Only at the age of 14, Reiss Jeram, has an exciting future ahead of him! Developing his talent on stage through dance and acting has enabled him to secure positions, such as his role at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. Many of you may also recognise him from the recent BBC short films ‘Murdered by my Father’.
It’s great to see drive in an individual at such a young age, especially in a very competitive industry. After asking Reiss and his parents a few questions, we uncover more about his passion and his journey so far…
Growing up, who was your inspiration?
The inspiration came from my cousins because we used to do these little performances for our parents. Being able to make my parents smile and laugh when watching me perform, really inspired me.
Performing shows in front of your family and cousins, since the age of 5, acting has now become a part of you. When you are up there, acting and performing, can you describe how it makes you feel?
Being up on stage or on camera really makes me feel glad because drama can bring so much emotion out of a person.
One of your first roles was in the BBC’s short film, Found, which was a children’s fantasy drama about a young boy and his first few days at a new school in a new town. When playing this role how easy was it for you to become this character?
Morphing into the role was hard as the situation was hard to play without having been through it personally. I was able to do this because I had friends who had been through that same problem and talking to him made me understand.
Starring in the open ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, with The Akram Khan Dance Company, is one of your greatest and most exciting achievements. What was your favourite part of this whole experience?
The rehearsals in this tiny little practice room and because of the extremely friendly environment, everyone was so nice to me. I had to rehearse on my 10th birthday and they sang happy birthday in the big stadium to me! Akram is also so talented and dedicated and working with him inspired me.
The art of acting comes from having the ability to fully understand a character, as well as their emotions and their surround environment. Your most recent role in “Murdered by my Father” was one which was filled with intensity and a strong message about the unspoken issue of honor killings. Was this a situation you were able to understand, or exposed, to before taking on the role or did was it something that you learnt from the program?
I did a lot of research so I could truly become the character. Before filming I had research honour killing for a basic understanding but during the process of filming I gained a deeper understanding of the matter, this lead me to easily morph into the character ‘Hassan’.
Do you find it difficult to balance your working commitments with school?
Not really because my teachers and headmaster are really supportive and give me catch up work, plus my mum constantly checks up on me that I’ve done all the work missed!
You have said that while you are still young, your dream role, while you are still young, would to be in movie as the main character. If you could pick any type of film and character to be next, what would be your dream performance?
I would love to be in a drama feature film just so I could explore a very dramatic character.
– Reiss Jeram
Reiss has also been fortunate enough to have two supportive parents who have aided his dreams. So here is some insight from their perspective…
What was your initial reaction when you were first introduced to the script of ‘Murdered by my Father’.
I had already spoken to the producer who ran through the storyline with me and discussed the sensitive nature of it. So when we actually received the script it was not too shocking, however being there throughout the filming process still did not prepare me for the shock of when I actually saw those final scenes on screen.
Many parents have an agenda for their child’s future, how easy was it for you to let Reiss following his own dreams?
Our job as parents is to arm them with skills necessary, drama provided him a degree of confidence that can only help him. Reiss started at drama school, Chrystel Arts, very young and has been there since, acting was introduced to him through the drama school.
(Photo Credits: BBC)