As Sunday the 3rd of November begins to draw to a close. Monday the 4th of November is nearly here. So whats happening on November 4th? Well more than likly quite a few things but one think that I am very happy about is that 04/11/2013 is the day Top Dog begins its filming. I first heard about this film earlier this year and since then have been keeping an eye on its progress.
Starring (and co produced) by awesome Actor Leo Gregory, the film tells the story of Billy Evans (played by Leo Gregory) who thinks he is above the law but looks very likely to find out that he isnt.
Based on the book and with a screenplay by Dougie Brimson (Writer of Green Street) and being directed by Martin Kemp (The Krays) and Produced by Jonathan Sothcott (Vendetta, Assassin) The film certainly has a great team behind it so my ‘best of luck’ wishes arent needed but Im typing them here anyway, because hey, thats what I do.
The very best of luck to all involved in the film and I cant wait to see the film and hear more about its journey from page to screen. So for those who arent familar with writer Dougie Brimson, check out this blog article I put together earlier today.
and for those not familiar with Leo Gregory. Here is an ‘article’ I wrote this year for you to check out.
Many thanks to all those who helped me put this article together (including Top Dog Producer Jonathan Sothcott, and Writer Dougie Brimson)
A few hours ago, I very nervously clicked ‘upload’ on the latest episode of The British Movie Show podcast.
Why was I nervous? I mean I have recorded over 150 episodes of The Movie Show over the past two years and also guest appeared on at least a dozen other shows. Not to mention recording over 25 episodes of The British Movie Show. So why be nervous about this one episode?
Well because it was a show dedicated to one actor, one talent and I also had an inkling that the guy himself would actually listen to the show.
Thats why I was nervous.
So over the past few days and the cast couple of weeks I have been dedicating most of my British film watching to a single actor.
That actor is Leo Gregory.
That podcast episode is now online for all to hear. You will find it on Itunes (search: frompage2screen) and the episode title is The British Movie Show:Who Is……
But here for those who dont have MP3 players or who dont really listen to podcast episodes are some of the highlights from that show.
So. Who is Leo Gregory. Let me first explain the question.
A few months ago I was talking to someone at my day job and I mentioned that I was very fortunate enough that day to have been talking on Twitter to the awesome Leo Gregory.
They replied ‘Who is Leo Gregory’ and I was horrified.
How on earth could they not know who Leo was?
I explained that Leo was in Green St, he was in Wild Bill and they clicked. Oh Yeah I know him.
So my mind was put at ease..ahhh they know Leo Gregory’s face and films, they just didnt put a name to him. That made me feel a bit better about things but gave me the idea to create these shows.
Hence. Who Is Leo Gregory.
Born November 22nd 1978 His first IMDB credit appears for 1992 in a TV movie called Jewels. based on a Danielle Steel novel. At the age of 14 years old.
He then went on to appear in other TV shows such as The Upper Hand (1992 ), Samson & Delilah (1996) , McCallum (1997) and in 2002 a mini series called The Jury. To name a few but skipping many more titles.
With over 45 acting credits to his name, Films that include fantastic performances in wonderful films such as 2005’s Green Street, 2008’s Cass, 2011’s Wild Bill and 2013 All things to All Men.
So when did Leo break on to my screen.
Looking back, Id say for me it was the film Green Street that first spotlighted Leo Gregory for me.
Green Street, released in 2005 Story by Dougie Brimson , The film was directed by Lexi Alexander and, stars Elijah Wood (a relatively unknown at the time Charlie Hunnam, Mark Warren, Geoff Bell and Mr Leo Gregory in the role of ‘Bovver’.
One thing that hits you when you see Leo’s performance in this film (and id say the other roles I have seen him play) is that he is ‘natural’ and by that I mean He is the part he plays.
Whether its his performance in Green Street as the hooligan Bovver who mistrusts any outsiders to his football crew. Or his role in Daylight Robbery as Matty who is part of an armed team stealing bags of cash from a bank. Whatever role Leo plays, he inhabits it and comes off as being the character 100%.There arent too many actors who do that, but Leo is most certainly one of them.
So whilst Leo Gregory had already been on screens since 1992, It was 2005’s Green Street that shone the light on him. For me anyways.
His performance in Green Street is natural, and as the film rolls on, his character becomes such a major part of certain plot points, Leo takes charge whenever he is on screen .
So I have covered my first viewing of a Leo Gregory film, I rewatched the film only a few days ago and the film still holds up wonderfully. Yes it is a bit weird hearing Charlie Hunnam putting on a London accent when we have gotten so used to him as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy but other than that. The film isnt dated at all. It was electric watching the character of ‘Bovver’ fall apart at the seams and struggle with his loyalty.
When I first started pondering the idea of ‘a Leo Gregory’ focused episode, I checked out his imdb filmography and realised there were still quite a few films there that I hadnt seen.
So,I went on a mini spending spree online and bought half a dozen of his films.
Included in that was the film ‘The Big I Am’ from 2010. Without going into too much plot detail Leo takes the role of ‘Mickey Skinner’ who gets in over his head with a loan shark and a chance meeting with a high level gangster sets Mickeys life on a whole new course.
I really enjoyed The Big I Am, with a supporting cast including the awesome Phil Davis, Michael Madsen, Steven Berkoff and Vincent Regan, this film still belongs to Leo Gregory with his character going through several changes throughout. One thing that did strike me, was that Leos performance in this could so easily have worked as a sort of prequel for his character in the 2011 film Wild Bill. Was ‘The Big I Am’ a foreshadowing of roles to come. Who knows. But I was as impressed with Leos work in The Big I Am as I was in Wild Bill and that is a huge sign of approval from me. I remember the press coverage for Wild Bill, press kits, trailers, interviews and so forth. I dont remember anything for The Big I Am, and for that I feel sad but also very happy to have discovered yet another great British film that needs to be seen.
Its also a great treat go watch actor Vincent Regan in the role of the crime boss in The Big I Am, as its only a matter of weeks since I rewatched the JK Amalou directed (and written) film Hard Men from 1996 which also starred Vincent Regan. Vincent Regan stars in the up coming Danny Dyer starring, Stephen Reynolds directed thriller Vendetta.
Catching up on some of Leo’s work, I then moved onto 2012’s One In The Chamber in which Leo Gregory plays the role of Eastern Block Crime Underboss Bobby Suverov part of a major crime family based in Prague.
What makes this film so interesting was the casting. Leo Gregory , Cuba Gooding Jnr and Dolph Lundgren. Yes Ivan Drago himself starring alongside Leo Gregory.
If I ever meet or get the chance to talk to Leo,one of the questions I would love to ask him is that what it felt like, only 10 years after his first IMDB listed credit to get the call saying ‘We want you to be in a film with Dolph Lundgren; That would be insane.
The film itself is decent enough, a tale of snipers, gun battles,and crime families trying to kill each other but it was an absolute pleasure to see Leo Gregory in a film that isnt usually associated with a lot of the actors who you generally find in UK based dramas.
So some might say that One In The Chamber doesn’t bring anything new to the film world, but hey.
Does every film have to be groundbreaking. I say No.
I say a films main purpose is to entertain. And One in The Chamber certainly does that.
To see Leo sharing the screen with Cuba Gooding, and Dolph. Awesome.
After completing One In The Chamber, I moved into Act Of Grace where Leo takes the role of a guy from Manchester and I gotta say. He does it well. He looks, walks and talks like a Mancunian in this story of Triads and gang wars.
He shows range yet again and one minute Im watching him playing a gangster from Prague, in One In The Chamber and an hour later Im watching him playing someone from Manchester and both roles. Perfectly done.
Leo. You have a great range.
As the time closed in to recording this show, I realised that I lacked the spare time to watch as many films as I needed to watch. I came to a choice. Before a long day job shift, I had to choose to watch either ‘Stoned’ in which Leo Gregory plays Brian Jones, one of the creators of The Rolling Stones, or (re)watch the 2008 film ‘Cass’ in which Leo takes the role of Freeman, a close friend of Cass Pennant. I opted for Cass because I wanted to remind myself of the size of Leo Gregory’s role in this film as its been awhile since I had seen it.
For those who havent seen the film ‘Cass’ it tells the true story of Cass Pennant,who becomes one of the most feared and respected men in Britain. and connected with the Inter City Firm football crew.
But its not just another football hooligan film, its far, far beyond that. Its a biopic of the life of Cass and the hardships that he went through. Adopted by a white couple but himself being from Jamaican parents,this film shows life in the 60s and beyond, it shows how the world around him shaped Cass into the man he became.
Of course the film focuses more on Cass (brilliantly portrayed by Nonso Anozie) Leo still gets some great scenes and as always inhabits the character 100%.
Then came my first ever viewing of the 2005 film ‘Stoned’ which has Leo Gregory taking the role of Brian Jones, guitarist and co founder of The Rolling Stones. Now whilst I dont claim to be a huge fan of ‘the stones’ I know who they are and can rattle off at least a couple of their songs, but in all honesty I knew NOTHING about Brian Jones.
12 minutes is the amount of time It took me to forget that I was watching Leo Gregory in an acting role. At the 12 minute running time I realised I was watching Brian Jones. Im not saying its the real Brian Jones, because I hadnt heard of the dude before this film. But Leo is fantastic in this role, I can’t sing the praises enough for this one.
Having spent the past week or two watching various roles with Leo Gregory doing an wonderful job. I gotta say. His performance in ‘Stoned’ could well be the best one that I have seen (up til now)
Of course the rest of the cast also do a wonderful job. David Morrisey, Ben Wishaw, Paddy Considine – and most of Leos scenes are with Paddy Considine.
Really, Really enjoyed this film and I feel kinda sad that it has sat on my shelf for a few weeks, but Im so that that I have finally watched it and very glad that I can talk about it on this show.
Looking a little bit behind the production of ‘Stoned’ Leo Gregory had less than a month to prepare for shooting after he was offered the part.
Only three weeks after picking up a guitar for the first time, Leo had to get up on stage at Brixton Academy in south London and look as though he knew what to do with it Which he did and he does
45 acting credits, there are still several films and tv appearances that I have yet to see, but over the past month or so I have been on a spending spree collecting those gaps in my collection
I have picked up. One in The Chamber (where Leo appears alongside Dolph Lundgren & Cuba Gooding Jnr), Stoned (where Leo takes the role of Brian Jones, the co-founder of The Rolling Stones), The Big I Am (from 2010) this is a crime drama set around the world of Human Trafficking, and Act of Grace (from 2008 which focuses on race attacks and the world of the Triads) I certainly have a few films to catch up on, which of course takes us to the future of Leo Gregory, a future which shows no sign of slowing down.
WIth 5 projects announced or in a state of pre-release, the many fans of Leo have so much to look forward to.
If you are a comedy fan, there is the Nick Nevern directed film The Hooligan Factory. co starring: Jason Maza, Josef Altin,Lorraine Stanley, Craig Fairbrass, and of course Leo Gregory in the role of ‘Slasher’
If war films are your thing, check out the film Grace & Danger
Crime films? then my monies on you eagerly awaiting the reteaming of writer Dougie Brimson (who wrote Green Street) and Leo Gregory in the Jonathan Sothcott produced ‘Top Dog’ which sees Leo taking the role of Billy Evans a man who gets himself in way over his head when he joins up with a gang. Recently musician, actor, director Martin Kemp (yes he from The Krays) was announced as the director of Top Dog which is great news for the film and for Martin. Great teamwork by all involved in that film.
Youll most definitely be hearing more about Top Dog s the film is due out in 2014 and is most definitely on my radar. So a wonderful and very busy future is ahead for Leo,with a great present day and a very impressive past CV of projects. There are enough films or TV shows on there to appeal to fans of any genre.
My favourite films of Leo Gregory
Initially when thinking about putting together this show, I already had in mind what my favourite films would be. I really did. But as I spent time going through the films I had seen before, and watching the films that I hadnt seen. I realised that I was struggling to come up with a short list of favourites. Sure: If I thought ‘crime drama, then I might go for Wild Bill, but then again I was really impressed with The Big I Am, , or lets go for more dramatic roles. I might have opted for Green Street, but then I realised that his performance in Stoned was mind blowing.. I realised that Leo has done such a large varied amount of projects that to choose just one or two or even three would do a disservice to the rest of them.
So for the sake of my own sanity and out of respect for Leo. Im not going to picka favourite,but I will however come up with three films that would give anyone a great overview of the talent that Leo Gregory can give.
I will put forward the following films.
Stoned (from 2005) with his performance of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones.
Wild Bill (2011) Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Leo knocks it out of the park as Terry.
The Big I Am (2011) is the 3rd film I would recommend to see a great Leo Gregory role and whilst it does pain me to leave out so many other films, but whilst I cant expect everybody out there to leap into the pile of Leo Gregory films that I have collected.
Even though you really should.
Green Street was the first film I saw with Leo Gregory in the cast, Whilst initially I wasn’t a fan of the film when I frst saw it back in the day, I knew that Leos performance was top notch.
Stay away from Green Street 2 though.
Wild Bill is also a perfect fit for Leos look, he can carry the ‘cocky git’ role of perfectly which is totally no offence to him. It serves him well.
He has a great future ahead, next year Top Dog will be out and as a UK actor who has been fortunate enough to appear in several roles in a few films. Top Dog is something I would love to get involved in. I wish Leo the very best of luck with it.
From: @187Penn (Lucas Penn Actor, appeared in BBCs Doctors, Anuvahood, The Hooligan Factory)
I worked with Leo on Cass and Big Fat Gypsy Gangster,he’s a nice fella and a good actor, his best role for me was in the film Stoned, he smashed it!!!
Don’t think anyone could of played the part better, I look forward to watching him grow as an actor
From: Lorraine Stanley (London to Brighton, The Hooligan Factory, Eden Lake)
If you’re a fan of British Independent Film
The UK crime epic follows the story of Billy Evans- a character above the law. They know it and he knows it! A great character for an actor to get his teeth into. So where do you begin casting such an interesting and complex part? You go with what you know!
British film and television actor Leo Gregory’s portrayal of Bovver in Green Street, showed what a talented performer Leo is. Bovver is like a coiled spring. Unpredictable, explosive and quite obviously someone who needs and wants to belong. Leo played him with depth, energy and a certain sadness which I found endearing. This was a character I didn’t want to like but in the end, liked him above all others. Leo seems to have this ability to draw you in and understand his character. He’s a natural performer and a pleasure to watch.
In a world where all you seem to need is a pretty face and an ability to learn lines to land a tv or film role, to watch an actor like Leo do what he does best is a treat.
I for one can’t wait for Top Dog. But while we’re waiting, pass me the Leo Gregory DVDs
Leo Gregory is one of only a handful of young actors whose charm, truth and emotional intensity can be relied upon to burn up the screen. Watching him by turns reminds me of a young Steve McQueen but with the raw intensity of a De Niro or Brando in their prime. Quite frankly he’s the kind of actor that makes me up my game as a scriptwriter. Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to watch him bring one of my characters to life. That would be a very cool day.
From Simon Cluett – Writer of. The Mask Of The Red Death and also Executive Producer on ‘Top Dog’ and ‘Vendetta’
Leo was actually the first actor I met when the casting process for Green Street began and aside from being a nice bloke, to me his was the stand-out performance of the entire film. As a consequence, I’d always hoped that I would have the opportunity to work with him again and so when I was thinking about the lead actor for a football movie I’d just written, his was one of the first names to come to mind.
Ironically, the very same day his name popped up on Twitter and so as a firm believer in fate, I contacted him and thankfully, he agreed to meet up. It was at that meeting that the idea to develop Top Dog was first mooted and the rest as they say, is history. Indeed, it’s fair to say that without him, it would never have happened.
I have to say that as a writer, he’s an absolute dream to work with because not only is he hugely supportive, he’s fabulously motivational. But equally, it’s rare in this business to find someone who you can trust to be dead straight when it comes to passing opinion and I know that if Leo says something, it’s absolutely what he thinks.
But of course he’s also an awesome actor and I can’t wait to start working with him on set because he’s going to make Top Dog into something really special. I genuinely have no doubt about that.
From Dougie Brimson -Writer Green Street (2005) and Top Dog (2014)
“Leo is one of the most respected and admired London actors within the industry and beloved by lads everywhere for his film-stealing turn as Bovver in hooligan blockbuster Green Street. I believe that in Top Dog we have created a vehicle for him as a leading man that will showcase his talents like never before. Leo is the real deal.”
From Jonathan Sothcott -Producer ‘Top Dog’
“Leo Gregory is an actor that always puts in first rate performances, has a body of work that has meant he is an integral part of British film & above all he’s a nice guy”
From Jason Maza (appears with Leo in The Hooligan Factory)
The first time I met Leo was on the set of ‘Stoned’ He made me feel so welcome, such a gentleman. He’s a brilliant actor and is so watchable on screen, he brings it to life.
I wish him the very best in his career.I got all the respect in the world for that guy.
From Josef Altin. (appears in the upcoming Nick Nevern directed The Hooligan Factory and from Game of Thrones and the film Vendetta)
I don’t just class Leo as an amazing actor and peer, I’m also very lucky to call him a close personal friend.
He is not only one the UKs top actors, with stunning performances in some of our greatest films, he is also a generous actor with a huge heart, helping me in my career on more the one occasion.
I love him to pieces… He’s a class act and you cannot take your eyes off him when he’s on the screen!!
From Nick Nevern (Director of The Hooligan Factory)
My favourite films of his are, Green Street, Stoned, Payback Season, Wild Bill (which Leo kindly sent me a signed copy of when it was released in DVD!! Can’t thank him enough for that) and the Big I Am!!
From: Bex. (@LeoGregoryFans )
So there you have it. Those are the highlights of the show which will hopefully make fans of Leo Gregory smile and think about heading for those DVDs, and for people who were not aware of the name Leo Gregory, well seek out at least one of those films that has been mentioned and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org what you think of it.
I wish Leo all the very best in the future and thank him a lot for all the brilliant work he has done. Also thanks to all those smart people who write roles for him or produce the films that he appears in.
This blog and the podcast was due to have aired several days from now. I held off for very good reasons and it was indeed worth while. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the blog and the podcast. Without you lot it would have been just me talking for 30 minutes.
I dont need to list ‘thanks’ to every name, you know who you are and your names are within the show and the blog.
My biggest thanks of course go to Leo Gregory himself, for making the movies that you do, and for doing them well enough that you have such an awesome fan base.
I really enjoyed making the blog article and of course the podcast. I feel kinda lost now that episode is done, but of course. Just like Leo Gregory. I move onto another project but always stick with the ones I have completed.
Send him your wishes @leogregs