Yorkshire-based actor Ashley Tabatabai, who stars in the new film, Allies, talks about splitting his time between Leeds and Los Angeles and filming on steam trains on the North Yorkshire Moors.
The 31-year-old, who also practises the martial art Jeet Kune Do in Leeds, said: “I have a base in Leeds and have family here at the moment. I find myself moving around between here and LA and obviously spend a good amount of time in London as well.
“One thing I have to say is that you have the city vibe but are right on the doorstep of the countryside. And I have to admit that there’s some really beautiful scenery to be appreciated on the outskirts of the city. And obviously on a more personal level, it’s the people that I have met here. Many who are creative and in filmmakers as well. It’s certainly not a city that thrives for filmmaking in the way LA or London might. But, there are some very talented filmmakers here doing some great work.
“My background is culturally diverse. I was born in the UK, but moved to Spain when I was around six. I grew up in Madrid and, if I’m honest, can’t really think back to when Spanish culture hasn’t been a part of my life. Being there from such a young age meant that I naturally picked up the language. There was/is a very strong emphasis on being out and about. Much of my time as a kid (outside of school), was staying out late with the local neighbourhood kids.”
He’s worked a number of jobs in his life, including as a sales assistant and a loss adjusted in Madrid, after which he completed a three-year management degree at York University. While he has always had a lean toward acting, appearing in school plays, it was during his time at university he began to take it more seriously, gaining professional tuition, passing exams and working with The Northern Film School, before moving onto appearances in TV adverts and programmes. So how did he land his latest role?
“A Bulgarian actor friend of mine called Julian Kostov (he was on 24: Live Another Day) put me in touch with the casting director. They were looking for someone who sounded American. Everything happened really quickly. They passed along my show reel to the director and I was offered the role a few days later.”
He added: “I’m still to see the final piece. I have a couple of projects that I’ve been developing... I’ve got a feature film which should be hitting the festival circuit in late 2015. It’s a project that I helped develop and starred in and had many great Leeds based filmmakers involved.”
Allies is on general release now.