Forest Gate brothers talk about starring roles in Plan B’s ‘Ill Manors’
09:00 06 June 2012
Two brothers from Forest Gate are about to hit the big screen in Plan B’s controversial debut film “Ill Manors”, out in cinemas this week.
Nick, 24, and Sean Sagar, 22, started acting as students at Forest Gate Community School - where they studied alongside the younger siblings of Ben Drew before he became international popstar and now filmmaker, Plan B.
Ambitious to tell his story, Plan B told Nick about his film four years ago but Nick “never thought anything would come of it” and he got a call for an audition later.
Nick plays Marcel, the leader of a local gang, while little brother Sean plays his right-hand man Freddie, an eternal “joker”, in a hard-hitting story about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in Forest Gate.
Nick said: “Marcel’s really your typical neighbourhood bully. He’s manipulative, he wants respect and he doesn’t care how he gets it.”
A dark urban drama/musical, there was plenty to challenge the young actors and push them to their limits.
Nick recalls: “I had to run butt naked down the street past my old school. We all had lunchtimes where we were sitting there going, ‘I’m not looking forward to this next scene.’”
‘Ill Manors’, given an 18 certificate, has been criticised in some circles for being too graphic to show to the young audience it might benefit.
Plan B argues young people will have seen it all before - a sentiment that Sean in particular shares.
He said: “I would show it to kids from the age of maybe 14 or 15. I feel that they need to be shown it more than the rest of us. But then parents should see it as well because I don’t think they realise this is what happens most of the time - it’d be an eye-opener.”
Dismissing claims that the film’s gritty portrayal of life on the streets of east London are exaggerated, Nick said: “A lot of the stuff in the film, I have seen in real life, it really is true. I watched the film and then we drove home back to Forest Gate and the high street was littered with prostitutes.”
If Sean had his way, he would build more youth centres, football pitches, and basketball courts to keep young people off the streets, formed by one incident when he was repeatedly kicked off the playground after school “so we’d have no choice but to hang around the streets.”
But both brothers are proud of their backgrounds and see its message reflected in the film.
Sean said: “I am glad I grew up in Forest Gate because I think it made me look at life differently and not judge people on how they looked but who they were and the choices they made.”