Felixstowe actor's role in film featuring 'Morris dancing ninja assassins'

Charlie Rich

Charlie Rich plays Pillz in his second feature film, Morris Men - Credit: Rosie Marks

A Felixstowe actor has been mixing martial arts with Morris dancing for his latest, Clacton-made feature film role.

Charlie Rich has been shooting on location in recent weeks, among a cast of villains pitted against local vigilantes and a fellowship of crime-fighting folk dancers, in Morris Men.

The 32-year-old, who was raised on the Suffolk coast and attended Orwell High School before leaving for university at 18 and moving to London, plays a character called 'Pillz' in his second feature length film – shot mainly around Clacton-on-Sea.

Charlie Rich as Pillz in Morris Men

Charlie Rich as Pillz in Morris Men - Credit: Alias Hire

"It's about a seaside town taken over by criminals, and the people within that town wanting to put a stop to it," said Charlie, who performed at the New Wolsey Theatre and Spa Pavilion before moving away.

"I play the nephew of Frank Dean, played by Ross O'Hennessy, who's already well known as the Lord of Bones in Game of Thrones."

Charlie also has connections to the HBO fantasy drama, having appeared in a featurette promoting Sky's broadcast of the show's eighth season.

In May, he finished shooting his first feature film, Night Explorers: The Asylum, due for release next August.

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For Morris Men, he was hired not only for his acting ability, but also for his knowledge of martial arts.

The film, set for release next October, was written by Colchester's Dominic Morgan and directed by Gregg Masuak, whose previous work includes music videos for the likes of the Bee Gees, Céline Dion, Take That and the Spice Girls.

Morris Men table read

A table read with the cast of Morris Men - Credit: Alias Hire

Charlie, who has been acting full-time for the last two years, said: "It's written by Dom Morgan, who's super talented in all things action and crime oriented.

"He's an amazing person. He employs crew members who have autism, which is really great. Some go from being able to look people in the eye, to being fully fledged professional crew members."

Charlie described Morris Men as a cross between 1994 cult film The Crow, starring Brandon Lee, and Matthew Vaughn's action comedy Kingsman.

"Everyone was hired for their various skills," he said.

"I have a background in karate, there's someone else with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and we've all undergone Eskrima (Filipino martial arts) training.

"It's all filmed in Clacton, where there's great spots to be used."

Charlie returns to the set for the completion of filming later this month, following two weeks away for other productions.

He was partly inspired to pursue the career after reading an article from this newspaper about another young Felixstowe actor being selected for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Charlie Rich

Actor Charlie Rich attended Orwell High School, in Felixstowe - Credit: Rosie Marks

Charlie, who persevered despite his own drama school auditions proving unsuccessful, said: "I remember that article inspiring me no end.

"I think it would be cool if I could do the same for someone else. For young performers to read this, and be inspired to go for their dreams, and to not take no for an answer."


 

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