Today: July 19, 2024

Spike Island Interview – Elliott Tittensor

Friday June 21st sees the release of what is sure to become the event film of the summer for lovers of all things baggy and lemon hued, Spike Island. Mat Whitecross’ film is a love letter to the second summer of love in 1990 and the importance of the Stone Roses and their seminal gig in the wilds of Widnes at Spike Island. The film follows five Stone Roses fans from Manchester as they embark on an epic journey across 72 mad hours in an effort to secure tickets to the show. The charming and entertaining Elliott Tittensor (Shameless) dazzles as the film’s lead, Tits, and Christa Ktorides was lucky enough to have a chat with him ahead of the film’s release …

Tell us a little bit about your character, Tits.
I suppose he’s sort of the leader of the group. He’s got his head screwed on the most. I think through Chris’ [Coghill] writing, he wanted to emulate that leading role, like how he saw Ian [Brown] as being the leader of the Stone Roses, the figurehead of the group. But I think he’s [Tits] has got a lot going on …. Obviously there’s a whole back story to go along with that, with his father and love triangles, so there’s a lot going on.

It’s not just a film about the Stone Roses, it’s a rites of passage …?
It’s more for the fans really … It’s more about how the fans felt about them at the time. I suppose that’s what’s nice about it …  hopefully there’ll be people who go to see the film that went to the gig or wanted to go to the gig [as well as] young people who can relate to the music.

Spike Island really captured the feeling of the period –  there was a vibe about the country; it was a real youth movement. But you weren’t even born during that time were you?
[Laughs] I was about 6 months! When they did the skinny, they must’ve miss heard me because they’ve written in it that my mum went to Spike Island and my Mum was 29 with three kids at that point, with twins that were six months old, so she wouldn’t have been going to Spike Island! [But] I was always into the Stone Roses because I think they’ve got an amazing sound and I think it’s something that has crossed generations, especially with being a Manc you hold them quite close to your chest with pride and go, “yeah that’s my type of music.” Like The Smiths, Stone Roses, Oasis…

So you were aware of the Stone Roses growing up then?
Yeah I listened to them, of course! I think being from Manchester, you can’t not know who they are. If you don’t you’re a bit silly really, you need to wash your face! Because that’s the sound of your area, it was such a big thing for Manchester at the time. Chris was saying that he felt like Manchester was the centre of the world at that time, everyone knew who you were and if you dressed in that baggy style everyone would throw a comment out and ask, “are you from Manchester?” I think that’s something to be proud about.

How did the five of you all bond?
It was weird because they cast me first, so I got to go to the auditions and sit in with people and read with people. They put different mixes of the group together and there was once where there was the five of us together; me, Nico, Jordan, Adam [Long – Little Gaz] and Ollie [Heald – Penfold] who all play the lads in the band and we had to read a scene where we’re on a bus and it just really felt right. It just felt like we were meant to be the group. Mat [Whitecross] got us rehearsing with instruments and practicing as a band and that helped us have a laugh and relax with each other, which was really good.

Did you have any experience of singing before?
[Laughs] Singing in the shower and thinking it sounds amazing! But I’ve never actually done any kind of singing before. Everyone likes to have a sing when they’re in the car … but I don’t really sing. To be honest, I don’t really think that sounds like me in the film. I think they auto tuned it or something!

You’re also working with Emilia Clarke in the film and she is huge in Game of Thrones. Are you a fan of the show?
It’s weird because when I went on set, I had heard about Game of Thrones but I didn’t actually know who Emilia was because I never watched it. So after … speaking to her, she gave me the first series on DVD. So I’ve watched it and it’s wicked! I’ve only seen the first series so I need to catch up.

How did working on Spike Island compare to Shameless?
It’s a nice gentle progression … from Shameless to Spike Island, I’m hoping the next project will test me with an accent or just to get into a completely different mind-set of character. Tits is different from Carl and I just feel like I’d like to do something like an accent. I think that would really help me get into a different kind of character.

You’ve also recently worked on Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant …
Yeah, that was wicked. I only had a really small part in it but I worked with the lead, Conor Chapman, a few months prior to filming The Selfish Giant so that was quite good that I already knew him. I play his brother in the film and it was just a wicked experience because we got to improvise the scenes. Me and Conor and Shaun Thomas, who plays his friend, we just had a proper laugh. I had to be really nasty and stuff. I was Conor’s age once – 13 and bit mischievous – so I just loved his character and he’s a lovely little kid. Both of them, Conor and Shaun, they’re both wicked actors … it’s going to do really well that film.

Have you got anything coming up next?
I’m sort of just doing the rounds at the moment. I’m just waiting for Spike Island to come out and then The Selfish Giant should be coming out. I’m just doing the rounds, keeping myself busy. But I’d like to try and do something American.

Any plans of working with your twin brother Luke at any point?
I’d love to. To be honest if someone said to me, “what would be your ideal job?” I’d say I’d love to work with my brother because I think that connection that we’ve got, not just as twins but the connection that we’ve got with each other … would be amazing on film.

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