Adam Deacon wrote Sumotherhood to counter 'scary stuff' written about him in the press

By John Mercury October 14, 2023

Adam Deacon says he wrote his latest film – Sumotherhood – as a way to “take ownership” of some of the “scary stuff” written about him in the press following his breakdown.

The 40-year-old Hackney-born actor and rapper says it was important for him to put some of his own mental health issues into the movie, which he wrote, directed and stars in.

Pic: Paramount Pictures/Colin J Smith
Image:
Pic: Paramount Pictures

He told Sky News: “I felt like not only was it quite therapeutic for me to get it out of my system, but also take some ownership in what was written about me, because there was so much stuff in the press that can be quite scary for someone to read.

“I felt like if I don’t take it that serious, then, you know, people reading it don’t have to take it that serious. And I want people to understand that you can go through a mental health breakdown, and you can recover. It’s just like a broken leg – you break, a leg heals. It’s like your mind, your mind heals.”

Deacon’s rise to fame was swift, starring in 2006 movie Kidulthood, followed by Adulthood two years later – both written by and starring Noel Clarke.

Deacon went on to pick up BAFTA’s rising star award in 2012 – ahead of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth and Chris O’Dowd.

But Deacon’s upward trajectory was stopped in its tracks following mental health struggles, culminating in two breakdowns and a bi-polar diagnosis.

‘More needs to be done to break the stigma’

Deacon now hopes the film will help tackle the “stigma around mental health”, which he says is still an issue.

“I faced that [stigma] myself. And I know a lot of young men have come up to me and told me about their own issues… I think things are changing. I think the way the media talk about mental health now was a lot different when I went through my breakdown. But I think more needs to be done and hopefully this film will just start a little conversation going, especially for young men out there watching it.”

Intertwined with his illness, a very public row with Clarke – who Deacon claimed was sabotaging his career – led to a restraining order against Deacon in 2015.

Clarke has since been the subject of multiple bullying and sexual misconduct claims following an investigation by the Guardian newspaper. Clarke has never been charged with any offence and strongly denies the allegations made against him.

Now, with those events years behind him, Deacon sees Sumotherhood as his calling card to the industry he loves.

Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts.

“For me, it was it was a struggle letting the industry know that I’m cool. I feel better. I’m in a good place. And I think that’s why I made the film as well, to kind of prove myself to the industry, to let people know, ‘Look, I’ve been in this industry since I was 12 years old, and I just want to work. I just want to act and I want to direct and I love what I do’. So, it feels like a second chance.”

‘I added lines… and people laughed’

It was in fact his first film, playing troubled teen Jay in Kidulthood, that first led him to the idea of creating a parody of the gritty London-set gang drama that made his name.

“I think Jay in Kidulthood was written quite aggressive and quite obnoxious a lot of the time. And so, I added a few lines and when it came out and I went to the cinema to watch it, I realised the comedy lines I added had an effect and people were laughing.”

It was then he decided he had to write a full comedy of the drama, resulting in his directorial debut, Anuvahood in 2011. Now 12 years later, Sumotherhood follows.

Inspired by Brett Ratner’s 1998 action-comedy Rush Hour and the work of Guy Richie, the film has a British feel with an American flavour.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sumotherhood has numerous star cameos throughout

Pop star ‘shows off’ acting skills

Plus, more cameos than you can shake a stick at.

Appearances include Ed Sheeran, Lethal Bizzle, Jennifer Saunders, Denise Van Outen, Linda Robson and Jeremy Corbyn.

Jazzie Zonzolo, who co-wrote and stars in the movie alongside Deacon, says the support was “crazy,” and has particular praise for Shape Of You singer Ed Sheeran.

Zonzolo explains: “Let me tell you about Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran is a real professional. He invited us to his house to rehearse and he was not letting us go home. He just kept going, and he literally came on set, knew his lines like he was amazing.”

Heaping on more praise, Deacon says Sheeran was a “perfectionist”, who showed “professionalism” and “creativity” throughout the shoot.

Plus, he says fans will get to see a whole different side to the squeaky clean pop star: “He’s a proper actor in this film. I think a lot of his work in the past was him playing himself. And I feel like this is an opportunity for the world to see Ed in a way they’ve never seen him before and for him to really show off his acting skills.”

Sumotherhood is in cinemas now.

source

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *