Carl Rice on television, writing, and a varied career

Winterson’s actor Carl Rice has had a busy and varied career. More recently known for playing the part of Colin in Sky 1 sitcom Trollied, Carl has been appearing on television since the age of eight. He has also branched out into writing and is now even working on a novel. We recently caught up with Carl to ask him about his career, favourite roles, and the synergy between his acting and writing that has developed over the years.   

So, do you prefer acting or writing?
“[Laughing] It’s weird because they can be mutually exclusive but they also work quite nicely hand in hand, so they’re two completely different disciplines really. I love writing and I do it constantly, but when acting jobs come in they’re great as well. I’ve been acting since I was eight, so I’ve been acting for almost 30 years, and I’ve been writing for twelve. So I enjoy them both equally I suppose.”

You do a lot of television. Was that a deliberate choice career-wise?
“It started off in telly and even as a kid I did a lot – I did this one job that was huge and I guess it snowballed. So I’ve just always been on telly, and I’ve been quite fortunate with that, but I’ve also done a couple of nice plays. I did a play at the National, I did a play at the Royal Exchange, and I know now since signing with Winterson’s that they cover stage, film and television, so I’d love to do more stage work as well. I love that rapport when you get a live audience.

A lot of people may know you from Sky sitcom, Trollied, but for you personally what’s been your favourite role to date?
“Oh, favourite role that’s always a tough question! And like I say I have done a lot of varied stuff now… There was one role I did that was completely different to any other, which was Shameless. I played a transsexual in Shameless and that as a complete departure from more traditional roles was amazing. We’re talking 3hrs make-up in the morning – whereas I’m normally the chair for 30 seconds – but the make-up was just an extra seemingly little thing that was built and built and I think it really helped contribute to the performance. Also, being an actor, you get scripts and you get jobs and you do those jobs, but this was just something completely different and it was nice to be able to contribute to a role in that way.”

And please tell us more about the writing side of things… How did it start? How did it snowball? What made you really sure that you knew you wanted to pursue writing?
“Yeah, well just from being around scripts from a baby pretty much, I kind of knew how scripts worked, and liked to look at how they were structured and stuff. And I’d always just liked to write – not necessarily scripts, but stories and that kind of stuff – I was some weird little imaginative kid!”

“And then I think I must have been about 20-21. I’d just finished this big year long stint at the National, then went over to France and did this drama with John Thaw for about 4-months. And I came back and I just though you know I’ve been doing acting now since I was 8yrs old, let’s try something new. Not necessarily leave behind the acting but can we add writing alongside this type thing? And so I started writing. The first script I wrote got picked up, and it had an incredible cast attached. And it just went onto develop from there, I’m now developing scripts with other writers, I’m also writing a book.”

And are you allowed to tell us about the book?
“Yeah, yeah sure, it’s called The Man. It’s set in present day London. It’s about a guy who, we don’t know from the beginning to the end of the book whether he is who he says he is, but he thinks he’s the second coming of Jesus. So we see the world through the eyes of this innocent, who believes he is the Son of God, who has no prejudice, who questions things that we accept and doesn’t question things that we do.”

“And by the end of the book… the whole point of it is does it matter if he is the Son of God or not? Because he was just a good guy that did alright, and is just a good guy who is trying to get on, in a world that confuses most people. And I’m a staunch atheist – I believe that Jesus was a person – I just don’t believe that he was the Son of God, and so I wanted to explore that, I wanted to look at those interpretations of religion without poking fun at religion.”

And finally, as somebody who is already well established in the industry, where do you want to go next? What do you see as being the main set of goalposts for 2017 and beyond?
“Well obviously when you’ve been in it for a while, the last few jobs I’ve had for example have been straight offers, and that’s lovely. And that only comes from being in the industry for a certain amount of time and being at a certain level. But ultimately I just keep going in and auditioning and trying to do what I can do. And it’s not necessarily about being overly discerning, but I’m just going into that age bracket now where I’ve come through that sticky early thirties period now of is he a lad or is he a Dad? Which can be a bit of a tricky period for many actors… so I can now start going in for more ‘Man parts’ [Laughing, again] as opposed to the kind of weird boy with the tattoos. And like I say I’d like to do more theatre and just do as wide a range of projects as I can really.”