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‘Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee’

Channelling the spirit of Spinal Tap, Shane Meadows's shoe-string budget film about a talented rapper and his unstable manager is set to be the surprise hit of the year.

Underneath the comedy veneer of Shane Meadows’s mockumentary Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee is an insightful and moving story that follows the almost endless sequence of personal tragedies that is the life of rock roadie Le Donk, played by the inimitable Paddy Considine. Having just been dumped by his pregnant girlfriend, Olivia (Olivia Coleman), and harbouring dreams of rock-stardom, yet dimly aware of his lack of talent, he sees his one big hope of success as manager of corpulent rapper Scor-zay-zee. Despite spasmodically launching vehement attacks against the lovably befuddled rapper ("the Honey Monster with a lobotomy"), he shows a real belief in the Scorz’s talents and displays a touchingly paternal affection for him. Film crew in tow, the pair set out to Manchester with a plan to make Scorz a star, with a little help from your friendly neighbourhood Arctic Monkeys.

Shot in just five days, Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee exhibits Spinal Tap's organic charm along with Meadows's trademark realism, which is mainly down to the depth of the two main characters – in the case of Considine, this is the result of several years honing the Le Donk character, for Scor-zay-zee it’s just, well, being himself, so the film might even wind up acting as a hoarding board to the mainstream for the talents of a rapper once “bigged up” by Chuck D and voted the seventh best MC in the world. Here, Dazed Digital speaks to the Nottingham born rapper about his tortous music career and filming with a booze-swilling, wig-sporting Paddy Considine.

Dazed Digital: How did you get together with Shane Meadows?
Scor-zay-zee: I did a low-budget film in Nottingham called Big Things and the director, Mark Devenport knew Shane, who asked him if he knew any rappers. I jumped on the bus and went down to meet Shane and we just hit it off straight away. I ended up staying in Manchester for five days.

DD: What was it like to work with Paddy Considine?
Scorz: That was an amazing experience, because he’s a world-class actor. I just tried to be as relaxed as possible around him and go with the flow because all the film was improvised, there was no prompting from the director to say this or say that. I just kind of bounced off what he did and picked up the vibe. At first, I thought that Paddy was actually exactly like Le Donk. He was in character all the time; I really wanted to laugh so much during filming.

DD: Is it really you in the film or did you put on a character?
Scorz: I was just myself. I was just going along with it, improvising and bouncing off Paddy.

DD: How did you get to play at the Arctic Monkeys gig?
Scorz: It was by chance that we ended up doing it. What happened was what you actually see in the film. During the afternoon, I just said to the sound engineer for the Arctic Monkeys, ‘Do you mind if I just start rapping?’ I plugged the mic in and started rapping and by chance the Arctic Monkeys came out to do their soundcheck. They actually listened and liked it, so the idea was put out that maybe we could open up for them with a 10-minute slot.

DD: For most mockumentaries people invent a band, but you’ve been going for quite a while, how did you get started?
Scorz: I started when I was about 13. I was a big Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre fan back then. Then I discovered New York hip hop and underground hip hop from the east coast. I started rapping in an American accent. Then, as I progressed, I started rapping in an English accent.

DD: What appealed to you about east coast hip hop?
Scorz: When I listened to the east coast rap I suddenly realised there was a science to the way they rap. That’s when I started getting interested in, 'How do I rhyme this word with that word? Maybe I can rhyme three words at a time?'

DD: Are the lyrics very personal or just stories?
Scorz: It is kind of personal. I have got one track that I want to release as a single called "I Want You to Love Me", it basically goes through days of my life. There was a time when I was really addicted to weed. I smoked it every day for about nine years. I was smoking so much that mentally I was a bit drained. I went to the doctors and they diagnosed me with mild schizophrenia because I was having all these paranoid thoughts – I couldn’t switch my brain off at night, and it was hard to sleep. I had a lot of songs in my head, I wouldn’t say voices because voices are different, but I couldn’t turn off certain conversations in my head. I’ve actually stopped smoking weed now.

DD: Are you worried that people are going to think that you’re not a genuine musician?
Scorz: There is that element where they won’t take me seriously and will just think I’m just rapping for the film, but there are people who know me from rapping before, I used to rap in a group called Out Da Ville and we were quite successful. We had videos that were on MTV and I’ve been on the Westwood show a couple of times. So if they actually go in to my background they’ll probably see that I’m a rapper first.

DD: Do you see acting as a possible future career?
Scorz: I would actually like to do it along with the rapping. I think it’s the John Candy stigma – no matter what I say it will never be taken seriously. People always say to me that when I act it’s comedy, it’s just the way it comes out.

Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee is out in cinemas on October 5 and released on DVD October 26

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