Cheryl Neve is an award-winning actress and screenwriter who has recently acted in, written and co-produced the pilot episode of spy thriller series The Doorman. She also has co-written war feature film called The Point of No Return, to be filmed this year, and she’s working on other exciting projects.
We had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Cheryl about her projects. Check out the interview below.
Hi, Cheryl! We can’t wait to speak with you about your projects! Let’s start with The Doorman. You acted in, written, and co-produced the pilot episode of the spy thriller series. Tell us more.
Thank you! I wanted to make something which was a gritty, modern take on the traditional spy genre. I would describe The Doorman as a cross between the Bourne franchise and Mr Robot. The plot centers around a hotel doorman who is recruited by a mysterious government agency to work as a cut-out, drawing our Doorman into a dark, undercover world. Nigel Barber plays the rogue CIA officer who heads up the agency, while Kevin Leslie stars as Max. J. Knight, the Doorman. My character is the enigmatic Gabrielle Rothchild, an agent who vanishes from the hotel after leaving Max a coded message.
The Doorman is directed by the talented award-winning director Patrick Ryder, who caught my vision early on and worked incredibly hard to help bring my script to life.
Do you feel that this film delivers a unique plot?
I don’t think that there is anything like The Doorman out there at the moment. In fact, it really does have the potential to become an exciting new British TV series! The Doorman is very current, and touches on the problem of global cybercrime, as well as delivering the more traditional elements of a fast-paced spy thriller. The pilot episode of The Doorman also has a very British feel, and the first episode covers a wide range of London locations, from a houseboat in Hackey to the world’s oldest mechanized paper mill!
What should the audience expect?
The Doorman is an intense roller coaster which is going to leave you wanting to watch more! It has all the ingredients to become an iconic spy series, with thrills, twists, a touch of romance, stunning cinematography and a fantastic cast.
You have also co-written a war feature film called The Point of No Return. What inspired the film?
I was approached to co-write The Point of No Return by Rick Roberts, a director who is not only a filmmaker but who has also been involved with shows such as HBO’s Band of Brothers. Without giving too much of the plot away, The Point of No Return highlights the vital role played by female Russian soldiers during the Second World War. With the war in eastern Europe as the backdrop, the film focuses on some fascinating characters, both male and female, German and Russian, good and bad. I am really looking forward to The Point of No Return going into production later this year!
You also appeared in several short films. What makes a short film special?
Good question! Every film, whether a short or a feature, has to have that special something to draw an audience in. When I wrote and produced my first short film, Gilded, I simply thought about what I would love to watch myself, and went from there! I created interesting, tormented characters and set the film during the Second World War. My character is a singer with a troubled past, and I really enjoyed researching her character and bringing her to life. I must have got something right, as I was nominated for Best Actress, and the film went on to win Best Drama twice, Best Director and Film of the Month.
I’ve also been a judge and lead judge for two film festivals, Festigious and Top Shorts. I soon learned that every short film is special in its own way and that it is sometimes very hard to pick a winner! For me, the key to a good short film is its story and how it is told.
After a successful film and television run, what role would you love to play?
I love to challenge myself, and I don’t particularly want to get stuck as a ‘type’. Strong women, not necessarily in the physical sense, inspire me. For example, Jessica Chastain’s character in The Zookeeper’s Wife, or Mary J. Blige’s character in Mudbound. I find it fascinating how these type of women find strength in terrible circumstances, and I would love to play characters like these. I am fortunate to be a screenwriter as well as an actress, so I can create the roles I would love to play!
You continuously hone your craft. What keeps you inspired?
I’m kept inspired because there are still stories out there that need to be told! I want to write them, and I want to act in them. I love that acting is art, and that you never quite reach perfection. You are always striving to push for more, learn more, experience more. That inspires me! I’m also inspired by the success of others and the fact that if it was possible for them, it is also possible for me.
Thus far, what has been the best experience working in the industry?
My best experience will probably always be the night I was kneeling on the floor of an old chapel on the set of Les Miserables, singing a song in latin with other ‘nuns’ while Hugh Jackman sang with us. It wasn’t a major role by any means, but it was my lightbulb moment. It was the moment when I knew that the film industry was where I wanted to be!
I’ve had countless other brilliant moments on set since then. Being shot and killed by terrorists on the set of political thriller 1603 was great fun, strange as that may sound! The Doorman was also a truly enjoyable film to work on thanks to the hard-working, talented cast and crew, and the amusing incidents we encountered along the way (one involving a police boat!).
Do you have any upcoming projects that we haven’t mentioned?
Yes, I have some exciting acting projects coming up! I’ve also been writing quite a bit for different directors, with the genre ranging from sci-fi to drama, so I’m excited to
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to do anything I want, I would do a ___________.
. . . Film like The Greatest Showman, or any other kind of musical, in fact! I adore singing, as well as acting, and would love to get my teeth into a role where I get the chance to do both on the big screen. That, for me, would fulfill a huge dream.
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Featured Image Credit: Alexa Wilding