: The King of Clubs
MOA: you are the founder of Gateway Films; can you tell us a more about this?
Terry: I got together in 2009 with some entrepreneurs that liked me and liked film so we started working together and what really works for me is they let me get on with what I do and don’t interfere. I’ve always felt in business you can’t have lots of bosses or you spend your life telling each other what to do or arguing about nonsense and life’s too short, you do have to listen to everyone’s opinions and advice and as I’ve surrounded myself with people that are much smarter than me and this comes in handy on a regular basis.
Gateway Films AWAY staring Timothy Spall and Juno Temple
MOA: Do you like working and producing in the UK or would you like to work on movies across the pond or anywhere else in the world?
Terry: I work all round the World with my job and it’s not really work as I enjoy what I do so although the hours are long and you can end up working 24 hours a day and 7 days a week its better than digging holes in the road all day. I will at some point end up in being in LA and in China on a much more frequent basis as that’s where it’s at but I do love the UK and if I could just stay here doing what I do I’d be happy but that’s not going to happen so I’m just starting to get my head around that.
MOA: Have you any hidden talents that you can share with us (like singing or dancing, as we could see you in a musical ;)?
Terry: I can run long distances, breakdance, box, I’m a real foodie and appreciate fine wine. I’m a terrible singer and an even worse dancer…! J
MOA: If you were not an actor and producer what would you have done?
Terry: I would have been running a sales force selling Sand to Arabs or Snow to Eskimos
MOA: Do you ever have time to read books? And do you have a favorite book apart from your own?
Terry: Ha ha good one! I’m an avid reader and crave knowledge so I have an eclectic collection of books. There is no greater pleasure in life than sitting down in silence or on a beach with a great story to read. A few books that really stand out for me that I’ve read are The Celestine Prophecy, The Alchemist, Donald Trumps The Art of the Deal, The Secret, and Mike Tyson’s autobiography it makes grown men cry!
MOA: We also hear your book will be turned into a movie? Any news on that?
Terry: We are currently filming a documentary and the TV series will follow this and then the film will come last.
MOA: Who is your inspiration in business and in your personal life?
Terry: I get truly inspired by anyone in business or in my personal life who has started with nothing and hasn’t inherited a fortune or been blessed with any sort of privileged upbringing and has gone out there and done remarkable things off of their own hard work and determination to make something good in the World. Graham Kirkham who I know very well started off as a working class lad from Doncaster who went on to found DFS and then became a Lord and a Billionaire and he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Alfie Best who I have also had the pleasure of becoming friends with is a well-known traveller that built a business empire from a caravan and is well on his way to becoming the first Billionaire Traveller. Mike Ashley who again is a working class lad from London is someone who I have never met and if you look at what he has achieved and built over the years you have to admire him for the risks he has taken and the amazing retailer that he is.
MOA: Who is your dream person to work with?
Terry: Anyone who says Terry here is a cheque to fund your next film or alternatively Martin Scorsese, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Ray Winstone, Al Pacino, Stephen Spielberg, Leonardo De Caprio or Tom Hardy.
MOA: The most famous person on your speed dial?
Terry Joan Collins
MOA: Are you a fan of social media? Would you create any live Facebook feeds from your movie set?
Terry: I wouldn’t create any Live Facebook Feeds from a movie set as it would never look that good anyway as it would just be actors talking or driving and then someone saying cut every couple of minutes, if anything it could put people off the movie. I think if the actors do it from set when they are messing around or interacting with the other actors then that’s good for the fans but that’s where I would draw the line. I have never personally been a fan of social media as if you have a busy work life then you don’t have much time to respond to every message or post but it has become part of everyone’s life now, so if you aren’t on it you die it’s that simple. So I’m now on it and I’ve embraced it and I’ve grown to like it. The only thing I don’t like is when random people contact you and say, “hi can we be friends?” and then the next question is “hi can you put me in one of your movie’s”. I always have the urge to send them a message back and say, “Yes absolutely, what’s in it for me?”
One of my favourite quotes that I heard recently is “Yes I’m an overnight success and it only took me twenty years!” not sure who said it but it made me laugh.
MOA: Do you plan for the future or go with the flow and see what happens?
Terry: I try and plan for the future but you have to go with the flow as life has a funny way of giving you ups and downs when you least expect them and everything happens in the wrong order or being quicker or taking longer. One of my friends has a great saying “It happens when it happens and if it don’t happen it wasn’t meant to happen!”
MOA: What has been your favourite movie role?
Terry: I’ve enjoyed them all to be honest, but Tony Tucker was my favourite role until the beginning of this year. It was an iconic role for me to play and anyone that has seen Rise of The Footsoldier will be able to quote the lines and vividly remember the scenes that I was in. That film is 10 years old now and was a huge Worldwide success and they have just made a prequel called Rise of The Footsoldier 3 where I have come back and got my “Tucker” on again, this is in cinemas in September. I will make a pretty bold statement now and say that my latest role playing Jack “The Spot” Comer in “Once Upon a Time in London” is my favourite role of all time and a lot of people will be surprised when they see this film as I’ve never had the opportunity to play a part like this and it’s a role that any actor would die for.
MOA: What has been the highlight of your career?
Terry: I’d say up until now having all of the films that I’ve produced go out in UK cinemas, working alongside some of the biggest Film Studio’s here and in Hollywood and being recognised as an actor that has done some good work have all been great highlights. I do feel though like I’ve been laying the foundations for myself as an actor and as a producer over the past 14 years and I know in my heart that over the next 5 years I’m going all the way to the top so don’t be surprised if you see me picking up a Bafta or an Oscar (or both!) and being behind some huge budget films that become big hits.
MOA: When Once Upon a Time in London has wrapped what are your next moves?
Terry: I have a couple of films that I’m attached to as an actor so when they go into production I will announce these on social media. I also have several really good film projects that are currently in development and several really good film projects that are ready to go that we are currently raising funds for.
Catch more of Terry here
Coming out this month “Away” with Timothy Spall and Juno Temple which comes out in UK cinemas on the 12th May and also in the USA & Canadian Cinemas soon.
Thank you Terry for your fantastic interview…watch this space for Once Upon Time in London premier and more on Terry and his movie star life…