With 20 years in the business, you might expect Flemyng to be a little jaded.
But the actor is determined to give back, and supporting Barnardo’s work with young people seems the perfect place to start.
The LAMBA trained actor sees self-confidence as integral to personal development.
“Even though it was a struggle for my mum bringing two boys up on her own, I realise how important it was to have a loving parent and someone who supported you,” he reflects.
“It had always been my dream to be a professional actor and my mum was like, ‘If that’s what you want to do, that’s what you want to do.’ I was a very lucky boy and I had the support to do what I needed in order to do what I wanted to do.
“I realise now it never really occurred to me that you couldn’t go for what you couldn’t go for because I was always given the opportunity to do that.”
It was only as an adult that Flemyng realised that lack of encouragement and opportunity could have a significant impact.
“When I did my first job up in Scotland I was living on my own and would go to the local pub.
“A family I met there kind of befriended me. They were a young mum, dad and three kids and they had nothing, they were second generation unemployed on a massive council estate in Glasgow. I went, ‘Mate, I can get you a job as an actor, get the whole family work and they can come work with you!’
“The first thing you had to do was get a passport photo taken, fill in a form and turn up for casting. I organised everything then when time came the family didn’t turn up.
“I went back the next weekend and was like, ‘What you doing man?’ They said, ‘Oh, there was a problem, the alarm clock broke, blah blah…’ I got annoyed and was like, ‘Come on, this is easy, you can get £300 for two days work.’ Eventually, I realised that actually, just going through that front door was almost an impossible mountain for them to climb.
“It’s to do with confidence; it’s the belief that you’re valid to do that.
“My frustration from that came from the fact I’d always been led to believe I was capable but if you’re not then it’s very hard.”
Flemyng saw Barnardo’s as going some way to solving this cyclical problem.
“People are impatient with the long term unemployed for not achieving what they could achieve but they don’t understand that it has to start a lot younger, to get that step through the door.”
The right home environment can make a massive difference, as Flemyng notes. “I’ve just left my friend’s house who has fostered a four-year-old boy.
“They’ve been with the kid for two months tops. Before that, he has never slept a night, he’d wake 12, 15 times a night. Now, he’s sleeping through the night.
“And that’s a really good reflection - obviously it’s an amazing success and not standard - but it’s fantastic.”
Flemyng has two young children of his own, Cassius and Noah.
While in his early acting days, he’d be driven by the lure of travel, now “the logistics of having a family” keeps him closer to home.
“There was a time when I was young when I didn’t have kids where I’d prefer to do a bad film in India than a good film anywhere else because I loved India,” he admits. “They’d say have you read the script?” and I’d say, “No, but where’s it shooting?” They’d say, ‘Rajasthan,’ I’d say, “I’m in!”
But what about when Hollywood calls?
They’re like – will you relocate to America?” says the South Londoner.
“And I’m like, no, as much as I love the mecca of film making - you’re an actor and at one point or another you’re gonna want to go to America – for me it’s not the right thing. I want to go and then come home, that’s the plan.”
lInterview courtesy of The InterviewHub (interviewhub.co.uk)