Ken Loach and Paul Brannigan reveals details of The Angels’ Share casting process

Critically acclaimed film The Angels’ Share is the latest offering from film director Ken Loach and Scottish screenwriter Paul Laverty and tells the story of Robbie, a trouble lad from Glasgow locked in a family feud who wants to turn his life around.

Robbie discovers he has a nose for fine whiskey, and the film follows him and his hapless pals as they plot to get their hands on some priceless single malt.

Ken is a big fan of naturalness in his films, and in The Angels’ Share he allowed the actors to have their own opinions on the script and gave them the chance to move freely and to work with what they had to make the most of the scenes.

The talented director has an extensive casting process and he knew what he was looking for before the auditions started, so when the actors were cast he had the confidence to let them do it their way.

Speaking about the actors in The Angels’ Share, Ken said: “Some of the actors we’ve worked with before, like John Henshaw, William Ruane and Gary Maitland, have got quite big parts, but one or two of them are new to us – Paul Brannigan, Jasmin Riggins and Siobhan Reilly.

“I think sometimes you get a rawness and a real authenticity, so it isn’t premeditated in the performance, and we just look and see people again and again, so by the time you see the film you know that they’ve got the depth of emotion and they’ve got the range and the staying power to do it.”

Paul Brannigan plays the part of Robbie, and although he had no acting experience or training, he thinks he was chosen to star in the film because of his past life experiences.

“I was actually doing voluntary work in my community centre and Paul Laverty was doing his research and came down and spoke to me and a group of boys,” Paul explained.

“He asked me a bit about my life and told me a bit about the story, and it was a mirror image. He came back with Ken and asked me to go for some auditions, and I thought it was going to be daunting but it was the complete opposite.

“I did 10 or 15 auditions and I think what Ken was doing was moulding me into the character, allowing me to use my past experiences and life experiences and building my confidence up.”


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