Interview: Stephen Lord
PUBLISHED: 01:16 03 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:17 20 February 2013
Soap star, Hollywood actor, director and writer Stephen Lord splits his time between Los Angeles and the UK but when it comes to spending a relaxing weekend with friends and family, he admits there's no place like Boreha...
AS the phone dialled through to Stephen in Los Angeles the nerves were beginning to set in. This is the (rather handsome) 38-year-old northern gent who most of us will remember played Jase Dyer in EastEnders and, more recently, Warren in Casualty, and I was as nervous as any true soap fan would be.
His Mancunian accent had a strange way of putting me at ease though, and on hearing his 17-month-old daughter Kila laughing in the background I wondered if he missed Hertfordshire, or whether he favoured the sunnier climes of LA. It seems no one place is home for Stephen and his actress wife Elaine Cassidy; but out of the four properties they own, why did he choose to set up home in Borehamwood?
Its so convenient for when I need to visit London. I do split my time a lot. Ive also got a place in Manchester, my wife has a property in Ireland and now weve got a place in LA we live a bit like travellers to tell you the truth.
When were in the UK we spend most of our time in Hertfordshire though. When I got the EastEnders gig I was living in Greenwich at the time and thought it would be better to stay somewhere local, thats how I ended up buying a place in Borehamwood.
Glitz and glamour
So he has his work to thank for introducing him to the county and even though he left character Jase Dyer behind so dramatically back in August 2008, Stephens grown to love the town: Ive been able to explore some fantastic places. I cant not mention The Golden Plaice fish and chip shop on Borehamwood High Street. They serve arguably the best fish and chips in the world. I make sure we go there every Friday or Saturday when were back.
The Golden Plaice is hardly The Ivy; which is where you might expect an established actor to frequent, but Stephen is clearly a homely person, who loves the comforts and pleasures of living in the county: We love going for walks and spending time in Aldenham Park; were frequent visitors as there are so many routes to try.
But isnt he worried about being recognised? Well the great thing is when I was in EastEnders, which was obviously the most high profile programme Id done to date, being incognito was pretty important, which is why I grew a beard for the show. When I left after 13 months, I shaved it off, which meant no one recognised me.
Surely playing a violent Jase in EastEnders and then an abusive Warren at Holby proved to be quite a test for Stephen, professionally and emotionally: He was a great character to play. He has real issues, but there is another side to him which came out during the course of his story that I hope I managed to capture.
For someone of his years, Stephens had a plethora of roles both in the UK and abroad. In fact, he started acting when he was just 17 working with British award-winning director Ken Loach on the film Raining Stones: It actually won the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1993. Ken truly influenced me as an actor and 20 years on Ive just worked with him again on his latest film called Route Irish.
Although acting is his first love, Stephen also enjoys writing and directing and has already had success with online phenomenon Dr Hoo: It was just after EastEnders, and I had set up a production company. Dr Hoo was sold to Virgin Media and across the world, being transmitted via mobile phones. Ian Hart played the doctor. Hes an amazing actor and a friend of mine. The show received the highest online viewers for Virgin.
Another of Stephens scripts is to become a film called The Wrong Uns: a modern day fairytale about being in the wrong place at the right time, describes Stephen, and hes also hoping to direct another film he wrote entitled Extra Time, a comedy drama set in Purgatory.
After working alongside such names as Ricky Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor and Sylvester Stallone he must be spoilt for choice as to who he would like cast for his new ventures. Who would be his first choice? Thats a tricky one; it would have to be Ian Hart. I was thrilled he agreed to play Dr Hoo and Im hoping well work together again.
Where the heart is
With fingers in so many pies its no wonder he needs four houses in different countries which he, Elaine and Kila can make their centres of operations. After all this moving around, I asked if they would consider settling down in Hertfordshire: I like the idea of moving to St Albans eventually, but right now Borehamwood is lovely. There are places here that if I went to and forgot my wallet, I would still get served. Ive found there are a lot of people where we live, and in the county generally, with lovely relaxed attitudes. Theres a real sense of community.
Stephens hoping to return to Borehamwood sometime this month, when hes featuring in a special episode of Casualty. After that who knows where his next set of roles and writing projects will be taking him; as he so accurately puts it: I have to play life a day at a time. I cant wait to start the next chapter, whatever it may be...
Hot off the press
Stephen has just announced he is to play a leading role in new movie Default, playing the role of CNN journalist Kane. Catching up with him about his new venture, Stephen told us: I cant wait. Columbian filmmaker Simon Brand is a very exciting director to be working with who is incredibly open to what each actor can bring to the table to support the film. Were rehearsing at the moment in LA; pre-filming which is a luxury and the cast and crew are coming together nicely. Some good people are also behind the project from Paranormal Activity and also Vertigo Entertainment is on board.