In the first segment of my interview with Steven Bartle, the U.K. actor and writer told me about how his medical discharge from the Royal Marines Commandos shaped the story of his upcoming film short, Recoil. Bartle is very busy on other projects like Distant Love and God Save the King.
As a film producer, are you getting the music for Recoil, too?
I’m currently working with a well-known British producer called Damon Hess, who is doing some of the music for Recoil. It’s a very exciting time to be working with an artist such as Damon. He is collaborating with [DJ and singer] Sonique on a brand new release for Reckless Records due out in the summer.
Tell us about Distant Love, another short film.
Distant Love is actually the first [short] film that I’ve written fully. The husband is doing everything he can to save his marriage that’s falling apart in his eyes. As far as he’s aware, he’s done nothing wrong. He treats his wife like the princess she deserves! But she’s throwing everything back in his face and treating him like he’s not there. In the end, we’re left with this huge twist that I’m not going to reveal.
I pitched the story line to [actor] Sean Cronin. He’ll be directing a big budget biopic this year on a famous boxer, Michael Watson. I wasn’t really expecting him to take [mine] on, being a very busy director. I remember telling it to him at his house. When I got to the twist, he jumped out of his seat and told me, ‘I’ve got goose bumps!’ That’s when I thought to ask if he wants to take it up. All being well, we’ll make that in the beginning of 2017.
Explain how you treat character development and why it appeals to you.
It appeals to me because maybe it’s a reflection on myself. I know that I’m quite a hard person to fully understand. I’m not sure whether that’s built in or through experience. I have a lot of inner demons that I fight with everyday: self doubt and things like that. I get great pleasure out of playing a character with an inner torment or emotional tear. There may be two things a character is craving that are on two opposite ends of the scale. I just think that makes for a much more interesting person. When I watch a film, obviously being in the film industry I’ll look at a film differently. I’ll always observe the actors and the characters. It’s so compelling when you see this inner struggle. They don’t even have to say anything, but you know there’s something going on there! If I’m in a creation process with a character, then I’m more often than not going to make a character that has a deep complication within him or her.
What’s your training regiment and menu?
I got pulled out of training for a bit due to an injury. Normally, I eat six meals a day. My first meal is seven eggs, 100 grams of porridge oats, milk, and Nesquick for flavoring in a shake. My next two meals are salmon, sweet potato, with a veggie or salad. Then I’ll train and have a post-workout shake. The next meal is salmon and vegetables without carbs. My last meal is a fat free yogurt with protein powder. It makes for a nice sort of Angel Delight before I go to bed.
Training-wise, I usually train 12 times a week. I’ll do half an hour to an hour cardio in the morning depending on how long I’ve got before a film role or to shred fat. In the late afternoon, I’ll train in weights. I split my body into muscle groups throughout the week.
How did you get injured? Was it during another film shoot?
Yes, it’s a medieval film called God Save the King. I play Marcus, who is brother [to] Edmund. Their father is the king. Edmund being the oldest, takes the throne when the king dies. My character, Marcus, is quite twisted and wants the throne so he sets out to poison his brother.
We just finished shooting a scene where Marcus leads his men into a massive battle and he’s been given [the news]. As we were approaching the castle, my horse slipped down a grassy verge. As he lost his footing, he tried to gallop, which made me bounce up and down. He thought I wanted to go faster and when he bucked, I went into a head dive. I landed on my head and panicked because I thought I’d break my neck. I managed to put most of the weight onto my hands. I broke both of my wrists rather than my neck.
I got in the car and went to hospital. I had to have them both put in casts, but we were halfway through shooting and I was playing the lead character. I could have gone home. You’re well within your rights to do so. It seemed selfish though, [because] there were a lot of people working on the film. They could have replaced me but they would have to shoot the whole thing again. When you take on a film role, it’s your duty to finish it. With good costume wrapping the casts up in rags and a bit of armor, we finished the film. The first cut looks brilliant. I’m really happy I did it.