British entertainment at its most original in Steven Nesbit's 'Gloves Off'
“Gloves Off is entertainment but it represents what people can achieve when they pull together and pride kicks in.”
Brad Moore (co-writer/star)
British actor Brad Moore arrived on the acting stage late on in life, "I started acting very late in life at 40 and I had spent my youth addicted to all films”, but he has gone on to carve out a very respectable career working with some highly respected people along the way.
His latest offering is Gloves Off where he re-teams with director Steven Nesbit, the pair had previously collaborated on North Vs South. Gloves Off also marks Moore's first time as a writer, co-writing the script with Nesbit. Speaking about how the project was born and how he came to be co-writer Moore said “We had so much fun making North vs South and the film release was a success so Steve and I became good friends. If it had flopped I’m sure he would have moved on to someone more talented! Steve then came down to London to discuss future projects he was writing with me in mind. We had a few beers and I pitched him the only script idea I have had about a boxer who inherits a debt-ridden gym from his coach and Steve suggested we write the script together”. Moore as a first time writer had his own way of contributing his own ideas “We spent several months meeting up when we could for writing sessions and we would work shop the scenes together. I would act out the different characters as best I could and I think he enjoyed having his very own performing monkey! Steve would then write up the work we had done and we would polish the scenes together. It’s an enjoyable way to write as opposed to slaving over a keyboard and ideas spring from the interaction”.
In Gloves Off Moore plays Doug, a once highly regarded boxer, who inherits a debt riddled gym after the death of his beloved trainer. With his life on the rocks, his family broken, Doug's only happiness is the gym he has and the rag tag loveable misfits that inhabit it. But as debt collectors circle Doug looks for a miracle to save his beloved gym. Moore drew on some of his own personal experiences from his own past the story has both heart mixed with comedic sharpness very much in the vein of Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock films, “ The film is fictional and not biographical in any way, however many of the story elements are very close to my own experiences and deep in my heart. For instance my own boxing coach and mentor "Taffy" died when a group of young boxers and I were still in our prime. I’ve also experienced the pain of being separated from my son and felt the pressure of being totally broke and about to fail miserably...again”.
Alongside Moore is a strong ensemble cast starring some the some of the best known talent Britain has to offer from Paul Barber (Only Fools and Horses/One Night In Istanbul) and Denise Van Outen (Love, Honour and Obey) to British TV legend Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family, Mike Bassett: England Manager) but a stand out in this film is comedy great Alexei Sayle. The film has carries the quirkiness of The Full Monty but has the comic sharpness of Snatch but you could also say its Britain's answer to Vince Vaughn/Ben Stiller vehicle Dodgeball (2004). The film is typically British, a comedy with an emotional core with varying characters that represent different aspects of a well written story. Sayle acts as a guardian angel like character to Doug helping him through his emotional struggles, in his own special way. Paul Barber's Albert is a grounding force in Doug's life in an almost father figure like way, inspiring him when he needs it and giving him the confidence boost when he is down, his interactions with Nosher too are particularly heart warming and beautifully acted, Barber works as an emotional anchor to the stories overall narrative. The stories characters are both anarchic as well as relatable harking back to the old school ensemble comedies but never strays from its British roots, Moore added “I love wacky road trip comedies like 'The Cannon Ball Run' and 'Every Which Way but Lose'. These were big influences on the story. I had always dreamt of making something that harked back to these great comedies but with a British heart at its core in the vein of British classics like The Full Monty, Brassed Off and Waking Ned”. There are some stand out scenes in this film like Doug's bar room fight scene, very physical and simply but effectively shot with Moore looking more than comfortable with the demands of the scene. One stand out has to be Tomlinson freestyling folk songs which is something everybody should see.
The film has some beautiful visuals, in particular the flashback fight scenes which are stunning to watch and expertly put together by Nesbit, the film also has a soundtrack which plays well with the narrative acting as an almost extra character in the film. This film is pure entertainment start to finish and you feel that from in front and behind the camera. Far too many films today lack originality and characters you can relate to but Nesbit is a great story teller and alongside Moore has created one of the most entertaining British films of the last few years and it definitely deserves its place alongside British greats like Love Honour and Obey and Full Monty. Central to all of the success of this film is the budding friendship between director and his star and Moore has nothing but praise for Nesbit “Steve is a terrific director. He is ex-military and capable of mobilising an army! He has a universal focus on all elements of the film and he makes actors feel very safe and supported which helps you be courageous with your choices. If I go to big or too heavy he will reel me in. Steve was the first director to believe in me really when he cast me in North vs South. He stuck with me when other well-known actors who joined the project were all keen on my role as Gary Little. The press loved that character as he a proper nut-job much like myself so hopefully I didn’t let him down!”.
Brad Moore leads and all star cast in Gloves Off and has gained experiences he will keep for life “I know it’s a cliché but I just can’t help saying that the fun we had on set was easily the best thing about making this movie. Ricky and Denise kept everyone constantly entertained. They are proper wind up merchants. Denise is always trying to get a rise out of you and Ricky never stops telling funny stories which are incredibly entertaining but I had to avoid him before any of the more dramatic scenes otherwise I would turn up giggling! I’ve loved boxing all my life so working on the boxing and fight scenes were a dream come true! Especially as the stunt men are not actually allowed to hit me back…that’s perfect!”.