“It’s not following the traditional Hollywood tropes of who you’re supposed to support. I found that really compelling”: Aml Ameen on Dead Shot
Sky movie Dead Shot is a gritty revenge thriller set in 1970s London, against the bloody backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Written and directed by Charles and Thomas Guard, based on a screenplay by Belfast-born writer Ronan Bennett, it follows IRA paramilitary Michael O’Hara (Colin Morgan), who comes out of hiding to take his pregnant wife to the hospital, but witnesses a British SAS soldier (Aml Ameen) shoot her dead by mistake when an ambush goes wrong. And so ensues a cat-and-mouse-style thriller, with Tempest recruited into an elite anti-IRA unit, and O’Hara set on revenge at any cost. Through the strength of its character studies, this is not a tale of black-and-white heroes versus villains, but rather it captures with complexity how individuals become pawns in high-level game playing during eras of conflict, with the more sinister string-pullers callously portrayed by Mark Strong and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, while the female characters, played by Felicity Jones and Sophia Brown, add further layers to the moral grey areas. 1970s London is brilliantly realised, with a stylised aesthetic and synth-infused score adding to the high-stakes tension that never shies away from the ruthless and ultimately self-defeating nature of violence and terror.
The Upcoming had the chance to hear from the film’s star, Ameen, who told us that its gripping, edge-of-your-seat vibe and the layered journey of Tempest attracted him to the project. He appreciated the chance to portray a character who feels lost and aimless, which he found challenging as it was not something he identified with personally. Ameen discussed the importance of understanding Tempest’s unique cultural journey as a Black British sergeant in the 1970s; he detailed how he delved into his character’s isolation and loneliness and related these feelings to his on-screen interactions, notably with his co-stars Strong and Brown. The actor also shared fond memories from the set, expressing awe at the quality and detailed nuance of the filmmaking process. His influences for this role range from First Blood to Mean Streets, acknowledging his fascination with characters that exhibit both human and villainous traits. Reflecting on the themes of Dead Shot, Ameen underlined the fragile nature of life and the toxic effect of vengeance. We also discussed his career so far, from performing on-stage as a kid to roles in Kidulthood, The Bill and Sense8, and writing and directing his first feature, Boxing Day. He also shared his future projects and his enthusiasm for the changing landscape of filmmaking in terms of representation and diversity.
Dead Shot is released on Sky on 12th May 2023.
Watch the trailer for Dead Shot here: