You have been acting for almost a decade now. How did you get into acting?

I think my Mum is the one responsible for that. She put me into a Saturday stage school when was around 10. But I don’t think it was until around 16 when I started to really enjoy acting and take it seriously. Drama classes at my high school became my main focus. I signed with a children’s talent agency and started doing a bit of background work on a couple British TV shows. At 18 I got on to the BA Acting course at The Drama Centre London, but just before I started I was signed by Ruth Young at United Agents. Aaaaand I’ve been with her ever since!

Which roles/characters have inspired you over the years?

I think the first performance that hit me was by Tom Hanks in ‘Forrest Gump’. Its such a classic, and his performance left me laughing and crying simultaneously throughout. Still does. I think its the power of Forrest’s honesty that really inspired me. I could also name any and all of Heath Ledger’s performances as inspirational. Because they are! From ‘A Knight’s Tale’ to ‘Candy’ to ‘The Dark Knight’, Heath’s talent and integrity knew no bounds. His whole career has inspired me to always keep people guessing and to never let anyone pin you down to a “type”. Its easier said than done, but its something I try to consciously do with each character I play.

You currently star in CW sci-fi series, Pandora. Can you tell us about your role and what we can expect from this second series?

In this season my character, Jett, is looking for redemption. He was a pretty unpleasant character in Season 1 and didn’t really have any true friends. For good reason, too. But this time he’s looking to right his past wrongs and reinvent himself. He really just wants to be accepted by the gang! I think most people can relate to that. So you can definitely expect to see Jett trying his hardest – oftentimes too hard – to be one of the cool kids. He’s a real goofball. So be prepared to laugh at his pain…I hope!

What drew you to this role and how did this project differ from others you have done in the past?

The fact that it was an opportunity to play an American character on American network television was a huge draw for me. I’d just come off of a feature where I played an American working for the FBI, so I was hoping that I could ride that wave. I think its something all British actors aim to do, so I was really excited to tick that off the bucket list. 
I also just felt like I really understood this poor guy. He’s not from a wealthy family like most people at the academy, and so is desperately trying his best to fit in whilst also hiding this shame he feels. Once you dig a little deeper you see that all of this bravado and cockiness is just a mask. 

Just before lockdown, you were fortunate enough to star in Tina Jay’s compelling play,
Syndrome at The Tristan Bates Theatre. Set against the backdrop of the Gulf War, the play follows the personal stories of four young British soldiers from the days of the war through to their return to civilian life. What were the challenges of transferring these sensitive issues to stage? Is theatre something you’d like to do more of?
‘Syndrome’ was an incredible play to be a part of. It had so much heart. It was a low-budget play with a small cast, but it was incredibly ambitious. I think the main challenge was how to present such sensitive issues without beating people over the head facts. We weren’t creating a documentary, we were telling true stories. The actual “Gulf War Syndrome” itself was brushed under the carpet for so many years, so we were asking people to open their hearts and minds to the idea that they had been grossly misinformed by history. And that’s never an easy task. We actually had a handful of veterans in the audience and I think it was their seal of approval that reassured us that we were really on to something important. Tina Jay, the writer, handled and navigated that line between fact-dropping and storytelling so well that all the actors had to do was turn up and give it our all. Our director, Jack Brett Anderson, also did an incredible job with creating the world for us to inhabit and play in. For such a serious play, there was a lot of joy in performing it. And that was down to his guidance and sensitivity. I’d love to do more theatre. Especially more intimate plays like ‘Syndrome’. I’m actually in talks to do another play towards the end of the year. Here’s hoping the world regains some sense of normalcy by then!

What are your long-term hopes for your career?

To keep working! That’s basically it! I love my job and I’m sad when I don’t get to do it regularly. I’m also taking my first steps into the world of screenwriting and, hopefully, that will lead me to directing and producing my own work. But right now all I want to do is act. On screen, on stage, I don’t care. I’m in!

Pandora is available to watch on the Syfy channel on Sky in the UK and Amazon Prime in the US.

Interview by Lorenza Calamandrei
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato
Grooming by Gloria Penaranda

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