Movies & TV / Columns

Craig Fairbrass On His New Movie Villain, Working on the Call of Duty Games

May 25, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411 Interview: Craig Fairbrass


Craig Fairbrass is a badass British actor, writer, and producer known the world over for starring/appearing in crime flicks like London Heist, Avengement, St. George’s Day, the Rise of the Foot Soldier series, and Breakdown (2016), and doing voice work for the Call of Duty video game franchise. Fairbrass’s latest movie is Villain, directed by Philip Barantini and now available on various Video On Demand and digital platforms, including Amazon. In this interview, Fairbrass talks with this writer about making Villain, the crime movie genre, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved with Villain?

Craig Fairbrass: I had worked with the producer, Bart Ruspoli, on another film years earlier called Devil’s Playground, where I played the character Cole, a mercenary who was chasing the one girl who was the cure (it was a zombie movie). Cole was a tough guy who had a streak of vulnerability to him and he was very interesting. So, when Bart said to me I have this script I want you to read – tell me if you like it we can get it done pretty quickly. I read it in one sitting, did not get up, which is always a good sign, it blew me away. Eddie was so interesting. He had empathy, he was sensitive, caring and interesting, but he was also a very dangerous man.

BK: How did you approach your character Eddie Franks?

CF: I just tried to give Eddie some heart. When he leaves prison you can tell he’s got a warmth about him, a good heart. But above all I wanted to make him real, authentic, this father figure who just wanted to do the right thing and look after everyone.


BK: How difficult was it to form an onscreen brotherly bond with George Russo, who plays Eddie’s brother Sean?

CF: I knew George before we worked on Villain. He did a bit for me on my film London Heist. George is from Hoxton, a very old, rough old area of East London. He liked my style of acting and I liked his, we were both similar in our style, very naturalistic and the chemistry came shining through. We worked on our scenes in rehearsals. I tried to make Eddie that big brother who always wanted to give Sean the benefit of the doubt, but obviously, as time goes on, there is only so much you can give.

BK: What was the hardest part of making Villain for you as an actor?

CF: Obviously, the film is a low budget indie and time is never a luxury on these films. I was on it most days of the 18 day shoot and we had lots of locations, so lots of moves- the main pub was like 2 hours from me – so long hours and travelling. Also the scenes with Chloe (Izuka Hoyle), my daughter in the film, were the most important scenes and I really wanted to get the tone right. They played on my mind constantly.


BK: Where was Villain filmed?

CF: The movie was shot all over London and Essex.

BK: What was it like working with director Philip Barantini?

CF: When I agreed to do Villain the hunt was then on to find a director who could bring this to life. I watched lots of shorts and other British films and I had to be careful not to make just another gangster film like I had done in the past. I wanted this to be fresh and real. Bart gave me a short film called Seconds Out. It was visually beautiful, very real, kind of depressing but had a quality about it. Then bang, Phil was in. And I said if we get that tone and look for Villain we could make a really good film. I also insisted we use the same guys Aaron May and David Ridley who did the music for Seconds Out to do the score for Villain which I think complements the film beautifully.

Working with Phil was a very smooth experience. He was always prepared and full of passion for Villain. We agreed on just about everything and really worked the script through, also he and the DOP Matt Lewis really worked well together. So from day one we had a tight fit and all saw the film the same way.

BK: What was the hardest fight scene to film in the movie?

CF: Well Villain is not really a stylized, fight heavy film. We didn’t want fight choreography that we’ve all seen a million times. It had to be real and have impact to the story- short, quick, and above all real and disturbing. The dismembering was horrible as we had animal innies and the fridge broke at the pub so everything had gone off, so the smell and being locked in the confines of the men’s bathroom chopping with heat of summer didn’t help matters. George was actually sick. :))

BK: You’ve made a number of crime movies in your career. What is so attractive about the crime genre to you as an actor?

CF: It’s an exciting genre to work in. There are so many different possible stories and the public fascination (mine, too) with good crime thrillers is never ending. As for being an actor it really is something to get your teeth into whether you are the good guy or the bad guy. It’s always exciting to work on a quality crime film.

BK: How did you get involved in the Call of Duty video game franchise?

CF: I spent many early years in LA and you need to have many strings to your bow. Voice over work is another possible income stream to keep your head above water. I met someone who said I had an interesting voice and a different one for LA, so I got a voice agent. A while later I had an audition for a video game – it was Call of Duty – I got it and ended up voicing 4 different characters over the years. GAZ- GHOST – WALCROFT – TEE. Amazing experience. I was then lucky enough to move into mo – cap with Battlefield and Star Citizen.

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

CF: I grew up watching Lee Marvin in Point Blank, Kirk Douglas, Bronson, Cagney, Wayne, and then films like The Godfather. I really love the old films and I was always drawn to and fascinated by the real men of film.


BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

CF: I have and psychological thriller due out in June called Muscle – it’s about toxic masculinity and the relationship between a psycho personal trainer and his client. It’s shot in black and white and directed by the award winning Gerard Johnson. H last film was the critically acclaimed Hyena.

BK: What do you hope audiences get out of Villain?

CF: A riveting little story that shows you don’t need millions of dollars to make an interesting gripping little film. I mean, we were “The Critic’s Choice” in The New York Times yesterday. That’s incredible!! Just goes to show that quality always shines through.

BK: Would you be surprised if, after watching Villain, especially the scene where your character attacks two thugs with a hammer, that people start referring to you as “The Hammer”?

CF: Maybe, you never know :))). But the scene was very important to the film. It’s a turning point and the beginning of the end for Eddie. It had to be ferocious and quick and a complete surprise and to have impact. That’s how things happen in real life.



A very special thanks to Craig Fairbrass for agreeing to participate in this interview and to Judy Merrick for setting it up.

Villain is available on various Video On Demand and digital platforms, including Amazon.

Check out the Craig Fairbrass official website here and official Twitter page here.

Check out the official Ascendant Films website here.

Check out my review of Villain here.

Check out the Craig Fairbrass IMDB page here.

All images courtesy of Ascendant Films.