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2012 – Jimi Mistry interview

Jimi Mistry in 2012

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JIMI Mistry talks to us about appearing in Roland Emmerich’s disaster flick, 2012, as well as working with Chiwetel Ejiofor and how it compares to be on a blockbuster of this scale compared to a forthcoming independent movie like Exam

Q. 2012 is kind of timely given the warnings we continually hear about the state of the world and global warming. Was that one of the appeals of the script?
Jimi Mistry: Yeah, it was just like: “Wow!” I’m quite into all this sort of stuff. There’s a lot of people who do actually believe it’s all going to happen. But to see his take and just to be involved in any way, shape or form was fantastic. No one can take that away from me… that I was actually a part of something so huge. I found it incredible.

Q. Was that your first blockbuster experience?
Jimi Mistry: On something of that size and scale. It’s ridiculous really… a juggernaut of a show.

Q. How did you get on with blue screen and green screen work?
Jimi Mistry: Fine… I was fine. I had a guy with a megaphone going: “The wave is coming towards you! Scream! It’s a really big wave! It’s coming on top of you! Aaggh!” It’s kind of weird, but it’s a great experience.

Q. And how was working with fellow Brit Chiwetel Ejiofor?
Jimi Mistry: Great. He’s amazing and we got to hang out quite a bit. He’s a really lovely guy, a great actor and so we had a lot of fun together. We did a lot of good things together. But he’s also a great actor to learn from as well because he’s very accomplished and he thinks a lot about everything. Every word he says, and everything he does… there’s a real thought process behind it. He doesn’t just read the lines. He really does bring a real thought to everything, which is quite inspiring. I loved working with him.

Q. How does something as big as 2012 compare to working on something as small as Exam, your next movie?
Jimi Mistry: It’s completely the opposite. I think I went off to do 2012 after Exam and it was complete extremes. You have a multi, multi million pound budget where you’re literally a small cog in a big wheel. You’re on big stages with blue screens. It’s very exciting but it’s a different job. Exam was much smaller and much more intense. It takes a lot more effort and concentration. You have to get your hands dirty when doing it. They’re different beasts. I’m an actor and they’re different jobs but they are completely different. But things like Exam are great things to do as an actor.

Q. Are you happy with the way your career is shaping up at the moment, what with Exam, 2012, It’s A Wonderful Afterlife and more on the way?
Jimi Mistry: Yeah, it’s good. The thing is to keep going and make the right choices. That’s the key – making good choices. That’s all you can do and hope that you keep getting good opportunities to be able to do that. So, you’ve just got to keep hoping that’s the case and keep moving forward.

Q. You also have West Is West, the sequel to East Is East?
Jimi Mistry: Yeah… that starts soon. I only have a sort of cameo in that, but it’s great to be a part of it. It’s 10 years since we did the original but it made my name and my career, so it’s great to be able to revisit that. I’m also starting this film called Basement in 12 days time – it’s a Danny Dyer sort of horror film we’re doing at Pinewood. I’ve never done horror before, so that should be interesting! I’m trying to cover all bases.

Q. What kind of horror is it?
Jimi Mistry: It has the same kind of feel as Rec or The Descent and Don’t Look Now. It has this real feel of knowing what is chasing you but there’s a reason for it. It’s quite a twister and it has a big twist, but I love those sort of films.

Q. What do you find is the role that people recognise you most for?
Jimi Mistry: It depends where I am. East Is East. Wherever I go, you tend to have that because it was such a big part of people’s psyche. It made such an impression, so a lot of people have it in their DVD collection, or have seen it and remember it. So, I think that will always be the first thing. But it depends where you are. I can be walking down the street and someone might go: “You used to be in EastEnders….” But that was 11 years ago. It’s mainly East Is East, so I’m pleased about that.

Read our review of 2012