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Ben Drew interview: 'Noel Clarke encouraged me to make iLL Manors'

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Leaving behind the sharp suits and soul crooning, Plan B's Ben Drew steps behind the camera this week to make his directorial debut with iLL Manors.

The drama is a pulverisingly brutal look at pimps, dealers and drug addicts scrambling to survive in the criminal underworld. iLL Manors's explosive subject matter lends the film extra weight in the wake of last summer's London riots.



Speaking to Digital Spy, Drew explained that he has long held an ambition to move into directing, finding support from his Adulthood director Noel Clarke.

"The desire's been there from the start, from when I created Plan B. I was telling stories in music, it was always a plan of mine to get to this point," Drew said.

"iLL Manors came from a short film called Michelle. It was something I wrote and directed to prove that I could direct. I actually wrote a script before this that a film company had offered to make. They offered me funds to make it until I expressed my desire to actually direct the film. It went quiet. Then I decided I needed to go off on my own, shoot the short film to prove to them that I could direct.

"I made Michelle and was really interested in adapting that into the feature iLL Manors. Noel Clarke saw the short film and he said, 'You should make this into a feature.' I thought, 'Maybe I should', because it's a way of tapping into a fanbase that already exists through my music."

iLL Manors opens in cinemas on Wednesday, June 6.

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