Interviews News 25 November 2016
Author: Cam Donald

GRM EXCLUSIVE: Mandem on the Wall talk their new film ‘The Weekend’

Author Cam Donald
25 November 2016

Joivan Wade, Dee Kaate and Percelle Ascott, better known as comedy act Mandem On The Wall, recently dropped by the GRM Daily HQ to talk about their upcoming independent comedy film, The Weekend.

Having seen a massive surge of popularity since their first Mandem On The Wall episode 5 years ago, the guys have individually had roles in hit shows such as Doctor Who, Eastenders (Joivan) and Wizards vs Aliens (Percelle) as well as David Walliams’ Walliams and Friends and their own BBC 3 show The LPD Show as a trio. As three of the brightest young talents in the UK, it was only a matter of time before the masterminds behind Wall of Comedy ventured into film, and with The Weekend the guys have done just that.

So, what is the film about?

“The Weekend is about three friends who find £100,000 and spend it in a weekend. It starts off when my character, Derrick, comes home from university.” Begins Joivan, with Percelle adding “Derrick comes across a bag of money and after a bad situation, mine and Dee’s characters, Malcolm and Tyler, convince Derrick to spend the money.”

Joivan continues, “They spend the money and live the life they’ve always wanted for a weekend, but obviously the money isn’t theirs, so eventually the person who’s money it is comes back for them and they have to resolve the whole situation.”

Describing their characters as “like the Inbetweeners”, the boys explain that they’re misfits who are “not quite there” and “don’t know where they fit in.”

“My character [Malcom] is like an entrepreneur, he’s a wheeler dealer who’s very confident in himself – a ladies man,” describes Percelle, “but he’s a lovable guy with good intentions at heart. If there’s a good time then Malcom’s there.”

“Tyler is a bit of a loose cannon,” starts Dee, “the madman in the group who’s unpredictable – a good friend, though.”

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Backed by BFI’s Lottery Distribution Fund, the film will be released independently to a national audience on the 2nd of December with the help of Ourscreen.

Speaking on the film being independent, Percelle explains, “It was a hard journey being in an independent film because of the grassroots element to it, but it was nice because it’s something we know how to do, it was like being back in the Mandem On The Wall days.” He goes on to add that the trio had a lot of freedom when working with writer Kojo Anim, which saw a lot of love and energy go into the project.

Kojo, alongside Joivan, Percelle and Dee, was one of the key visionaries a part of The Weekend. “I wanted to tell another story in the same areas that had already been depicted,” he told us, “you’ve obviously had Kidulthood and all the Hood movies as well as Top Boy, but in order to really enjoy those you need to see the other side of the story as well.”

Famously gritty, the homegrown Hood films are staples in British Urban film, so it’s no surprise that The Weekend draws some inspiration from them. “Growing up where I grew up, all of the things that happened in those films happened around me, but I also had a laugh, I had close family and I had fun speaking to girls – all of that also happened, and it’s rare to see the fun side of urban life. I wanted people to come to the cinema and laugh, which is a great way to get people off the streets.”

Kojo worked with director Sheridan De Myers to bring The Weekend to life. He explains, “Sheridan speaks with vision, he is ruthless and has the discipline to say whether something is ready or not,” to which Percelle adds: “Sheridan stepped up to direct our first feature length film, we’ve all learned from each other.”

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Going from Mandem On The Wall 5 years ago to a feature-length film with a premier at Leicester Square is a huge accomplishment for the boys, but Joivan explains that “It was always the plan”. He adds, “The amazing thing is that everything lined up perfectly – Kojo came along with a vision that aligned with what we wanted to.” Percelle chips in to say, “It’ll sink in at the premier, but this was a part of our 5 year plan and we adhered to that.”

Despite racking up a list of impressive TV credits, the boys still believe that The Weekend is some of their best work. “Doing our first movie project together was obviously a special moment for us – it’s definitely our best piece of work.” Joivan explains. Percelle adds, “If it wasn’t for this then there’s certain people we wouldn’t have met that we’re working with on other projects, it’s had a domino effect.”

The trio, as Mandem On The Wall, founded Wall Of Comedy, a huge platform for viral content that you’ll often come across as you scrawl through your Facebook feed. In order to branch out and reach a wider audience, the guys had to rebrand and rethink their strategy.

Dee explains, “the transition happens in the brain before the public see it,” implying that they always had bigger audiences and bigger plans on their mental. Joivan adds, “Wall of Comedy has allowed for people to see a different side of us – it’s a platform for everyone in order to grow the comedy scene because we feel like it’s not doing enough for young talent. Wall of Comedy is the difference between being hot and being big, because everyone has their time of being hot.”

Interestingly, Percelle compares their journey to that of Mercury Prize winner Skepta’s, claiming “There comes a point where you realise that what you’re doing is bigger than you – you become a vessel to help people and everyone that looks up to you, doing Wall of Comedy was one of our best decisions.” In the same light, Dee explains that “In the UK there isn’t that infrastructure for comedy, when we came up as Mandem On The Wall we had help from GRM and the other music platforms, so we’re trying to create a comedy outlet for people with the Wall of Comedy.” He continues, “the music scene figured it out, everyone’s coming together and flourishing, it’s the blueprint for us and comedy.”

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One of the credits the three talents boast is their appearance on E4’s Youngers alongside artist, problem and king Little Simz – whom they claim has been a huge inspiration for them. “She’s independent,” Percelle starts, “It just goes to show that we can do things on our own terms – she released an album, we’re releasing a movie.”

The Weekend features an original motion picture soundtrack that includes tracks from leading UK artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Bonkaz, P Money, D Dark, D Double E, Mez and Davinche, all produced by renowned hip-hop and grime producer S.K.I.T.Z Beatz. When asked about their favourite artists, Joivan replies “Who, what, what, what, where?” whilst Dee says “Giggs has got banger after banger!” and Percelle is “really feeling Bonkaz’s album.”

The boys, who first met backstage at a variety showcase, have high hopes for their debut feature length. “When you look back at this conversation, when we’re 30 odd, hopefully people will realise the role that The Weekend played in terms of the journey of our scene – the film will do what it’s meant to do and hopefully that manifests” explains Percelle. Joivan states “I hope it inspires people. I hope it does a similar thing to what Kidulthood did, I mean, after that loads of people got stabbed in films – maybe after The Weekend people will be laughing in films!”

So, what’s next? Well, after a manic few weeks in the run up to the films’ release and a crazy few years of being on and off national television, Dee says that in the next 5 years he’s trying to get a “flying Audi” whilst Joivan simply states, “we want to start this chain of feature films and open up a whole word of creation – but we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 5 years!” Percelle adds, “5 years ago we didn’t even think we’d be on YouTube!”


Finally, in true comedic fashion, when asked about what they would do if they had found the £100,000 that the boys did in the film, writer Kojo explains he’d go a nice holiday to Brixton, “because you can’t spend all of it on one holiday.” Dee answers, “I’d book a flight to wherever Aladdin came from, look for some lamps after consulting some reliable sources, find out where I can get one of those lamps with the genies and spend the rest of my money on it and then I’ve got a genie.” Percelle responds, “I heard you can get a £25k flight to Narnia now!”

The Weekend releases in cinemas on December 2nd before going on DVD on December 16th . You can get tickets to watch the film here  – all of us at GRM are urging you to support ambitious young talent and give this hilarious film a watch!

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