It all changed for Dave Johns in 2016. I, Daniel Blake won the Palme D’Or at Cannes and the stand-up comedian from the North East was thrust onto the red carpet and the international stage – but now as a serious actor. He won a BAFTA as well.
He’s back on cinema screens this week, but in the sort of role he never imagined for himself – a romantic lead. In 23 Walks, he and co-star Alison Steadman meet each other while walking their dogs and, over a series of weeks, a friendship develops. It promises to turn into something more, but putting previous relationships behind them proves to be more of an obstacle than they could have imagined. And, as their individual circumstances change, it looks like they’ll never be together.
The actor talks to The People’s Movies’ Freda Cooper about how I, Daniel Blake changed his life almost overnight, as well as his other co-star, an Alsatian which goes by the name of Tilly in the film. He also admits that, because of his comedy background, he’s always making people laugh on set. And he looks forward to his next film, Blithe Spirit. He plays the gardener – and wears Tom Hardy’s boots from Peaky Blinders!
23 Walks is released in cinemas on Friday, 25 September.