Benedict Smith has just completed filming the second series of Life Bites, playing the lead role of Harvey, for the Disney Channel. Additional recent credits include the episode lead – Manny in The Bill for ITV. Harvey in Life Bites – series 1 – Disney Channel and he recently reprised his role as Richard Walker in Trial & Retibution.
Stage Door Mag interviewed Benedict, and here’s what he said…
- Most of our members know you from playing “Harvey” in Disney’s “Life Bites”, could you tell us a bit about it and your character?
Life Bites is a British teen sit com which revolves around a brother and sister (Harvey and Chloe) with the daily situations between friends and family. Harvey is an over ambitious teenager, loves football and would love to be a leading guitarist in a band even though he is terrible at playing the guitar.
- How did you get the part? And what was the process like?
I had to audition for the part of Harvey along with many other boys so I feel very privileged to have got the part. The process was quite long with many call backs as they were looking to create a family who looked alike,
- “Life Bites” is watched by over 2 million viewers. How does that feel to know that many people have seen you?
Knowing that Life Bites has been seen by 2 million people is mind blowing and is very surreal. But to be honest I would love it if only a handful of people saw it so to have that many viewers far exceeds any expectations.
- We know that you dance, sing and act! What is your favorite and why?
I enjoy all three very much but my favorite would have to be acting as my ambition is to be an actor. However, I do like a little jig on the dance floor.
- I’ve heard you have trained in “Hip Hop” dancing is this something you want to pursue further?
I would really like to carry on with Hip Hop as it is such a huge dance style and there is so much more to learn.
- At the beginning of this year we saw you in an episode of “The bill”, in this you had to stab some one! What was that like to be so far from your normal self, did you have to do anything different to get into character?
I really enjoyed playing a character far from my own personality. I was very lucky to be working with a great director and another actor who has recently graduated from RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) who helped tremendously getting me into role.
- A lot of actors also do voice over work, we know you have done some for things like “Disney” and “Micro Machines” what was that like, and is it different form using your own voice?
Doing voice overs is fun as you get to discover different voices and forces you to really think about the noises you make. With voice overs its all about your voice conveying the message and I found it very difficult to get things across without the use of gestures and facial expressions, however with guidance I started to understand the importance of using your voice full potential.
- Have you any tips for budding Billy Elliot’s?
I was really gutted when I did not get the part of Billy Elliot but I learnt a lot from the audition process and was really lucky to meet the director Stephen Daldry who invited me to stand in for Michael in the auditions for Billy. Tips for budding Billy Elliots: be yourself, be confident and practice, practice, practice……practice.
- Going back to “Life Bites” you had to play “Harvey” the brother. Was that easy to play? Did you have a lot of experience?
Having two brothers myself it was very easy to relate to the sibling rivalry between Harvey and his two sisters. And the bickering!!
-As a male singer a lot of males lose all there confidence when there voice breaks where you the same? And if so how did you come over that issue?
I sang a lot before my voice broke in the church choir and I also had weekly singing lessons. My voice broke and drifted away from singing and now I am struggling to get my singing voice back. The most important advice I would give is to sing through the time when your voice is breaking as your range will not be as great if you don’t sing through the breaking of your voice. I regret not pushing my singing through that time.
-A lot of people that will be reading this that want to do what you do on the TV and be in the industry, what advice could you give them?
My advice to anyone trying to enter the entertainment industry is that you need very thick skin. Be prepared for rejection but do not less this affect you, let it make you stronger and fire your desire to want it more. Be patient, go for every audition, learn your lines, show people your passion and show them that you want it and hopefully with that they will want you. Finally, the only person who will get you on TV, the stage or film (or in any profession for that matter) is YOU so go and show them what you got!
-We always finish off with this question- What or who is your main inspiration and why?
One of my inspirations is the actor Mark Rylance who recently was in the west end play Endgame. In this play he simply sits in the middle of the stage for the full 90 minutes. He completely owns the stage and his ability to entertain and involve an audience in his performance leaves me in awe of his talents.
More interviews coming soon!