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Craig Fairbrass on his trip from Hollywood to EastEnders | Celebrity News | Showbiz and television

Craig Fairbrass has worked all over the world (Image: Getty)

“I had small roles in Scum and Big Deal,” the London-born actor tells me. “But I had to work as an asphalt paver and roofer to keep the wolf out of the gate.” Fairbrass had been pursuing his acting dream since he was a teenager.

He was expelled from Eaglesfield School in Woolwich for disruptive behavior at 15, but says ‘my drama teachers saw something in me; one of them said to me, “You only seem relaxed doing theater, that’s the only time you’re not running around causing havoc”.

She encouraged him to participate in the National Youth Theater auditions.

“I did it, and I was the only one in a suit that made it and made the play.

“I always wanted to be the center of attention, so acting was a perfect vehicle.”

He shakes his head. “I remember one of my friends saying, ‘People like me and you don’t become actors…'”

Craig, 58, has made 38 UK and US films since leaving EastEnders, as well as appearances on US TV shows like Stargate SG1 – ‘I was the first Cockney in space,’ he laughs .

“My father was a docker, my mother was a machinist and they were very supportive of me.

“To be honest, it’s been a long and brutal journey, one step forward, two steps back, but you have to keep thinking positive.”

Craig Fairbrass relaxes on vacation in Italy

Craig Fairbrass relaxes on vacation in Italy (Image: Getty)

Right now, he’s the go-to villain for British filmmakers. “It’s a fantastic place. There is one thing worse than being typed and that is not being cast.

Fairbrass is 6ft 3 and appears to have been hewn from solid oak.

With his looks and bearing, he was always destined to stand out.

The green-eyed star made his film debut in 1989 opposite Denzel Washington in For Queen And Country and joined the cast of London Burning as Gary “Technique” Pagnell the following year.

In 1991, Craig played DI Frank Birkin alongside Helen Mirren in ITV’s Bafta and Emmy award-winning Prime Suspect.

When the first series ended, he flew straight to Hollywood to sell himself to casting scouts, agents, and directors. “I visualized myself on a movie poster on Sunset Boulevard,” he recalls.

Sylvester Stallone did, casting Craig for his 1993 action thriller Cliffhanger.

“Grenada juggled filming dates for Prime Suspect 2 so I could leave the set and head straight to the Italian Alps and start working on Cliffhanger the next day,” he recalls.

“I had to pinch myself every morning. I spent a week on a crashed plane with Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow.

Craig Fairbrass with late EastEnders star and comedian Mike Reid

Craig Fairbrass with late EastEnders star and comedian Mike Reid (Image: Solarpix/allaction.co.uk/Empics)

The green-eyed star made his film debut in 1989 opposite Denzel Washington in For Queen And Country, and joined the cast of London Burning as Gary “Technique” Pagnell the following year.

In 1991, Craig played DI Frank Birkin alongside Helen Mirren in ITV’s Bafta and Emmy award-winning Prime Suspect.

When the first series ended, he flew straight to Hollywood to sell himself to casting scouts, agents, and directors. “I visualized myself on a movie poster on Sunset Boulevard,” he recalls.

Sylvester Stallone did, casting Craig for his 1993 action thriller Cliffhanger.

“Grenada juggled filming dates for Prime Suspect 2 so that I could leave the set and head straight to the Italian Alps and start work on Cliffhanger the next day,” he says.

“I had to pinch myself every morning. I spent a week on a crashed plane with Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow.

He played brutal villain Delmar in the £50m film about a botched heist.

“I spent five months on this film,” adds Craig. “It was an amazing experience. Stallone was a really lovely guy. He said to me, ‘Look in the mirror, see what you’ve got and go out and sell it…you’ve got a lot to sell…’. I took it on board.

Craig Fairbrass at the screening of

Craig Fairbrass with his wife Elke (Image: Getty)

Craig’s biggest break in the UK was playing ‘Dirty’ Dan Sullivan, the love rat who cheated on Carol Jackson with his boisterous daughter Bianca.

“I had construction workers on the street offering me their apartments for our business,” he laughs. “It’s different for soaps now. There are so many choices, terrestrial television is fighting for its life.

Craig appears in several streaming hits, including Phillip Balantini’s Villain (Number One on Netflix) and Gerard Johnson’s Muscle (AmPrime).

“The audience really loved Villain,” he says. “It was a gripping little film with great acting and it gave me a chance to show my range.”

Christopher Ellison, Craig Fairbrass and Tony Denham attend a special screening

TV Tough Men – Christopher Ellison, Craig Fairbrass and Tony Denham (Image: Getty)

He brings background knowledge to parts of the underworld as his uncles were the East End hoods the Dixon brothers.

Fairbrass was born in Mile End, grew up in Stepney and migrated south through the Blackwall Tunnel at age 13.

His father Jack instilled in him self-respect, self-discipline and a work ethic.

“I have always worked; my father taught me to aim for the top and to avoid the “corpses” – the people without aspiration. »

Craig joined EastEnders in 1999

Craig joined EastEnders in 1999 (Image: Sean Dempsey/PA)

He saw his future wife, former model Elke Kellick, at Cheeks nightclub in Deptford when she was 18 and he was 19.

“My friends challenged me to talk to him,” he smiles. “She blew me away but I persevered. We went out together and went on from there…”

They now have two adult sons, film producer Luke and Jack who works in the city.

Craig’s all-or-nothing attitude motivates him.

“It’s the most capricious business there is, you have to keep moving forward.

“You get knocked down and you get back up. It’s about taking risks and having confidence in yourself.

“It’s not easy, so many good actors are no longer acting. I had a career in film and I’m grateful for that, but there were dark times.

“After EastEnders, I didn’t work for eight months and then I was like, ‘I have to do what I did before, get on a plane and fly to LA…’.”

Steve Mcfadden, Billy Murray, Craig Fairbrass, Dave Courtney attend the premiere of

Steve Mcfadden, Billy Murray, Craig Fairbrass and Dave Courtney (Image: Getty)

His California connections paid off.

Craig has appeared on American television shows such as The Unit, Soldier Of Fortune and The Sarah Connor Chronicles and has recorded voiceovers for top-selling video games, including five Call Of Duty games.

He had a motion capture role in Battlefield V: Under No Flag, and was a voice artist in Star Citizen: Squadron 42 with Gary Oldman, Henry Cavill, and Gillian Anderson.

Back home, director Julian Gilbey cast him to play psychopathic Essex villain Pat Tate in 2007’s Rise Of The Footsoldier, which launched a franchise of four prequels, giving him a global fan base.

“People all over the world are yelling at me, ‘One prostitute, two prostitutes,’” he laughs, recalling an impromptu scene from Footsoldier 3 that went viral on TikTok.

He won Best Actor at the National Film Awards for the 2017 role.

Craig played former Squad Deeks in the Olivier-nominated 2019 play Warheads about PTSD.

“I wanted to face this little bit of fear like I did when I was young. Can I get on a theater stage with young actors and do a play? I needed to do it and I’m so happy to have done it.

Craig Fairbrass attends the premiere of

Craig with Elke and their film producer sons Luke and Jack who works in the city (Image: Getty)

In Ross McCall’s A Violent Man, out now, he plays a dangerous lifer forced to care for a young cellmate and the girl he’s never met.

“It’s about the physical but also the emotional turmoil. I gravitate around characters with depth.

Her next film, the heavy drama The Sun Also Rises, starring Gina Jones, sheds a powerful light on domestic violence.

Released this summer, the title refers is a metaphorical reference to Hemmingway’s Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises.

Outside of work, Craig fishes and plays golf. “You lean into red wine and good food,” he says.

“I value relationships based on mutual respect. I’ve always tried to treat people the way they treat me.

“I try to be the best person I can be.”

After that ? would he be leading? “People ask me, but it takes so much patience to direct and I can’t wait. But I work in film development. I’m currently working on three scripts.

“I’m just going to South Africa for a big TV job. There’s never a day that I don’t do something involved in what I do for a living.

“I’m doing what I intended to do as a young man, but I always want more. The hardest part is finding a quality script.

“It has to be gripping. I’m looking for scripts with more substance, heart and good stories.”

His career is, according to Craig, “living proof that dreams can come true. If you want something, you have to fight for it, the world doesn’t owe you a living. I did it. I was like a dog with a bone, I wouldn’t let go.

*The Sun Also Rises is due out this summer.