Chris Conway played Ben in Julian Richards’ film Summer Scars. I interviewed Chris on set in South Wales in August 2006.
What can you tell me about Ben?
"Ben is a thirteen year-old boy and he’s physically challenged. His brother Paul, who’s played by Jon, they have a really tight bond with each other because of his physically challenged state. Because Paul’s big - he’s the biggest one in the group - he always sticks up for Ben. So it was lucky that he had a big brother. Ben’s a small, scruffy character. He sticks up for Paul quite a lot and nearly gets his head shot in the end."
How old are you?
"I’m actually fifteen, but I’m playing a thirteen year-old. Ben’s really missed out on his childhood because he’s had to grow up quick because of his state. Because he’s had to grow up quick, he’s a really, really mature thirteen year-old. Some thirteen year-olds can be childish but he’s really got to live by himself. I don’t think his parents put much care into him so his only father-figure is basically Paul. And he sticks up for Paul most of the time."
How did you get the part?
"Auditions and through my agent, Peter Aldridge. I was going to play Bingo but it didn’t seem right so then I said I’d play Ben because I like the part. It’s a good part."
Have you done much else before this?
"Yes, I’ve done quite a lot of stuff. I’ve done a German film called Crusade in Jeans which comes out in 2007. I filmed that in Germany, Luxembourg and Croatia. When I was a kid, really years ago, I did a programme called Jacob’s Ladder. I was the main part in one of the episodes of that, a little boy called Sammy. I’ve done adverts, Doctor Who..."
What were you in Doctor Who?
"I was one of the World War II people, one of the little kids. I was the kid who came back to get some food."
It’s cool acting in things anyway but there’s a bit of me that always thinks: wow, you were in Doctor Who! It must have been cool.
"Yes, it was. I met Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper and they’re nice. I got on really well with them. The reason why I’m doing this is to meet the people and because I just love acting, basically."
Is it something you want to make a career out of?
"Yes, if I can. If I can’t then, I’ll still try. If I can’t make it really, really big then I’ll do little things here and there."
Did you do any research into disability for this role?
"Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of old films with people in wheelchairs to see their facial expressions. Because when they can’t move, the face always seems to look like they’re disappointed in themselves. I watched Forest Gump and a lot of stuff like that. So yes, I’ve been doing research on it."
Anything lined up after this?
"No. Hopefully this will shoot off and become the best film in the world! I’ll be able to get some work then.”
Review originally posted 19th November 2007