Fresh off winning a Pride of Coventry award, English actor Reece Dry is moving onwards and upwards.
He’s a big boxing, hockey and martial arts fan and in speaking to him, its helped shape the man he is today, in good times and bad.
Dry stepped into The Crossfire recently for a quick chat with The Crossfire’s Kenai Andrews.
MMA Crossfire: Tanks for joining us today Reece. What was it like growing up?
Reece Dry: Thanks Kenai for having me. Thinking about it, my upbringing was good. I was vey well looked after by my Mum and other family members.
MMA Crossfire: You were raised in a traditional family setting?
Reece Dry: No, just raised by my mother.
MMA Crossfire: I see. What happened to your father?
Reece Dry: From as far back as I can remember, I didn’t see him much. Towards my teenage years, I saw him maybe once a week.
MMA Crossfire: Did he ever explain what happened or did you have a discussion about what happened
Reece Dry: No, I never really felt the need to ask as it was normal to not see him much. However, we see each other quite regular now, which is good I guess.
MMA Crossfire: I see. So you were raised in Coventry?
Reece Dry: Yes, I was raised in Holbrooks, which is a small part of Coventry. I’ve lived in and around the area since.
MMA Crossfire: How would you describe Holbrooks? Compare it to from how you saw as a kid growing up to today.
Reece Dry: Holbrooks is an okay kind of place. It has good parts and bad parts, good people and bad people. It’s not very elegant, but not much of Coventry is! However, it is my home and I know everyone here and I guess that’s helped me do what I do now.
MMA Crossfire: Is it a working town like Manchester?
Reece Dry: Manchester in my eyes is a horrible town, but I guess they would say that about us. It’s very busy with lots going on. Coventry has its fair share of millionaires of course and there are new businesses opening all the time. I would say it’s better then Manchester as Coventry is not too big or too small. It seems like a decent sized place, for me anyway.
Certain things like the businesses we have here, Coventry is slowly becoming a very busy city. Different places are opening to cater for all needs and that makes me happy to be from somewhere that is getting better as time goes on. Also, we have some great attractions here, like museums, parks, and it’s also very multicultural, which I like too.
MMA Crossfire: Gillian Barber is from Coventry.
Reece Dry: Yes, Gillian is from Coventry. She had a part in one of my favourite films Double Jeopardy alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd.
Reece Dry: Another one from Coventry was Clive Owen; he went on to do some big things. I’m happy he’s doing so well.
MMA Crossfire: As a kid you were you into the usual things like football (soccer)?
Reece Dry: No, I didn’t like football and still don’t. I was very much into boxing.
MMA Crossfire: What got you into boxing?
Reece Dry: I think because my parents were both into martial arts, and the people surrounding them. It was the way forward for me.
MMA Crossfire: Are you a Ricky Hatton fan?
Reece Dry: I don’t dislike him. He’s a good boxer though and had a good career. My all-time favourite has to be Mike Tyson. Watching some of his unseen footage was great. He is an inspirational guy. He is labeled a tiger, but he is a gentleman at heart. I have a lot of respect for Mike, and also my pal Big Joe Egan, who sparred with him for many years with the late Cus D’Amato.
Reece Dry: Yes, you could say that. I could never be found on the pitch running around in school, or at home with all the boys from the area. On the odd occasions I did play, they always made me the goalkeeper because I was the biggest one there.
MMA Crossfire: (Laughs). You must have been beside yourself when Tyson came over to fight Frank Bruno.
Reece Dry: Yes, although they fought in 1989 before I was born. I would have loved to have been there live! Unfortunately, we won’t ever see Tyson in a professional fight again. He conquered boxing now and did a good job.
MMA Crossfire: That’s true. He’s in the teaching and promoting phase, I guess. So did the love of cars and acting come from your parents too?
Reece Dry: The acting never really came from anyone around me, that must of been all of the Denzel Washington and Van Damme films I watched whilst growing up. The cars too as my mum never drove. If we needed to go somewhere, we would walk or get a taxi.
MMA Crossfire: So maybe all those actions films with the cars.
Reece Dry: Yes it could well be. I remember walking around the stores with my Mum. It was 2001 when the first ever Fast and Furious was released. I was still young when she bought me that DVD. I must of watched it three times over that day and after that I couldn’t wait for the next ones to be released. Some awesome cars were in that movie, along with great actors.
MMA Crossfire: It’s a great franchise, still going strong too.
Reece Dry: Yes, I think we still have a few more to see before that finishes, hugely successful worldwide.
MMA Crossfire: How old were you when you got serious about the boxing and acting?
Reece Dry: Boxing was a young age of around ten. I did karate for a short while before that for about two months with my Mum’s former trainer Dev Barrett, but it wasn’t my thing. I was only good with my hands. After that, I was doing boxing sometimes five days a week, some classes and some 121 sessions.
Acting on the other hand, I started what we say late in life. I was 21 when I did my first TV stint with hardly any previous experience. But I did well, so it lead to more.
MMA Crossfire: Do you remember your first acting gig?
Reece Dry: A friend of mine, who was new to acting himself told me they needed some extra people to fill a scene in a documentary. So we both went down and had a go. We both enjoyed it.
MMA Crossfire: So you were 21 there.
Reece Dry: Yes. I left school at sixteen, although I never really went, so you could say fifteen! I didn’t find it interesting.
MMA Crossfire: Were you a rebellious teenager?
Reece Dry: At sixteen, I left home, just before officially finishing school. I moved in with friends. They helped me along the way. I wanted to live a bit more. I found enjoyment from being around people who were older them me and I had some close family friends that were older. They would look after me and I stayed with them for a good while.
They tried to make me go to school, but I used to wagging it anyway. In the end, they found out and stopped sending me to school. We would go fishing or do something else instead. After a short while with them, I moved to another friend’s home, and then finally with my first long term girlfriend. We had a few houses together at a real young age. I was a bit of a Delboy, always making money somehow.
MMA Crossfire: Your relationship with Mum was strained at that time.
Reece Dry: Yes, my relationship with my Mum was a little strained, more because of the fact I was ignorant and didn’t want to abide by anyone’s rules apart from my own.
MMA Crossfire: You have siblings?
Reece Dry: I have one brother and one sister. I think there are more but who knows, I didn’t see them much growing up as they were just half-brothers and sisters from my Dad and other women. Again, I have a better relationship with them now and I am the oldest of them all.
MMA Crossfire: So from ages 15 to 21 you were in your own world, basically trying to survive and figure out what you wanted to do.
Reece Dry: Yes, doing what I do best, getting by on my own.
Life is a game of survival and there is only one way you can learn to play this game. It’s to go out and face it.
Reece Dry: Those were tough but necessary years.
MMA Crossfire: Was it this period when the Mafia thing came into play?
Reece Dry: The Mafia influence, of course, growing up watching Scarface, you think these guys a pretty cool, but in the end they all get killed anyway. After doing some films a few years ago, you do meet some good people, but you also comes across some bad people.
MMA Crossfire: Are you still with that girl?
Reece Dry: No. We stayed together for five years. After that I started working the doors and I figured having a girlfriend probably wasn’t a fair idea.
MMA Crossfire: How old were you when you started working the doors?
Reece Dry: Eighteen. It was something I wanted to do since I was 16, but we needed to be licensed, so I did my course and was straight on the door. I found the job advertised online and I contacted the chap named Joe and he gave me the job. We are still good friends. I guess I liked the idea of it because it’s an exciting environment, always all sorts of things going on.
Girls, music, and the occasional punchup at the first club. I then moved onto some different clubs, larger venues.
MMA Crossfire: Kind of like acting and boxing. You didn’t want to be stuck in an office.
Reece Dry: No, I couldn’t see myself working in a warehouse, breaking my back for a few quid. I had bigger dreams and ideas.
MMA Crossfire: For the record what were those dreams and ideas exactly?
MMA Crossfire: How about someone to share it with?
Reece Dry: Yes of course, but a friend once told me a good quote: When a girl comes into your life, you have to say this is my ship, I’m the captain and I’m doing the steering. However, you are welcome to be my passenger. And I quite agree with him because I wouldn’t let anybody hold me back or slow me down from what I am doing.
MMA Crossfire: So there are no passengers right now.
Reece Dry: There may well be someone on board
MMA Crossfire: Well, thats interesting.
Reece Dry: But a ship can always hold more then one passenger. Like I said before, it’s a game of survival and no one will bring me down. Being in the acting, meeting some great people Also people from the underworld. That’s when you really start to understand how the world operates.
For example, I met one member of the underworld who took me as his godchild. Although I don’t want to mention his name, these guys are like family, blood brothers.
MMA Crossfire: He must have a took a real liking to you. What the one thing you’ve learnt from them?
Reece Dry: One thing I’ve learnt is to be humble, respect others around you, look after those who look after you, but deal with any mishaps sharply.
MMA Crossfire: Your acting career has taken off but you still do the doors from time to time and train boxing and MMA?
Reece Dry: No, I have given up the doors. The money wasn’t good, and it can be a dangerous game. I much prefer what I’m doing now in the film industry and things. Unfortunately, I have been so busy with films I haven’t been training for the past twelve months. I saw my old instructor the other week who has asked me to go and see him soon, so I may well get back into it.
MMA Crossfire: What have you been working on film wise this year
Reece Dry: So far this year I’ve worked on a supernatural TV series called Welwyn: The lost Prince of Avalon.
My role is for a man called Luke. So far we have only filmed the trailer, so there’s plenty to film as of yet. And I’m also getting ready to work on a close friend of mine’s book, which is being filmed in three different countries. I can’t say to much about that just yet, but it will be a big success.
MMA Crossfire: What did Mum think of all this when you were fifteen and now?
Reece Dry: She is really proud, and I’m sure she understands now the reasons to why I left at such a young age, as most of what I have accomplished is by myself.
MMA Crossfire: Boxing and MMA have been large parts of your life, starting wth your parents and then Mike Tyson.
Reece Dry: Definitely. Boxing teaches you a lot of respect, self-control and determination. Doing the acting and living a better life enables you to pass that onto other people. So I started helping people in and around my city, doing things for different charities.
MMA Crossfire: Like the orange Porsche.
Reece Dry: Yes. I had an orange Porsche when I was 21. I sold that and donated the proceeds to two different charities in my city. My work was noticed as they newspapers called me to say I had received a lot of nominations from different people for the Pride of Coventry awards.
MMA Crossfire: You have to help yourself first before when you can help others.
Reece Dry: Yes. After I started to become more successful, I had the funds to help out other people who may be struggling.
MMA Crossfire: It makes sense, good since Coventry moulded you.
Reece Dry: Right. I’m from this city, so it’s here I began my help. The further my success, the more I will continue to help.
MMA Crossfire: You were recognized city with a Coventry civic award recently. It must have been a great ceremony.
Reece Dry: It was a great evening and I met many inspirational people. Sir Richard Branson and the Prime Minister David Cameron also did screen messages congratulating us, which was nice.
MMA Crossfire: What did you take away from the evening?
Reece Dry: One thing I took away is how many people struggle in different ways and the effort they make to overcome it. Whether it be illness. charity or other things. I realized we have a good strong community full of energetic people.
MMA Crosfire: Reece, it’s been a great talking to you today. We’ll be watching your career closely from afar in Canada.
Reece Dry: Thanks Kenai! Cheers, and drop in if you’re ever in Coventry. I’ll give you the grand tour (Laughs).