Interview Adam Deacon

The cast of gritty London-based drama ‘Kidulthood’ are back. Set six years on, the kids are all grown up in the adeptly titled ‘Adulthood’. Here, Adam Deacon tells us what’s changed since ‘Kidulthood’.

It’s between two years since ‘Kidulthood’, the British pic centring on several fifteen-year-olds in the deprived Ladbroke Grove/Latimer Road area of Inner West London. Now, the cast have come of age in the adeptly titled sequel ‘Adulthood’. Set six years after the original, we follow as Sam Peel is released from jail for killing Trife; he soon realises that life is no easier on the outside than it was on the inside and he’s forced to confront the people he hurt the most… Some have moved on, others are stuck with the repercussions of his actions that night, but one thing’s for certain – everyone has been forced to grow up. Here, Adam Deacon, who plays Jay in both films, talks about what’s changed in the two years since filming ‘Kidulthood’.


Q: You played Jay in Kidulthood, how has he changed as a person?
A: I’ve tried to make him older and a bit deeper in thought, so he is not as hype as he was in the first film. He has had to do a lot of thinking. Trife his best friend is dead and it’s all down to Sam. He was always on that path to being on the wrong side of the law, but I think after Trife died that put him on that route for definite.


Q: How do you play a character who is so nasty?
A: I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s shown in the film! Personally I think Jay is very insecure. He’s always slagging off women and calling them this and that and I think that shows he has a lot of insecurities. Even in the first film he was trying to prove himself. Trife was the top boy and Jay wanted to be that – it was always in his head. He wants to get respect from the people in his area. So when Trife died that put it all in perspective for him and he decided he was going to take that road in life and be the top boy.


Q: Do you know anyone like Jay?
A: The audience will know people like Jay. I know people like Jay. There are a lot of people around the estate where I grew up who I’ve looked at and can see similarities, in their frame of mind and where they are coming from. They don’t have a lot of respect for elders or for the law.

Q: Was it acting that stopped you from following that same path?
A: I was very lucky because there was a place in my area called Anna Scher that I went to from about the age of twelve. I was getting in trouble at school, nothing major, but I found the academic work quite hard and for me it was always music and drama that stood out for me. So I started doing drama at school and went to Anna Scher’s theatre school who also had an agency and it just went from there. I started getting auditions from a young age and slowly but surely I started getting work and knew early on that this was something I wanted to pursue.

Q: How did that go down with the people where you live?
A: So far, I’ve just had a lot of support. Everyone around me is proud that I’m doing this. I feel that there is a certain love because I’m trying to portray certain characters on TV and film that haven’t really been shown that much before. So for the kids that we are doing this for it has just been love and support. My family are supportive and they just want me to get on and do it and see where it goes.

Q: Tell us the plot of the movie from Jay’s point of view?
A: Jay’s doing his drug dealing and on this particular day, he finds out that Sam is out of prison and from then on, for Jay it’s a thing of one way or another showing Sam what he did to Trife and that things like that just can’t happen. Jay will not allow it – he’s got a reputation in the area, he knows that he can’t let that happen. So from Jay’s point of view it is a cat-and-mouse game of trying to get Sam. He enlists some of the younger kids to find him and tries to get Lexi to set him up. He just wants to get his hands on Sam.
For Jay it’s not only about Trife. He also looks at it as an attack on him and he thinks he might not be like this if it wasn’t for Sam killing his friend when he was younger. I think he’s very messed up in his head and he just has one thing on his mind, which is revenge.

Q: The climax is when you and Sam finally meet up and you have this fight? Tell us about that
A: It’s written brilliantly and I’ve got some really beefy lines. I just wanted to make sure that we did it justice and brought it to life and put the emotion behind it. There is so much stuff going in Jay’s head and there’s also much going on with Sam’s character, this is the one scene where it explodes. Everything that has happened throughout the film, suddenly it’s like ‘bam’ we’re head to head, I’ve finally got him.

Q: After doing Kidulthood what’s it like having Noel directing?
A: It’s been brilliant. Obviously I know Noel very well now and he’s a good friend of mine. There’s thing with Noel that he puts a lot of trust in me from the start, so he’ll let me do my thing and if I’m not feeling some of the words that he has written, he’ll let me change it and he won’t have a problem with that. It’s been laid back and easy to work with.

Q: Does Jay have a light side?
A: We haven’t seen it in this film. I think Jay has got a nice side, there just aren’t places in this film to show it. He ends up going back to Polly at the end of the film – he just wants to be loved and when there’s nobody around, he feels like he has to live this life in order to get respect.

Q: Do you think that there is a risk that some kids will see this and think that some of the characters are glamorous?
A: With the first film one of the main things I was thinking was will kids watch this and just get blinded by it. Would they think that’s what I want to be like, I want to be like Jay? I was really shocked by the amount of kids who came up to me after the film and said they loved it, but they had a friend like Jay or like Moony and after watching the film, they really did not want to go down that route and so had left certain friends behind. That was quite a humbling feeling to know that we had that effect. The number of messages I still get on MySpace to this day saying, thank you for making this film, it opened up so many eyes, especially to parents and to politicians, so I feel that if we can get people talking again it can only be a good thing. If we can get a debate going about what can be done about this whole gun culture, I feel that it can only be a good thing.

Q: Nobody really wins in this film do they?
A: That’s it. It’s not a fairytale story where someone comes out smelling of roses. I feel that everyone has a down side in this film and I feel that someone who starts off with the hype will end up with nothing. At school you could be the funniest kid, you can be that rebel that doesn’t do any work and makes all the girls laugh, but as soon as you leave school if you still have that mentality you’re not going to get any girls, because no one wants that waste of space that just sells drugs on the corner. It’s about getting out of that mentality at a young age because you don’t want to take that mentality into adulthood.

Q: What’s been the most fun thing about shooting this movie?
A: I think being around the old cast, we never thought that we’d get to do it again. Just meeting some of the old cast and old crew, Noel, Brian Tufano, it’s just like a big family really. We’ve just had some really good laughs and some good fun on set.


Adulthood is in Irish cinemas June 20th.