Motivated by the opportunity for endless learning and personal development, English born actor Darren Higham both captivates and impresses audiences around the world with the unique combination of his natural talent paired with his formal education in performing arts from the renowned Manchester Metropolitan University. With a body of work ranging from TV to film, Higham has graced screens playing a wide variety of characters, proving that his creativity and devotion to the craft is as refined as it is flexible.
Far from type cast, Higham has played a wise, elder droid robot in the sci-fi horror film “Somnus,” the guitar playing guy-next-door in the romantic comedy “Modern Life is Rubbish,” and a brave first-responding firefighter at the scene of a Liverpool Street Station bombing. “I love for each role I do to be different from the last,” says Higham, “it keeps me on my toes, and means I’m constantly having to adapt. This ensures I never get complacent.”
Never backing away from a challenge, Higham recalls his experience in “Somnus” as unique and memorable. The film is about a cargo ship on its final mission flying the monotonous Earth-to-Mars route, when a mechanical failure changes the course and sends the crew to Somnus, a remote asteroid colony. Higham, having never shot a sci-fi film before, is thankful for the experience. Because of how the film was shot, Higham had minimal interaction with the other actors while filming. “It was a novelty for me,” he explains, “but acting is a profession where you never stop learning. It’s a continual process, and I love that about it. It is often hard, but never boring.”
In “Modern Life is Rubbish,” Higham’s character Solomon provides emotional support for his best friend during a bad breakup. “It’s a really touching story,” Higham explains, “it is definitely one everyone can relate with.” Believability is key in a strong actor, and Higham’s performance in this film is just that. Because of his strong and perfect portrayal, the viewer is drawn in with both a light and heavy heart all at once. “Solomon plays guitar in a band which, at one point, looked like it was destined for fame, but has ended up just playing pub gigs,” Higham says. “The band serves as sort of a warning to the main character, if he stays on the same path that he’s on. While it’s funny, it’s also a bit sad,” Higham explains.
Bringing a unique element of light to tinseltown, Higham’s values bear much weight when it comes to the process of selecting which projects to work on. He admits, “whilst it’s a privilege to work with well-known people, I’m not really concerned as to whether the director, producer, or actors are big names. As long as the story grabs me, that is the hook for me.” The story behind the film “Dirty War” hooked Higham immediately. In the film, he plays the critical role of the firefighter responding to a bomb that just exploded in a train station. “A large part of the impact was seen through my character’s eyes,” Higham recollects, “so the audience really felt what it was like for him.” While it was a difficult story to tell, it is an important one. “In London, we’d experienced IRA bombings before, but this was being filmed in a post September 11th era, so I felt a sense of responsibility to get it right, and to portray as best as I could the sheer horror of such a situation,” Higham reveals.
Not limited to just film, Higham has appeared on many TV shows as well. When asked, Higham says that the one that stands out the most for him is probably the “Armando Iannucci Show.”
The comedy sketch show, written and directed by Armando Iannucci, leaves audiences laughing with its brilliant one-liners, hilarious situations, and impressive and flawless improv sketches.
On the other side of humor is drama, and Higham knows that field, too. He worked on a TV program called “Clocking Off,” where he played a policeman and, in effect, warns audiences against the very real dangers of drinking and driving. He also played a policeman in the hugely popular show “Dalziel and Pascoe,” where he worked alongside esteemed actor Warren Clarke of “Clockwork Orange.” In the program, Higham’s character is hired to act as security for a judge whose life has been threatened, but the judge talks him into taking a night off, and is subsequently found murdered. “This was an interesting role,” Higham mentions, “as whilst I was playing a policeman, I was also under suspicion of having played a role in the judge’s death. It was a bit of a dual character.”
As if being a successful, hard-working and overly talented actor isn’t undertaking enough, Higham has also written, directed, and starred in the wildly successful “western wannabe” film “Desperados,” which has burst through the film circuit, sweeping praise and attention as it went. Shortlisted for both the Salford Film Festival in the UK and The End of The Pier International Film Festival in England, “Desperados” engages audiences with its positively original plot, astute direction and moving acting, proving that Darren Higham is not only a force to be reckoned with, but also a necessary and invaluable talent to the industry.