Stephen Graham is an actor in demand. Following up a starring role in Line of Duty with the lead in The Virtues, he was reunited with This Is England writer-director Shane Meadows.
The duo talked to The Big Issue about their remarkable working collaborations and deep friendship in the week’s mag.
“It is love,” Graham said. “I love the man. If I was ever in a situation and needed to reach out to somebody, he would be on the end of a phone.
“He does amazingly complex, emotive stories of people hitting rock bottom, but he is also one of the funniest fuckers I have ever met.”
Meadows agreed that there is much more to their friendship than work. Something as simple as being the same school year means they understand each other’s obscure pop culture references, which helps.
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
The actor adds: “He just goes, ‘It’s fucking Bungle’ or ‘Oh no, Zippy’, and I’m gone. I’m in bits.”
The pair grew up in the late Eighties “together but separately”, coming up through the same club scene and attending the same open-field raves in Mansfield.
Now their families meet up. “I’ve been for barbecues at his and vice versa,” the director said. “And my dad and Stephen became close filming The Virtues because my dad was his driver.
“Even when he is on the other side of the world, we keep in touch. During The Irishman he sent pictures with De Niro and Scorsese – it is kind of mindblowing.”
Read the rest of the in-depth interview only in this week’s Big Issue.