He’s only a year out of training, but actor Paul Eryk Atlas has been cast in a new, independent movie of classic novel Wuthering Heights – as the iconic tortured hero Heathcliff.
The former graphic designer has been working as a singer for Warner hotels since graduating in musical theatre last summer.
But he was hand picked by the team behind the new adaptation to audition for the role, played in the past by the likes of Laurence Olivier and Ralph Fiennes.
Paul, 26, says it’s ‘early days’ for the project, which he believes will be the first time Emily Bronte’s masterpiece has been adapted in a fashion so true to her original work. “I am delighted that I have been cast as Heathcliff,” he said. “He’s such an iconic literary character.
“He’s not the most likeable of people yet somehow he manages to attract women – I hope I do him justice for the fans of the book.
“He’s dark and troubled and everyone has specific ideas as to what he is like.
“It’s very new territory for me being in a film production, although I have played period roles before and it’s something that I do enjoy, especially the language. But it is a bit of a shock to the system having been musical theatre trained, I’m used to singing and dancing, not having a camera in my face and ‘cut, reset, do this shot, do that shot’. I’m used to it all being at once.”
Paul hopes the role could be a big chance for him to get noticed, less than a year after graduating with a first class degree in musical theatre from New College Lanarkshire, in Glasgow.
“Even that a first class honours degree in this industry doesn’t guarantee work at all,” he said. “There is so much rejection you have to deal with daily, and costly to travel to audition after audition.
“Luckily I have a very supportive family. I’m sure I would have a more stable career if I’d continued in the realms of graphic design and illustration but who knows? In this day and age nothing is ever certain.”
Filming so far has been ‘productive but sporadic’ due to it being an independent shoot, working around location availability and budgets.
A trailer teasing how the film will pan out is being produced, to start building interest in the project. And it’s already gaining support on Facebook.
“Wuthering Heights has an established fan base from the book,” Paul said. “So it will be interesting to see what their response will be, with it being so close to the original book, and following after the other versions.”