Changing Lanes: A Conversation with Former Royal Marines Commando and Inspiring Actor Steven Blades
Steven was excelling as a Royal Marine Commando, but after an injury that left him blind in one eye, everything changed. After a tough period of physical and mental pain, he finally found a new focus by pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming an actor. Fortunately, Steven has been able to use and apply his Marine skills to good effect when appearing on screen, something that has really helped enhance his acting career. He has appeared in ITV’s ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Recoil’ and ‘All the Devil’s Men’ (directed by Matthew Hope), as well as many other action films.
In this interview, Steven tells us about how his acting career has developed and also details his upcoming projects….
Steven, can you tell us about how you came to be an actor?
After being medically discharged from the Royal Marine Commandos in 2010, I became completely lost. I suffered quite a serious injury which left me blind in my right eye and, at the time, really affected me mentally. For the next few years, I worked as a Close Protection Operative, protecting high-profile clients. As well as this, we protected commercial vessels from Somali pirates while we transported them across open waters. I basically just bounced from job to job, trying to move on from the effects of the injury that ended my career as a Royal Marine. Although things may have looked good from the outside, the truth was that I hadn’t yet found peace within myself. To be honest, I was very close to giving up on life altogether. But then I decided to follow an old dream and attended an acting class in Sheffield. A few months later, I sold my house, my car – pretty much all my belongings and moved to London. It was a big risk, but I knew this was the right move if I was going to make a successful career for myself.
You are a former Royal Marines Commando. How did this impact your career?
The Royal Marines made me the man I am today. The skills I was given moulded my mindset and gave me the self-belief and courage to never give up on something I believe in. As far as working in the film industry, being a former Royal Marines Commando has had a huge impact. On a basic level, it gave me discipline and a strong work ethic, which definitely comes in handy when working on a busy film set. The crew and the actors are one big team that have to work in harmony to reach the desired end goal, which is very similar to a Commando unit. On a more specific level, the skills I developed within armed/unarmed combat and my comprehensive knowledge of weapons & military tactics, have all played a huge part in the progression of my acting career so far.
What are your favourite projects to date?
I’d say there’s a few, but all for different reasons. Within television, it has to be ‘Coronation Street’. I’ve grown up with the soap my whole life, so when I got the call from my agent telling me that I’d landed the part, I was incredibly happy. The most exciting feature film that I’ve worked on has to be ‘All the Devils Men’, directed by Matthew Hope. This was my first big film that achieved a theatrical release. Finally, it has to be ‘Bluff’, a short film directed by Tom Dunham. On the basis of how much fun I had playing the character Mr. Revell, I hold this film as one of my favourites.
How did acting change your life?
I feel that acting gave me a purpose in life. I love nothing more than creating an emotion within someone that wasn’t there before. Acting gives me the ability to take on a character’s struggles, goals, strengths, weaknesses and portray them physically through myself. It’s a huge amount of responsibility but, without a doubt, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been a part of.
Do you have any interesting Film or TV projects coming up?
Yes, there are a few that I’m quite excited about. I held a small role in ‘Vikings’ which will be aired in early 2020. I’m actually currently filming a military-based action film called ‘400 Bullets’, directed by Tom Paton, starring Andrew Lee Potts and Jean-Paul Ly. I’ve also been working closely with Nick Cohen for the past few years, writing a feature film script based on my life. The story is inspired by the events which caused my eye injury and the dark period that followed.