Horsham boy enjoys lockdown screen success opposite Patricia Hodge
A ten-year-old Horsham boy has shared the screen with Patricia Hodge in his acting debut.
And already the film is picking up awards, including, most recently, at this year’s Horsham Film Festival.
Rose Pandemic – which can be viewed on https://vimeo.com/495496984 and also on YouTube – sees Patricia Hodge play the part of Rose.
At the height of lockdown, Rose and her dog Reg live in comfortable isolation in an affluent part of central London.
But when a chance encounter with an unlikely drug dealer disrupts their routine, she realises she was already shielding from her past.
Playing the drug dealer is Theo Hacquebord.
“I was nervous at first, but then I got the hang of it,” he says. “And Patricia was nice once you got to know her.”
It was a fantastic experience which has now set Theo’s course for the future: “I love expressing myself. It is my passion. It is what I want to do.”
It all comes as a bit of a surprise, admits his mum Mollie Pugh: “My daughter is 16 years old and she is at stage school, at the Brit School. And Theo, being in the shadow of his sister, just suddenly said that he wanted to act. He is quite funny, he is always mucking around and always pranking.”
All of which has now translated quite naturally into acting.
Mollie’s friend Helen Knight, who runs Encore Academy in Crawley, stepped in to help: “She has got access to gigs and opportunities, and they shared this script. They were looking to cast a boy to work on this short film linked to getting the industry started. This was August last year. Helen spent a couple of hours with him in the garden and they did a video and he was cast. He had no experience – just willingness and a couple of hours in the garden with Helen!”
Filming for the ten-minute short meant half a day’s filming in London. Theo was given some coaching: “He was playing quite a gangster type with a bit of attitude, and Patricia Hodge was playing Rose. It was a short film to highlight some of the personal challenges people have faced around isolation as a result of the lockdown.
“Theo plays this young boy and rocks up in Pimlico and is trying to push drugs to this lady (Patricia) he meets on a park bench. They build up a bit of a rapport and she starts to associate this relationship with this young boy to the strange relationship she has with her own son (played by Alistair Hall).
“They made the film to kick-start the industry again and get people working again. It was all non-paid. Everyone donated their time. It was all for free.”
But already it is looking likely to prove an important first step for Theo. He has now signed up to a talent agency and has got an agent.
“He wants to go the Brit School. This is what he wants to do. Hopefully something will come of it!”
The film has won Best Fiction – Southampton Film Week (2020) and Best Pandemic Special Film – Lifft India (2020). It also won best drama at the Horsham Film Festival.
Watch on Vimeo or YouTube. Director – Daisy Lewis; writer – Peter Darney.