FILM PREVIEW: Straddling a thin blue line between law and disorder

JUDGEMENT DAY: Jade Asha as Naeema and grime artist Scorcher as Hoodz star in The Intent.
JUDGEMENT DAY: Jade Asha as Naeema and grime artist Scorcher as Hoodz star in The Intent.
  • The Intent of acting on the dark side of life, but only for the screen
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Some of Britain’s best actors know exactly what a black world new gang crime thriller The Intent portrays.

Idris Elba (Stringer Bell in The Wire), Jamie Winstone (daughter of actor Ray Winstone), Noel Clarke (ex-Doctor Who) and Rafe Spall (son of Timothy) have all walked on the dark side of life, but only for stage and screen.

Directors Femi Oyeniran and Kalvadour Peterson bring a whole new meaning to the underbelly of society gone bad with their film showing how a gang of criminals is infiltrated by an undercover police officer who has to decide whether to keep his oath to the badge.

Femi said: “We wanted to create a film that harked back to the American classic films we grew up watching like Juice, Belly and In Too Deep.

“We have been meticulous in putting every aspect of the film together, from its conception to its release, casting some of the best UK talent and supplementing the film with a monumental soundtrack.”

Writer and producer Nicky “Slimting” Walker, who plays the part of Shane in The Intent, said: “We have been working closely with a new platform called Ourscreen to make sure people could set up their own screening with friends and family.

I wanted to prove to myself that I could do acting and so I can’t thank Nicky ‘Slimting’ Walker enough for having that faith in me

Jade Asha, Naeema in The Intent

“My hope is that The Intent will be the first in a long line of films that we unleash to youth audiences on this platform.”

The film is notable for the harrowing portrayal of Naeema, played by Jade Asha, who is thrown into an alien and nightmare world of guns and gangs after seeing her mother fatally wounded in a shop raid.

Jade, who was born in London but spent some of her school years in Norfolk, said: “I went to the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and met Femi and Nicky out there.

“They were just about to release another project and we became friends, working together on other projects.

“Nicky told me that he was making The Intent and wanted to give me the role of Naeema.

“I was very lucky as auditioning is a difficult process, but he knew my work and trusted that I would do a good job.

“I can’t thank Nicky enough for having that faith in me because, being half-Mauritian and half-English, I was just being stereotyped for Indian roles which I would go on to lose to actual Indian actresses who had genuine Asian accents which was only fair.”

Jade moved back to London from Norfolk when she was 17, going on a two-year acting course and then becoming an advanced fight and stunt performer.

“I love Norfolk and I loved living there,” Jade said.

“But, unfortunately, those kind of work opportunities exist only in London and it also gave me a sense of ambition.

“Nothing got me more excited than the bright lights of a West End theatre and all of the world’s cultures in one place.

“Stunts was something that I thought to pursue but never achieved because it takes years, and costs thousands, to pay for all of the training needed to become a stunt performer.

“I did a lot of stage combat because I heard that the film and TV industry were crying out for tall, stunt-performing women like myself.

“Also, I thought it could be a way into the industry so I started having lessons in king fu, horse riding, scuba diving and fencing.

“But I also got linked up with a new agent at the time who told me that I had a lot going for me as an actress and that I should concentrate on that.

“When I look back now, I laugh at my time in stunt work because I don’t think i would make a very good stunt performer due to the fact that I’m very clumsy.

Jade’s self-confessed stubbornness and determination however landed her a role in the potentially ground-breaking movie The Intent.

Her main claim to fame previous to the dark gangster thriller was a part as Julie Kasem in ITV’s Autopsy: The Last Hours of Casey Kasem.

Jade said: “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do acting, although I could definitely pull off an action role using the basics that I learned and because I do keep fit in the gym now.

“But I still have a stunt person to stand in for me and I have so much respect for stunt artists now as they are so disciplined.

“My only brief for The Intent was that Naeema is a good girl who is thrown into this dark world of thieves and murderers.

“She has to deal with them after the death of her mother and learn to be strong.

“I feel very fortunate to have gone straight from doing unknown independent shorts into a main role in a feature film, with established actors such as Femi Oyeniran (Mitch), Scorcher (Hoodz) and Dylan Duffus (Gunz).

“I’ve done some cool, random things like an Olly Murs video, a news reporter, a variety show on the West End and even a (James) Bond girl at a screening of Skyfall.

“But really they aren’t anything compared to The Intent and I now have a list of all the roles that I want to play, varying from witches and superheroes to pirates and fantasy roles.

“Fantasy is my favourite because it takes the audience into a magical world but really I want to do everything.

“As long as I am working, telling great stories and making people feel something, then I am happy.”