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Sam Spruell: My family are pleasantly surprised at me making it in Hollywood

·3-min read
Sam Spruell in The North Water  (BBC/See-Saw Films/Nicolas Bolduc)
Sam Spruell in The North Water (BBC/See-Saw Films/Nicolas Bolduc)

Sam Spruell has starred alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Florence Pugh, Charlize Theron and Letitia Wright.

And he has now admitted even his family are “surprised but happy” about his level of acting success.

His mother is the actress Linda Broughton - who has mainly enjoyed a career on the stage and the small screen.

Spruell, 44, who grew up in south east London, told The Standard: “I started acting in youth theatres. I think they are an amazing thing for young kids to have access to whether you want to be an actor or if you just want to play and have a good time and learn how to express yourself.

“That was my background. And my mother is an actress. Funnily enough, [my mum] is always shocked when I say I am doing a film abroad or whatever. She has been surprised at the kind of career I have had. She knows how hard it can be. Surprised and happy. She had faith, but was surprised at what her kid achieved. It is a joy to see your kids have some success.”

 (David Reiss)
(David Reiss)

Spruell has also starred in movies Taken 3 alongside Liam Neeson, Legend with Tom Hardy, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age with Cate Blanchett.

He starred alongside Pugh and Chris Pine in Outlaw King, and Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman.

In his latest project, BBC crime series The North Water, he starred opposite Colin Farrell and Jack O’Connell. He is soon to star in Doctor Who: Flux at the end of October.

Last year, Spruell portrayed PC Frank Pulley in Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed Mangrove, the first episode of the five-part award-winning series Small Axe also starring Wright.

Spruell said he felt “nervous” going to the set of Small Axe Mangrove every day but admitted director Steve McQueen pushed him to be the “best he can be.”

It follows the trial of the Mangrove Nine and explores racism in the Metropolitan Police.

Spruell said director Steve McQueen was “formidable” but working with the director was “revitalising” as he “pushed” the actor.

Spruell said: “It think anyone worth their salt wants to work with serious artists like Steve McQueen, he is formidable. He really pushed me to be as good as I could be. Turning up at work slightly nervous every morning in relation to working with him is... It is revitalising. It’s really exciting. Those are the kind of directors I want to work with.”

However, he admitted despite his starry experience, he admitted he still gets starstruck.

He added: “I have worked with loads of people now who are really famous. I met Penelope Cruz and I think she is phenomenal, so I felt thrilled to have met her. I was very excited about working with, briefly, with Gary Oldman. He is a hero, He has been in so many good films, such a good actor. We became good friends for a little bit. Meeting your heroes can be thrilling.”

Sam Spruell will next be seen in Doctor Who: Flux on BBC One from 31st October.

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