Ac­tor on the big screen with foot­ball stars

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

AN Uxbridge ac­tor will ap­pear along­side in­ter­na­tional foot­ball stars in a film hit­ting cinema screens near you.

Jon-Paul Gates, who has 70 film cred­its and has lived in Uxbridge for 11 years, plays a ra­dio pro­ducer in up­com­ing foot­ball com­edy Kick­ing Off, re­leased on April 21.

Kick­ing Off is a com­edy with a dark edge, star­ring War­ren Brown (Luther, The Dark Knight Rises) and Greg McHugh (Fresh Meat), and fea­tures guest ap­pear­ances from house­hold names: Rob­bie Sav­age, Mark Bright and Sir Ge­off Hurst, who scored a hat-trick for Eng­land to win the world cup in 1966.

Mr Gates said: “It’s about two foot­ball sup­port­ers, and you don’t know which team they sup­port, but their team gets de­moted and they blame the ref­eree.

“They make him cul­pa­ble and they de­cide to con­coct a plan to kid­nap him.”

Orig­i­nally from Green­ford, the 38-yearold ac­tor said it was “great fun” be­ing in­volved in the pro­duc­tion.

He said: “It was great be­cause, with­out giv­ing too much away, I played at Sel­hurst Park, Crys­tal Palace’s foot­ball ground be­cause we did quite a lot of the foot­ball se­quences there.

“That’s where I met Sir Ge­off Hurst, play­ing against him was re­ally in­ter­est­ing! That was fun.

“The great thing about this pro­duc­tion is, un­like most foot­ball films that fo­cus on a par­tic­u­lar team, which alien­ates who­ever sup­ports one of the com­pet­ing teams – if you do a film about Chelsea FC for ex­am­ple, you alien­ate sup­port­ers of Arse­nal, Tot­ten­ham etc – but the great thing about this film is who don’t know which team these two guys sup­port.

“And every­body’s got an opin­ion about foot­ball so I think from that per­spec­tive it’s go­ing to do pretty well.”

As a foot­ball fan and Manch­ester United sup­porter, Mr Gates yearned to be a pro­fes­sional foot­baller be­fore get­ting into act­ing.

Dur­ing the film­ing of Kick­ing Off, he worked di­rectly with Mark Bright and Danielle Bux, Gary Linekar’s ex-wife, in his scene as a ra­dio pro­ducer, which was mocked up in Lon­don.

He con­tin­ued: “They shot some of the scenes at Sel­hurst Park but un­less you’re a Crys­tal Palace FC sup­porter you wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily come to the con­clu­sion that it’s shot down there.

“Even though these guys kid­nap the ref­eree and hold him to ran­som, they learn a lot more about their re­la­tion­ships and the fact that one of the guys tries to pro­pose to Danielle Bux’s char­ac­ter on air and that goes ter­ri­bly wrong.

“It’s a com­edy in essence but you also find out about these char­ac­ters and it’s not all quite what it seems. There is a darker side to the film es­pe­cially with kid­nap­ping the ref­eree as it goes slightly wrong and they try and get him to con­fess.”

Kick­ing Off will be out in cine­mas from April 21.

n READY FOR KICK OFF: Jon-Paul Gates

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