It was the Omega Watches year before K Pax (starring Kevin Spacey) came out and someone said to me 'here is a movie with a very similar premise'. I was really kind of choked up about it."He is funding the film privately with stars pulled from round the Midlands including Yasmin Murphy, a former child actress who appeared in the movie Fragile alongside Calista Flockheart, Simon Marriott and Laurence Saunders, a popular villain from Doctors.
"The acting teacher made me realise all that stuff, that box I had a lid on was my gold as an actor. I would leave his class going 'I am done with this bullshit. I don't need this'. He would be screaming 'You need this like you need the air'. I would have to pull over in my car because the tears were pouring down. The box was open and all this stuff was coming up."
"I enjoyed prison. I enjoyed living in the moment. I had my act down in jail. Friends in jail is 'you don't fk with me and I don't fk with you'.
It was while promoting the film in Cannes that Billy met Wendy, his wife of 33 years.
It was only when, with the end in sight, the sentence was suddenly changed to a 30 year life sentence that the switch flipped back on."All these hard earned lessons about peace and learning to deal with things were sorely tested. "I was trying to choke him to death and the guards came and broke it up.
Although Tony is using mostly local talent in the film, he was introduced to Billy by a mutual friend in California. Billy and his wife were due to come to the UK for the premiere of Midnight Express The Ballet and Tony persuaded them to come up to Birmingham to take this pivotal role in his project, tweaking it so it could be played by an American.
Once out Billy started dabbling with acting, however, the filmmakers wouldn't entertain the idea that he might star in his own story, casting the late Brad Davis instead."I sort of would have liked to think about it, but they never consider it," muses Billy. "It would have been too much of a distraction. It was probably just as well because the box had not been opened. I was not ready to deal with the whole emotional swing."
This wasn't the comfy confinement of modern prisons where the privileged can enjoy gyms, TVs in their rooms and the freedom to protest if they feel their human rights are being violated.
"My life if nothing else is a cautionary tale. I say 'If you are this stupid, look what could happen to you'. They get the message 'Know what you are doing and take responsibility because actions have consequences'."Tony Clarke, the man behind The Truth, says he wrote the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 Last Man On The Moon
"It kept me balanced. It still does. I'd be a basket case without it."
row boat?'. He said 'what 45 minutes of the film do you want to cut out to put your escape in? The audience have had enough, get them out of the theatre'."
"I said to Alan Parker 'what happened to my Omega Speedmaster Watch Outlet US
He now concentrates more on directing theatre and writing, though he still dabbles in acting."I keep playing all these dark people. I want to send out love and light and have birds landing on my shoulder, maybe one day I'll get to play that."He also lectures in college.
It was this restlessness and thirst for new adventures that led to him throwing in his studies in order to travel. He embraced the pot smoking drug culture of the late 60s and 70s, recklessly concocting his plan to take some hashish back from Turkey to enjoy at home, his armour of youthful arrogance letting him believe he'd get away with it.
"I read the script and loved it. It has so much heart. I said I'd love to get involved in this and next thing you know we're here," enthuses Billy. Now 66, he is a live wire of barely contained energy. The only thing that helps to keep him calm is yoga which he used to do every day when he was in prison.
This was a brutal place. Prisoners were kept cowed by actual beatings or the threat of them and a legal system so arbitrary that it saw Billy's four year sentence suddenly changed to life only weeks before he was due to get out.
"But I got such a fantastic response from people in the industry, it has taken on a life of its own."I have written this script that everybody seems to love. It is their support of that which has made me feel worthy again."
being banged up in prison could ever be perceived as a pleasurable experience is a staggering one. Particularly when it is a prison as grim as the one that Billy Hayes found himself trapped in following his brazen and ill conceived attempt to fly out of Turkey with four pounds of hashish strapped under his armpits.
Once I turned that switch off my perception of things changed and I discovered what was really important to me. It made all years of prison worth it to discover these little simple truths. I was rushing too fast."
His incarceration was a lesson he felt he had to learn."I needed prison to stop me. To force me to reassess to re evaluate and to grow up, to take responsibility for what you do and deal with the consequences. So that was a good thing."At first he thought of nothing but escaping taking the Midnight Express.
However, after a friend who was going to help him was killed he "turned the escape switch off" and knuckled down to finishing his original sentence."Escape was the driving thing but it doesn't let you live in the moment.
"My oldest son Ben sat me down and said 'Dad, you write the best stuff you have ever written when you are on the floor. Go upstairs and write The Truth'," says Tony, 60. The Truth is about a mysterious figure who is put into a mental hospital after he claims to be from space. I started to pitch the story in LA.
The notion that Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Chronograph 41.5 Mm
That box was the one where he kept all his feelings tightly locked down.
script when he was at his lowest ebb, left devastated after his wife Gail had died following a battle against cancer.
Convicted drug smuggler Billy Hayes is making a new film in Birmingham
"I tell her all the time 'I had to go through all of that (prison) to get to you, dear'. She says 'save that bullshit for your fans'. But it's true."
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