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Paddy Considine

THE moment he picks up the phone, I've just sent a Friend Request to his band's MySpace page.

"Very good, man. Have they accepted you?"

Not yet. I thought you might be online.

"I don't even know how to do it, man."

The band is Riding The Low, an indie five-piece with Paddy as singer-songwriter. Based in his home town of Burton, they've been together 18 months and have already played Nottingham twice, at The Social and Junktion 7.

He has purposefully downplayed his role in the band when they do publicity. It'll never be billed as "featuring The Bourne Ultimatum's Paddy Considine" or "with Hot Fuzz actor Paddy Considine".

"If there are interviews I try and get other members to do them. You can't stop people coming to the show to see the bloke from Dead Man's Shoes but I try and make sure it's a band thing, otherwise it may as well just be me."

Their download-only EP They Will Rob You Of Your Gifts was released this week. They'll be recording a second next month.

Don't the rest of the band rely on you to stump up the cash for recordings?

"No, I'm not doing that, mate. I made that very clear from the beginning."

But they're skanking about the country in a rusty van while you follow in your Mercedes.

"Not quite."

Among the tracks on the EP are Acres of Yvonne and Meat Skanker. They're Paddy's words so what the hell is a meat skanker?

"I'm not telling you," he laughs.

And who's Yvonne?

"Meat Skanker is a kid I went to school with and Yvonne used to be my next-door neighbour when I was a little boy."

So it's autobiographical.

"Yeah man, it's all there, it's not just about strutting around."

While it's early days for the band, it is much the same for the script he is co-writing with Shane Meadows for the movie King Of The Gypsies, based on the life of Nottingham-born bare knuckle fighter Bartley Gorman.

During a 25-year career he fought in a mine shaft, a quarry, at horse fairs, on campsites, in bars, on the streets and on a ship.

Meadows and Considine have already completed the first draft but there is a long way to go, he says.

"We're just trying to find our way through it at the minute. It's not been a particularly easy process."

Hasn't having Gorman's autobiography made it easier to script?

"No, it's had the opposite effect.

"A lot of people are expecting an adaptation of his book and that's the difficult thing. One way we were looking at it was making a story with Bartley's character, with aspects of his life in there.

"We don't know what it will be yet," he admits.

"It's still growing and there's a long way to go."

It will be their first writing collaboration since revenge thriller Dead Man's Shoes, in which Considine starred.

"It's a different process, this one. It's not something pulled out of our imaginations, it's actually based on somebody."

He will take the lead role, which will mean a few extra burgers.

"I'm certainly going to have to do something to beef up a bit, yeah."

He met Gorman, who died in 2002 aged 57, a number of times.

"Shane introduced me to him and I photographed him when I was doing my degree in Brighton," says Considine, who graduated with a first class degree in photography.

"We just became friends. He was great fun. He'd been through some situations and been in some tear-ups but he never came across as a hard man. He never bored you with stories of how tough he was. He was very entertaining, almost like the Muhammad Ali of the gypsies.

"That's why I wanted to be with him because he'd have me laughing and every day was an adventure.

"He felt quite tortured about the thing he chose to do and as he got older felt quite burdened by this reputation. He saw sickness in violence but it was too late to turn the tables."

Gorman, while a local legend in the Burton area, was, says Considine "quite proud" that he was born in Nottingham.

"It's almost too early to even talk about King Of The Gypsies. There's a lot of expectation already and I think that's part of the thing that's hindering the process."


"You can't make a film for other people - you've got to make it for yourself."

He adds: "I can write it with Shane and act in it but Shane has to live with it for a lot longer than I do. So when it'll be out or when it's shot I don't know. It's not my call."

He expects they'll team up again for the second draft in the next couple of months.

The project has already secured £46,000 funding from regional screen agency EM Media, which has also pledged £25,000 to Tyrannosaur, which Considine is scripting for his feature-length directorial debut.

"I'm writing it at the minute and I'm hoping to direct it this time next year.

His debut behind the camera on the short film, Dog Altogether, this year won him a Bafta.

"I'm extremely proud of it, probably more proud of it than anything I've ever done," he says - and the only reason he's agreed to do the talk tonight.

"I'm certainly not doing it to promote myself. I think it's flattering that people are interested in your work."

Directing was always his first love.

"I was actually making a short film when Shane cast me in A Room For Romeo Brass. So that's what I was trying to do.

"The whole process (of directing) was an exploration for me."

So how does he differ as a director to Meadows?

"I don't know, mate. I'm not entirely sure, dude. I do what I do and he does what he does. We're all different, man. I've worked with a lot of directors. Shane's one of them. There's Pawel Pawlikowski, Jim Sheridan, Ron Howard, Paul Greengrass... they all work differently and get different results.

"I've learnt enough on different sets to do my own thing, you know.

"The only difference with Shane is, you know, Paul Greengrass found Matt Damon, De Niro found Scorsese, sometimes you find a director where there's something about you that's coming from a similar place and you can share your experiences. You've got a kind of bond and understanding. That's the luxury I share with Shane.

"How I direct differently from him, I'm not entirely sure, mate."

He bristles when asked if there's any competitive edge.

"No man. Why would there be? He's my friend. I haven't got time for that, man. I don't compete with anyone as an actor. I just do what I do, I'm not concerned with what the rest of the world's doing."

Considine will next be seen in the BBC drama My Zinc Bed with Uma Thurman.

So what was she like to work with?

"She's grand. But people are just people, you know."

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