Undefeated in six fights in his professional boxing career during 2013 and 2014, Andy Gatenby retired from the sport due to an eye injury and turned his hand to acting after reaching the finals of BBC2 show, ‘Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week’ in 2015.
Since then, he has trained as a performer and steadily established a presence in his new profession, culminating in this latest part alongside some household names.
‘Nemesis’ is produced by Jonathan Sothcott of Shogun Films and features The Bill actor, Billy Murray; Lock, Stock’s main protagonist, Nick Moran; Football Factory’s familiar face, Frank Harper; recipient of the Laurence Olivier Award, Julian Glover; and Highlander villain, Bruce Payne.
Murray’s character in the film, John Morgan, is in the mould of Johnny Allen, the role he played in the BBC soap opera Eastenders between 2005 and 2006, which won him the British Soap Award for the category ‘Best Villain’.
Underworld kingpin, Morgan, returns to London after a time away, triggering a cataclysm of violence, chaos, retribution and murder.
“It’s a gangland, home invasion, thriller movie,” Gatenby excitedly explained. “There’s twists and turns with a great, all-British cast.
“I play a guy named Steve,” the 33-year-old from Portsmouth described. “He works for one of the main kingpins in the film, which is Damian Osborne, played by Bruce Payne. Steve works as an enforcer for his boss.”
Gatenby also starred in another British gangster film recently called ‘Card Dead’, alongside fellow ex-pro boxer, Chris Evangelou.
“I sort of get these roles a lot, to be honest, because I’m an ex-pro boxer, covered in tattoos and a bit rough around the edges!” he joked.
Father of two, Andy is not just accumulating an increasing amount of acting work for himself, but for his young daughter too – Lexi – who also has a part in the same film.
He explained, “Jonathan Sothcott sent the script to me and in the very first paragraph there was a character that described my daughter perfectly, so I messaged back straightaway to see if they had cast the part yet and, luckily, they hadn’t, so I gave them all the details for Lexi – her Spotlight profile, showreels, credits – and he said she was perfect for the role.
“So, she plays the younger version of one of the main characters. Lexi and I have already done a couple of short films together, but this was our first feature film together, in separate scenes, but was still very special for us both.”
Gatenby also enjoys working with award-winning actors too, “It was awesome to work with Billy Murray. If he doesn’t know it, it’s not worth knowing! We clicked straightaway and formed a good relationship. Just being around him made me better, and Bruce Payne as well, who has been in films with Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes.
“Billy helped me out from the first day of filming, he took me to one side to run through the dialogue together and helped me shape the character. I had, in my head, the way I wanted to play the role and he gave me some new ideas, so I made the changes and the outcome was fantastic.
“To be standing on a level ground with people like that was amazing. At that point, whatever part you play in a film, no one is more important than anyone else.”
The former fighter was on the cusp of an English title fight before his career-ending injury struck, but he is able to draw from his extensive experience as a prize-fighter when on set.
“When I get an opportunity like this, I step up and rise to the occasion. This, for me, is the fight. It used to be in a ring, but now it’s on set. The pre-nerves keep you alert, and the buzz off that, it’s like an adrenaline rush. I always thrive under pressure, I think boxing set me up for life and prepared me for anything I do, especially acting, there are so many similarities, you just switch it on and then you go to work.”
Every boxer in Britain dreams of winning the British title, including Andy, but with that part of his life now behind him, he has envisioned a new dream, “My sights were always set on winning the British title but now it’s a new fight – to star in the best films the UK has to offer, and I’m on the right route with films like Nemesis, which I’m sure is going to be a great success. The release date is March 29, it will be on all digital platforms and on DVD as well.”
Gatenby added details of his next venture in showbusiness, “I have just been cast as character in a new game coming out in November exclusive to PlayStation 5, called ‘Dark Mean City’. It’s an action/adventure game that takes place in an open world with lots of missions and an engaging story line. I’m doing the voice over work for the character of Mannix Kriegger, who is based on me. He’s in a biker gang and is a tough character in the game.”