An interview with actor/writer Ross Marshall

by Thérèse Nicola Marshall (*)

Today, we have the honour and pleasure of interviewing Ross Marshall (*no relation!), an actor who was born in Chesterfield but now lives in Sheffield (UK). Let’s meet him and get to know more about his interestig career!

Q.: Hi Ross, how are you doing? First of all, I’d like to ask you why you decided to become and actor and a writer? Which came first?

A: I’m very well and thanks for inviting me. Well, to answer your first question, the writing came first, and I moved into acting as a result of my writing. A show that I co-wrote back in 2014 with my friend and writing partner Lee Otway called ‘Educating Bitchfield – School on Report’ got funded for a pilot and I had the opportunity to be on set with a lot of established names in the acting world. I initially only wanted a small part in the show and had joined an acting school with that as my only plan but the surroundings and the buzz I got from the experience on set made me want to take it further and I realised it’s what I wanted to do.

Q.: Where did you study to become an actor and a writer? A: I always excelled at drama at school and got my best grade in the creative writing section part of my degree, but in terms of writing I’m self-taught to an extent. I used to write on the BBC message boards for years from 2005 to 2008 when I should’ve been working (I won’t say the name of the company!) and inadvertently ended up creating a comedic character which ended up getting a cult following. I’m proud to say I used to crash the BBC’s message boards on a regular basis due to the demand for my posts! A website was created in honour of all these imaginary characters I’d created. This inadvertently led to my first script being created, this was called ‘Insect in the Trent’ and I co-wrote it with my cousin and writing partner Bjarne Tungland, we pitched it to BabyCow productions and they showed a lot of interest and asked us for numerous re-writes but we were very inexperienced at the time so they went with something else. I have read books on script writing and have studied scripts in the past. I have also been on a master class on script writing and I’m very passionate about it. In terms of acting I am absolutely addicted to it. I have read countless books on it and it is a subject that fascinates me still. I trained at The Yorkshire School of Acting for screen and The Carney Academy for theatre. I have also been on Meisner days and numerous classes/courses in London. I’ve attended equity masterclasses and a class at Inspire Actors Studio in Manchester. I also did a 2- day course in firearm training for film and TV.

Q.: Doing my research into your versatile career, I’ve read that you’ve done so many things, you’ve had lead roles in various films, adverts, comedy series, music videos as well as theatre, which kind of acting do you prefer?

A: I love any type of acting but my favourite is screen acting. I get cast in a lot of comedy roles and often play lovable losers or morons and it’s slightly concerning that I find these roles come very naturally to me! However, I’ve also done a lot of serious parts too, often where I play the villain type characters. Having said that I also really enjoy theatre acting but I find it incredibly demanding, however the buzz generated from performing live in front of a crowd is better than anything else! All acting to me is incredibly addictive and I see it as an art form.

Q.: If you had the opportunity to be able to choose a dream role to play, what would it be?

A: My dream role to play would be Alfie, I loved the Michael Caine version and also enjoyed the Jude Law remake. It’s not just because he gets all the girls why I would enjoy that role! I also find him a very complex character and love the fact that he has got all his priorities wrong. I also like the fact that Alfie also narrates and frequently breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to the camera/audience. I think this makes the role even more interesting.

Q.: I’ve also read that you have played many roles where your character had extreme difficulties in life, such as speech impediments or being terminally ill, how did you prepare to tackle such demanding parts?

A: I think that for parts where you are playing characters with different accents or speech impediments for example you have to work so hard on getting the accent/way they speak correct, so you aren’t thinking about it. It’s just as important as making sure the lines are well learnt. The moment it becomes a thought in your head is when you’re in trouble, because then it isn’t truthful.  I have attended accent master classes to learn techniques as it isn’t always easy! Terminally ill characters for example will usually require you to have a lot of very emotional scenes, it can help to relate it to similar situations you yourself may have been in to get the required emotional levels needed. I think you have to become so absorbed in the character, the script and his back story that in your own mind it’s real.

Q. Let’s move on to your writing career, I see that you specialise in writing sit-coms. In 2015, you were an award nominee at the British Film Industry Royal Television Society Awards for the sitcom that you co-wrote entitled “School on Report” which has been broadcast on Sky Arts and Now TV, do you have any new projects in the pipeline?

A: I do, in fact, LTBL productions have just released a sitcom called ‘Tea for Three’ that I co-wrote with Bjarne Tungland and Rita May, who also plays my Gran in it. Its about 2 cousins who visit their elderly Gran once a week for dinner debate and bewilderment. I play one of the cousins in it. I always enjoy writing about what I know, and the script is based on reality from when my cousin and I visited our Gran once a week for tea. My Gran is now 95 and is very special to us and a bit of a character to say the least! We weren’t going to release it but due to the Covid-19 situation all festivals and potential funding for a series are on hold, so the full pilot episode is now available to view on YouTube https://youtu.be/nCnyHvV7vFc

Q.: What advice would you give to someone who dreams of becoming either an actor or a writer?

I would say that you just need to go for it. Making a start is often the hardest part and there can be a lot of frustration, cost and rejection. However, the plus side is those moments when you get to perform or have your work performed. This makes it all worthwhile, I would say if you choose to do it, try and enjoy the whole journey otherwise you will go insane! Be tenacious, work hard and believe in yourself. These all sound like cliché’s but they are true.

Q.: Although I can imagine you are proud to be a Northerner and speak the dialect, I know that you attended various voice and accent workshops, including the Equity masterclass ‘Nailing your accent’ in order to adapt your Northern accent to new roles and therefore not risk being typecast,  could you give us a sample of the accents you can speak?

The ones I feel I am best at other than my own northern voice are South London and East/West Midlands, although my RP is getting better all the time! I wish I could do all accents well and I am now a lot more confident than I used to be, but it has taken a lot of hard work. For example, in my earlier days I wasn’t happy at all with my London accent, but I now I feel I can do it. I have again read up on this, I have an app for accents and have attended a couple of classes purely to learn techniques and for being prepared if a different accent is required. I always prefer speaking in my own voice, but I feel it is possible for any actor to do any accent if they are willing to put the work in, some may come more naturally than others of course though. (see an example: https://vimeo.com/427084796 )

Ladies and gentlemen, we have had the honour and pleasure of hosting Chesterfield-born actor and writer, Ross Marshall with us today. Thank you so much for being with us today!

Anyone who wishes to get in touch with Ross, please find his contacts below!

Spotlight link – https://www.spotlight.com/0139-6726-6937

E-mail addressRossi.a.marshall@hotmail.co.uk  Tel – 07985163657

Website address – https://m.facebook.com/RossMarshallactor/posts/?_rdr

IMDB address – imdb.com/name/nm6892498/

Twitter – @RossMarshall7 

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rossmarshallactor/

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