Best known for his roles on the small screen, Adrian Holmes is about to go global with a number of major Hollywood productions under his belt this year. Having made his mark in hit television series such as Supernatural, Human Target and Smallville, the British-born, Vancouver-based actor is now making his transition on to the big screen in Hollywood.
Currently in town promoting the release of Red Riding Hood, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity for a very last-minute interview with him for this edition. And, after a few frantic emails and phone calls between here and LA, we finally arranged a time to meet at the Criterion in Piccadilly.
Adrian Holmes was born in Wrexham, North Wales and lived in Liverpool until the age of five. It was then that his mother decided to join her twin brother and re-locate to Vancouver, which has been home ever since. At the age of 11, he was cast as the Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz, from where he caught the acting bug. “It was my first big production”, says Holmes. “And after the show this girl came up to me and asked for my autograph. I remember thinking it a little strange, as I’m not famous, but knew from then on that this is what I wanted to do. You could say I got the bug”.
Raised in a single-parent household until the age of nine, when his mother re-married, Holmes grew up being the middle child, with two younger half brothers and an older step brother and sister. “I went from having all the attention to having to fight for it” he says wistfully. You wouldn’t think he was the shy type, but during his childhood years he was and would do Michael Jackson and other impersonations to entertain friends and family to compensate for it. “Acting was like an outlet for me. It allowed me to express myself and come out of my shell. It gave me a voice when I felt I had none”.
Then high school and theatre school followed, taking acting roles in between, which started with his entry into television in 1991. But the route to academia was quite different, as Holmes graduated from nursing school in 2001, following in the family footsteps – there were many nurses in the family, including his mother. “God has a funny sense of humour because as soon as I graduated from nursing, my acting career really took off. But the reason I did nursing, even though my passion was in acting, was to have something to fall back on and have that peace of mind”.
Well, it seems safe to say that the nursing profession might not be his calling anytime soon, if recent roles are anything to go by. Amongst these is Frankie & Alice (Dir: Geoffrey Sax), which went on limited release in the US earlier this year. The plot revolves around a young woman with a multiple personality disorder, played by Academy Award winner Halle Berry, who also produces the film (and got a nomination for it at this year’s Golden Globes). “Yeah, I play her love interest which was incredible. Halle’s a great actress and I have always been a huge fan of hers, so to not only work with her, but to work with her so close was a great opportunity. And of course I get to kiss her, which not a lot of actors can say!” Indeed, and even though the part was fairly small, it was none the less integral to the plot and one that’s really sparked off a lot of interest. Not a bad thing, considering Halle Berry’s stature as a leading lady and the fact that 95% of the male population would give their right arm just to be near her, let alone kiss her.
Frankie & Alice is swiftly followed by Red Riding Hood (Dir: Catherine Hardwicke – Twilight, Thirteen), with Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, which goes on general release in the UK in mid-April (Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the producers). “I’m Playing the role of ‘Captain’, the right-hand man to Gary Oldman’s ‘Father Solomon’, the werewolf hunter”, says Holmes. “I had a lot of fun doing this and working with Gary Oldman, one of my favourite actors, who I admire and have a lot of respect for was fantastic. I learned so much from him, he brought a lot”.
One can’t help but make the obvious association of Red Riding Hood with Twilight, so aside from the shift from vampires to werewolves, what’s different about this film?
“Well, for one it’s a different story altogether. Yes Catherine Hardwicke is directing it, but the similarities stop there especially as it (Twilight) doesn’t have Gary Oldman in it! But really, it’s a classic fairytale by the Brothers Grim brought to life. You’ll have to go see it and make up your own mind”.