Liverpool actor David Morrissey (with audio)
PUBLISHED: 12:54 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:41 20 February 2013
There was no decision to make when David Morrissey was looking for locations for his directorial debut WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH, PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS Narrated by The Sandbach and District Talking Newspaper
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Sitting in the restaurant at Liverpool's Hope Street Hotel David Morrissey is a happy man. He may still be suffering from jet lag from a recent trip to New York where he watched friend and Wirral-born Daniel Craig in his Broadway show, he may also have spent the day preparing for the Liverpool premiere of his new film and directorial debut Don't Worry About Me and the cappuccino he has just ordered may do little to increase his energy levels. But David, who looks rather younger than his 45 years, is happy. He is home.
Just a few steps away is the theatre he spent many childhood days in, and in the presence of some of the city's theatrical greats including Willy Russell. All of the familiar sights he grew up with surround him and he can spend a few moments appreciating the city he still adores. The actor, who is married to novelist Esther Freud, may not live in Liverpool anymore, but his passion for the city he grew up in has never waned.
'There is no place better,' beamed David. 'Coming into the city today, walking around and having a good look at it was brilliant. It's such a special place.
'That's why Liverpool always had to be a big part of the film. There are the two main characters in it and the third one is this city. The thing I like about it is it's a very creative, positive, honest place. If they don't like something they will tell you. I've been at both ends of that spectrum.'
David, who has starred in many gritty or award-winning dramas, isn't your typical Hollywood star. Red Riding, Blackpool and one of his numerous stand out moments in State of Play have all put him on the map.
Add to that the years he has devoted to the stage as well as appearances in blockbusters like Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Nowhere Boy, a chronicle of John Lennon's life, you begin to scratch the surface of the Liverpudlian's achievements. He also ran Tubedale Films with brother Paul since the late Nineties. Don't Worry About Me, due to air on the BBC this month, has already received critical acclaim. It is set in Liverpool and New Brighton. 'There was never anywhere else I was going to set it, said David.
'Liverpool and the area around it had to be a big part of the film because it's a big part of my life. I'm pleased and proud of the film and where it is set has played a huge role in that.'
It is his Liverpool childhood that encouraged him into acting. While at St Margaret Mary's Primary School his eyes were opened to the acting world and he was encouraged by one of his teachers. He played the Scarecrow in a school adaptation of The Wizard of Oz and he was hooked on the idea. But at secondary school, it became more difficult to pursue his dream.
He explained: 'Telling my parents I wanted to be an actor, I might as well have been saying I wanted to be an extremist. It wasn't that they didn't want me to do it; they just didn't know how to help me. I wasn't really into school either. I just didn't enjoy it, no one seemed to understand me.
'A cousin of mine introduced me to the Everyman Youth Theatre. We went there and it changed my life. The people I met there were different to the people at school. They were from all over Liverpool; it was in a part of the city I didn't know. But I felt like I was at home. I felt like I finally had somewhere where I could be me.'
He spent many a day at the Everyman with childhood friend and actor, Ian Hart, as well as Mark and Stephen McGann who introduced him to their brother Paul. It was fellow actor Paul who coached David through a tough time when he was away from home at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
This year he will be appearing in many more roles including the BBC drama Mrs Mandela and he will appear in a six part series based on Mark Billingham's novels Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat.
You'd expect stars as big as David to have angst-ridden days worried about their next review. But again, as it seems he has always done, he takes any negatives on the chin and it's like water off a duck's back.
'Let's not talk about Basic Instinct 2,' he joked. 'I was a big fan of the first film and when I read the script I loved it but I thought it could go either way. When I watched it back I just thought, oh dear. But then you just carry on. This business is all about taking a leap of faith, sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.
'I've been lucky and I've had lots of good times. There have been lots of high points for me in my career. I just keep going because I absolutely love it. I can't ask for anything more. '