He has starred in huge-grossing movies like Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone to Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but Craig Fairbrass reckons his latest independent drama is the best film he’s worked on.
The East Londoner, who also portrayed Dan Sullivan in Eastenders, is speaking on the eve of the release of crime thriller Breakdown. The small-budget movie, which sees Fairbrass in the lead role of a professional contract killer, is produced by his son Luke.
And the 51-year-old is proud as punch.
“The film is a little gem, I’ve got to be honest with you. It’s the best work I’ve done and the proudest work that I’ve done as an actor,” he tells Loaded.
“It’s such an original script. Everyone is used to the same old stuff where it’s either the Essex boys, football or something else. We just thought ‘How do we come up with something refreshing and put a spin on the hitman genre?’”
Breakdown – directed by Jonnie Malachi and co-starring Game Of Thrones’ James Cosmo and Emmett J Scanlan (Hollyoaks villain Brendan Brady) – was shot inside just three weeks. And having starred in major blockbuster productions in the past, Fairbrass is well aware of how difficult it is for a small independent British film to make a mark.
“I’m under no illusions, it’s an independent British film so you can’t compete with the big guns and that’s just life,” he says. “I think that we got away with it. It’s intelligent. It’s beautifully written and I think Jonnie Malachi has done an amazing job on his first film.”
Fairbrass admits that the incredibly quick filming process was “intense”.
“It was quite stressful,” he confesses. “I was an exec on the film too, so I was sort of watching the clock and watching the money. The camaraderie and the atmosphere between everyone on set was amazing. You can’t hide on a small indie film set and you become a family.
“Everyone treats each other with respect because everyone has a common goal and we are all just trying to get these things off the ground.”
“I was an exec on the film, so I was watching the clock and watching the money”
Breakdown sees Alfie Jennings (Fairbrass) haunted by visions of the past from his life in crime. As he develops a conscience, he struggles with work and keeping his wife Catherine (Olivia Grant) and beloved daughter Maya (Amanda Wess) safe from harm.
And Fairbrass says that the underlying theme of the film is one that should resonate with parents around the world.
“Any dad watching this who has got daughters knows what it’s like out on the street and how overbearing and overcaring you can be with your children,” he says while reflecting on Jennings’ overprotective relationship with his daughter.
“You’re doing it for the right reasons, but it can come across as overpowering and excessive, but I hope people identify with that.”
Breakdown marks the first time that Craig has worked on a project with his producer son Luke, and he loved the experience.
“Working with Luke was amazing. He has got great taste and just being involved in something like this was memorable and special,” he states. “It’s not often you get those kinds of opportunities, and we both felt this was a special project to work on.”
Breakdown goes on release on January 15.
Craig Fairbrass and director Jonnie Malachi will attend a Q&A at Showcase Newham on Friday following the 7pm screening of the film.
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1