Hot Fuzz; Rafe Spall - Son of Timothy - Has Added 'Growing a Pretty Good Moustache' to His Cv after Starring in a New Adaptation of Swallows and Amazons. He Tells Ella Walker about Confusing His Kids, Meeting Brad Pitt and Why We All Need More Adventures in Our Lives

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), August 20, 2016 | Go to article overview

Hot Fuzz; Rafe Spall - Son of Timothy - Has Added 'Growing a Pretty Good Moustache' to His Cv after Starring in a New Adaptation of Swallows and Amazons. He Tells Ella Walker about Confusing His Kids, Meeting Brad Pitt and Why We All Need More Adventures in Our Lives


T'S quite something, walking in on Rafe Spall draped over a sofa reading a copy of The Lady, chuckling to himself.

In a rumpled white shirt, with scuffed up hair, the somewhat burly Life of Pi and One Day actor manages to just about drag his eyes away from the magazine, before blurting happily: "Sorry! I'm going to engage with you thoroughly!" Charming, affable and properly delightful company, Rafe is appearing in the latest big-screen adaptation of Arthur Ransome's adored children's book, Swallows and Amazons.

Not that he'd read the book before filming started, but, he explains, he'd always been aware of it being "part of a cultural fabric of this country", and how could he not? It tells the exploits of the Walker children - an adventurous brood on their holidays in the Lake District, who persuade their mum (Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald) to let them camp out, sail about on a borrowed boat called Swallow and battle the two Blackett sisters for ownership of Wild Cat Island.

Spall plays Captain Flint - allegedly based on Ransome himself - a mysterious, moody figure who attracts the attention of the children, as well as a secret agent (Sherlock's Andrew Scott).

Director Philippa Lowthorpe sold him on the part of Flint by promising a "dashing Robert Donat, 1930s film star character", and the final cut isn't far off.

"I thought, 'Well, I'll grow a moustache, I'll get real nice quiffy hair and I'll put on some nice suits and it'll be really fun'," Rafe says jovially, adding: "All I want to do now is read scripts, if I think I have something to offer them, and if I think they are a force for good in the world, then I'll do them."

The moustache is a success in itself.

"I have to give myself some credit that I can grow a good ?tache pretty quickly; that wasn't always the case," he admits, remembering how, when he starred in Simon Pegg's comedy Hot Fuzz, aged 24, he and co-star Paddy Considine were both told to grow one. "We came in the next day, Paddy had a full moustache and I had to paint mine on with mascara!" Now 33, Spall is both hirsute and a father. He and his wife, former Hollyoaks actress Elize du Toit, have three young children together, and he says that starring in Swallows and Amazons has really made him consider the difference in freedom kids have today, compared to their 1930s counterparts.

"It's pretty crazy. That mum lets those kids go off to cross the deepest body of water in the UK, and can't even say, 'Text me when you get there'," he muses. "It's a reminder in this age of information, when people are glued to their devices, that we have this extraordinary countryside, this amazing world, and that it should be seen as an encouragement for children to go out, get muddy, get dirty, look after each other and themselves, and have adventures that don't involve a computer screen."

So, would he let his own kids camp out? …

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Hot Fuzz; Rafe Spall - Son of Timothy - Has Added 'Growing a Pretty Good Moustache' to His Cv after Starring in a New Adaptation of Swallows and Amazons. He Tells Ella Walker about Confusing His Kids, Meeting Brad Pitt and Why We All Need More Adventures in Our Lives
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