A rising star of the British acting world has hit out at banning films that depict gang violence, saying a popular song by singer Ed Sheeran that normalises speeding in a car would never get the same treatment.
Michael Ward, 25, whose father passed away following a car crash when he was two-years-old, referenced Sheeran’s popular song Castle on the Hill, which includes lyrics: ‘Driving at 90 down those country lanes’.
A movie, Blue Story, which Ward starred in was banned for a period from Vue cinemas following an incident during a screening in which police were attacked by a group armed with machetes in Birmingham.
In an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine, he said speeding is ‘dangerous and kills people’ but Sheeran would never get chastised for the lyric.
British rising star Micheal Ward, who stars in new Sunday night BBC drama Small Axe, hit out at the decision to ban gang film Blue Story, in which he starred, for encouraging gang violence, saying no-one would ban Ed Sheeran for encouraging speeding
Ed Sheeran’s popular song Castle on the Hill, includes lyrics: ‘Driving at 90 down those country lanes’ Ward said: ‘They’re not going to ban Ed Sheeran’s music when he’s telling you to drive down a country lane at 90 miles an hour, are they?’
Referring to the criticism of Blue Story, Ward said: ‘Of course it was. But they’re not going to ban Ed Sheeran’s music when he’s telling you to drive down a country lane at 90 miles an hour are they?
‘That’s f***ing dangerous. That kills people. My dad died in a car crash. That’s not safe. People just tell others what their life is. And there’s nothing wrong with that’.
The lyrics to Sheeran’s hit song Castle On The Hill read: ‘I’m on my way. Driving at 90 down those country lanes. Singing to Tiny Dancer. And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real.’
The song, released in 2017, was nominated for several music awards and debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart on it’s first week.
Ward starred in Blue Story as Marco and hit Netflix series Top Boy as Jamie, winning the BAFTA Rising Star Award at the 2020 BAFTA Awards
Vue decided to stop showing Blue Story last year after 25 ‘significant incidents’ were reported at its venues within 24 hours of the movie’s release.
The most noteworthy flashpoint was when a 100-strong machete-wielding gang descended on a Birmingham screening at Star City cinema which led to five teenagers being arrested.
However, the chain later climbed down over the banning of gang film amid accusations the cinema chains were being ‘institutionally racist’ and ‘discriminatory’ by not showing the movie.
Ward was born in Jamaica and moved with his mother to East London, near where Top Boy was set in Hackney, when he was four. He later moved to Romford, where he still lives with his family.
Sheeran’s song, released in 2017, was nominated for several music awards and debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart on it’s first week
He starred in Blue Story as Marco and hit Netflix series Top Boy as Jamie, winning the BAFTA Rising Star Award at the 2020 BAFTA Awards.
Blue Story, a 15-rated film, is a tragic tale of a friendship between Timmy and Marco, two young boys from warring postcodes in London who become friends but get caught up in gang violence.
The 91-minute semi-autobiographical film was directed by Andrew Onwubolu aka rap artist Rapman.
The 91-minute semi-autobiographical film was directed by Andrew Onwubolu aka rap artist Rapman (pictured)
Timmy, a shy, smart, naive and timid young boy from Deptford, goes to school in Peckham where he strikes up a friendship with Marco, a charismatic, streetwise kid from the local area.
Although from warring postcodes, the two quickly form a firm friendship until it is tested and they wind up on rival sides of a street war.
Blue Story depicts elements of Rapman’s own personal experiences and aspects of his childhood.
The messages he aims to send through his works are positive ones, aimed at inspiring kids from difficult backgrounds to turn away from local gangs.