Croydonian in the spotlight: Adam Pearson

By - Friday 8th August, 2014

Adam Pearson – writer, actor, and Croydonian – discusses the success of the sci-fi horror film Under The Skin and his home town

Photo author’s own.

Adam Pearson is certainly a recognisable face, though perhaps more for his regular TV work these days rather than the neurofibromyalgia which has given him prominent facial disfigurement. Taking time out from casting the new season of The Undateables, he reflected on the multi-award-winning Under The Skin, which was released in March this year.

The film follows an alien anthropoid played by Scarlett Johansson as she drives around Scotland experiencing humanity in all its guises. Scarlett’s femme fatal lures unsuspecting men to their death in a dystopian Scotland.

Adam describes it as “a film that doesn’t hold your hand, it leaves a lot up to the viewer, it very much focused in on Scarlett’s character, and… what it is like to look at the world through alien eyes”. His character plays a pivotal role; Scarlett Johansson’s remains oblivious to Adam’s facial disfigurement. She views him and the world free of judgment, with a childlike innocence that forces the audience to empathise with her despite her murderous ways.

But how are these themes reflected in Croydon? Even when casually walking around with Adam I was conscious of lingering glances, the quasi-conscious reactions that Adam must meet daily. Surprisingly, what struck me most was not so much Adams stoical nature but his refusal to let his neurofibromyaliga define him. Instead he’s keen to discuss wider issues affecting his home town.

He points to the 2011 riots as damaging Croydon’s reputation nationally, “despite the fact that a lot of people who were involved weren’t from Croydon”, something that he still feels local politics still needs to address.

“When you’re young you don’t have the adult filter which makes it a lot easier to have frank conversations”

However, Adam does see hope for the future, from an unlikely source: “The big current thing is the proposed Westfield invasion. Initially people were whinging and whining about the tram link before it arrived and then the tram got here and was widely lauded as amazing”.

Adam clearly has a strong affinity for Croydon, despite a tough time at secondary school where bullying was rampant. His work for the Changing Faces charity aims to put his local celebrity to good use. “If you can get people when they’re younger, I think that’s really important, before they can get to that stage where they’re very set in their ways… when you’re young you don’t have the adult filter which makes it a lot easier to have frank conversations”.

While there’s clearly still work to be done in fighting prejudice in Croydon and throughout society, through Adams hard work the issue continues to gain the prominence it deserves.

Under The Skin is out on Blu-Ray now. For more information regarding Changing Faces and all their campaigns, please visit

Joe Dillon-Hearne

Joe Dillon-Hearne

Joe is a student at St George's University in Tooting. He previously worked on a short lived Durham University newspaper, and St George's 'the Dragon'. Originally from Beckenham he enjoys drinking tea, backpacking, and bad puns.

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