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Good call Belfast filmmaker Ross White discusses new movie on phone sex worker who befriends caller

The story follows widower Roy who one day accidentally calls an adult hotline and strikes up an unusual bond

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Director Ross White

Director Ross White

Director Ross White

As they set about writing their first movie, young filmmakers Ross White and Tom Berkeley had only one actor in mind — Harry Potter legend David Bradley.

The duo were big fans of the iconic English actor, who also starred in shows including Game of Thrones, Broadchurch and After Life. In hope rather than expectation, they took the chance of sending him the script of their short film Roy and were thrilled to discover he loved it.

“We always said Roy felt like a bit of a David Bradley type. We thought: ‘Let’s just write a begging letter to see if he would read the script’. We did exactly that. He’s just such a generous man that he took the time to read the script, and he just really connected with it and wanted to be a part of telling that story,” reveals Ross.

Roy tells the tale of a lonely widower who pretends he’s dialled a wrong number, then attempts to strike up a conversation to brighten his day.

But one day he accidentally calls an adult hotline worker, Cara (Rachel Shenton), who assumes he’s calling for kicks of a different kind. When she realises he’s just looking for company, the two strike up a charming and unlikely friendship.

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Actor David Bradley

Actor David Bradley

Actor David Bradley

“I think he really enjoyed the humour in it,” adds the writer and director. “That’s a side he doesn’t always get to show in the parts he plays — he plays a lot of these sort of curmudgeonly characters. When you meet him in person, it’s so ironic, because it couldn’t be farther from the man. He’s such a gentle, funny, warm man. I think that really comes across in his performance.”

Roy marks Ross and Tom out as two filmmakers to watch out for. The duo started collaborating after meeting at drama school and were thrilled when it was long listed for a Bafta.

Although it narrowly missed out on the final five nominations, their first film caught industry and audience attention and they have already made another, An Irish Goodbye, which is currently making waves on the film festival circuit.

While he considered an acting career, Ross is finding his passions lie on the other side of the camera. “I was born in Belfast and then I went to study in drama school in London as an actor, originally,” he tells.

“I worked as an actor after graduating, but I was always writing plays and keen on the other side of things. Then I finally bit the bullet in late 2019. I started to write for screen seriously with Tom on our first short film and it snowballed from there.”

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After living in London for five years, Ross has moved back to his native Belfast and is thrilled to find the movie industry in his hometown is thriving.

“It’s just been the most fantastic thing being back in Ireland and back home. Screen industries in the Republic and the North are just absolutely busy at the minute. I mean, not even a global pandemic’s been able to get in the way. There are so many international productions, but also local filmmakers with so much to say.”

And with the huge international success of Game of Thrones and Kenneth Branagh’s memoir Belfast, the filmmaker feels there are now even more possibilities ahead.

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