It’s been nearly a month since we saw in the new year, and a while since our last post, so we thought we’d get 2012 going with something a little bit special. Currently playing Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, rising to fame as the youngest ever Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, and even originating the role for Love Never Dies, Ramin Karimloo has made a quite a name for himself in the West End. Now, the Iranian-Canadian actor is turning his talents elsewhere, and we had the pleasure of speaking to him.
Ramin replaced Alfie Boe as Les Miserables’s leading man back in November, but it’s a show he’s no stranger to, having played and understudied many of the roles over the years. “It’s going great, I’m having the best time,” he says, “I’m just having a good time with my character, growing as an actor”.
Ramin’s career is incredibly varied, and his route to the West End didn’t start, like many other actors, with stage school. At the age of 12, Ramin saw a performance of Phantom and instantly knew what he wanted to do. The road to Phantom took him from singing on cruise ships to working in a factory in Oxford, but whatever he turns his hand to, it’s a fierce dedication to craft that shines through: “I really want to get out of these things the time that I put in to them – I’ve done musicals solidly for the past 10 years”.
Ramin’s new album launches just days after he leaves Les Mis, so where did the idea come from? “It was my music manager that started the idea. When he came to me I just thought it was too good to be true!” Recording an album while performing 6 days a week must have been tough, but Ramin is more than up to the challenge. “It was perfect timing, I wasn’t looking for it, but it was good to talk about it. Making an album takes about a year from inception to release”. The album’s an interesting mix of material, including both original material and songs taken from Phantom and Love Never Dies.
There’re also roles on the big screen ahead for Ramin. “It’s actually two films, possibly a third. One’s starting filming in April but I don’t think I can say the title! One’s called Bad Town, I play the lead. I’m waiting for a script for the third”. Film acting is very different to stage acting, and aside from DVDs of his stage performances this is a whole new area for Ramin. “Doing those things [theatre DVDs] helps, and so did the music video for Coming Home. They filmed me as an actor rather than a performer”.
With an album, films, a tour and more (“there’s talks of another musical down the line”) Ramin’s got a busy few months coming up. “It’s an absolutely colossal year, a real gauntlet. I’m going down lots of avenues I’ve never been down before. I’m just looking to diversify myself as best as possible, trying to keep moving forward”. And with a career this prolific it’s unsurprising that there’s a core of fans producing a gamut of blogs, tweets and tumblrs.
So, is he ever tempted to Google himself? “I’ve done it before, but the urge has completely gone away. The good stuff is as bad as the bad stuff – it’s feeding your ego.” It’s a refreshingly serious answer to a jovial question. “You have to take the ego out of what you do,” he says.
You can catch Ramin in Les Miserables until March 3rd.
Follow Ramin on Twitter here.
Ramin’s self-titled album Ramin is out on March 5th.
Ramin’s national tour begins on May 5th at the Royal Festival Hall. Full dates are here.
Deal of the week
This week we’re discounting two of the shows Ramin’s best known for, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. Just stick RAMINBLOG in as a voucher code at the end of the booking for a quick 5% off packages to see those shows!