Ex-Mr Sunderland hopes to raise mental health awareness with starring role in new film ‘Inner Demons’

Actor and former Mr Sunderland Brad Hopper is starring in a new film which puts mental health in the spotlight.
Brad Hopper stars as boxer Ethan Jones in the film.Brad Hopper stars as boxer Ethan Jones in the film.
Brad Hopper stars as boxer Ethan Jones in the film.

Inner Demons is an independent film, which focuses on the internal struggles faced by men and aims to start a discussion about how mental health “can completely control your life”, director Marcus Hayes has said.

The short film follows boxing champion Ethan Jones, who has reached the highest levels in life.

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Ethan decides to celebrate winning his first title with friends, but what should be the happiest night of his life turns sour when he begins reflecting on those around him and realises he is truly alone.

His anxiety takes over him and he is forced to fight his inner demons.

Brad, who plays the role of Ethan, has described the film as ‘a very personal, intimate story’ with an ‘in-depth understanding’ of mental health.

The 31-year-old from Washington said: “It’s very intimate.

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"It relates very much with mental health.

"That’s why I’ve used my experience in terms of the mental health side to try and portray the character to that level.

"Just to help other people, over the years I’ve heard so many people come to me and say ‘Brad, you’ve helped us so much, you’ve changed my life’, because of what I do.

“Playing this character is a big way for me to get the message out there again for mental health.”

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Brad, who has been acting for almost five year and is also modelling added: "Inner Demons is a very personal, intimate story, which gives a real in-depth understanding of mental health.”

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Both Brad and director Marcus have had their own personal journeys with mental health.

Brad earned praise after speaking out about his battle with depression back in 2018 in a bid to encourage others to face their own mental health issues.

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Marcus says he has also experienced mental health issues in his life and the lives of those around him for ‘many years’.

He said: “The decision to cast Brad happened the first time we spoke.

"After 10 minutes I knew we didn’t have to audition anyone else.

"He seemed like the natural choice for the role, like it wouldn’t be acting for him, but recollecting memories.”

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