Rising Star Darren Tassell On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry
An Interview With Guernslye Honoré
Always treat everyone on set the same way as you treat the director. It takes every single person on that set to make that movie from the cleaners to the directors and everything in between, so without all of them, you wouldn’t be there.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Darren Tassell.
Darren Tassell was born in South London in 1974 and lives in Bermondsey, London. Darren is a 6'3" tall, experienced & versatile actor. First seen on screens in the European Actimel Christmas commercial campaign as the Drill Instructor training Santa, Darren has gone on to play several lead roles in international feature films appearing in worldwide cinemas with many films still awaiting international theatrical release. Darren also appeared in ‘Cobra’ (Sky One) as the swallow tattoo thug.
Darren is a father of 5 children and grandfather of 3 and is the co-owner and creator of http://www.vshowcards.com/
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thanks for inviting me!
Sure, I grew up in Rotherhithe, South London in the 1980’s attending Redriff Primary and Scott Lidgett Secondary schools.
We are a family of 6, (mum, Dad, my elder sister Kelly and 2 younger brothers Kane & Tomas)
Dad worked as a plumber and mum worked a Saturday job for William Hill betting office, so money was tight and we had a lot of hand-me-down clothes, but we had a wonderful, happy childhood in a family full of love & laughter.
My dad is and was always a silly sod with a big personality always being silly and playing with the kids, That’s where I get my silly personality from.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Whilst in school, the local theatre group ‘The London Bubble’ came and did a workshop with our drama class and we formed a play and performed it in a big blue tent in Spa Gardens SE16 for our parents and the community. From there I got the acting bug as it suited my silly and somewhat show off personality, so I joined the theatre group in the evenings (paid for by mum) and had a great time. From there I knew I always wanted to be an actor. I continued dreaming of it for another 30 years, due to my family responsibilities (I have 5 kids) I didn’t get the chance until I was 43 when my missus Carin wanted to return to work after childbirth, so I saw my chance, decided to quit my job and be a stay at home dad and finally make my journey into the acting world.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Well, as mum was always my biggest supporter, having paid for my acting lessons as a kid when money was tight, My proudest moment was when my WW1 movie ‘Sajjan Singh Rangroot’ hit worldwide cinemas and I took mum to the O2 to watch it. It was the first time I was to see myself on the silver screen and as soon as we arrived at our seats, people started recognising me as I was a lead role and they started asking for selfies. Mum really enjoyed the movie and on our way out, a queue of people had formed outside the cinema in the O2 wanting selfies with me.
Mum just stood back, beaming with pride taking photos of all the people having selfies with me.
It was the best feeling ever to make her so proud!
It has been said that mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I honestly can’t say that I’ve made any big mistakes in my career yet, but I’m sure I will along the way.
I’m not afraid of making mistakes as each one can be a valuable lesson and help you grow as a person and an artist. It’s important that when you make mistakes that you don’t let them define you, you must learn from them, dust yourself off and grow stronger and wiser because of them.
But always be smart enough not to repeat those mistakes.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I currently have 3 films awaiting worldwide cinema releases, 2 are Pollywood films (Punjabi Cinema) which we shot in India, one is called ‘Sarabha’ and is released on Nov 3rd 2023 about the India freedom fighter Katar Singh Sarabha and I play the British officer leading the hunt for him.
Another is ‘Barefoot Warriors’, a lovely story about the India national football team in which I play Stephen Constantine, the national team manager. The other is IC9 and I star alongside Georgia May-Foote (Coronation Street), Richie Campbell (Grace, Liar, Anuvahood) and other fantastic artists. I play a detective searching for the missing sister of my partner played by Georgia May-Foote through the underworld in the midlands.
Next month (September 2023) I start shooting another big Bollywood movie as the 3rd lead, a horrible prison warden.
I also have a comedy movie due for release soon called ‘Best Geezer’ by Raya films in which I play the lead character Neil, a less than savvy entrepreneur that decides to make a geezer movie that they enter into the Essex Geezer Film awards.
As a rising star, you’ve likely faced challenges along the way. How do you stay motivated and overcome obstacles in your career?
I’m such a positive person, I don’t allow negativity in my life, so I embrace every opportunity and ensure they are always positive experiences.
I run a business for actors with my friend (www.vshowcards.com), and co-star Alex Reece which we launched at the start of CoVid in order to help and inspire other actors and creatives with our positivity.
We also do motivational talks with acting groups and universities teaching people how to market themselves successfully in a very tough industry staying in a positive mindset every step of the way.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity in film is incredibly important as it helps reflect real life and can inspire young people from all walks of life to follow their dreams knowing that their background or culture is represented well and will never hold them back.
I come from a diverse family, My sister, niece, nephew and one of my 3 grandsons are Muslim, whilst all 3 of my grandsons are mixed race. It’s very important that they grow up feeling they can achieve anything they want to in life and there are no reasons to feel that they can’t.
Positive role models from every culture can inspire a whole generation of talent in every field of work.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?
1 . Don’t wait for your agent to give you work. This is your dream and no one should work harder for this than you.
2 . Believe in yourself and your abilities, if you don’t, how can you expect others to?
3 . Stay humble in your success and gracious in defeat. Always congratulate the person that wins the role that you wanted.
4 . Be a ray of sunshine on every film set. You’re blessed to be there when thousands of others dream of being in your position, most of your work will come from people you have worked with before so be the person other people want to work with again and again.
5 . Always treat everyone on set the same way as you treat the director. It takes every single person on that set to make that movie from the cleaners to the directors and everything in between, so without all of them, you wouldn’t be there.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Enjoy your work, embrace the tough days. If you enjoy every minute, you’ll never do a hard days work. Take time to spend with your loved ones and enjoy life outside of work, making sure you get some mental rest on your days off.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Help everyone whenever you can. Kindness and respect cost nothing.
You never know what other peoples journeys have been, one act of kindness can inspire them to live the life they dreamed of, the same way you once dreamed of being where you are.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful to so many people. People I’ve met along my journey that I’ve worked with.
So many amazing people and I love them all.
But the biggest gratitude I owe is to my partner Carin. Carin works incredibly hard to provide for our family which gives me the opportunity to follow my dreams. Without her incredible support, I wouldn’t be doing this and would never have been able to start following my lifelong dream.
I owe everything to her. Carin really is the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Be the person that the worlds needs more of, not the person the world needs less of” These words help me to be a good person in everyday life.
I teach my kids that if they are in a position to help someone, it is their responsibility to do so.
I’ve learned so much from my time working in India and with Sikhs, they really are the most beautiful and humble people.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
I would absolutely love to have a private meal with Tom Cruise.
I met him once on set of ‘The Mummy’ where I worked as a stand-in.
I was very lucky and got to see his work ethic and passion for our industry.
He absolutely leads by example and works so hard every day, he leaves everything on set.
By the time he leaves the set at the end of the day he has no energy left in the tank.
Anyone that aspires to be the very best at what they do can learn from his energy levels and total commitment to every role he plays. He has inspired me for as long as I can remember.
How can our readers follow you online?
@darrentassell on all social media
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you so much for having me, I’m very grateful.