Titanic actor to appear at Bolton theatre in poignant war drama

Richard Graham in rehearsals for Journey's End

Richard Graham in rehearsals for Journey's End

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Entertainment reporter

FROM Martin Scorsese to James Cameron, actor Richard Graham has worked with some of the film world’s best directors.

But now the Gangs of New York and Titanic actor is ready to get back to his acting roots of the theatre stage, in Journey's End at Bolton’s Octagon.

Richard’s role of Second Lieutenant Trotter will see him reunited with the theatre’s artistic director, David Thacker, after working together in 2000 on Channel 4 drama series Lock Stock.

The 1928 play is based on writer RC Sherriff’s own experiences of World War One and is being staged from Thursday, September 4 to Saturday, October 4.

Richard said: “I’ve not been on stage in eight years so it’s a shock to the system having to learn so many lines.

“I had worked with David years ago. He is one of the, if not the, best theatre directors I have worked with.

“I had been looking on the Octagon’s website following what he had been doing. Out of the blue, I just got a call from my agent saying David wants me to play this part.

“It seemed like fate.”

Set within the nightmare of life in the trenches, the play explores the impact the futility of warfare, constant fear and the death of comrades had on both young soldiers and officers.

Richard said: “I think when I read the play, just the strength of the writing, it gives you belief in what they are writing.

“It wasn’t someone who was sat in a library reading about it.

“Everybody has got somebody, whether it’s their granddad or great-granddad who fought in the war.

“I think it has huge appeal.

“I imagine Bolton is pretty much a working class area and it was working class guys who got slaughtered.

“I can’t imagine what it was like.

“Trotter is the only one who came through the ranks. He is definitely the most working class.

“I suppose you would describe him as a classic, salt of the earth person.

“Trotter, much more than any of them, just deals with it with humour.”

Having left school at the age of 15, Richard spent several years working as a road surfacer before becoming an actor and landing roles in blockbusters, such as playing quartermaster George Rowe in 1997 film Titanic, which saw him filming for five months in Mexico.

He also appeared in 1984 film Mutiny on the Bounty, alongside Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson.

He said: “We were on all the islands around Tahiti. One of the other actors said, you realise it’s downhill from here.

“I have just been really lucky.”

As well as filming in far-flung locations, across the globe, he also has experience of working with some of the best-known film directors.

He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of big directors like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.

“Martin Scorsese was an absolute gentleman, a complete dream, a lovely man.

“If you compare him to James Cameron, it’s like chalk and cheese.

“Martin Scorsese works with actors and loves actors. With James Cameron, it’s all about the other stuff he does.

“I remember he was telling me, in ‘x’ amount of time, he won’t need actors because he can, for example, take one actor’s eyes and Brad Pitt’s hair and create a person and it’s like CGI. They are just made up.”

While his time spent working on films has given him the chance to see the world and stay in luxurious locations, Richard admits theatre work is “a bit more rewarding”.

And being in Bolton for his first theatre role in eight years is made a little more special due to his family links to the area, his wife Yvonne’s father, Professor James Grant.

Richard said: “My father-in-law was a bit of a local celebrity. He was from Bolton and he wrote the Lovejoy novels that became the TV series.

“He wrote under the pen name Jonathan Gash.”

Looking to the future and there is another film director Richard has in his sights — Bafta Award-winning Shane Meadows, known for the This Is England series of programmes and film.

He said: “This is England and the TV series, the acting is brilliant.

“I would love to work with Shane Meadows. That would be fantastic.”

Journey’s End is at the Octagon from September 4 to October 4. Call 01204 520661 or visit octagonbolton.co.uk. 

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