The South Hams and Hollywood aren’t often associated with one another. The year-round sun and palm trees of California feels a world away from the rolling hills and country roads of the South Hams.

However, Art Malik has found his home here, a world away from the 100mph hustle and bustle of big cities and Hollywood. South Hams reporter Aaron Griffin recently spoke with him about his life in Devon and his storied career in Hollywood, British TV and Indian blockbusters, shortly after the release of his latest work on Disney Plus’s re-make of ‘The Little Mermaid’.

Art spoke about how his family moved down to the South Hams initially: “I met Gina when we were at drama school and she's from Plymouth and so since 1975 I've been coming down to Devon. And when the girls left home, as most parents know, but once your children leave, you then have a choice. You either stay in this big house, rattling around, or you go, right, what do we do now? So, the question was, did we stay in London, did we stay in the London area, did we stay in England, or did we move out of Britain completely? And Gina said, Totnes, which has made so much sense.

“So, we moved down here about 11 years ago, we moved outside of town, we decided to go for the whole idyll, the Thatch Cottage, stream at the bottom of the garden, all of that, and then realised actually that it didn't work for us because we're not people who want to be away from the rest of humanity. So now we live right smack in the centre of town, and we get to do what everybody in Totnes does, which is take our time.

“We take our time. You can pop down to McCabe's to pick up whatever you want from the butchers, and it should only take you five minutes to walk down and five minutes to walk back. But, you know, half a day later, and lots of conversations with other people, that takes care of the morning.”

“I think, people make real eye contact, you know, which somehow doesn't exist as much in London as it used to. You know, the new London, the London with all its, with its’ vertical living now.

“You know, you become New York at your peril. London was made up of little villages and now it's made up of towns.”

Art has been working as an actor in film and TV since the late 1970’s and has starred in a vast array of hugely successful films, one of his biggest hits was ‘True Lies’ starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. He told me about how much the process of making films has changed since he started:

“The process itself hasn't changed at all. The process is exactly the same. You know, the only thing that you're ever, that ever attracts you to a project is always the script.

“Whether it's the script of a play, whether it's the script of TV or film or whatever, it's the script that excites you. It's the script that you want to do, it's that story that you want to tell. “The changes, the major changes are the fact that we do not have any more celluloid film as such.

“Very few directors use that. But most of the time we now have, have digital recording, which means that the process of recording, you know, we can just keep recording, you know, like you can on your phone. You're recording this on your phone.

“When I first started out, there'd be a man here with a spool of tape, hoping, you know, that he had a spare tape if that should run out. So filmmaking in those days, when I first started, was all about the fact that you had this stock and you had to be very careful because if you're taking all the stock all the way to India or to the back, you know, into the middle of a desert somewhere, you want to be able to know that you've got enough there and how you're going to shoot that stock. Now, you know, you have a chip.

“You can shoot for hours. So, there's a process in which, you know, directors and actors have been able to sort of shoot whatever they want. And at the end of it, you hope the editor will just keep the good bits.”

Art also spoke about the unique relationship he has with each project he has worked on, saying that he couldn’t possibly choose a favourite and that “it’s like asking a parent about your children. You never have a favourite. You have a different relationship with them.”

Art is possibly best known for being in the Bond film, ‘The Living Daylights’, Timothy Dalton’s first Bond film, where he played Kamran Shah, a leader in the Afghan Mujahideen, he spoke about how easy it was to say yes to a Bond film:

“Oh, well, that was just they showed me the script and I said yes. That was my relationship.

“It was a Bond film, you know. I mean, you know, it was the last film that Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli did. It was, you know, Timothy Dalton's first.

“It was, you know, it was making Bond different. We wanted to make him a little bit more real. I mean, not as far as it's gone now, you know, which is a little bit of a nod to the Bond series of films.

“But, you know, to be asked to be in a Bond film was just like, yes, thank you very much.”

Art’s break out role was on the British TV show, ‘The Jewel in the Crown’, which hit the screens in 1984, he spoke of his favourite directors and producers that he has worked with over the years:

“I've had the joy of being able to work with Rob Marshall on The Hidden Mermaid. Watching him work is a joy.

“I've worked with the great David Lean. I've worked with the James Cameron’s, you know. I've worked with the ones that know how to tell stories and they teach you.

“You know, you learn more about the craft. You learn more about how to tell the story.”

Art also spoke about working on Indian and Bollywood films and how they differ from making Hollywood films which are often aimed at a ‘western’ audience:

“Well, I mean, you know, India makes films for India.

“They’ll make a three-hour movie. Well, it's very rare that you'll see a movie in British screens that runs beyond two hours or two and a half hours. Now you're starting to struggle.

“It's more to do with the scheduling of the actual films and the way it's done in the cinemas here. In India, people want three and a half hours in an air-conditioned unit. You sit there and be entertained, you know.

“So, they want the epic storytelling. And they are epic. There are epic sequences and the. dance sequences and, you know, the musicality, all of that.

“It would have been remiss of me not to have done a few Indian projects. I hope to do more. And it's nice to be able to, you know... I mean, I grew up in a house where Hindi was spoken.

“It's something that I speak. I don't read it, and I can't write it, but I do speak it. My late mother used to say it's a beautiful language and you're butchering it.

“So, I suppose it's because I speak it with a little bit of an English accent, I suppose.”

Finally, Art spoke about some of his upcoming work and the actors he has been most impressed by in recent years:

“You can tell who the actors that put the time in, put the work in. I mean, I've just finished filming Hamlet with Riz Ahmed. It's a British film that will be out this year.

“A real joy. A real joy to work with somebody like him. Others, you know, the people that just sort of come into your lives as you carry on, you just go, oh, wow…

“Only that I can tell you that Hamlet will be out next year. But the other stuff is all NDA. It's all under wraps.”