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Fast and Furious Live star Mark Ebulue: ‘I’ve done Shakespeare for years. Now I want to be James Bond’

Mark Ebulue

Although highly skilled in numerous combat sports, actor Mark Ebulue has mainly done classical productions to date. Now performing in the arena tour of Fast and Furious Live, he tells Giverny Masso about using some of these skills on stage for the first time…

Tell me about the show.

Fast and Furious is a show like no other. It’s groundbreaking, the first show of its kind, using state-of-the-art technology to take the audience to different places from the Fast and Furious films and into a new storyline, where [co-star] Elysia Wren and I come in.

Have you done anything like this before?

This is the first thing I have done of this scale. It’s a highly technical show, there are teams of 50 or 60 men and women working to make it happen. We use 3D mapping, which projects the scenery on to the floor. It is definitely eye-opening. Looking at the kids’ reactions to the show, they are loving it, and they’re the hardest people to win over. In the next couple of years we will see a lot more of this kind of thing.

What action scenes do you have in the show?

In the first scene I have a shoot-out, and there’s a fight on top of a moving train. It’s nice that for the first time I get to use my skills. I left drama school and did nothing but classical for the first five years, and thought when am I going to get to use this? I’m hoping this opens more doors; it will be interesting to see what comes next.

What kind of physical skills do you have?

My father was a boxer, and he taught me to box from very young. When I was younger, my dream was to be a naval officer on a big ship. I can sail, row and swim. I got injured and couldn’t continue with my naval training. Going to a naval school, I learnt kickboxing, karate, and an Israeli martial art called Krav Maga.

Tell me about your acting journey.

I’ve always wanted to do theatre. My dad used to take me to see Shakespeare at the Globe. I went to Italia Conti, and I left and got an agent. My first job was in Julius Caesar at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Other highlights include playing Macbeth at the Arcola Theatre in London, it’s my favourite Shakespeare play. I played Othello [1] for Frantic Assembly in 2014.

What has been the biggest challenge for you in your career?

One of the biggest challenges was when my dad passed away in 2014, and realising what this business is about and how professional you have to be. I was on stage two days after he passed away; 650 people had paid to see me. I didn’t miss a show, it was the way I had been raised. My dad was always like: “You do what you’ve got to do.” From the beginning he had always wanted me to play Othello. I got the job and then a week later, my dad was having problems, and I said I was going to turn it down, and he said: “If you ever want to quit acting, then quit because you want to, but I can’t be the reason that you give up on this.”

What is your dream future role?

I’d love to play James Bond or, if I could, have a John Wick-type role.

CV: Mark Ebulue

Training: BA acting, Italia Conti Academy (2009-11)
First professional role: Artemidorus/Cato in Julius Caesar at the Royal Shakespeare Company (2012-13)
Agent: Sally Hope Associates

Fast and Furious Live [2] will visit arenas in Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, and Sheffield in April and May