Last week, ‘Storage 24’, the new movie written, starring, and produced by Noel Clarke of ‘Doctor Who’, received a home release here in the States. The horror/sci-fi film centers on an alien crash landing in a storage facility with people trapped inside. To promote the film, Clarke spoke with a few members of the press and luckily, ScienceFiction.com were among those invited to speak to the actor about this and some of his other projects.
During our discussion, we talked about his inspiration for ‘Storage 24’ and the process of writing and producing in addition to starring in the film before moving on to things like his past work with ‘Doctor Who’ and his upcoming work in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. Though he was pretty tight-lipped about most of the stuff coming up, he did open up about how he’d play Mickey Smith differently and his thoughts on the different Doctors of the rebooted sci-fi staple series from the UK. Check out my interview with Noel Clarke in it’s entirety below:
SF: Not only did you star and produce ‘Storage 24’, but you wrote the film as well. Where did the idea from the film come from? What inspired you to tell this sort of alien thriller?
I wrote it with a few other guys, but the original idea came from me. The original draft of the screenplay came from me. I went to a storage facility a bunch of times with my wife and my first son who was one at the time. I was walking around with the kid just walking around the corridors thinking how similar they look and how creepy they look and what would happen if there was a killer in there. That’s where the idea came from. And then one day I just decided to make it an alien killer and a sci-fi film and that excited me a lot more.
SF: What films did you draw inspiration from when writing the movie, specifically when conceiving the look of the predator chasing Charlie and his friends?
We didn’t really think of the look of the monster while writing. We just knew that we wanted it humanoid. I didn’t want any dog thing or spider thing. I wanted like two legs and two arms, you know? And my original basis when I hired the director was like Carnage, the Spider-Man villain, which isn’t what it looks like now obviously, but the director once we hired him did his own thing and came back with what he came back with, which we loved.
SF: This isn’t the first sci-fi film that your company Unstoppable Entertainment has produced. What draws you to the sci-fi genre?
I just like it. I’ve always been a fan since I was young and it’s just something that I really, really enjoy. I’m fascinated by the stars and the possibility of what’s out there. It destroys me that I’m gonna die before I get to see what’s really going on out there, you know?
SF: Before you started producing sci-fi projects, you starred in one of the most famous sci-fi franchises of all time, ‘Doctor Who’. In fact, you got to experience two doctors. How did the experiences differ from working with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant? Which one do you think had the better insults for Mickey?
(Laughs) I think Chris. Chris’s entity was very different from David’s sort of scatter-brained performance and that’s what really differed. Chris was needed. Chris was the Daniel Craig of ‘Doctor Who’. He brought ‘Doctor Who’ to the ‘Skyfall’ of the series. He made it cool again with that leather jacket. He was needed to bring it back. Once it was back, then David could add the light-heartedness, which is what he did when he came in. So that’s really where they were different. In terms of insults, I think Chris’ Doctor really had the better insults since that’s when it was really like full on.
SF: What do you think of Matt Smith as the Doctor? Are you disappointed that you haven’t had the chance to work with him yet?
Oh yeah, mate! He’s great. And he’s such a nice guy. I met him a few months back for the first time and he’s such a nice guy, you know, and such a great Doctor. I’m really impressed with him.
SF: With the 50th anniversary coming up, do you think that we’ll catch up with Mickey and Martha this year? What do you think those two have been up to since we last saw them?
(Laughs) I have no idea, sir. No idea. But you know as well as I do that even if I had an idea, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anyway. But I really have no idea.
SF: In the past, you’ve mentioned that you would have played Mickey differently. In what manner? What would you have changed in the character if you could?
A lot of actors now say that if you get offered ‘Doctor Who’, then it’s a no-brainer because people who jump on it are so successful. When Chris and Camille and myself and Billie did it, nobody knew that it was going to be this big. We were the ones who had the guts. We were the ones who put our careers out there. I feel like the tone of the show now is slightly different to then. I was off shooting a show and I’d literally come off set from Thailand to London and back to Cardiff and I was like playing him to a different tone than everyone else and it was rubbish. It was really bad and that’s my own fault. I mean, it wasn’t a lack of preparation. I knew my lines, but I was just doing something different than everyone else. It took me some time to get with the tone of what everyone else was doing. Then, from ‘Boomtown’ onward, I have no complaints, but before that, I feel like I let the fans down and let the show down really.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful. He’s a lovely character and he definitely goes on one of the biggest journeys of any character from the start. Some of the ridiculousness that I was doing actually helped that because he goes from this like Shaggy and Scooby-Doo coward to like the coolest bearded freedom fighter type guy by the end and I feel like the nonsense originally helped that, even though it was unintentional.
SF: Jumping from one sci-fi franchise to another, you’re appearing in JJ Abram’s new movie ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. What did it feel like to get the call to join another long-standing and beloved sci-fi franchise?
I mean, it’s a job. You just get offered jobs. Some people think that it’s more magical than it actually is. You get an audition and you do the audition, then some jobs you get and some jobs you don’t. If I gave you the list of jobs that I haven’t got that I haven’t got, you’d be like, “What?!” Not just went up for but was really close to. It happens, but ‘Star Trek’ was one of those that I went up for. J.J. saw the tape and was like, “I want this guy.” And you’re not going to say no to that. In both ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Trek’, I’m just a tiny cog in a very big wheel who is appreciative to be there. They were shows that I used to watch when I was younger, so I’m very appreciative and very happy and I thank everyone who gave me those opportunities.
SF: Can you tell us a little bit about your character in the film?
Hahaha no I can’t! I’m not allowed. Whatever you saw in the nine minute preview, or if you were lucky enough to see the 28 minute preview they did a couple of days back in a few places, then you kinda know what’s going on. He’s just a guy that wants to look out for his family, and that’s all that I can really say.
SF: Word is that you have a scene with fellow BBC alum Benedict Cumberbatch in the film. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding his character, but maybe you can shed some light. Can you tell us anything about his character?
No, no. Can’t talk about Cumberbatch or anything like that, no. He’s a great guy though, by the way. Great guy. Great Sherlock.
SF: Finally, what’s next for you in the pipeline? What projects can your fans be looking forward to next?
Well, ‘Star Trek [Into Darkness]’ in May and then I’m playing one of the parts in the animation movie ‘Saving Santa’, which is out in December with Martin Freeman. And then I have a special forces movie called ‘I Am Soldier’, which I think is out in September
SF: Very cool. Thanks very much for taking some time out from your busy schedule to chat with me.
Noel Clarke’s latest movie, ‘Storage 24’, is available on Blu-Ray and DVD right now.