Genevieve Vieira
3 minute read
15 Apr 2014
7:00 am

Living a dream

Genevieve Vieira

Life is nothing like the movies. Even those films that are based on real people and events are dramatised for cinematic purposes. The filmmakers' job is to entertain – everything else is subsidiary.

BREAKTHROUGH. James Corden as Paul Potts on the set of 'Britain's Got Talent' in the film 'One Chance' . Picture: Supplied.

There’s a point in singer Paul Potts’s biopic, One Chance, where this realisation hits and the viewer begins to question the validity of events on screen. Surely so many bad things couldn’t happen to one person? But as it turns out, they can.

“I’m ridiculously clumsy,” says Britain’s Got Talent winner Potts.

“I’ve had far more accidents than are portrayed in the film. The bullying I endured was also way worse. I think they (the filmmakers) played it intelligently. Had they depicted it as it was, the movie would have been too dark, and I didn’t want it to be. The only thing I asked of Frankel (director), was that it be a comedy.”

Potts had been approached several times, first by Paramount Pictures and later by The Weistein Company, to turn his life into a movie, but he never thought it would happen.

“I refused to believe it until I saw the film in cinemas,” he says.

He also never thought his dream of becoming a professional opera singer would materialise – but that rags-to-riches story has been well-documented. At a time in his life when he had completely given up on singing, Potts was voted the winner of the TV show Britain’s Got Talent. Now one of its most well-known contestants, Potts continues to raise his profile.

One Chance releases this Friday in South Africa, and Potts gives it the thumbs-up. Though funny, the film carries a strong message – no matter what obstacles life throws your way, keep persevering. Keep doing what you love and success will come.

Potts tells how, before he entered Britain’s Got Talent, he was working late at night when he tried to minimise a pop-up window calling for entries and accidentally maximised it. Facing financial crisis after a bicycle accident left him and his wife with piles of hospital bills, he knew he had nothing to lose.

He entered the competition a shy, overweight Carphone Warehouse manager with crooked teeth – by the world’s standards an unlikely candidate for a potential star. It was this unlikely package fused with his vocal prowess (Potts performed Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s opera Turandot) that paved the way to fame.

UNLIKELY CANDIDATE. Winner of the first 'Britain's Got Talent' competition, Paul Potts. Pictures: Supplied.

UNLIKELY CANDIDATE. Winner of the first ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ competition, Paul Potts. Pictures: Supplied.

Potts originally thought he had blown the audition.

“There was too much tension in my voice and it kept cracking. I truly believed I had failed myself,” he says.

Nevertheless, after years of hard work and chasing a dream, Potts had finally achieved his big break.

“Life is like baking a cake,” he says.

“You are given the ingredients but it’s up to you to decide what method you want to use in bringing them together.”

Though substantially blessed, Potts feels people’s definition of success is often distorted.

“Success is not about being famous,” he explains.

“If you are doing what you love, doesn’t matter what level you’re doing it at, then you are successful. If you are not doing what you love, then what are you doing to fulfil those dreams? It’s like walking down a dark tunnel. You don’t know if there is a bend up ahead and even if there is, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, even if you don’t see it now.”

Potts still lives from one day to the next.

“Nothing is guaranteed in this life,” he smiles.