Former Norwegian football star John Carew is now concentrating his efforts on launching a new career as an action hero in the movies. Performing on screen may not be all that different from performing on the football field.
Carew figures he can at least put his physical and often feared prowess on the field to use as a rough action hero in a new film entitled Black Frost. He’ll play the lead character, Felix Frost, a secret agent operating from Northern Norway whom A-magasinet described over the weekend as a blend of James Bond and Jason Bourne.
Carew, now age 36, retired from his professional football career four years ago. After playing for Norwegian clubs Lørenskog, Vålerenga and Rosenborg he went on to play for Valencia, Roma, Besiktas, Lyon, Aston Villa, Stoke and West Ham, along with 91 matches for Norway’s national team during which he scored 24 goals.
Now he wants to score on the silver screen after spending the past few years investing in real estate, working as as a model and doing various stints on TV and in advertising, dabbling in photography and acting. He’s already had roles in two films, Høvdinger last year and Dead of Winter in 2014.
He claims he’s always been interested in acting and caught criticism as an active football player for not developing his talent sufficiently, or not concentrating on the game enough. “The truth is that I would never have been happy if I didn’t have other interests (than football) in life,” Carew told A-magasinet. “And if I hadn’t been happy, I would have been a worse football player.”
When he realized he lacked motivation, and had only scored two goals during 19 matches for West Ham, he felt a giddy feeling of freedom after quitting. A year later, he contacted a film director he knew in Great Britain, Varon Bonicos, and asked for a meeting. Carew launched his idea for a film project, and landed on a story built around a Norwegian-African secret agent from Northern Norway.
“John is unique, both powerful and sensitive at the same time,” Bonicos told A-magasinet. “Perfect for the role of Felix Frost, and the camera loves him! I knew right away he had something special.” Bonicos compared Carew to “some charismatic people I’ve filmed before, like Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Gabriel Byrne.” Producer Eril Ødegård also claimed Carew has a certain “star radiance” and called him “the perfect action hero.”
Carew, born in Lørenskog northeast of Oslo in 1979, had a Norwegian mother and Gambian father, and his sister Elisabeth is also in the entertainment business. He and Bonicos have been promoting the film project for the past three years, they’ve written and developed a script, he’s been taking acting lessons and raising around USD 24 million for a series of three Felix Frost films to be shot in Norway, the US, Russia and China. Most of the location work in Norway will be done in Tromsø, Finnsnes and on Senja, with indoor scenes shot at FilmCamp in Troms.
“I’m well aware that many people are investing a lot of time and money so that I can do well before the camera,” Carew told A-magasinet. “I’m used to pressure from my time as a football player and I’ll do my best that this succeeds. I’m not camera-shy, at any rate.”