SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Sam Christie: I work as a documentary filmmaker, generally making socially engaged films. I’ve recently returned from Kosovo where I was making a doc and spent time in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2016 making a couple of films over there. Prior to that I worked for the environmental organisation the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. Basically my world is generally non fiction and the last thing I thought I’d do is act in a film. My website is here if you want to know more: https://www.drsamchristie.com/
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?
Sam Christie: I have acting in the family, but as far as I was concerned I wanted to play music and make films. I was attracted to non-fiction. So in answer to this, I never thought I’d act really
SKSM: How did you become involved in Vinton’s Lot Dollar Baby film?
Sam Christie: Jamie Dearden, a friend of mine, secured the Dollar Baby shortly after I moved back to Wales. He thought I would make a good Tim. I wasn’t so sure, but I admire people who get things done, especially against the odds, so I agreed to be a part of it.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Sam Christie: This story is no easy story to tell filmically. Even as a fiction film virgin I could see this one would be hard to make. The story, however, like much of Stephen King’s stuff is multi-layered. He’s got some serious stuff going on in this. One of the things that I think attracted Jamie was the fact that he could show off the wonderful landscape we have here in Wales in the film. I also think that he was attracted to the intelligence of the dialogue. I mean, to adapt a script, you need something to get your teeth into.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Sam Christie: I have a horrible feeling that Jamie had me in mind all along. I still don’t know why, haha. I didn’t have to audition though as he seemed clear he could see me as an evil property shyster.
SKSM: You worked with Ali Cocks on this film, how was that?
Sam Christie: Ali is great. Now I’m not just being sycophantic here. She organised so much, made something happen with next to no money and then, when I couldn’t imagine we’d reach the finish line, collated and edited the footage. What she managed to do was find a film in what we had shot. For much of the production phase I wasn’t sure we even had a film. I’m seriously grateful to her and will work with her again in a shot.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Sam Christie: Well when we were shooting the nasty scene where I’m yelling and pointing a gun at her after every take I’d be apologising and then straight back into character to do it again. It’s weird playing a part like this. I’d say I wasn’t a psychopath but you can never know for sure. I’m pretty sure Jamie was convinced I was – after filming he might have changed his mind J
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Sam Christie: Yes. I see Ali and Jamie a lot and as for the rest of them, yes they’re a great bunch of people and I’d like to do something with them again. To be honest I’d like to see what this crew could do with a budget.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Sam Christie: I’m working on a film about Coleg Harlech, a second chance higher education college in Wales that is being sold off cheaply. It’s a complex documentary that’s been really tough to make, but I’m trying to point out that we need, more than ever, to have education and culture at the core of our societies across the world. If you want to know more, have a look at an article I wrote about the film here https://www.planetmagazine.org.uk/planet-extra/requiem-coleg-harlech
And more importantly, if you want to make the world a better place (and you’re rich), buy the place and turn it back to what it once was
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Sam Christie: Big time. He’s a legend. What I like about Stephen King is the subtext. He’s a genius at telling an engaging story that lightly conceals a wider meaning. My love of The Shining endures and the book is so different from the film. In SK’s book the difference from the film comes out most noticably in the crazy boiler scene in my opinion. Reading his words I was in the boiler room.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Sam Christie: I wear my heart on my sleeve. I think that people know more or less all there is to know and what they don’t will stay there thanks very much.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Sam Christie: It a great idea to do this. So basically anyone, from the expereinced to the poor enthusiast can have a go at adapting this iconic writer’s work.