You can watch it on their Facebook page:
Following the US release of Running Naked, we reached out to Michael Knowles, one of the producers and writers of the comedy drama about two cancer survivors starring Matthew McNulty, Andrew Gower, Tamzin Merchant and Rakhee Thakrar. We’re extremely grateful he took the time to answer a couple of our questions while wrapping up his latest filming project in Mexico.
Michael Knowles is an English film producer, writer and musician. Having been mentored by Andrew Eaton through the UK’s Guiding Lights scheme, he has produced several full feature length films including the award winning drama Best Laid Plans and mystery horror film The Messenger starring Robert Sheehan and Tamzin Merchant. He’s also produced a series of short films, among them one of British acting legends Pete Postlethwaite’s last films Waving at Trains. In 2004 he received a BAFTA nomination for his short film Talking with Angels.
First of all, congratulations to a truly beautiful and heartfelt film! I really enjoyed attending the virtual screening of Running Naked on World Cancer Day. For touching on such serious subjects like cancer and mental health, it is a surprisingly uplifting film.
Many thanks that’s very much appreciated.
You recently mentioned in an interview that “life is about living, not dying” and that it would be a great slogan for Running Naked. Could you explain how it relates to the film?
We are all dying at different rates. The film touches how reflecting on this can positively affect how we live our lives. We need to be present in the moment and sometimes bad thing happening make you focus on this. I know when my wife went through this, we really focused on what was important to us and what was a stressful time became strangely a positive one.
My friend is a survivor of teenage cancer. I know she would love to watch Running Naked but she’s hesitant it might trigger some unwanted memories. What would you tell her?
We were keen that the presentation of cancer was both true but also positive. With that in mind we screened the film to young cancer patients through the teenage cancer trust. Their feedback was both moving and overwhelmingly positive. See below:
Firstly, when I found out it was a movie about two young lads going through treatment. Straightaway I thought “oh no” this might be too close to home and thought I might need to keep tissues ready for the emotional scenes. However, with that being said, my reaction was actually quite the opposite. This movie highlighted friendship during tough times and how they had each other to support but also how important it is to be there for one another.
For me personally, I never thought you could put comedy and cancer in the same genre, but the Running Naked team made it happen. Keeping it light-hearted and making me grin rather than cry just shows it was well put together. From the script, the cast, the whole movie storyline was brilliant. I laughed throughout because I could relate to the scenes.
I always avoided cringe cancer type of movies only because it was emotionally distressing but this movie I highly recommend, it’s a good watch. The writer’s message was to highlight friendship aspects during tough times and how the main characters Ben and Mark are just trying to live their lives to the fullest which as a viewer was so inspiring. They do things out of the ordinary especially for Ben because he has OCD. Highly recommend this movie and I’m sure you’ll reach out to your friends after watching if you haven’t in a while, especially during the current situation, as this movie just give you a pure warm fuzzy feeling inside. I know I’ll be recommending this movie to my friends.
Let’s go back to the beginning: the script for Running Naked was developed over a longer period of time until you and Victor Buhler decided to finally make it into a film. You called it a “leap of faith”. Are you glad you took it or would you have hoped for different circumstances?
I think films have a moment when they will or won’t happen. I am glad we took the leap of faith when we did as otherwise it wouldn’t have happened. I know when people find the film, they generally love it. Particularly if they have been through any of the experiences related in the film. My hope is over the years people will discover it and it will gain a following.
The script for Running Naked draws on some very personal experiences dealing with your wife’s own battle with cancer. Would you say it made it easier or more difficult to write?
Whilst the film doesn’t directly touch on the same experiences, having a pool of emotions and reflections based upon similar events did help. Particularly at a distance from those events.
Can you talk us through the casting process a little? How did Andrew (and the rest of the talented cast) become a part of Running Naked?
Andrew Gower came through an introduction from Tamzin Merchant (who I had worked with previously and who was cast as Sara) who was working with Andrew on Carnival Row. Matthew McNulty came through Andrew’s agent. Emma Stansfield and Sacha Parkinson I had both worked with before. Rahkee Thakrar also came through Tamzin (thank you Tamzin).
This needs to be followed by the unfortunately inevitable question: how was working with Andrew Gower?
He was great and gave so much to the role of Ben. He is a fab actor and we are looking to work together in the future.
Running Naked was filmed in summer 2018. Since then the world has changed quite fundamentally and in quite an unpredictable way. Do you think this has also changed people’s reception of the film?
It’s strange in the film the character of Ben washes his hands a lot with gel. This was meant to be unusual but now is the new norm!
Hopefully the hope and positivity in the film chimes even more now.
Stoke-on-Trent seems an unusual choice for a filming location. Why did you choose it? I personally liked the contrast between the more “clinical” look of the city and the lush English countryside, just like the film itself balances a very serious matter with heart and humour.
We shot there because it hadn’t been seen on screen before but also because I teach film at the university of Staffordshire and the university (and the students there) helped in the making of the film.
What would you say was the biggest challenge in making Running Naked?
I would say making what is such an ambitious film on a pretty micro budget.
Do you have a favourite scene?
There is a scene towards the end of the film when the two leads reflect on their friendship that I love and that echoes what I feel about friendship. However lots of great scenes and special moments in the film.
Running Naked is now available in the UK and in the USA digitally and as VOD. Are there any plans for releases in more countries, more theatrical screenings? I’m quite old fashioned and like physical copies of my favourite films. Any plans for a DVD release maybe?
No plans for DVD but looking at potential cinema screenings post covid. Working through sales agents to release in other territories.
You’re currently filming in Mexico. Is there anything you can share about your new project? Or any other projects we should look out for?
Just finished there. Some info on this here: Sam Claflin & Veronica Echegui Leading Rom-Com ‘Book Of Love’ – Deadline. Next project will be Deep Fried Bastards. Also working on another project with the wonderful Andrew Gower.
Thank you so very much again, Mr Knowles, for your time and patience. Hopefully many people will have the chance to experience Running Naked soon, on the big or small screen, and we’re looking forward to seeing your future work, especially if it involves our Andrew Gower!
For further information:
- read our exclusive Q&A with director Victor Buhler to find out more about the making of Running Naked!
- watch Andrew Gower‘s interview with The Upcoming!
- follow Running Naked on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates!
You can rent or buy Running Naked here:
Thanks to the Gesa Power House Theatre in Walla Walla (Washington, USA), which held two screenings of Running Naked on 2 and 7 April, we can share this exclusive Filmmakers Q&A between Director of Film Programming Warren Etheredge and filmmakers Victor Buhler and Michael Knowles. This pre-recorded interview was shown after each screening and is now available on YouTube.
Running Naked, the “feel good buddy dramedy” starring Andrew Gower and Matthew McNulty as cancer survivors Ben and Mark, is available to rent or buy digitally or as VOD on several streaming sites in the UK and the USA.
Please consider leaving a positive review if you liked the film to support this micro-budget independent production!
- 4 March 2021: Alex Billington for First Showing
[…] a feel good buddy comedy titled Running Naked […] From Emmy-winning director Victor Buhler, comes a heartfelt and moving tale that draws upon writer Jennifer Knowles personal experience as a cancer survivor. The story follows cancer survivors Ben and Mark, whose friendship is tested when some news forces them to change their perspectives. […] Looks like quirky, heartfelt fun.
(Source: First Showing)
- 6 April 2021: Darrel Manson for Screenfish
“Benjamin Taylor is leaving living today.”
Sometimes it takes the specter of death to bring light into life. Running Naked, from director Victor Buhler, is a feel-good dramedy that helps us see the beauty in life, even if we know that life is finite. Perhaps that finitude helps us see the meaning of it all.
The film serves as a reminder that we too often get bogged down in the vanities of life when we are meant to be seeking the beauty and joy that surrounds us—even in seemingly dark times.
- 7 April 2021: Tracey Petherick for Common Sense Media
Serious themes are handled with a light touch in this comedy drama that manages to find humor in a story that hinges on some of the toughest subject matter — terminal illness and mental health. Often emotional, sometimes bleak, but also punctuated by moments of joy, Running Naked is carried along at a pleasing pace by Gower and McNulty as Ben and Mark. From the way they bond as teens to the shift in their relationship as they hit their 30s, this archetypal “odd couple” maintain a friendship that is as unlikely as it is touching.
Like many of the best British indie movies, this production is not flashy or glamorous, but it feels real. Skillful cinematography finds the beauty in an ordinary world with clever scene setting, careful camera angles, and characters who are genuine and compelling. And while at times the narrative is unrefined, there is plenty of empathy and a strong sense of the value of human relationships. Fundamentally this movie is a journey of self-discovery for two people, both of whom just want to help a friend to live their best life.
(Source: Common Sense Media)
Emmy-winning director Victor Buhler’s feelgood comedy Running Naked is released [in the USA digitally and as VOD] this coming week, and we have an exclusive clip from the film for you below courtesy of distributor Trinity Creative Partnership.
Gesa Power House Theatre released this new poster art for Running Naked, “the feel-good indie movie that’ll restore your faith in just about everything” (Buzz Feed) which they will screen on Friday, 2 April 2021 and Wednesday, 7 April 2021 at 7:00pm. You can buy tickets for each screening, which will be followed by an exclusive pre-recorded interview between Director of Film Programming Warren Etheredge and filmmakers Victor Buhler and Michael Knowles.
Running Naked comes out digital and VOD on Tuesday, 6 April 2021 via Trinity Creative Partnership.
See more poster art, promotion skills and screencaps from Running Naked in our Gallery.
Ahead of its American VOD premiere, Running Naked will be screened at the Gesa Power House Theatre in Walla Walla (Washington, USA) on Friday, 2 April 2021 at 7:00pm with an encore screening on Wednesday, 7 April 2021 at 7:00pm. Each screening will be followed by a pre-recorded conversation between Director of Film Programming Warren Etheredge and filmmakers Victor Buhler and Michael Knowles.
General admission seating ($15 Adults, $10 Students) are available online. Seating for each screening is capped at 100 persons, so don’t wait too long to purchase your ticket!
Running Naked tells the story of Ben (Andrew Gower) and Mark (Matthew McNulty), who met at a cancer ward when they were teenagers and became lifelong friends despite all their differences. Mark becomes a successful doctor but the ghosts of his past stop him from retaining a lasting relationship with the woman he loves (Rakhee Thakrar). Ben has turned into a social recluse whose life is a series of obsessive habits. A piece of news forces both of them to reassess their lives and make some changes. Tamzin Merchant (Carnival Row, Ark) and Kira Sonia Sawar (Black Mirror, Humpty Fu*king Dumpty) also star in this a story about friendship and about how, in life, we sometimes need to unbutton our shirt collars, kick off our shoes, and streak through life unabashed.
In honour of Running Naked‘s upcoming digital and VOD release in the USA, ShockYa.com premiered an exclusive clip from the film titled “He’s a Jolly Good Fella”. It’s a pivotal scene in the “feel good comedy drama” featuring both leads, Andrew Gower and Matthew McNulty.
‘Running Naked’ was directed by Victor Buhler, who also wrote the script with Michael Knowles and Jennifer Knowles. The scribes drew on the personal experiences that Jennifer has had as a cancer survivor while they were working on the script. In addition to Gower and McNulty, the comedy-drama also stars Rakhee Thakrar, Tamzin Merchant and Kiran Sonia Sawar.
‘Running Naked’ follows Ben and Mark, who survived cancer as teenagers, as they search out fun and adventure, after a piece of news forces them to change their perspective on life. Their friendship is tested as old wounds are opened and they discover their true selves.
“In a world where cancer affects so many lives, Running Naked brings a positive and hopeful message to everyone and anyone whose life has been touched by the disease.”
You can rent or buy the film on these platforms in the USA & Canada:
- Amazon Prime (US)
- Google Play
- iTunes (US) & iTunes (Canada)
- Redbox OD
Running Naked is also available in the UK to rent or buy at the following streaming services:
101 Films International are overseeing the world-wide distribution of the film, so we can expect it to be released in other countries soon. Watch this space for more information!
For further information:
- 15 January 2021: moke-70800
Fantastic film with a really good cast. Gripped from the first minute till the last.
- 17 January 2021: piersnightingale-83221
Funny, raw and honest, ‘Running Naked‘ is an uplifting celebration of love and friendship in the face of adversity. A cracking script, combined with perfectly judged directing and wonderful performances all round, keep us thoroughly engaged throughout. Who knew how much confronting human mortality could be so incredibly life-affirming? A much needed feel-good film for everyone!
- 17 January 2021: jackie-omalley
Great story of the bond formed by two young lads going through cancer treatment and how their friendship endures when both handle it in very different ways. Great performances by Andrew Gower and Matthew McNulty.
- 4 February 2021: gillggower
Great cast and wonderful production. Honestly the best most down to earth films I have seen for a long time. It made me laugh and cry ..well done!
- 5 February 2021: ruthspiers
A heart warming and humorous story about a friendship formed by teenagers with cancer. The film manages to feel light while tackling a serious subject. As the boys become men it is apparent that there have been long term consequences, for both males, of having looked into the face of a potential early death. An interesting story line. Crazy action and beautifully written human interactions. A must watch!
- 8 February 2021: gertbucket
Well! What more can I say that hasn’t been said already? Utterly fantastic, beautifully shot, and tremendous performances from all cast, especially Andrew Gower and Matthew McNulty. A very at times moving journey of true friendship and love, formed from cancer and highlights cancer and what it does and that there is much hope. I laughed. I cried. I was at times on the edge of my seat, and my stomach was in my throat! A real must watch, this film deserves to go far and wide!
- 9 February 2021: spcounselling
I work with a lot of people who suffer from OCD and it’s refreshing to have a character portrayed accurately, movingly but in a humorous way too! The actors, the story and the scenery were breathtakingly captivating. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.
- 9 February 2021: beckirmhhead
The whole film was inspiring from start to finish. It was moving and uplifting, funny and full of emotion. The cast and crew have done an excellent job and I can’t wait to watch it again. Highly recommend!
- 9 February 2021: normawarden
This lovely film kept us glued to the screen throughout. It was about two best friends, one had terminal cancer, one did not. They had both already dealt with cancer as teenagers which had created a lasting bond between them. The antics they got up to , both in the past and in the present time was very funny and the whole story flowed between the laughter, mischief and of course, the serious problem of a life coming to a close. The acting was first rate, performed with smooth sensitivity and liveliness. A brilliant cast indeed leaving us with a long lasting impression of these beautiful people and their heartwarming story.
- 11 February 2021: GWKH
A difficult subject treated with warmth and humour. Even though the film deals with cancer as a central theme the tone is upbeat throughout with the laughs coming naturally from the relationships between the two leads as both adults and teenagers. [….] the film […] is about the journey the two lead character Ben and Mark make.
It is also refreshing to see a film shot entirely in the North West. The film is shot in a documentary style which suits the road movie element of the film. A lovely score too by Craig Potter from the band Elbow.
An excellent upbeat British film
- 16 February 2021: Greatupnorth
Great to see films made in the UK and especially up North, Stoke, Manchester and Derbyshire. The cast did an excellent job making this film so real and moving but with comedy, their honesty and integrity made this a treat to watch again and again.
- 19 February 2021: lanandjim
This is a warm hearted fun filled story, guaranteed to leave you in a better place by the end. The cast are excellent and the subject matter is dealt with sensitively, with some proper laugh out loud moments.
If you liked Running Naked, please give it a 10 star rating on IMDb and leave a positive review. Thank you for your support of this independent film!
- 22 January 2021: Louise Rhind-Tutt for ILoveManchester:
Making its UK premiere on World Cancer Day (4th February), Running Naked balances humour, emotion and drama in equal measure. […]
In a world where cancer affects so many lives, Running Naked aims to bring a positive and hopeful message to everyone and anyone whose life has been touched by the disease.
“There was no chance Manchester wouldn’t feature in Running Naked, which has its heart and soul in the North.”
“We shot in the city centre at The Radisson Edwardian and in the stunning Peak District countryside just outside the city, where I’m lucky enough to live.”
“Manchester provides the perfect backdrop to some important moments in our story.”
- 4 February 2021: Sam Cleal for Buzzfeed
“Running Naked” Is The Feel-Good Indie Movie That’ll Restore Your Faith In Just About Everything
… technically the main characters Ben and Mark do run around a hospital together butt naked, but the film is so much more than its titular titillation! It’s really a film about friendship, finding love, and seizing life while you still can. […]
Basically, this film is super uplifting and will undoubtedly remind viewers to live life to the fullest every day, and to never become content with less than you deserve! And who doesn’t need that feel-good energy right now?!
- 4 February 2021: Michael Sales for Midlands Movies
Running Naked is very much a Midlands production, being filmed in locations such as Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton. And whilst Victor Buhler, Jennifer Knowles and Michael Knowles are credited as co-writers, the film specifically draws on Jennifer Knowles’ own experience as a cancer survivor.
This personal angle is infused in the film with its heartfelt and sympathetic situations. And although for me the film never really generated any huge belly laughs, the gentle comedy certainly balances the right tone between the serious issues of dealing with terrible news and the humorous fondness, and struggles, of friendship.
The film’s structure continues this duality with regular flashbacks to the younger duo, whose light-hearted take on their condition is sincere and understanding. Rather than being in denial, the fun they tackle life with shows an often-universal need for lightness during a crisis. […]
There is an understandable sadness in the film but at its core the movie is a positive and life-affirming tale of friendship where warmth shines from the screen throughout. An unclothed and honest look at self-discovery in the face of devastating circumstances, Running Naked is a tender triumph that cleverly shows how support and laughter is a very much needed medicine.
(Source: Midland Movies)
- 19 February 2021: Carlie Newman for Close-Up Film
A film about cancer sufferers doesn’t sound very jolly, but, in fact, this film has a lot of light moments. […]
[…] this film is a very English look at young cancer sufferers. […] Running Naked is a little drama mixing comedy and tragedy in a good blend of emotional reality. With two sensitive performances by McNulty and Gower and backed up by the other actors, it is always moving. The film is […] using Jennifer’s personal experiences of having cancer to give us this absorbing story. Sensitively directed by Victor Buhler, it is a simple – as in easy – little film and worth a watch.
(Source: Close-Up Film)
Journalist Sarah Bradbury (The Upcoming) interviewed Andrew Gower about playing cancer survivor Ben Taylor in the British independent production Running Naked. They talked about researching Ben’s OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and how it relates to a world in lockdown from an infectious disease, filminig in “exotic places” like Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and Manchester and finally how humour helps to deal with the toughest situations.
Running Naked is a film about Ben and Mark (Matthew McNulty), who met at a cancer ward as teenage patients and became lifelong friends. It is described as a comedy drama about “love, friendship and streaking”. It is available to stream online after its world premiere at the Beijing International Film Festival in August 2020 where it was nominated for the Tiantian award.
For further information we also recommend:
If you had a chance to watch Running Naked and liked it, please consider leaving a positive review on Amazon or IMDb and share this info. It’ll go a long way supporting this micro-budget independent film and our Andrew Gower! Thank you so very much!
So far all options are limited to the UK but as the world-wide distributions rights have already been sold to 101 Films International, it is only a matter of time until the film can be watched in other countries as well. We’ll keep you posted!
Ahead of the online premiere of Running Naked on 4 February 2021, Andrew Gower spoke to The Milk Bar podcast about the film, the filming that included scenes shot in Wolverhampton and the charities they are supporting with this release.
Read all our news about Running Naked and follow the film’s official Social Media accounts for more information.
Matthew McNulty talked to Sue Crawford (Metro.co.uk) about catching Covid, making a splash in Coronation Street and stripping off for his new film Running Naked which he stars in alongside Andrew Gower.
Your new film is called Running Naked – did you?
Yes! It was in an area of the hospital we had full control over, so it wasn’t too embarrassing, and we filmed in the summer so we weren’t too cold. It was liberating and nerve-wracking at the same time.
It’s been described as a film that will make you laugh and cry…
There are sad moments but it’s uplifting more than anything else. It’s about two cancer survivors, Mark and Ben [played by Andrew Gower], who are friends from being teenagers. The title comes from the fact that when they were younger they streaked through the hospital naked. It’s also a metaphor for being free – running without the things that weigh you down.
We’ve had great news that the wordwide distribution rights to Running Naked, a comedy about “love, friendship and streaking”, have been picked up by 101 Films International, a London based sales agent and distribution company. This is a big step as the company attends all major film markets which will help present the film to a larger audience.
So far the deal does not include the UK and the USA but negotiations for these countries are ongoing. If you’re a UK resident (or happen to have a British postcode at hand), you can watch the online screening of Running Naked on Thursday, 4 February 2021 at Virtual Cinema.
Andrew Gower plays Ben Taylor, who formed a life-long friendship with Mark (Matthew McNulty) when they were both treated for cancer as teenagers. They grow up to become very different individuals: Mark is a successful doctor, who struggles to form a meaningful relationship with his on-and-off girlfriend Jade (Rahkee Thakrar) while Ben has built a protective shell of obsessive behaviour around himself. A piece of devastating news forces them to re-evaluate their lives as their embark on the adventure of their lifetimes.
After screenings at the Bejing International Film Festival and the Portland Film Festival last year, Running Naked will now be screened online via Virtual Cinema. Mark your calendars on World Cancer Day, Thursday, 4 February 2021 at 8:00pm GMT and get your tickets here!
When you register to buy the ticket, you will be asked to enter a UK post code. We’re still trying to find out if that means you have to be a UK resident to see the screening, or if it will be available worldwide. [see our ETAs below to find out the answer]
Running Naked is a British independet micro-budget film about love, friendship and streaking.
The friendship of cancer survivors Ben and Mark is tested when a piece of news forces each character to change their perspective. Old wounds are opened as they discover their true selves.
ETA (19 January 2021):
It’s been confirmed by the social media manager of Running Naked that the digital screening of the film on Thursday, 4 February 2021 will sadly be only accessible for UK residents. However, the film will be released digitally on Monday, 8 February 2021. We will keep you updated as soon as we have the full list of platforms and release dates.
BeenToTheMovies.com also mentions a screening on Thursday, 4 February 2021 at the Film Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent (UK) pending Covid restrictions. According to the Theatre’s website, the venue is currently closed.
ETA (27 January 2021):
We made a further inquiry with Virtual Cinema directly and their answer was that “the platform only allows for UK residents” but added that “it has been known to work if you use a UK postcode on signing up”.
SW1A 1AA is the postcode of Buckingham Palace. Just as an example. Or you could google the London address of your country’s embassy. Always helpful to know! 😉
After the screening of Running Naked at the Portland Film Festival, Michael Dunway conducted an online Q&A with the films writers Michael and Jennifer Knowles as well as both lead actors Matthew McNulty (who was born Michael Anthony McNulty) and Andrew Gower.
You can watch the full Q&A here:
We’ve just had news via the Running Naked Film Instagram account that the film was selected by yet another film festival and will be screened online at the Portland Film Festival next week from 12 – 18 October 2020.
Named, one of the top 25 coolest film festivals in the world, the Portland Film Festival (PDXFF) is the biggest and most highly attended film-lover movie event in the Northwest. Each year, we program some of the coolest independent movies, workshops and classes around.
(Source: Portland Film Festival)
For more information on this independent production, please also read our exclusive Q&A with writer/director Victor Buhler.
We feel extremely honoured that one of our most prominent Twitter followers, American filmmaker Victor Buhler, agreed to talk with us about one of his upcoming film projects Running Naked starring Matthew McNulty, Andrew Gower, Tamzin Merchant and Rakhee Thakrar.
Harvard graduate Victor Buhler is a writer, producer and director of several award winning drama and documentary films. His IMDb page lists an impressive 8 wins and further 4 nominations, including an Emmy nomination for his documentary Rikers High (2006) and a Student Academy Award nomination for his dramatic short film Chaperone (2001). Last year he won the Emmy for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary for Tom vs Time. He’s also taught film-making at his alma mater Harvard University and at New York University’s Tisch Graduate Film School.
First of all: Thank you so very much, Mr Buhler, for taking the time to answer a couple of questions about your upcoming film Running Naked for us!
A friend of ours named Rob Wales had the original idea but we developed the script extensively over time. We all felt very connected to the idea: Jennifer is a cancer survivor herself and Mike helped her through her recovery; I was in a life-threatening car accident. In the process of surviving those terrible moments in our lives, we adapted. Survival makes you tougher but it can also make your thought processes more brittle or it can make you less open to certain experiences. Running Naked is about breaking through where you’re stuck mentally. The film main characters – Ben and Mark – open old wounds but they end up rediscovering their true selves.
Running Naked stars Andrew Gower, Matthew McNulty and Tamzin Merchant. All three actors have previously worked together on other projects. In your own personal opinion, do you think it is an advantage or a disadvantage to work with actors who know each other well?
When actors know each other well – and respect each other – they can develop a shorthand. Certainly that shorthand was clear between Andrew and Tamzin, who share a love scene together in particular that I think is one of the best scenes in the film. Overall, I felt the actors really enjoyed working with one another.
Can you tell us something about the casting process, and how was working with Andrew Gower? You mentioned in an earlier conversation with us that you’re also a “big fan” of his.
In truth, I wasn’t that familiar with Andrew’s work before casting Running Naked. I soon realized he is a very capable actor with a tremendous amount of range and sensitivity. He has incredible attention to detail: he had a very clear vision of his character of Ben Taylor. He was meticulous, heartfelt and always prepared.
Running Naked is a film about friendship, about two men who met when they were both treated for leukaemia when they were teenagers and who re-connect later in life when one of them is faced with some life changing news. Is that an accurate plot description?
Running Naked is about friendship for sure although Mark and Ben – the two main characters – never lost contact since they were teenagers. Mark, however, has seen his friend retreat into his own world and Ben has become a fussy, obsessive recluse. The story is about when a piece of news forces each character to change their perspective.
One of the main characters, Ben (played by Andrew Gower) is not only a former cancer patient but also struggles with severe mental health issues. Did you do extensive research on both illnesses?
I wouldn’t say that Ben has severe mental health issues. He did develop obsessive mental patterns that became his way to cope with cancer. I did research Obsessive Compulsive Disorder extensively but I would say that Ben’s diagnosis would be mild and not be severe. Nevertheless, habits run deep and the mind is a mysterious tool that can control a person’s behavior in complex ways.
In terms of cancer, Jennifer Knowles, who co-wrote the script, is a cancer survivor herself.
When we first heard about Running Naked, we couldn‘t help but be reminded of a German film called Knockin‘ on Heaven‘s Door *. Have you ever heard of it?
[* A “criminal comedy” about two cancer patients who meet in hospital and decide to go on a road trip to see the ocean. They get in trouble with a group of gangsters, are chased by the police and end up in a brothel, before they finally reach their goal.]
I haven’t but would like to see it.
Would you say Running Naked falls into the same category or does it have a completely different tone? In other words, how many boxes of tissues and chocolate are we going to need?
Hopefully a box of each!
Running Naked is produced by NoW Films. Can you tell us something about the company?
NoW (North of Watford) Films was born out of a passion to generate, develop and produce high quality film and television projects. The company’s ethos is to create and maintain an impressive network of creative talent and industry partners not only within the production world, but in terms of high quality writing, acting and directing. NoW has produced 8 features since 2009.
When and where will fans be able to see Running Naked? What does the future hold for it?
The state of the world has affected the film’s release schedule but we’re excited to announce that Running Naked will debut at the Beijing Film Festival at the end of August 2020 and will be released, starting in the UK, from October 2020.
Last but not least: Will there be any actual naked running or is it just a metaphor?
You’ll have to watch the film to find out of course!
Thank you, Mr Buhler, once again and we are very much looking forward to seeing Running Naked and Andrew bringing Ben Taylor to life.
Thank you for your interest in the film and in Andrew’s career, of course!
Running Naked, a full length independent production that Andrew Gower stars in alongside Matthew McNulty (Misfits, Black Work), will have its world premiere at the 10th annual Beijing International Film Festival (BJIFF) in the week of 22 – 29 August 2020.
Mark and Ben have been friends since meeting as teenage cancer patients. Twenty years later, Mark is a successful, womanizing doctor while Ben has become a neurotic recluse – a prisoner of his own obsessive rituals and wacky habits. A dramatic piece of news upends their lives and challenges Mark and Ben’s friendship to the core. To break Ben out of his shell, Mark stakes everything he – and Ben – has, and drags his mate on an adventure that will change both their lives.
More news about Running Naked and an exclusive Q&A with writer and director Victor Buhler to follow shortly, so watch this space!
With most of us in some form of quarantine during the Covid-19 epidemic, we hope the follwing interview will provide some welcome distraction. Andrew Gower graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us earlier this week – little did he know how many there would be! He answered all of them nonetheless and we cannot thank him enough for his time and patience!
We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we did coming up with questions and covering “a bit of everything”.
First things first: How are you?
Right now, I feel like I should be asking all of you … how you are? … but I shall answer your question : despite the craziness of the world right now – I’m well thank you and healthy. Self isolating in London. In a VERY clean flat.
This question needs to be asked: On a scale from 1-10, how weird or how awesome is it for you to have your own small fanbase?
10 for awesomeness. The weirdness has worn away.
Do you remember the first time someone asked you for your autograph?
The first autograph I ever signed was at a cinema in Angel – the person sat next to me thought I was Andy Murray.
You’re not very active on Social Media. What changed your mind about joining Instagram? Do you have a preference?
I love Twitter for football. All Everton news. That’s a daily go to. I do like to post random photos or music on both – sporadically. I think it’s a nice way to share work you’re passionate about. But I’ve definitely made a conscious effort to spend less time on them. Nothing wrong with a bit of mystery.
Tell us something about Andrew, the actor: when you’re filming, what’s the first thing you do when you come on set? Do you have a special routine?
This changes from set to set … or whatever scenes I’m filming that day. But I’d say a common go to is a cup of black coffee or at a push a red bush tea.
Part of the fun of wrapping a project is knowing that when it comes out you’ll be in a completely different headspace/another role 🤞. There’s something magical about that. Much nicer to be able to watch a project from a distance – not that I’m an avid viewer of my work anyway.
Out of all the characters you played, do you have a favourite?
I really don’t. The joy is being able to think what you can play next or how you could improve the role you just played/make better for next time.
Probably one of the most beloved characters you’ve played so far is Sherlock Holmes (lovingly nicknamed “Baby Sherlock” by your fans btw) on Murdoch Mysteries. It’s been 7 years and people are still asking if/when you’ll make a comeback. Are you aware there’s even an online petition that asks for your return?
I’m not aware but that’s very lovely to hear.
What would Sherlock Holmes think about Miss Eliza Scarlet?
Probably be incredibly envious of her talents … and hat collection.
I’ve definitely had my overdose of Victorian England. Etiquette coming out of my ears. Although with every character I try and approach them with a different mind set or from a different angle – but it definitely helps to have researched a time period.
One of your fans once commented that it takes “guts and talent” to take on characters like Caligula or Bonnie Prince Charlie. What do you think were some brave choices you made in portraying either character?
That’s lovely to hear. I think one of the main things I took from drama school and from actors I admire … is that we should always be taking risks. Creative risks. Bold choices. Just like Brian Epstein took a risk on 4 lads from Liverpool. Best creative decisions are always risks.
I’ve never seen it. Thanks for the recommendation.
Three of the characters you played recently (Tommy Quickly, James Hadfield and Ben Taylor) are all battling (different) mental health issues. Coincidence or is this a topic you particularly liked exploring at that moment?
Honestly, it’s just they’re all really interesting characters on the page. It’s an amazing opportunity to play somebody who faces different day to day obstacles than yourself.
Can you share any news on Running Naked?
The last I heard the final edit is finished.
I really couldn’t choose. V lucky to have filmed in all those countries. My mitten game is strong … don’t you worry.
Congratulations on a second season for Carnival Row! How does it feel to be back for another season?
It’s great to be back!
Our corner of the internet imploded a little, when you announced your part in the final season of Poldark. To see Mitchell and Cutler unite is probably the biggest dream, Being Human fans never knew they had, come true. How was filming with Aidan Turner?
Great to finally meet Aidan. Was lovely to chat about our time on Being Human and many of the Poldark crew had been on the show too. Joy to see them all!
You recently completed your first film as a producer. Can you tell us something about the experience to be in charge of a project from beginning to end? Would you like to produce again, maybe also direct?
It’s definitely something I’d like to do again. Though like with everything … It’s all about finding the right project and then you’ll NEED to do it.
Our wonderful producer Jennie Scanlon found out I had been in a band and asked if they could use the music for the episode.
Another example is Rob (Black Mirror), who is singing in his car just before the fatal accident. Was that scene improvised?
If you had become a professional football player, which position would you have played? Who’s your favourite player?
Oh best question of the day. I was a delusional central midfielder. Still am. My favourite player is Leighton Baines.
Anything you want to say to your fans?
Thanks so much for all your support and now more than ever please stay safe n at home.
Thanks a million, Andrew, for taking the time and agreeing to answer this really long list of questions. Stay safe and well, and we can’t wait to see you in your upcoming projects!
>>> Don’t miss Miss Scarlet and The Duke on 31 March 2020 9:00pm on Alibi channel! <<<
Welcome to #TeamHumptyDumpty, Oli!