TBB Talks … ‘Hard To Reach’ With Director Darryl Foster

Darryl Foster is an actor and director …

His directorial debut Hard To Reach sees a young man and his mentor share a cathartic experience they’ll never forget.

Hard To Reach just received an official selection for Oscar qualifying PAFF 2023 in LA, the Seattle Black Film Festival, the Canadian Screen Guild Qualifying Halifax Black Film Festival, and Poppy Jasper International Film Festival. The film has also won a number of awards.

We spoke to Darryl about making the film and directing for the first time …

Who are you?

I’m Darryl Foster, an actor, writer/director from Birmingham, who lives in London.

What do you do?

So, I act professionally, and I am signed to IAG. I also write and direct; my debut film is the award-winning Hard To Reach. And up until very recently, I was also a scripted development executive working in a development team within a production company.

Tell us about Hard To Reach.

Hard To Reach is my debut short film, so it’s the first script I’d ever written and the first time I’d ever directed. I play the lead in the film too. It’s a coming-of-age drama about an anxiety-fuelled mentor who takes his disruptive and sometimes violent teenage student on a photography trip where an altercation on a train leads to a cathartic exchange that forever changes them. The story is inspired by a time when I worked as a one-to-one mentor for at-risk young people in Birmingham. I was a mentor for seven years and witnessed many of the harsh realities young people face when failed by the education system and society in the UK. I wanted to use this film to explore a complex and nuanced relationship between a man and boy, a meeting of souls, as they go through a transformative point in their lives. But I also felt a responsibility to portray the young people who inspired me with care and authenticity – which I hope I’ve achieved.

What are you watching?

Right now, I’m lining up my next series, which will be Snowfall – shout out to Selorm Adonu for the passionate recommendation. I’ve recently just finished The Bear, and the opening first 10 minutes of episode 8 specifically, is just some flawless television. Honestly, go watch it. The editing, the dialogue, and the performance are great. Also, Altana, just because it’s the greatest of all time.

What are you reading?

Having read loads of scripts and books for my job in scripted development, I’ve kind of fallen into a habit of not reading for pleasure in a little while, which I want to change fast. So currently, I’m reading Afropean: Notes from Black Europe by the very talented Johny Pitts.

What are you listening to?

*Opens up Spotify….* I listen to albums, so at this very moment, it’s Dizzee Rascal’s Boy In Da Corner and The Car by Arctic Monkeys. Both have very different sounds but are seminal albums. Boy In Da Corner is timeless genius, and it just hits so hard.

Last thing you saw on stage?

Orlando at Garrick Theatre.

Whose footsteps are you following in?

Honesty, no one. That’s not because I don’t look up to other people or take inspiration; I do! I really try to study the careers and choices of the writers, directors and actors that inspire me and whose career I’d love to have something similar to, but I am very aware I’m on my own journey like all of us. I love finding out about how people made it to where they wanted to be. That stuff fills me with so much inspiration and joy.

What’s next?

As an actor, I am going hard on my continual training, with acting workshops, my American accent, movement and dance classes and, of course, auditioning! I want to work with exciting writers and directors as an actor, whether in an independent film or a returning TV drama or comedy.

As a writer and director, I have a plan to make three short films and then my feature. Hard To reach was my first, and I’m starting to develop my second short film, which I will write and direct, but I shall not act in this one. Watch this space!

What’s your socials?

@thisisdarrylfoster on Instagram, also follow the Hard To Reach film at @hardtoreachfilm. And find me dormant on Twitter over at @thisisdarrylf


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