Sheffield actor’s horse trial with film star!

THE EFFECT by Prebble,      , Writer - Lucy Prebble, Director - Daniel Evans, Designer - Amanda Stoodley, Lighting - David Plater, Sheffield Theatres, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/''Stuart Bunce in rehearsal
THE EFFECT by Prebble, , Writer - Lucy Prebble, Director - Daniel Evans, Designer - Amanda Stoodley, Lighting - David Plater, Sheffield Theatres, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/''Stuart Bunce in rehearsal
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As a young actor, one of the stars of a play at the Crucible found himself desperately trying to control a horse and act opposite aHollywood star.

When he was fresh out of drama school Stuart Bunce appeared in First Knight, a 1995 film based on the legend of King Arthur, which starred Richard Gere as Sir Lancelot.

Stuart said: “He was the loveliest, most generous actor to work with.

“You do get big actors who turn up on set and won’t even look at you. They hit their mark, say their lines and they’re on the plane home.

“It was my first scene with horses and I’d had to learn to ride for the film.”

Stuart said he’d lied and claimed he could ride. Luckily the film went on ice for a while so he took lessons.

He was almost caught out when one of the crew asked “How many hands?”, meaning the height of a horse, which is measured in hands, and he replied: “Two.” Stuart said: “He thought I was joking!”

He added: “I had to do my first scene and I had to ride about 200 yards and grab a horse that had run away.

“I was terrified it was going to go wrong. Mine wasn’t an easy horse to ride.

“I started the scene with Richard Gere, my first scene with a movie star, and thought, ‘what the hell is my first line?’! I just sat there.

“He came over to me on his horse and said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re doing great’. I thought, ‘He knows what I’m feeling’.”

Feelings are at the centre of The Effect, the play that Stuart is appearing in at the Crucible.

He plays clinical psychiatrist Dr Toby, who is conducting a clinical trial, testing out an anti-depressant.

Two of the human guinea pigs in the trial begin to fall in love and it may be the real thing or the effect of the drug.

Stuart said: “He really cares about what he’s doing, yet believes that only by using this big company’s money is anything going to move on.”

He believes that chemical reactions in the brain are key to controlling depression.

Another doctor argues that people’s lives must be taken into account too.

Stuart said: “What Dr Toby feels is that if somebody is a danger to themselves, they need medical intervention.

“He doesn’t want to admit any grey area to that, which is going to stop him progressing and reach that place.”

The play opens at the Crucible Studio next Thursday and runs to July 18. Box office: 0114 249600 or www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk