16 Aug 2013

Stuart Laing and John SimmJohn Simm and Stuart Laing talked with us about their involvement in Father's Day, our dark mini-drama about prostate cancer which also starred Neil Stuke, Ray Winstone, Charles Dance, Cyril Nri, and Tamzin Outhwaite.

John Simm: "I got involved with the Father's Day film through Martin Sadofski, the writer, and Neil Stuke, both very old friends of mine. They told me the premise and the fact it was for such a great cause, (with a superb cast!) and I agreed. Both my parents have, in recent years, suffered from cancer and I've unfortunately lost a few friends and colleagues to it over the years. It's a shocking statistic that one man dies every hour from prostate cancer in the UK. I hope the film will raise awareness so that men won't treat prostate cancer as such a taboo subject between themselves, and that it will help them to be aware of, and not ignore, the symptoms."

Stuart Laing: "From the beginning it seemed a very important, positive cause. I knew the people involved, I knew Martin Sadofski was a very good writer and it seemed a brilliant way to highlight a difficult issue - through drama. So they came up with an exciting movie instead of something like a public information film. I think it's something that people will want to watch, not switch off.

"I already knew quite a bit about prostate cancer. In fact, just before I was offered the part, I'd had a health scare myself and because of the symptoms was given a PSA test for prostate cancer. I was pretty apprehensive, a bit scared to be honest, while I was waiting for the results. It was only a short time, but I found it hard to concentrate on anything else, it really played on my mind, however much I tried to distract myself.

"On the day I got the results, it was such a feeling of relief to get the all clear. I think my dread had been heightened by seeing how the disease had affected someone close to me. My father-in-law is 66 and he found he had prostate cancer 5 years ago. It was a late diagnosis, nearly too late and he has had radical treatment. He's recovered well, but it could easily have been a different story.  

"I did recognise the reluctance of men to talk about their problems as it was portrayed in the film. My own father died last year in his late 70s. He'd had two heart attacks and wasn't in good health, but it wasn't until he'd had a heart attack that he really began to open up. He was from a generation that were very buttoned up, never talked about sex or his feelings. But the heart attack left him emotionally vulnerable and we talked more openly about health and many other things then than we ever had before.

"As a family we've had a really tough time healthwise. My father-in-law's prostate cancer, my father's death, and my wife Ali had a breast cancer scare not long before I had the PSA test. Her mother has had breast cancer, so Ali is monitored for it. We've certainly become much more aware about cancer risks and the importance of looking after our health, a good diet and so on."

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