Film star, international DJ, documentary creator – Becky Lucas caught up with busy bee Jimi Mistry ahead of his Chi gig last weekend
And the Beat Goes On… Ibiza, your movie about the island’s culture, was screened at Chi recently. That’s quite a different project for you – how did it come about? I went to Ibiza six years ago to a film festival. I’m a big lover of music and DJing, and at that point I’d never been to Ibiza before. Before I got there, I was expecting some sort of hedonistic island for kids. But when I arrived I was like ‘Ohhh, it’s such a spiritual place; there’s such good energy’. I saw something in it that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. I decided I’d go back to find out what that magical thing is, and film it too. I got a camera, a director, and filmed it.
You’ve been around the world, screening the film and DJing afterwards. Do you love DJing? Even before I got into acting, that was all I wanted to do: I wanted to be a radio DJ and play records. Acting was something I fell into. I ended up going to drama school thinking: ‘I’ll give it a go, see what happens’. Luckily I got in, and from there it’s been my career. But underneath it all there’s my musical side, my daily passion.
Let’s go back to your role in Brit soap Eastenders. What was it like working on the Square? That was quite an extraordinary time. I was 25 and it was really nerve-wracking. One minute, I was walking down the street as Jimi, the next minute, once my first episode had been shown, I was walking down the street as my character; everyone’s like, ‘alright mate, alright doc,’ It was quite hard to adjust to that.
You have East is East, The Guru, Blood Diamond, RocknRolla – a long list of huge films – under your belt. Are you used to the fame now? It’s my job. You get used to being known. But I still get nervous, I still get excited, I still get a thrill out of doing something I love doing. Sometimes you have to take a step back. If I’m going off to work with Leo [DiCaprio], or to do 2012, or another big film, I have to remember I’m really lucky to be in that position.
Definitely! Which has been your favourite film project so far? The most rewarding was East is East, the first one. It was great to be involved with a film for which I was also in the play beforehand. Its huge success was very unexpected, and it set me up in my career.
You’ve worked with many actresses: Marisa Tomei, Heather Graham… Who has been the loveliest to work with? They’ve all been fantastic. Heather was great; I did a film with Neve Campbell not long ago and she was great. I do have to think: Wow, I’ve kissed some of the most beautiful women in the world.
And got paid for it. And got paid for it! In the street I get a lot of blokes going, ‘Well done mate, I’m jealous.’ Well hey, that’s the way it is.