Despite a façade verging on the clean-cut these days, it’s Soho’s infamous criminal underworld past that still exerts an almost mystic hold and forms a large part of the area’s identity. The stories – urban myths or not – are still doing the rounds, so perhaps it was always only a matter of time before a film series paying homage to the area would surface… arise Gangs of Soho.
As a Soho resident and founder of hyper-local publication ‘My Soho Times’, it was Kai Lutterodt, aka The Soho Girl’s passion (and curiosity) for all things Soho-related that lead her to organise a Gangs of Soho Q&A + networking event at Frith Street’s iconic Little Italy, where parts of the series were filmed. The fact that it’s an independently funded project – much like My Soho Times, was an added bonus.
“From one underdog to another, I see you, I recognise you, and I praise you for what you’re doing because it’s an amazing achievement to start something from scratch… as you can see, you have a room full of people who are at the very least curious to know more!” These were The Soho Girl’s opening remarks for Gangs of Soho‘s first public event, which took place earlier this week on Tuesday 5th April.
Meet the Gangs of Soho creator
“After being in London for almost 20 years, I realised that London is my home – it’s the only place that I can tell a story…”– Daniel Ndlara Robson, Gangs of Soho creator and director.
Gangs of Soho series is the brainchild of British Zimbabwean actor and producer, Daniel Ndlara Robson. He began his career in the entertainment industry appearing in various TV shows, acting in commercials and stage plays, and attended the Identity Drama School. His first independent movie, Dangerous Zone, earned him a producer title. Daniel went on to produce other critically acclaimed films and series, including Betrayal Drama and It Takes Two. His latest production Gangs of Soho – a fictional drama about Soho’s underground crime world – is currently being filmed in the area and around London.
I felt the desire to create something extraordinary where I can show the real London. I asked myself where in London this can be? Soho!– Daniel Ndlara Robson, Gangs of Soho creator and director.
Meet the Gangs of Soho main cast
One of the benefits of creating an independent film is having total control of the direction and how the characters are developed. The cast were unanimous in the encouragement Daniel offered for them to improvise. “I will give you the script, but I don’t necessarily want you to go word by word. I want you to feel comfortable to say the words the way you feel fit for the character,” shared Daniel.
Amongst our audience for the Q&A were guests with connections – directly or indirectly – to Soho and the area’s infamous gang history. Although Gangs of Soho isn’t inspired by specific true life stories, the actors shared how they immersed themselves in their characters fully via the experience of being almost typecast in their roles, their personal connections to Soho or support from other actors, which they described as a ‘Gangs of Soho family’.
“What a fantastic evening! Me being a born and bred Londoner from the West End found this most interesting and motivating. The talent and enthusiasm was great. I saw a few people who I know on my rounds of the watering holes which I frequent.”– Michael Kor, guest
What’s next for Gangs of Soho?
“I’m a notorious series binger. I want to know where I can watch it – where can I navigate my followers to watch the show?’– Kashan Reilly founder of @theco.network
Independently filmed and funded through Daniel’s production company Star Galaxy Productions, the pilot of Gangs of Soho is currently in post-production in the hope of being picked up by a broadcaster or live-streaming platform.
“We’ve had an overwhelming amount of interest,” shared Daniel during the Q&A, “to the extent that Instagram and Twitter blocked our GoS accounts due to suspicious activity from all the sudden interest – but it’s only me running it! I tried to appeal!“
The editor’s note…
“Sometimes when we’re doing things independently, we’re waiting for that ‘right moment’ – what is the right moment?’ After speaking with Daniel briefly I thought, if I’m curious, other people will be curious so why don’t we have a Q&A and bring the community together? You never know who’s in the audience that might point you in the right direction… and you don’t have to wait until it’s perfect or it’s finished to do that…” The Soho Girl emphasised on the night.
More pictures on the My Soho Times Facebook page CLICK HERE!
To donate towards the Gangs of Soho GoFundMe page CLICK HERE.
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Make a reservation at Little Italy
Little Italy Soho | 21 Frith St, London W1D 4RN
www.littleitalysoho.co.uk | 020 7734 4737
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