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March 08, 2023 9 min read

We want to introduce you to friends of Lois Jeans UK team, who know about Lois Jeans and want to share their stories

picture of George Russo in a denim shirt and flat cap 

George Russo


George Russo 42 is the first of our friends who we will feature in these newsletters, getting to know a bit more about his Past Present and Future!

 In his first screenplay, the London based drama 'Turnout' (2011) George played the lead role alongside Neil Maskell, Ophelia Lovibond and Ben 'Plan B' Drew.

image of flyer for Film Turnout

His second feature was the acclaimed crime drama 'Villain' (2020) which is on release on Netflix now!

image of film Villain with main character in a suit

In September 2022 George appeared in a one off special episode of Eastenders. Set in the winter of 1979, he played Eric Mitchell, the extremely abusive father of brothers Grant and Phil and husband to the iconic Peggy Mitchell, portrayed by Jaime Winstone.

His two short films Smack Edd (2019) and Baby Boy (2021) have screened at film festivals all over the world picking up numerous awards along the way. The latter won George an award for best actor at the BAFTA and BIFA qualifying BUFF film festival.
image of george on flyer for film Baby Boy

In 2022 George reprised his role as Joey 'Basildon Joe' Waller in the popular Rise Of The Footsoldier franchise spin off 'Tate: Two Days Of Blood' (2023). He also has several other projects being released in 2023 including supporting roles in two BBC Drama The Gold and a recurring role in an unannounced, high profile HBO series.

 images of flyer for film Rise of the Footsoldier

 The team here at Lois Jeans Uk had the privilege to spend some time with the East London born Actor, Producer and Writer, George, on a damp day at the end of 2022 in the Iconic pub The Pride of Spitalfieds off Brick Lane. It wasn’t the usual pints as you might expect, as George is tea total and so was one of our two man team at the time. So sparkling waters only!


So George thanks for spending the time with us, first of all tell us when your passion for acting started.


“I went to Anna Schers, a drama class that was revered in our area, there was a 4 year waiting list to get in.  It was a melting pot  you had Amy Hodge and Simon Godwin then you had the kids from the flats like me it  was 50pence a class and everyone was treated the same, you had Naomi Harris , Reggie Yates, Neil Maskell real great actors so I went there and the they had a children agency attached to it, so that’s how I got into it.


How old were you then?


I was 11 or 12 , you’re not really an actor then you’re just a kid that says the words, cause if you’ve got no emotion to draw on or you haven’t got a process, you’re not really acting as a craft, you’re more of a performer so I was a child performer…but I met a lot of good people there, who I’m still good friends with.

People  like Phil Daniels, Kathy Burke all went there! Great place!”


Playing different rolls you say you haven’t got life experiences as a child to act….


“Well it’s an art and all great art comes from life experience, and trauma and like all great love songs comes from people who haven’t had a great relationship, more heartache and pain, so you need some of it to draw on, life experiences I mean. So you need that to say something. So I try and draw upon some of that stuff . It’s a good excuse for me cause I like watching films so I try and find iconic films that might tie in to a part I’m playing and where I have a illustrator/ Graphic design background I always have sketch books, so I’d cut things out of sketch books and I still work like that..

 Is that when you’re creating your character?

 “Yeah yeah I love images and I try and find music that I can use, I use a lot of music. I try and find a couple songs that I can just put on just before, that I can use as a trigger that would put me straight in it, music is a great tool, so I try and find a couple character music, watch a film for that character, also an animal. I have an animal associated to the character and use work sheets too,

I’ve got a big process that I’ve developed over time and each process is different for each roll, it’s not a cookie cutter”

 So how do you separate yourself form these rolls. Do you find it easy?

 “Yeah, when I’m in it I like to be in it, when I’m on set. Other actors work in different ways, some actors might want to have small talk in between takes or just talk shit, as you’re waiting around a lot. It’s a real hard discipline.”

 So how do you choose the rolls you play? As I saw one of the shorts you did, Baby Boy! And I saw the behind the scenes on you tube which was interesting!

 Yeah I wrote that, it came from a feature script we were working on, Smack Ed and Baby boy was both lifted from this feature which was set around here actually. It’s about a guy who get’s involved in heroin, at first he was with a brass but then my mate Greg who I wrote it with said “what if he was ga? but in the closet”. So I then had this character, we gave him more layers. The way I see it, it’s like a werewolf film or like a Jekyl and Hyde, he has the medicine and then he's just this different character which is a bit of a metaphor for addiction as often addicts or alcoholics they’re completely different to the person you meet socially, once he gets something in him he’s a different person…

 So how did come up with the original story?

 “A lot of the things I’ve written in the past, less so now actually, has been drug related because addiction and drugs have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Hoxton, just around the corner, during a heroin epidemic, all the chaps in my area.. you know, the ones who were money getters, crooks, not villains, just crooks. When heroin came about they were dabbling, they were selling it. They didn’t know the long term affect or consequences, cause  there were no barometers, There was no one to say “I’m not going to touch that shit because that’s how I’m going to end up!”. I had close friends affected by it.

It was all round and about us!” 

That’s why I wanted to ask, as your characters and stories are gritty and real where do they all originate from?

 Well I’m a big fan of…. my favourites era of film making is 70’s ‘New Hollywood films’, the likes of Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Apocalypse Now. With all those great directors Scorsese, De Palma, Friedkin all these brilliant directors were making….art you know, before the blockbusters, before.. Jaws and Star Wars. There was a little period in the 70’s where there were brilliant films like Rocky where the anti-hero was the lead, with down endings not up endings, dramas, slow paced, character driven dramas. That’s what I was a big fan of growing up and even the grittier British films. I think most good British films are gritty just by nature.. like McVicar, Quadraphenia and err Scum.... classics

 So when you get given Scripts do you look for those rolls?

 No not necessarily, I wouldn’t say that, as up until now I haven’t been in a massive position where I can pick and choose, I have turned down work, but you know being a jobbing actor is a tough gig, you know you gamble everything, you’re an artist, you gamble security, you gamble stability all that stuff on a whim. You know most actors don’t work, so I haven’t turned down loads of work, but I’ve become more picky lately.


 Quick Fire questions.


Favourite car you’ve owned?

 I’ve only just started to drive the last 3 years. So as I moved out of London I needed to drive. I appreciate them but they’re not my thing. Cause I grew up in Hoxton we were on buses, were going down to Camden or West End at 10 years old on buses, we never needed them.

 What’s your favourite decade?

 For films it’s the 70’s but for nostalgia it’s gotta be the 80’s. Cause I grew up then, I was a young kid so if I see anything from the era I get all fuzzy feeling, I really like all the 80’s soul music

 I was going to ask about your favourite music?

 So yeah I loved SoS band, Luther Vandross, I loved all music but the 80’s is my favourite.

 image of record cover of Sos Band Just be good to me

 What are you listening to now?

 “I listen to all sorts, I have an eclectic taste, I’ve been listening to a lot of Spiritual music recently. So there’s a girl called Nessi Gomes.., she’s powerful ,she’s more leaning to folk music I went to see her at a festival recently and she’s really powerful.”

image of record cover for Jungle brothersimage of De la Soul 3 feet and rising record sleeveimage of A Tribe called Quest record sleeve, a red painted woman under UV lights

“In the 90’s the first sounds I got into was the hiphop but not rap more hip hop like Jungle brothers. De la soul, Tribe Called Quest you know not as streety but Hip hop with jazz samples I got right into that but when Jungle landed….that swept me off my feet, so I got big into the jungle,(He smiles) that for me was a proper London thing it was a London sound, not an import from America like say Garage was, even though they were using all samples, I liked the garage stuff but as soon as it got to the drum and bass 2 step I was out. I didn’t mind the Alex Reece stuff when he was on it and the Metalheadz.”

 image of Goldie record cover, white background with Metalheadz logo in the centre


Well that would have been on your block?

 “Yeah well I think that’s what kicked off the whole Shoreditch scene cause you had the Bluenote there”

 Nike or Adidas?

 “Well you wanna know something? I’ve never owned a pair of Adidas, ever! not 1 pair and I don’t think I ever will as it’s become such a thing now that I think I like to say I haven’t owned a pair. So Nike all the way”

 “Well I was born in 1980 and in my teens in the 90’s we we’re the Coca cola/Nike generation not the older boys who had the 70s and Adidas which was massive then and it was more tied into the casual scene which I wasn’t really into”

 I was going to ask, if you were born in the 80’s did the terrace culture rub off on you as you obviously you acted in The Rise of the Footsoldier films?

 “Well I’m an Arsenal fan and I used to sell a few tickets down the Highbury, a bit of touting but never really been a massive footy fan. I watch the world cups and watch big games but not a massive fan but I’m Arsenal through and through”

 What are 3 favourite brands?

 Well I’d have to say Ralph Lauren as it’s really endured, and at one point I was really into the preppy stuff, I think its quality and it’s stayed relevant. When it stopped being preppy then they brought out the RRL stuff, that was the creme so I can’t fault it. Ralph is the guvner.

an image of Ralph Lauren logo

I’m really into a lot of those American brands like Pendleton, I had a really nice Buzz Rickson piece, I love their reproduction stuff. But I can’t really afford all that stuff, like Eastman Leather but I like to watch from afar. I love clothes, Penfield, Edwin all of it.

 Do you shop a lot then?

 I can be a bit of a victim sometimes, get the wants. I recently bought a really good Korean brand Frizimworks. I bought a jacket off them from Korea. I bought direct from them and had it shipped and it was cheaper than getting it here!

 What’s the last thing you bought and where from?

 Well I bought a vintage Navajo bracelet, my misses was looking for one, googling it like mad and my mum said try a shop that’s been on the Kings Road since the 60s , my mum used to get stuff from there since back then, it’s called Wildones. So yeah last thing was that!

 First pair of Jeans?

 “It’s weird, my mum and that used to put me in jeans when I was younger like Levis and things like that, but when I was older and listening to hip hop we wasn’t really into jeans, we’d wear vintage then, combats, baseball jackets, beads, I don’t really remember wearing jeans but when the Jungle came out, then it was Armani and Stone Island. I remember my 1st pair of Armani with the metal badge on the back. They were special and i loved the Stoney. I liked Versace but they seemed to be cheaply made- they used to just fall apart, the stitching use to come apart!”

image of Armani jeans logo      image of Stone Island logo 


Was there a specific shop you used to go to?

 Yeah like Zee & Co, Woodhouse, Cecil Gee up the west end, by the station. That’s the one we used to go to. There was a shop in Lambs Conduit Street… I can’t remember the name. They used to do a shirt brand in there, do a lot of Paul Smith seconds, Patrick Cox and Gucci loafers. They are back in now… (laugh)

 When the jungle thing was there it was jeans and all the clobber but it was with trainers .. Nike, but when the garage thing kicked in, we started to wear shoes and my brother- in-law gave me 2 pairs of Russel and Bromley loafers, a leather pair and a suede pair and that was big for me. I was rockin them, none of my mates were really rockin them………. I remember Woodhouse was good but Zee and Co was the big one!


Thanks George!!