I Think An Actor, Director, Writer or Anyone Creative’s Most Important Attribute is Gut Instinct by CREDITORS Movie Ben Cura

BEN CURA ACTOR/DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER — ‘Creditors

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Film Courage: Where did you grow up?

Ben Cura: I was born in Argentina but my parents and I moved to Italy when I was barely one year old. From there, we moved to France when I turned six years old, traveling around the world for weeks and months at a time — we repeatedly traveled to the US and around Europe when we were living in France. We moved to Spain when I turned eleven years old and I finished going to school at the local French lycée (I’d started going to school in France). After that I moved to London where I currently live. Life at home growing up was a mix of opera, classical music, the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey, English, French, Spanish, Italian, traveling, wandering the wings of opera houses around the world — and most importantly, in and amongst all of the theatrical, show-business, globe-trotting craziness of it all, my parents did their best to raise me into a fairly normal kid. Which I still am. A kid.

Ben Cura as a child

Film Courage: What are the best qualities that each of your parents taught you?

Ben: A person’s honesty, generosity, kindness, and dedication are the only things that matter. Money, material possessions, whilst they can reflect character, are only a one-sided expression of a person’s true self — a person is not defined by them — and so they are irrelevant. Hard work, passion, and investment, in anything, and everything you do, is paramount.

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Film Courage: Did your parents lend support toward creativity or encourage another type of career/focus?

Ben: I have been very lucky to grow up surrounded by people who not only understood the nature of living a life dedicated to a creative occupation, but who also trusted the signs that their child showed them as he was growing up. You know, things like clowning around, or grabbing my mum’s camera and filming stuff, or editing clips on whatever the stock editing software was that came with Compaq PCs at the time. They nurtured that.

Film Courage: What were your plans after high school?

Ben: My plan was to train as an actor either in New York or London. I chose London after visiting the main schools in NY and being advised to train in London by the heads there. Something about “tradition” and them “knowing how to do it properly back in England”. They were right. That was some of the best advice I ever got. I applied for a place at LAMDA, RADA and Guildhall in London. I got into LAMDA and didn’t look back.

Christian McKay, Ben Cura, Ben Hecking and crew

Film Courage: What’s important in your life?

Ben: My wife. My family. My dog. Trying to focus on enjoying the present, as wanky as that sounds.

Film Courage: Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Ben: I used to be very shy, I’ve opened up more as I’ve gotten older. I like listening a lot though, so sometimes I might be more of an introvert, or at least appear to be.

Film Courage: What are your best qualities?

Ben: The listening seems to make people feel like they can talk to me. Which I love. I’m very honest too. I don’t like using politeness as a way of not saying what I mean. I’ll use it to soften the blow though — I don’t enjoy hurting people.

Film Courage: Do you listen to others’ advice or strictly follow your own instincts?

Ben: I think that an actor’s most important attribute — or director, writer, or anyone creative — is their gut instinct. It’s always right. Advice comes in handy when dealing with a new or unknown experience — but your gut will know whether the advice you’ve been given is valid for you or not. So it has the capacity of superseding it.

Ben Cura and Christian McKay

Film Courage: What have you learned observing your father’s opera career?

Ben: That there are many things that are out of your control, except doing what you think is right. That persistence and hard work will always yield results. And that honesty and integrity might sometimes feel like you may be giving up on what looks like a lucrative opportunity at the time, but they will be the two most important attributes that will make it so you can sleep at night.

Actress Andrea Deck and Writer/Director/Actor Ben Cura

Film Courage: You based CREDITORS on August Strindberg’s 1888 play. Where were you in life when you decided to base a film on this story of a love-triangle? Do you remember the day you said “yes” to making it?

Ben: I was going through a very complicated relationship at the time. The story itself somehow mirrored that. But the main reason I turned it into a film was a lot simpler. I saw it being revived by Alan Rickman at the Donmar Warehouse. I loved the production, and I kept thinking about it, until I sat down and started adapting it. It took more than five years to get from that moment to the film’s world premiere in New York. Wow. Where has all that time gone.

Film Courage: You based CREDITORS on August Strindberg’s 1888 play. Where were you in life when you decided to base a film on this story of a love-triangle? Do you remember the day you said “yes” to making it?

Ben: I was going through a very complicated relationship at the time. The story itself somehow mirrored that. But the main reason I turned it into a film was a lot simpler. I saw it being revived by Alan Rickman at the Donmar Warehouse. I loved the production, and I kept thinking about it, until I sat down and started adapting it. It took more than five years to get from that moment to the film’s world premiere in New York. Wow. Where has all that time gone.

Film Courage: What does CREDITORS say about the world we live in?

Ben: People need faith. Whether it be faith in themselves, another person, religion, or whichever other story they’ve picked out or created for themselves in order to make sense of the world. We cannot live alone, and yet we are alone by default. Alone in a chaotic, confusing, brutal world. But a beautiful one nonetheless.

Film Courage: How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Ben: It took me about 7 months to come up with the first draft. There were countless rewrites after that. Too many to remember. I know at one point — I kept all of the drafts I printed — and the stack of scripts under my desk was about two feet high.

Film Courage: How many people did you share the script with during the writing process?

Ben: Simon Callow, who plays John Allen in the film, was extremely helpful with the whole thing. He read the script a few times at different points in the adaptation process, and we talked about it over dinner afterwards. Each time, I went back to it with a spring which had somehow been re-sprung. I sat down with Alan Rickman a few times as well, and whilst his vision of the play had already been expressed in his fantastic revival at the Donmar (which he also took to NYC at the BAM), he did shed a light on some of the discussions he and his cast had had about the characters during rehearsals. That informed some of the action which is set in the past in the film.

Film Courage: How long did it take to finish the script?

Ben: I started the adaptation process in December 2010, and the script kept evolving until April 2014. So four years, not including the rewrites which naturally occur when you’re on set.

Ben Cura and Andrea Deck

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