Bill Milner has achieved a heck of a lot in 21 years. At the age of 11, he starred in Son of Rambow and has been on the silver screen ever since, appearing in films with some major names including Michael Caine and Tom Hardy. With his latest film iBoy, co-starring the gorgeous Maisie Williams, set to be released on Netflix at the end of January, we sat down with him to chat iBoy, East London and the lessons he has learned.
Hey Bill! You’re starring in the adaptation of Kevin Brooks’s iBoy, which is released on Netflix this month, can you tell us what attracted you to the role of Tom?
I first heard about the film probably about a year ago now. I remember reading the script and the main thing that really excited me about the project was the reality of it. There’s obviously a lot of special effects and the whole concept is very sci-fi, but there is this real element of reality which is exciting. I remember sitting down and talking with Adam [Randall], the director, and our minds would run riot about all the possibilities. The powers that Tom gets and the worlds and the people that he is involved with, it does feel very real.
Yeah, it’s got that Black Mirror vibe where it’s hard not to draw parallels to the direction in which technology is heading in real life.
Exactly. I do really like the superhero and sci-fi style, but I think what suits my acting style best is when it’s real and more honest. Also, the fact that a lot of the story is looking at what these powers do to Tom mentally, how it affects him, how he’s so young and has so much power. It does become more psychological, which I find really fascinating. It’s like looking at a young kid power tripping.
Were there any points in filming where it all got a bit too “real”?
No, no. The filming process was honestly one of the funnest films I’ve ever worked on. Everyone was completely down to earth and really behind the project. We all worked really hard but at the same time we all made sure to have a lot of fun and really enjoy the process. When you are in the process of getting a film made, I think you do really need to have that enjoyment and enjoy the moment and not get too wrapped up.
For sure. So, what was your favourite part about filming?
The whole film was filmed in East London, and I ended up moving to Hackney because I loved the area so much. The estate that we filmed on was just near Liverpool Street, and it looks amazing on screen. But also working day to day in London was just so great. I really enjoyed it, and I feel like it actually did help the film as well because you can really involve your life in the film. I really loved being in London, and Maisie [Williams] was living not too far down the road from where I was staying and a couple of the other boys are all London based, so it was really nice to have everyone around.
And I guess it’s nice to know the best local pubs in the area to go to after?
Yeah! I’ve done films where you’re in other countries, and you just have to go back to your hotel room and you know that the sole reason you’re there is just to work and it’s quite hard to take your mind off it and relax. So being in London was really nice.
You mentioned Maisie Williams (Love. Her.), what was it like to work with her?
It was so much fun. We had such a good time. We’ve known each other for a while. We did a TV show [The Secret of Crickley Hall] together quite a while ago, but our characters and our worlds never crossed, so I think there was only a few times that we ever really saw each other. Since then we’ve got to know each other and we have a few mutual friends. I went to a party and Maisie was walking down the stairs and I didn’t notice her, I didn’t know she was at the party, and she goes “Bill! Bill! iBoy!” and I was like “What? How do you know?” and she was like “I’m gonna do iBoy!”. So that was really lovely news to hear and it all worked out amazingly. We had so, so much fun.