Scott Michael Wagstaff talks new film ‘Pendulum’

Scott Michael Wagstaff headshot by Kim Hardy 1
Scott Michael Wagstaff, photo by Kim Hardy

Creativity has always been a guiding force in Scott Michael Wagstaff’s life; it is his fuel. From a young age, he channeled that into performing. The buzz he would get from standing on a stage in front of a live audience was addicting. As he grew, performing was no longer about the thrill, but rather living in a place of honesty for himself, and inspiring audiences to do the same. It is this understanding that makes Wagstaff such an extraordinary actor today. He acts not only because he wants to, but because he needs to. There has never been an alternative for him.

Throughout his career, Wagstaff has taken not only his home country of England, but the world by storm. With memorable roles in BBC’s Doctors, 6 Days, The Time of Their Lives, and Final Reflection, audiences can see exactly why Wagstaff is at the top of his field. Recently, his accolades grew yet again, with a nomination for “Best Supporting Actor” at the FilmQuest Film Festival for his role in the new film Pendulum.

“Playing the role of Gwilym was a very fulfilling and a great challenge. The role required me to be a man of few words which is tougher than what it sounds. As an actor, you feel at times the words do the work for you, so when I found I had little to say to honor this role, and furthermore the story, it always seemed challenging. I had to just completely trust that I had everything going on already,” said Wagstaff

Pendulum is a film about two friends who seek spiritual salvation in India in advance of the impending collapse of the cosmos. It is a spiritual science fiction tale with a deep message, telling audiences the importance of being okay with themselves, who they are, and to stop attaching to everything else to distract from who they really are. Wagstaff plays the pivotal role of Gwilym. Gwilym is a very cold man, but has great care and love for his best friend Cerys. The role was entirely improvised, with no script. Wagstaff had to ensure that whatever he improvised would not only keep true to the story, but enhance it.

“What helped is knowing why Gwilym is so cold. He didn’t agree with the hedonistic and disconnected world in London, a result of the end of the world upon them, and had given up on connecting himself, thinking he’s better off alone without joining in the numbing of the end of the world. Once I understood that part of myself that wanted to numb from certain things in life did that then help me embody this character,” Wagstaff described.

In addition to Wagstaff’s nomination, the film is in competition at Encounters Film Festival at the end of the month, making the film BAFTA and Oscar qualified. It is an Official Selection at the Stranger With My Face Festival, NOLA Horror Film Festival, PUNE Film Festival, and of course, the FilmQuest Festival. It has just begun its film festival run, so it will likely be recognized much more around the world. None of this could have been possible without Wagstaff’s understanding of his character and his dedicated and captivating portrayal of Gwilym. He also produced the film.

“Scott is a generous and kind-hearted team member, who really wants the best for each member of the cast and crew and will go to lengths to let people shine. As a performer, he is able to deliver deep and emotionally connected performances in the trickiest of circumstances, always putting vast amounts of work in, and with the confidence to let his talents dazzle,” said Lauren Cooney, the Director, Writer, and Producer of the film. “As an actor Scott has a deep emotional well, on which to draw from, and is able to deliver truthful and complex performances in the moment. As a producer Scott is fully up for taking big risks, and jumping on board adventures. He seeks out collaborators who he is excited by, and is very committed to long-term work in this much-loved industry.”

Cooney initially invited Wagstaff to work on her film, knowing she needed the best actors to make her film a success, especially when it came to Gwilym. He is the catalyst for the lead female role Cerys to see that everything she has been searching for is right there within herself. Even though he comes across cold and disconnected, he breathes a truth into Cerys’ life about him being okay with being alone without him saying anything. He has a love for Cerys that helps her to see that love ultimately between human beings is what matters most – love of self and then love of others. The road trip to India wouldn’t have happened if Gwilym wasn’t there with her, as she wasn’t capable of being physically alone.

“On a deeper level, Gwilym represents people in this world who have great moral beliefs and want change, but don’t speak up until they feel they really do have to. It would be great if these people would speak up from the get go,” said Wagstaff.

Wagstaff had full creative freedom to create such an in-depth character. His instincts were almost always right, and very little was changed without his input. There was a great sense of teamwork on the film, and that is what Wagstaff loved.

“It was the ultimate meaning of collaboration to me and the people in the cast and crew were fantastic. I also loved that I got to travel around India with this film, I see the most radical and powerful sights and even ended up on a train for over three days travelling from one location to another,” he concluded.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Wagstaff in Pendulum.

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