Profile: Martin Hancock (Faust)
Martin Hancock’s first impression while on set at the photo studios where The Last Faust was to begin its first day of filming was that of Déjà vu. ‘‘I was convinced that I had been there before, then it hit me, I used to be part of a crew who organised raves there in the early 1990s!’’.
Hancock was born in Fulham in 1973 and has appeared in numerous films including Kingdom of Heaven, 24 Hour Party People and Defiance. He’s perhaps most famous for playing an eco-warrior Spider Nugent in Coronation Street, a role he played for more than three years on the long running soap.
Having attended Drayton Manor High School in West London Hancock went on to train at the Drama Centre London and the Royal Court People’s Theatre.
‘‘I first became aware of Philipp when my agent rang and said he had something right up my street, in which I suspect he meant it was something unusual.’’ With a background firmly rooted in the experimental art scene in Soho and East London Hancock was no stranger to working on experimental art projects and cites the freedom it can inculcate within him as a performer.
‘‘The only issue I could see initially was the incredibly short shoot time, Philipp’s script is ambitious and covers a huge amount of ground add to that only two days of rehearsals and it was going to be tight.’’
As lead actor in the titular role of Dr Faust, Hancock is in virtually every scene but maintains the whirlwind pace of production kept him on his toes with never a dull moment.
‘‘I’d arrive on set in the morning and be dressed as Napoleon by the afternoon I’d be flying around the studio on high-wires in some psychedelic dream sequence. The scenes where I appear as the elderly Dr Faust were perhaps the hardest, the make-up took hours and it got extremely hot under the studio lights, saying that I think that discomfort actually added to my performance.’’
When asked what he thought audiences will make of the production when it’s released next December Hancock believes the film will divide people. ‘‘It’s a film that’s certainly going to shake up the purists and I think that’s great, you want your film to have an emotional impact, you want it to become part of the conversation. Philipp’s created a piece of theatre, a work of art, it’s an unusual and daring film and there’s not a lot of people making films like this anymore.’’