INTERVIEW: Ralf Little

The famous British 'nice guy' - who is probably best known as Jonny from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps or Anthony (a.k.a. the son) on the Royale Family - chews the fat about Gremlins, Tron, his new film... and cheese.

Michael Edwards recently caught up with Ralf Little, star of The Waiting Room, which hits the UK box office today. You can read Mike's review here.

The famous British 'nice guy' - who is probably best known as Jonny from Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps or Anthony (a.k.a. the son) on the Royale Family - chews the fat about Gremlins, Tron, his new film... and cheese. I'm just going to come straight into this interview with the question I really want to ask you: if I ever get the budget sorted to make a GREMLINS 3 would you be in it as a hapless builder?
Oh yeah, yeah definitely! I'm all for GREMLINS 3!
GREMLINS is probably the best films ever right?
GREMLINS is, but GREMLINS 2 was not that great though was it?
You don't think GREMLINS 2 was great??
I don't know. I did at the time but I saw it again recently and just thought "hmmm, that's not really as good as I remember it being", it just seemed a bit like a cheap comedy. (Laughs) But not the first one though, that's great.
But the second has loads of cool different Gremlins!
That is cool. The big spider one scared me to death.
We should probably talk a bit about your new film for a bit now. I thought it was a great film, one of those nice sentimental films that people can identify with, stuff that British films do well...
It's a very different British film actually in that so many British films are just 'genre' films, not in a bad way - it makes sense if one film does well then there's a market for it you make more. At the time it was the horror thing, after SHAUN OF THE DEAD and I read the script thinking it was going to be one of these but it was totally different and I thought "yeah, it's really quite an exciting thing to go for". The directors pulled it off too I think, I just hope that people notice it.
Hmm, it is difficult when you don't get the funding. I heard the makers of SON OF RAMBOWsay similar things about the British film industry.
It's like "Is it a cross between this and this" and if it's not you don't get the money. But I think this has come off really well. I hope it finds an audience because it's difficult: Is it a chick flick? Not really. Is it a romantic comedy? No. Is it a poignant dram? Yeah, but it's not as heavy as that.
But it is a great film so hopefully word of mouth will do it. It's just one of those understated films that has a lot of hope and shows the humdrum stuff of everyday life in a way that's worth watching.
What's really good about the script is that there's no big events, there's no "four people are drawn together because of so-and-so" it;s just people get up, go to work, try and muddle their way through life together and yet you can watch it and go "that's EXACTLY how that feels". I read the script and the bit with the relationship that just doesn't work out because... for not really any reason, nobody had an affair or gambled their money away it just didn't work out. That's very difficult to write because how do you write a relationship failing for no reason? And yet I think it really works, I felt like I'd been there. Most relationships fail because people think it's just not working anymore.
Have you ever had a life-changing moment in a waiting room... or even on any bit of public transport?
Not on public transport but i've had 'the moment' of going "wow, that is the girl I'm going to marry". Didn't work out! (Laughs) But I've definitely felt it, I'm sure, and I'm sure I'll feel it again... But talk to me again when I'm single and childless!
I'm depressed now. Let's talk about something else. If you could be in any film that was ever made, I mean steal the lead role for yourself, what'd it be?
These are difficult questions! Superman, it'd be cool to be Superman. In fact any of that: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Ironman. I'm 28 but I still love a superhero film. Wolverine! That'd be a good one. But out of the superhero genre I could try and be all actorish about it and say "well that was a wonderful role" but frankly, you can't beat playing Iron Man or Spider Man.
Do you know what I'd be?
The guy from TRON.
Yeah!! Wasn't that Jeff Bridges? That was so difficult though, it was all about technology and how computers were taking over the world then you look at it now and go "those computers are crap!" There is no way there's any danger that from any computer like that, it was rubbish. There was one point when it was printing something out and it was making that noise and it takes about 10 minutes - it's rubbish! Make TRON now and it's be like "laser printer. Done. Cheers."
They'd still have light cycles though.
It was all about the light cycles. And that weird thing that spun around and he had to throws a frisbee at it. He thought of that? "Yeah, so he throws a frisbee at it... and then he wins." Ummm, alright then, yeah. Who wrote that??
Do you ever get tired of playing the nice guy in everything?
(Laughs) No. Although actually I was a villain in Robin Hood once and got a really nice review saying like "wild-eyed and intense". But not really no, one benefit is I've never had any trouble when people have recognised me. It's a strange phenomenon, when you play someone horrible people don't like you! I mean it's like "It's nothing to do with me!!! It's the writing!" so it's worked out fine for me, I've not anyone throw things at me.
Standard question 1: Any amusing anecdotes from filming? Any problems?
Not really. I mean there was scenes with people getting on and off trains and normally in big budget films they hire a train and so on but we couldn't do that on our budget. So you had this incredible thing where there's this whole film crew on a platform all ready with the actors poised, guessing where the doors might stop, then as the train comes in then the doors open and "ACTION" and you'd have to leap on the train, pause for a moment, then walk off casually. Brilliant.
Standard question 2: What's your favourite film ever? Right now. Go!
Can I count the first three STAR WARS films as one?
Sure, that's a good answer. I'll let that go. One director told me theirs was JAWS.
I asked a director and they said "TOY STORY, it's the most perfect film ever." And he meant it, he said characterisation, concept, everything and when you start to think about it it's quite a good answer because most people say stuff like GOODFELLAS. But yeah STAR WARS is mine, I'm not an obsessive but I know quite a lot about it.
You have to, it's the law.
If not, you're a sub-human being.
Random Question 1: What's your favourite cheese?
I don't know. Cheddar. I don't really eat a lot of cheese.
No me neither.
Ricky Gervais eats loads of cheese.
That's a good fact! How'd you know that?
I was going to say "I know him" but it's not that kind of "I know him" but we share a lot of good mates and you meet people when you do similar things.
One final question. Do you ever miss doing TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS?
Yeah I do you know. I made the decision and I think it was the right decision, I'm leading towards being 30 and despite the fact that in my head I still think I'm 18 I'm not and sometimes you just realise you're a very different person, it just felt like it was time to move on. But do I miss it? Of course I do. It was like 6 or 7 years of just 5 mates having the most wonderful job that was dead fun to do and dead fun to watch. You've made me all nostalgic now.
A suitably sombre and thoughtful mood to end on given the nature of your new film I think! THE WAITING ROOM is out in the UK now. Read my review here.
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Michael J Edwards hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.