Coronation Street star Ben Price talks film directing, why he runs to deal with work stress and his close relationship with co-star Jack P Shepherd
To Coronation Street fans he’s messed-up Nick Tilsley, but Ben Price (opens in new tab) is also a family man, a keen runner, writer, and a director, with a film going to the 2017 BAFTAs! Soaplife got all the details...
So all the running Nick does in Corrie is no act? “I’ve just been out for a run. The more intense Nick’s storylines are, the more I go running. Being inside his brain-injured head for so many hours a day, you find yourself getting locked in to being scared, angry, frightened and tearful. That kind of intensity really takes it out of you and running is my way of dealing with that. I’m normally out at 6.00am, or I nip out between scenes, like I just did.”
Have you run any marathons? “Yeah – quite a few. I come from Newcastle and have done the Great North Run 15 times. My mum lives next door to the route.”
Do your family watch Corrie? “No. They don’t want to watch it. My kids [Paloma and Max] are nine and seven, and they’re not particularly interested. I think that’s quite healthy. The last thing I want to do is talk about work when I’m with my wife, Alexandra, and family.”
You write and direct short films, too, don’t you? “Yeah. I’ve just finished my second one, which has got Jack P Shepherd (opens in new tab) (Corrie’s David Platt) in it, and is about a Jewish man who’s trying to get a passport. I found out my family were Jewish and they changed their name. So I started to formulate what it means to change your name because of your religion. The film’s called Taubman (opens in new tab).”
Ben directs Jack and Ian in his film, Taubman
Didn’t your first film feature Ian Puleston-Davies (opens in new tab), who played Owen in Corrie? “Ian’s in Taubman, too, but, yes, he was in my first film. That one’s called I’m Sorry To Tell You (opens in new tab)... Ian plays a doctor who has to give a terminal cancer diagnosis. You don’t see the patient, the camera’s just close-up on him. As he’s going through this, you realise that he, too, has had cancer. The film opened the Manchester Film Festival, has been screened at festivals in London, New York, Barcelona and Berlin, and is about to go to the BAFTAs for 2017.”
Congratulations! Do you see this work running parallel to your Coronation Street career? “They seem very positive here about me doing it, so yes. It gave me – and Jack and Ian – the chance to do something completely different. For me, that meant being behind the camera rather than in front of it.”
Are you able to switch off at the end of the day? “Not immediately. Me and the kid, Jack, usually have a cup of tea together and talk it out before we leave. We really are like brothers.”
Coronation Street (opens in new tab), ITV
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