Recording and behind the scenes for new boxing movie Jaw Bone

Belfast born actor Michael Smiley worked very close with Jason in the boxing scenes on JAWBONE.

Belfast born actor Michael Smiley worked very close with Jason in the boxing scenes on JAWBONE.

It is everybody’s dream to play a role in a film and see themselves on the big screen one day.

Last year came good when a phone call opened the door for me to be involved in the SKY programme League Of Their Own. The show which stared big names such as James Corden, Pussy Cats Doll’s Nicole Scherzinger, football legend Jamie Rednapp, Cricket ace Freddie Flintoff, World Boxing champion David Haye, comedian Jack Whitehall and 2010 Commonwealth games and unbeaten professional boxer Anthony Agogo. The show saw me refereeing the star bouts in series 10 and was aired recently on Terrestrial TV.

However, last month I was delighted to be called to audition for the new British Boxing film JAWBONE, which is set to star Ray Winstone, Johnny Harris, Irish legend Michael Smiley, Love Joy actor Ian McShane and Irish Boxing World Champion Barry McGuigan.

Johnny Harris is already an established British actor who has starred in films such as- This is England, Snow White and The Huntsman, Welcome To The Punch, Dorian Grey and the highly acclaimed London to Brighton.

I attended an auditioning meeting at professional boxer Scott Lawton’s gym in Stoke. It was there I met with the producer Liam and the star of the show Johnny Harris. After a nice talk I was asked to re-attend a second meeting which would be more in-depth. I was asked to apply for two roles and found out two days later I had actually got both parts in the film!

JAWBONE is the film based on the life of Johnny Harris himself. Growing up in London’s Elephant and Castle area to boxing for the Fitzroy Lodge, he won a national amateur boxing title at the age of 16. Life took a bad turn for him and Johnny’s life dived into a deep hole. Taking up unlicensed boxing and bad ways Johnny fell out with about everyone until he hit rock bottom. Slowly turning his life around he made moves to get into films and programmes.

Bernadette Garvey and Mav Akram from WBC with the former World Featherweight Boxing champion Finbar Patrick McGuigan MBE

Bernadette Garvey and Mav Akram from WBC with the former World Featherweight Boxing champion Finbar Patrick McGuigan MBE

 

The filming I was involved in was based at the Fight-Den boxing club in Digbeth. My two roles were the fight referee and MC. Have days on set, mixing with big names from all corners of the spectrum, seeing behind the scenes and being a part of it made very proud. Spending nearly a week filming and getting tips from top names was amazing. It was hard work and so new to me but brilliant!

Barry McGuigan gave me some fantastic advice and I found Johnny Harris so humble and content with making people happy it was heart-warming. Ray Winstone plays Johnny’s old trainer and him and Johnny have been working together for years. It was great also to be working the boxing scenes with John Pegg, Paul Soggy Counihan and Neil Hateley of both the EASTSIDE boxing club. The lads were in control of the cornering in the film scenes and we had some fantastic laughs.

Also on set was members from the WBC Women’s Boxing Club. The girls got ringside seats on set and raised a few eyebrows when other members found out they boxed as well.

It was no Hollywood set, but it gives you goose bumps working on a star studded film about boxing and knowing it is going to be hitting the cinemas around Christmas time hopefully.

Whatever happens- mixing my two passions of boxing and movies was delight and I hope it makes it up there in top British films!