Michael Smiley on Free Fire’s success: “The film is the star of the film”

Why Free Fire is setting the box office ablaze and how to start your very own “personal revolution”

An all-star ensemble cast, bullets that never stop flying, songs by John Denver – Ben Wheatley’s film Free Fire’s explosive mix of ingredients are coming together to send the box office ablaze.

One of its stars Michael Smiley (far right in the main image) has a simple explanation of the film’s success. “The film is the hero,” he says. “The film is star of the film, that’s what makes it really sexy for me. All the components – the editing, the lighting, the camera, the performances, the soundtrack – every department shines in the film.”

In Free Fire, about an arms trade gone awry, Smiley plays IRA gun smuggler Frank, alongside a cast that includes Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Babou Ceesay and Brie Larson (very few of whom this computer’s automatic spellchecker condones).

“It also harks back to these great independent American films from the late ’60s to the late ’70s – Easy Rider types,” Smiley continues. “What was interesting about those was a lot of the directors and writers had been blacklisted under McCarthyism in the 1950s. They had to go away and when they came back they started making little independent films, so a lot of those great films were made by people deemed to be personae non gratae.

“If Trump had his way he’d do the same – make the naysayers, the anti-Trumpers go away.”


Last year, 27,000 people worldwide earned an income selling street papers, making a total of £23.4 million.

On the subject of Trump, and everything else going wrong in the world, Smiley has a great fix.

“People feel powerless but we’re not,” he says. “We’ve been trained to be full of fear. There’s a saying I heard: ‘Human beings are motivated by love or fear, and if you practice one the other disappears’. Nobody’s looking for perfect, they’re looking for progress.

“I believe in personal revolution, not looking at the big picture and worrying about Donald Trump – the big revolution is waking up in the morning and making the decision that we’re going to be kind, going to help someone if we can, say hello to people, smile and try to make them laugh.

“There’s a ripple effect. If somebody’s sad or pissed off and you make them laugh, they’re going to be kind to the next person, and they’re gong to be kind to the next person, and so on. Somewhere down the line there’s going to be someone in desperate need of kindness.”

Nobody’s looking for perfect, they’re looking for progress

So start your own personal revolution today, and read more from Michael Smiley in an upcoming edition of The Big Issue coming soon…