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Actor, Director and Writer Celyn Jones on 3 New Film Releases

celyn jones featured

Actor, Writer, and Director Celyn Jones Talks About His Directorial Debut, Embracing Improv, and Exploring the Dark Side

It’s a busy time for Celyn Jones, promoting not one, not two, but three films currently, including his directorial debut shining a light on brain injuries, a mockumentary about vegetable growing, and a film set in Wales that showcases his range. Here, he tells Absolutely about them all.

celyn jones rebel wilson the almond and the seahorse

The Almond and the Seahorse: Directorial Debut

On Making His Directorial Debut

“Thank you. I guess we have to start somewhere… the key was to get it moving and then keep up with it. It was very exciting and nerve-wracking too, initially, because the challenge was big, and I had so many hats to wear from directing to writing and acting to producing.”

Describing His Directorial Style

“An actor’s director. I’ve been a professional actor for nearly 25 years and a film fan for as long as I can remember, so my instincts and tastes gravitate towards performance and the performers. It’s about creating the atmosphere and platform for the actors to feel comfortable to fly and soar in front of us.”

Learning from Other Directors

“The best directors invite collaboration across departments, inspire generously, yet still have the confidence to sit in a leadership position. They shoulder the film and guide it through exciting and dangerous waters. I’ve worked with some incredible directors… I’ve stolen from them all.”

celyn jones director

The Story and Meaning Behind the Title

“It takes its name from the parts of the brain that lay down new memories – the amygdala and the hippocampus. They are called the ‘almond’ and the ‘seahorse’ because they are shaped like that… It’s about love and surviving love, and the pain of accepting a new life presented to you post-traumatic brain injury (TBI).”

Changes from the Stage Production

“The play was a brilliant and solid foundation, but the film had to be different and more of an evolution… So the film has extended themes and storylines, lots of new characters, and a well-earned and satisfying resolution.”

Responsibility in Portraying Brain Injuries

“It’s too important to so many, so I always feel the weight of responsibility. We researched thoroughly and took a lot of advice and guidance from experienced professionals to make sure our lens was correct, and we represented these conditions correctly.”

Working with the Cast

“It certainly is an embarrassment of riches and wonderful to be surrounded by a predominantly female cast, too… Each of them is so powerful and deft in their craft and so generous with their talent and ideas.”

Proud of the Film

“I’m hugely proud of the film and for everyone involved. Independent film is its own miracle and impossibility, so when it happens, it deserves to be celebrated like a precious, fragile little life.”

Swede Caroline: A Mockumentary

About Swede Caroline

“Swede Caroline is a really fun and heartfelt comedy, a mockumentary about competitive vegetable growing. I play the very lovable, borderline insane, daft Willy, who is Caroline’s right-hand man, needy neighbor, and not-so-secret admirer with a secret.”

Improvisation on Set

“Lots of improv. I like improvisation, so playing with great actors you trust and sculpting a gag is just joyful. And hearing an audience get it and enjoy it is really great.”

Favorite Mockumentaries

“Spinal Tap, What We Do in the Shadows… I’ll say no more.”

celyn jones

Chuck Chuck Baby: Exploring the Darker Side

His Role in Chuck Chuck Baby

“This character is at the polar opposite to the others, a tightly wound knot of anger, fragility, and resentment. He’s a dangerous and pathetic monster, and it was my job to find his beating heart underneath that flesh and shell suit.”

Set in Wales

“Chuck is set in Flint, North Wales, and I’m from the other end, Holyhead on Anglesey, but they are similar towns. Very working-class and tight-knit, financially up against it, shall we say. It’s a familiar world to me.”

Pursuing a Creative Career

“Growing up, I was a dreamer and loved the video shop and cinema. Pluckily, I decided at school to go into show business with zero experience and connections to the industry, and it’s only taken me 25 years to be an overnight success.”

Other Notable Works and Future Projects

Special Acting and Writing Credits

“I’m proud of most of my career and grateful to all of it and hate to choose, but I will say, Shackleton, Above Suspicion, Set Fire to the Stars, The Vanishing, Jo, Submergence, Six Minutes to Midnight, Manhunt, Almond and the Seahorse, and Chuck Chuck Baby have all been gear-shift moments for me in my career so far for various reasons. They all changed and moulded me.”

Playing Levi Bellfield in Manhunt

“Of course [I had reservations]. You can’t even contemplate taking on a role like that without considering the very real-world consequences of what he did… Colin Sutton was really helpful to me and very kind about my work. It’s a tough subject to talk about, never mind celebrate, because there are victims and their families, so I just did the work in silence and at the best of my ability.”

Upcoming Projects

“I’ve just shot a beautiful indie film by Helen Walsh called On The Sea. I’ve dipped my toe into fantasy in an American show where I play the God of love, aka Cupid. I’m going to do a fun cameo in the Richard Burton film opposite Toby Jones, and then it’s directing a film this summer on Anglesey, and straight after that, it’s my TV show that I’ve written and will direct… I might even make the sandwiches, too.”

Life on The Wirral

Living on The Wirral

“We moved here 12 years ago. The Wirral is a wonderful place and has everything me and my family could want or need and a view of Wales too. My beautiful wife, Kate, is from here, and I go where she goes, but I do love it. I adore the sea, the countryside, the people, and the independent shops. Good rugby team, too.”

Favorite Places to Visit

“Go to West Kirby and visit the independent bookshop, the vinyl shop, Lateral Coffee, Mother Deli, seafood shack, and walk around the lake. Also, go and visit New Brighton and the amazing street art and nightlife… it’s inspiring what they’ve done down Victoria Road. The UTS gym is brilliant, and I’m a long-time member. Port Sunlight Art Gallery is interesting. Royden Park and Thors Rock are wonderful. Oh, and the old priory in Birkenhead is really atmospheric. And then I’d say grab a trip on the Mersey Ferry and look at that horizon whilst breathing some sea air.”

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Mark Kebble

Mark's career in journalism started in 2001 when he landed a role on a small lifestyle magazine in Angel, North London. Soon enough, the magazine was purchased by a larger organisation and Mark found himself promoted to editor at the tender age of 23. He later became group editor, working on magazines for Angel, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Highgate. He was also involved in a launch in Hadley Wood and a major new group website, later becoming Group Hub Editor. In 2021, Mark joined Zest Media Group and oversaw the launch of many Absolutely titles across the UK. To date, Mark has launched in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Essex, Yorkshire and Cheshire. When he does have some free time, Mark is also the Chairman of an amateur football club in Surrey and is also a fully qualified FA football coach.
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