Firstly, what made you decide to get into acting?
Interesting story this one…I actually lost a bet with my oldest friend from my naval school, my school had a drama club and out of all the clubs we had at the school, drama wasn’t the coolest but my mate went all the time and he’d been trying to get me to go for years. One day I said I would if arsenal won a game, they lost so I had to go with him, I really loved it and my teacher at the club told me I should apply to drama school that I had a good chance of getting in. I didn’t do it straight away as there were some obligations I had to finish, but I did eventually apply to Italia Conti and got in! Had I not lost that bet I’d never of gone to that drama club and if I didn’t go to that drama club I never would have applied to go to drama school. He never stops that story.
What is your favourite kind of character to play?
I want to play the hero, the guy that’s just trying to do good but also happens to be a total badass, like John Wick. Something like that would be my dream role, especially the more action the better.
You are known for stage and screen, from action roles like DSS Agent James Dawson, in the live global tour of Fast & Furious, as well as Hamlet, Othello and most recently you appeared inDeath in Paradise on BBC One and Manhunt on ITV alongside Martin Clunes. Do you prefer stage or screen?
I have to say screen, (I know, I know) but it’s honestly where I think my acting is best and also where I feel most comfortable. My drama school teachers would probably agree, they said (often) I’d be no good for the stage as I was ‘too small’ with my choices, and I’m honestly really happy with what I’ve been able to achieve on stage, working with RSC then going on the West End twice, and even opening at the O2 Arena. I’ve had a good run on stage and done more than I honestly thought I’d do, but my real passion has always been screen, that’s always been the aim.
What is your favourite kind of character to play? And do you have a dream role or project that you would like to be involved with?
Has to be an action role or film or have some kind of action element to it. I’ve been involved with martial arts all my life and still train to a pretty decent standard; it would be good to put my skills to use. As for projects I’ve actually started writing my own and I’ve really enjoyed the process so far (which isn’t something I thought I’d be saying), but making a personal project from the ground up and seeing it flourish would have to be my top aim project wise, and I’d write myself a decent role and yeah it would probably be action based.
What advice do you have for maintaining a good work/life balance?
It depends on what type of person you are, I’m always on the move and if not on the move I’m thinking about my next move so resting has always been difficult. I make sure I reserve about three days in the week where I’m just by myself and do as little as possible. I’ll meditate, rest, listen to an audiobook, sometimes I actually don’t even leave the flat, but if I do go it’ll be for a walk or go cinema by myself. It’s just as important to rest and recharge as much as working these days, it’s so easy to run yourself into the ground in a city like London where there’s always something going on, but you gotta sit back by yourself every once in a while. That’s usually how I balance my week.
You are a level two trained MMA Krav Maga Instructor – does training like this help you prepare for your roles?
Absolutely, I’m starting to go up for more physical roles so the training I do at MMA Krav Maga keeps me in top form. There’s a range of exercises we do in each session from Krav and mixed martial arts techniques to just full-out relentless drills and conditioning exercises. We also live spar so I don’t only look like I’m in the best shape I move and feel like I’m in the best shape too.
What advice would you give aspiring actors?
You just gotta go for it, my dad always said “nothing worth having is achieved without some kind of risk.” I’d add to that by saying risk, but risk intelligently. Weigh up all the pros and cons and have an aim, a destination. Be set on that detestation but don’t get attached to the actual journey, trust in yourself that you’ll figure it out and eventually land on your feet, that’s the way to build confidence, real confidence.
Can you tell us about any new projects on the horizon?
Yes quite a few projects are coming up; I’ll be appearing in a TV show called Masters Of The Air, it’s the latest instalment in the Band of Brothers war drama coming to Apple TV. The cast includes Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Raff Law and many others, and is directed by Cary Fukunaga. I’ll be appearing in a film with Casey Affleck called Slingshot. It’s a sci-fi phycological thriller directed by Mikael Håfström. It also stars Tomer Capon, Emily Beecham, David Morrissey and Lawrence Fishburne. I’m in another film titled My Mother’s Wedding with Scarlett Johanson, Sienna Miller and Emily Beecham directed by Kristen Scott Thomas. It’s a family drama about three romantically dysfunctional sisters trying to navigate their mother’s third wedding.
Interview by Lorenza Calamandrei
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato
Grooming by Sam Basham