INTERVIEW: Adam Sinclair of ‘Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy’
Recently I had the pleasure of conducting a phone interview with Scottish actor Adam Sinclair, the star of the upcoming movie Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy. Sinclair’s other work include the television series Mile High and the mini-series The Day of the Triffids, along with appearing in multiple feature films including Van Wilder 2 and Nina’s Heavenly Delights. Irvine Welsh is also the author of Trainspotting, and there has been much anticipation for the film adaptation of the following book Ecstasy. In the movie Sinclair plays the character Lloyd Bruist, an aging clubber who meets and falls in love with Heather, played by Kristin Kreuk. In the interview Sinclair talks about the movie, his character, his connection to the text and the universal message it has for all of us.
For the record, Adam Sinclair was a delight to interview. He was very funny, very humble, and has excellent taste in superheroes. Just read the interview and you’ll see.
In this movie, Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy, you play a character named Lloyd Bruist. Tell me a little bit about this character and the story of Ecstasy.
Lloyd is a bit of an aging clubber. The story of Ecstasy, it’s a bit of an ambiguous title, it’s about these characters Lloyd with his friends Woodsy and Ally, and these boys in the club scene and they shouldn’t really be in it anymore. They’re getting old, they should be moving on in life and looking for something else in life. They’re looking on to find the other ecstasy in life other than chemical of ecstasy, and so Lloyd eventually finds love. He doesn’t think it’s going to happen and it never actually happens until in the movie it does happen and Kristin Kruek is introduced through the character Heather and they find love with each other. It’s about transgression and them finding love without it being chemically enhanced and moving their lives forward. So the title is kind of ambiguous and it’s all about each individual person, so its very much an ensemble piece with each individual person from the cast with their characters finding their ecstasy whether it is through yoga, or through having a better life, or traveling, and how they transgress less.
Compared to other roles you have played how is Lloyd different?
Ah… a job getting paid (laughs). No, how is Lloyd different? Compared to other parts I’ve played Lloyd is very close to the bone for me. Just who he was and the sort of background he comes from and the life he comes from. This story comes from the mind of Irvine Welch who very much has his finger on the pulse with the culture of Scotland. Growing up in Scotland I was very much a part of, not the rave scene, but the club-dance scene at the end of the 90’s and the early 00’s. I was a youngster myself, and so yeah. I related very much to the script when I first read it, there was a lot of stuff that was very close to the bone; the relationships he has with his friends, the relationships he has with his family, the background he comes from, the circumstances, the pressures, the social pressures, the pressures that he experiences. The things I’ve played in the past I’ve usually made a bit of a stretch to try to make my character a little bit different. So, this one was very close to the bone and it was very truthful for me. I exposed a lot of myself through the character, so yeah.
How did you approach this role?
How did I approach the role? I was attached to the role for six years before we shot it. The movie was in production for eleven years, it was a very on-going process of trying to get the movie off of the ground. I was attached to the film for a long time. So hmm, how did I approach the role? There was just something about the text, it was something quite close to me. It was just about taking situations that the character was in and start liking them to my own personal situations and finding some of the situations that I had myself in life growing up and applying that to the scenes. There, I’m searching for the true emotion and trying to convey that on the screen. And there was preparation, just general preparation that I always do. This one, I had my own life to draw from.
In other interviews you mentioned that you are a fan of Irvine Welsh’s work. What is it like to play a character created by a writer that you like?
I’m a big fan of Irvine Welsh’s work, I’ve read all his books. When I was in drama school Trainspotting had just come out and it was a huge film. We all ran out and bought the book, then Ecstasy came out and we all ran out and bought that. When I was a young student in drama school I had an opportunity to do some voice over work on the movie The Acid House which was made as well. So, I’ve always sort of admired him, knowing that he’s always very much had his finger on the pulse and he writes for a generation of Scottish kids. It’s nice to really relate to something he has said and growing up from where he lived, you know? Like, twenty miles from where he lived. It was a pleasure to try and recreate a character from a guy whose mind I respect a lot, and his voice, and I hope I gave it justice. I spent a lot of time with Irvine before we shot anything and I’ve spent a lot of time with him during and since. So I just started talking with him, where the concept came from, where the ideas came from, where the characters came from. So yeah, it was a privilege to do that. I hope I did it, I mean Irvine tells me I did it justice in his eyes, so I only hope I did it justice for all those people who have actually read the novel. I hope they relate to it, and I hope that it in someway compliments the book. I mean, the story isn’t identical to the book, it’s an adaptation.
To add onto that, Irvine Welsh said some very complimentary things about you playing this role. It must have been awesome to hear that from him!
Yeah, I still owe him the money for those compliments. I owe him twenty pounds! No, I’m joking. It was, it was very nice. It’s one thing with your mom and dad telling you that, but from your peer in the sense of acting, he’s definitely up there in the world of entertainment and arts, and to have that compliment from him is very flattering and very humbling. I only hope I did it justice and I hope that everybody else thinks that. And yeah, of course. It’s flattering, very flattering.
Because of the era and where the story takes place, you obviously feel a great connection to it?
Yes. Well, it’s very much a universal story. It’s not about drugs and that’s the misconception. It gets the backdrop of this club scene, but it sets it for a love story. I felt a connection to it because of when it’s set, but love is a universal thing. Ecstasy of life is a universal thing, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s something we’re all looking for in life, we’re all looking for our own ecstasy. As much as I related to location and the age it’s set and stuff like that, I also related to the issues that it tackles, and so yeah. We don’t want to say that it’s just a Scottish story, hopefully people can watch it all around the world and be part of what we felt while making it.
Your character is romantically involved with Kristin Kreuk’s character, Heather. Can you tell me a little bit more about that relationship in the story?
Yeah, Lloyd is a bit of Peter Pan, he’s the boy who never grew up and Kristin Kreuk’s character is the girl who grew up too fast. She’s in a marriage that didn’t quite work out, a loveless marriage. It’s like a business more than a marriage. She’s goes out to the club scene to find something else and he’s trying to get out of the club scene to find something else, and their two worlds collide. How star crossed lovers meet, as it were. They meet and it’s about the exploration of their love, and where does it go beyond when the chemical enhanced is removed and then he really finds love. It’s a love we’ve all thought about. We all know of the clichÃ© of the kids all in these club taking ecstasy and loving each other and what is beyond that? Where do we go from that? It’s the exploration to that question. I felt very comfortable working with Kristin and putting myself into that role and the two of us approached it with great gusto, and I think it kind of comes across on the screen.
What was it like to work with director Rob Heydon?
Absolutely awful! No, Rob is a lovely guy. He was attached to the project for a long time and Rob and I worked very closely over the years trying to get this thing going and then we got to the sets and we couldn’t quite believe it. We would look at each other and go, “We’re here, we’re shooting it, we’re going to make it!” Rob is very generous in giving me a huge input to my character and what I was doing and giving me a lot of free reign. Rob just let me run with it and do what I wanted. He listened to a suggestion had I made in the editing process when I watched several cuts and he was very open to suggestion. So, to actually have a finger, a foothold on the production, on that was a pleasure as an actor and it definitely gave me a bigger say in the movie-making process. It gave me a hunger, an appetite, a confidence to go further into that process of film. I won’t actually move away from acting, but add some skills and start possibly making things myself. So, working with Rob is great. We’ve been running around going to the film festivals and talking to different people. He’s a good guy and hopefully we’ll collaborate and work together again.
What do you hope people will take away from this film once they’ve finished watching?
That Adam Sinclair is an absolute star. I’m joking again and I’m terribly sorry! I keep giving you the joke answer and then moving on. I used to get in trouble at school for doing that all the time, I couldn’t resist a joke and then I’d end up in the Head Master’s office (laughs). What do I hope people take away from it? I don’t know, I just want people to relate to it. It’s a movie for a generation, you know, there’s a whole generation of kids out there who are a part of that scene and I hope they can watch and relate to it. I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people who don’t relate to it and were a part of that scene. I hope they get the message of a love story, and I hope they get the universal message that there are other things out there in life and that you can search for it. It’s all the pursuit of happiness. I want everybody to relate to the film and enjoy it for what it is.
After doing a role like this, what kind of role would you like to take on next if you got to choose anything?
I don’t know, I’m always looking to stretch myself as an actor. Anything I can learn on and push myself. I’m getting to that stage where I’m not cast as a young guy anymore, I’m getting cast as an uncle or somebody’s dad (laughs). But I don’t know what’s going to present itself next to me, I’ll just wait and see what scripts come my way and read them and see what’s appealing. There’s a lot of good talent, a lot of good writing out there. It definitely comes down to sharing a good story, it’s all about storytelling. I got into this because I wanted to tell stories and get a message out there. Whatever presents itself. I’m not precious about where I see myself, I just enjoy working as an actor, so yeah. Anything and everything.
For my last question: Do you have a favorite comic book movie? (Author’s Note: Don’t judge me.)
Wow! Well, I love the whole Batman franchise. I don’t know why everybody has such a soft spot, “Bad Boy Superhero”, I think that’s what it is. Spiderman’s kind of cool, but he’s a bit young and a bit daft sometimes, not always able to make life decisions. So, it’s definitely gotta be Batman.
The trailer for Ecstasy:
Photos by Juan Montalvo
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