We talk to the breakout star of indie film CHICKEN: Scott Chambers

Sir Ian McKellen has called his performance “an astonishing debut: intriguing, enchanting, moving”. So enthralled by director Joe Stephenson’s indie film was he, that Sir Ian got on board as a financial backer. Here, we get an insight into the film by its lead breakout star – and British Independent Film Award-nominated actor – Scott Chambers.


Fault: Your character, Richard, has learning difficulties. TV shows and films that address such issues are often scrutinized – how did you prepare for the sensitivity of the role? Did you do much research?

Scott: For the role a lot of preparation went into it, especially with Joe the director. We would speak endlessly about exactly happened to him directly from birth all the way up until the present moments in the film. I felt very cautious about stepping into playing a character who is mentally challenged , so I avoided watching other actors performances because I wanted Richard to be my own. Prior to the shoot I was lucky enough  to have some rehearsal time where myself and Morgan Watkins (who plays Polly) developed the entire background for the characters. Morgan Watkins who plays Polly is truly incredible to act opposite. We worked very closely prior to the shoot together writing our character biographies, but from our own characters perspectives. Morgan’s would be a lot darker then Richard’s, possibly because Polly knows the truth and was exposed to things Richard wasn’t, which was interesting. There’s a few areas that are answered in the film, but some that leave the audience to decide for themselves. Ultimately, it was for me and Morgan to really clarify every question, so that we knew exactly what had what had happened since birth to the present circumstances.

Fault: Sir Ian McKellen is a big fan – and a backer – of the film. How are you finding all the attention and support from such an iconic actor?

Scott: The generosity of Ian McKellen is mindblowing… for him to support the film how he has done. For a film like ours, it really truly needs any help it can get and with the following Ian McKellen has, he really can bring people that may not usually see the film into the cinema.

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Fault: What was it like working with ‘Chicken’ director Joe Stephenson? How did the two of you come to meet?

Scott: Working with Joe was genuinely incredible – he is basically Richard too. He was always there for me and supported every decision or idea. I think it was slightly easier in a way for us working together because we already had a strong bond and we both trusted each other completely, which I think with this project, if the trust wasn’t there that it could have turned into something else.

Fault: They say never to work with animals, but of course your best friend in the film is exactly that. What was it like working with chickens?!

Scott: I was definitely cautious about the chicken at first, and thought it would be a bit of a problem but she really wasn’t. We had two on set, I named one ‘Shy’ and one ‘Confident’. When I would have a scene that involved running, I would want Shy as she stays still. If I had a scene with a monologue to the chicken, or a bit of dialogue, I’d get Confident because she would always give me something back.


Fault: What’s next for Scott Chambers?

Scott: Next up I have ‘The Hippopotamus’ coming out, which is a film based on the Stephen Fry novel where I play Roger Alam’s gothic son (think Green Day x10). I am currently filming ‘Hush’ in Glasgow which also stars Celia Imrie and Florence Pugh. After that I am about to reunite on something with Joe Stephenson too.

Fault: Finally – what is your fault?

Scott: I am complete over-thinker! I always look into things and tend to get anxious about the stupidest of things. Currently working on calming myself down.

Chicken is in selected cinemas now. You can watch the trailer below, and find Scott on Twitter.

Photography Jack Alexander