We see plenty of EastEnders move onto big things when they leave the show, just think of Himesh Patel who went from the role of Tamwar to starring in a romcom opposite Lily James.
But some EastEnders stars do things the other way around, coming to the soap later in their careers when they’ve already been there and done that, like Danny Dyer, star of a number of successful films in the naughties.
That was exactly the case for this particular star of stage and screen, and now Albert Square.
Joining the Albert Square cast just this year Brian Conley, 59, already has a sparkling theatre, TV, film, and panto career behind him.
This allows him to bring a wealth of experience to his role as Terry ‘Rocky’ Cant, estranged father of Sonia Fowler who immediately charms the characters of Walford.
Long before he rocked up on the square though, Brian featured in one of Hollywood’s less appreciated blockbuster flops.
Not only this, but the star of the film he appeared alongside was none other than Batman himself and Academy Award winner Christian Bale.
Fresh out of making his name in black comedy American Psycho (2000), in 2002 Bale took on the film Equilibrium about a dystopian society in which all emotion is forbidden and citizens take pills to ensure that their feelings are suppressed.
Bale plays John Preston, a murderous agent of the state entrusted with enforcing this rule in the film who slowly loses faith in the system and sees it turn on him.
Brian appears alongside Bale in a scene as the character ‘reading room proprietor’, a minor role but still a speaking role in which he’s manhandled by Bale.
The film had a budget of $20 million but made just $5 million dollars worldwide, with a very mixed reception to the film with some describing it as a 1984 knock-off, and others praising it for doing something more original than that.
Whatever you think of the film it has to go down as a box office flop and the divided opinion of the film remains so today, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 40% rating but iMDb giving it a relatively high 7.4 rating.
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We don’t think Brian had much to do with the film’s lack of success but he has only appeared in two more since, the last being in 2007.
After joining the EastEnders cast in May executive producer Jon Sen said the producers had “some wonderful stories in store for him”, so you can expect to see a lot more of Brian on your screens going forward.
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