Sir Ian McKellen Gives High Praise to ‘Chicken’ Actor



Photo: B Good Picture Company
Photo: B Good Picture Company

You may not have heard of Scott Chambers yet, but I guarantee that you will, and soon. Chambers, 23, is the star of director Joe Stephenson’s debut film, Chicken. The trailer looks fantastic, and none other than Sir Ian McKellan agrees.

The eminent thespian calls Chambers’ performance “astonishing, intriguing, enchanting and moving”. Few actors can boast of such worthy praise at the start of their career; methinks Chambers is someone to keep an eye on.

Chambers started acting as a teenager and went to the prestigious Stagecoach performing arts school. He also studied acting at college and hopes to make a career out of it, and I for one cannot wait to see how far he will go.

Chicken is the story of Richard (Chambers) and his brother Polly (Morgan Watkins). The brothers live in a caravan outside Colchester, Essex and their lives are upset when the land on which they live is sold to a new owner.

Richard, who has learning difficulties, is distressed when the new landowner wants him and Polly to move on. Enter Annabel (Yasmin Paige) the landowner’s daughter, and some ne’er-do-wells whom Polly befriends, and you have the ingredients for a poignant yet riveting drama.

This is the first film part for Chambers, but not his first in the role of Richard. According to a recent interview Chambers gave Colchester newspaper The Gazette, the producers of the film – B Good Picture Company – saw him on stage.

“The film is based on a play I was cast in in 2011 at the Southwark Playhouse, in London, but it was only on for a week…it was by a brilliant new playwright Freddie Machin, from the Colchester area. A production company had seen it and were making it into a film and offered me the same role”.

Speaking of Colchester, the quiet Essex town has quite a bit to do with Chicken. Both Machin and Chambers are from the area; the film is set in its rural surroundings and filmed on location. One of the oldest towns in England (it was mentioned by the Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder), Colchester is now a garrison town and, although only 50 miles from London, still manages to retain small-town charm.

Wait, I hear you ask, where does Sir Ian McKellen come in? How does he know of this independent film? Well, it just so happens that McKellen is scheduled to star in Stephenson’s second film, a biopic of Noël Coward, also starring Vanessa Redgrave and Jonathan Pryce. You may have heard of the actor cast as Coward himself – Chris Colfer from a little show called Glee.  

The trailer for Chicken, which came out last month, is thrilling. It’s hard to believe that this is a first film not only for the director but most of the cast. If this is anything to go by, they all have long and successful careers ahead of them.

According to Chambers, Chicken will be shown at film festivals next year, and its exact release date is still under discussion.

However, Chicken will be holding Advanced Previews on 21 November at firstsite in Colchester, and at the Phoenix Cinema, London, on 1 December. 4YE will be attending both events, and I’m really looking forward to finally seeing the film; I’m sure it’s going to be great.

Sara Hunter Smith