Profile: Dylan Duffus from 1 Day
For his first acting gig, Birmingham barber Duffus started his career at the top, playing the central role in Penny Woolcock’s hip-hop musical drama about gang-life in the Handsworth area. Despite a lack of formal training, Duffus managed to parlay his initial role as a script consultant into becoming second assistant director, and then playing the role of Flash, a drug-dealer who faces a career meltdown over twenty-four hours on his local estate.
On playing the lead in his first movie?
‘I grew up in the inner city, and Penny had initially shown me the script because she thought it was important to get the details of the slang used just right. I have to admit that I do like being in front of the camera, and once I’d stood in as Flash for some of the auditions, I realised I was talking myself into the role. Penny was really clever the way she brought me into it gradually.’
On patronising the urban audience
1 Day doesn’t glamourise the gangster lifestyle, the truth is that it’s not a game, if you don’t get smart, you’ll end up dead or in jail. If you carry a gun, chances are you’ll end up in two minutes of madness, and that’s the clear message of the film. So we had no problems shooting the film on location, everyone in the communities there was right behind us and what we were doing.’
Duffus is aiming to make sure his career is no flash in the pan. He’s aiming to further his own musical career by producing his own mix album, and he’s also in the process of starting his own record label. ‘The people whose careers I admire are people like Master P, Jay-Z, P Diddy, rappers who take control and make their career their business. And yes, I want to direct too, making 1 Day really gave me a taste for it.’
1 Day is on selected release from Fri 6 Nov.