Toronto Film School alumnus Nadeem Phillip recently landed a role on Global TV’s Robyn Hood – a modernized reimagining of the English legend of Robin Hood created by Canadian music video director and filmmaker Director X.
“As an actor who cut his teeth doing Shakespeare, I can tell you that one of the only ways for classics to survive and be relevant to a modern audience is to apply the story to the world we live in today,” said Phillip, a Writing for Film & Television grad who’s now studying towards his Bachelor of Creative Arts degree at TFS affiliate, Yorkville University.
“The world of Robyn Hood feels very much like the GTA, and the characters inhabiting the show are reflective of the real human beings we see in Toronto.”
Still a screenwriting student at TFS when he first landed the villainous role of ‘Redcap’ on the show, Phillip said the experience of balancing his studies with his work on Robyn Hood was a surreal one.
“I remember signing onto class on Zoom and telling my classmates, ‘I booked this job! I’m going to be on a TV show!’ while we were literally studying TV writing and structure,” he recalled.
“One day, I was in the makeup chair on set with my headphones on, tuning in for Jeremy Lalonde‘s Directing class. It was bananas. But the thrill was never lost on me.”
As Redcap, Phillip breathes new life into one of the original tale’s villains, Gilbert o’ the Red Cap, the Sheriff of Nottingham’s best archer and Robin Hood’s chief nemesis.
“In the original, he was another archer who was just as good as Robin, but he was on the other side and was tasked by the Sheriff to hunt down and kill Robin Hood,” he explained.
“The first season of Robyn Hood isn’t done yet, though, so I won’t speak to how much of our story stays true to the original.”
Phillip said the further he delved into his new role on the show, the more he realized that the lessons he was simultaneously learning in the TFS classroom were helping him to understand what was going on all around him on set.
“When I’d hear the DP and the 1st AC changing from a ‘50 to an 85,’ it was like seeing into the Matrix code – you know what that means, you know what to do with that information, and how to adjust. You don’t need a director to come and tell you,” he said.
“Receiving practice and theory so heavily at the same time was of invaluable benefit. It made me a better actor and a better filmmaker.”
It also made his “downtime” on set fly by all the more quickly.
“There was never a dull moment. When I’d wrap a scene and head back to my trailer, there was always homework waiting for me,” he laughed.
“But I think that also helped me hone some of the multi-tasking skills I used as a producer for the thesis projects. Always doing something!”