The Fades are coming: Meet Neil the reluctant warrior

This time we meet Neil one of the key characters from The Fades coming to BBC Three on September 21st. THAT IS TONIGHT……

When we first see Neil he is wielding a gun at Paul and is chasing someone or something around in the dark. Neil is brought to life by the talented Johhny Harris (This is England 86). From the very start we see that Neil is a seasoned but weary warrior in the fight against the Fades.

He suffers personal and physical loss in the first episode but this only makes him stronger. You feel that he has been doing this a long time and has assigned himself to his role and his destiny.

Afraid of nothing and afraid of everything, Neil is perhaps the unlikeliest warrior in the world. Generally unwashed and unshaven, Neil is an orphan who has left the conventional world behind to commit himself entirely to the Angelic cause. He lives on the edge, and quite likes it there because he can see everything. Teacher, learner, helper, Angelic, and a surprising mentor for Paul (Iain De Caestecker).

BBC Three caught up with Johhny about The Fades

Tell us about Neil?

Neil is an Angelic. And he’s pretty much born into it. The Angelics have this ability to see these dead souls, the Fades, as they roam the Earth. He’s pretty much a fundamentalist… it’s his life. It’s all he’s got.

How would you describe the Fades?

The Fades essentially are the spirits of the dead and they roam the Earth. They’re trapped here… and this has an effect on them as you can imagine. They’re not happy. They live in a world they can’t touch, they can’t taste they can’t feel. And so they evolve.

It seems a slight change of gear isn’t it? From This is England ’86 to The Fades. What brought you to The Fades?

My agent called and said ‘there’s a new project, it’s called The Fades and it’s by Jack Thorne’ and so instantly my ears pricked up… it was everything that I imagined from Jack Thorne. It was out there you know. His imagination’s limitless, and it was all there on the page. It was quite fantastic. So I was intrigued to see how I could try and bring it to life.

How is your character connected to Paul?

Paul realises he’s got these powers, he can see the Fades, there’s only a certain group of people that can do that. This young boy thinks he’s mad at first and then Neil comes into his life and explains to him that he’s not mad, he’s got these special powers and what they’re meant to be used for… the stakes are raised consistently… the Fades are evolving and growing and as far as Neil’s concerned that needs to be controlled and that’s where his relationship with the boy comes in. Paul is the chosen one.

Johnny on working with a young cast on set

I’m learning from them to be honest. I’m not just saying that to be polite. We’ve all got different journeys really. These guys are getting big parts at young ages and they’re really mature as actors. Iain De Caestecker is something a bit special. One thing that I think will be key to this show is the casting of Iain. He’s fantastic and they’ve got it just right.

I think and he’s lovely to be around. It’s the same with Jo Dempsey. Daniel Kaluuya is one of the most enigmatic young men I’ve ever met… I’m watching them and thinking: ‘God, what was I doing at 22 or however old they are..?’ I love hearing what they’re about. They’re teaching me new words everyday – ‘Swag’ apparently now means good. It was a bank robber’s loot when I was young. So I’m feeling a bit old on this set..! They don’t just turn up and say lines. They are very serious about their craft. It’s a breath of fresh air and I think it’s really exciting.

Do you believe in the supernatural?

I don’t to be honest. I have a faith, I’ve got a belief. I’m not religious but I have a belief that if you do good, good things happen. I do believe that there’s an energy out there that we can connect into. I like to believe that that’s true and it’s not let me down really.

SOURCE: BBC Three, the fades on twitter @BBCFADES

GS Reporter: Montoya

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