It is probably no accident that Noel Clarke called his production company Unstoppable.
It sums up the actor-writer-director’s approach to life and career.
He gained national recognition playing the sidekick to a sidekick, as the on-off boyfriend of the Doctor’s companion Rose in the rebooted Doctor Who. He eventually became the first black companion in the long history of series.
It was occasionally thankless part – he was rather ungraciously dubbed Mickey the Idiot by Christopher Eccleston’s Time Lord – but it could have jump started a solid TV career.
However, Noel refused to limit himself. With award-winning theatre roles already under his belt, in between trips on the TARDIS he was busy scribbling away on his first feature film, Kidulthood, a violent urban youth drama.
In 2009 his professional diversity was recognised when he was named BAFTA’s Rising Star. As he picked up his prize he acknowledged how meaningful it could be, particularly to the young, gifted and black, quoting Barack Obama’s rallying cry “Yes We Can”.
Now 36, he continues his multi-hyphenated progress. Fast Girls, in which he plays an athletics coach, is currently in cinemas and next up is Storage 24, which he wrote, stars in and produced.
The thriller takes him back to the sci-fi genre, as it follows a group of friends stuck in a storage unit while a murderous alien predator stalks them.
“I like sci-fi, always have, and I would gladly make sci-fi films for the rest of my life,” he says.
The idea for it was actually down to his wife.
“Weirdly, it came from me taking her to storage facilities for her work. We would go there on a Sunday morning, and while I waited, I kept thinking, ‘This place looks really creepy’,” he explains.
The original idea featured a serial killer, but Clarke decided to switch it to a visitor from outer space.
“I think it’s a better film for it,” he adds.
He had a say in what the alien should look like (inspired by Spider-Man villain Carnage), but handed the directing reins over to horror film maker Johannes Roberts.
“I love directing, but directing a film would take me out of everything else for at least six months of the year, which isn’t very productive for a production company,” he says.
Storage 24 is the seventh film he has written so far and he has plans for a MMA (mixed martial arts) and British superhero features. The father-of-two says this is just the tip of his creative iceberg.
“It’s weird how people perceive me and success. I haven’t even done half of what I wanted to do,” he insists. “There’s loads more, man. If you could just see the plan, but it’s like Fight Club – you can’t talk about ‘the plan’. The plan consistently and continually evolves.”
Brought up by a single mother on a council estate, Clarke still lives in west London, not too far away from his childhood stomping ground in Ladbroke Grove – the scene of Kidulthood and Adulthood.
“I grew up pretty poor – not destitute because other people were worse off than me – so I don’t really have any other fears,” he says.
He knew he wanted to act from a young age, but would discourage his own two kids from entering the industry.
“My God no! I’m doing this so they don’t have to,” he says, before adding with a smile: “If they wanted to, then of course I would support them, but it’s not an easy profession.”
A devoted family man, he says his head isn’t turned by the glamorous actresses he gets to work with (next up is Mena Suvari, his co-star in the romantic comedy The Knot)
My family comes first,” he says. “And my wife’s more beautiful than all those girls, without a shadow of a doubt.”
It’s for that reason that he is hesitant to make a move to Hollywood.
“I gotta look after my kids. There’s a lot going on with kids’ schooling. The goal is to make more and more international films so hopefully by doing that, we’ll extend our reach anyway. But I’m not chasing it.”
Coming up next is a role in JJ Abrams’ as-yet-untitled Star Trek sequel.
“JJ’s a sci-fi head like me. He’s someone you can aspire to be, and learn from.
“I wouldn’t go as far as calling me a Trekkie,, but I am definitely a fan,” he adds.
“I know some people who get a bit hoity-toity and up themselves, because they got a big job, but I would never do that. Today’s movie star is tomorrow’s bit-part player.”
Clarke is pleased to be a role model for the British film industry.
“I’m proud of all my films. Not a lot of people are doing the films that I’ve tried to do in this country and, hopefully, it will open the door for them and we can be bigger and better.”
* Storage 24 opens in cinemas on Friday. Fast Girls is in cinemas now.