You come from the same drama school, Drama Centre as some huge stars, do you find inspiration in that?
I do. We have some very successful alumni, but more than that, they happen to be very good actors. The type of actors who seek to stretch themselves and do all sorts of varying work. There’s great inspiration in that. Drama Centre breeds you hungry and I found that it rewards the hard-working and the bold. I try to gravitate toward interesting work that challenges me.
You’ve taken part in a lot of classical plays, including Macbeth and The Winter’s Tale do you have a specific interest in this genre?
Classical Theatre, and Shakespeare in particular has always grabbed me. The rich tapestry of stories and characters is enough to keep any actor happy. The challenges it presents and the sheer size and scope of the material is very rewarding. I find such a joy in connecting with audiences with writing that is over 400 years old. Bringing to life things that could be long dead.
The 50th Anniversary of Dr Who is an amazing way to make a television debut, how different do you find acting for television in contrast to theatre?
It was an awesome experience, and any nerves I had going into it were immediately quashed by everyone on set. From the stalwart actors to the incredible crew. That is something that I loved about a film set, the concentration and care of everyone involved. The attention to detail and the organisation is such that actors actually have a brilliant amount of freedom. I was lucky enough to work with the late John Hurt. He was so generous and willing to guide me through any areas I was inexperienced at. He was quick with a calming anecdote and merely being exposed to the way he works was enough to learn a great deal. The differences between theatre and screen are in attitude, I think. They both offer the same levels of artistry, of discipline, you just approach the work with different techniques. They are both as thrilling in my experience.
Music also seems like a large part of your life, how important is it to you to write your own songs?
Music is a great pursuit of mine. A chance to really express myself. There is very little filter between a song you have written and yourself, as you don’t perform with a character. It is very personal in that way. I love to tell stories; whether on stage, on set, or with a guitar in my hands.
You have covered a variety of different areas in your career, is there one you wish to pursue more than others?
I’m keen to pursue more screen work, it’s something I love doing and am constantly surprised by the changing nature of film and television. There are some great collaborations going on at the moment. It’s a great time for television, the way we watch it is evolving, the way shows are produced is changing. The reach of companies like Netflix and Amazon really opens up lots of exciting possibilities.
What’s next for you? Are there any other art forms you wish to try?
I will be writing a lot more music this summer, The Winters Tale finishes in Russia this June and then it’s back to London. I have been inspired by a lot of exhibitions recently, especially the Hockney at the Tate Britain. I love to write, and have been using the downtime on tour to pen some ideas, so I will be refining those projects too. It’s important to be stretched, and I make sure I’m constantly balancing my creative output with creative input.
Orlando is currently on tour with Cheek By Jowl’s production of The Winter’s Tale. Dates can be found here:http://www.cheekbyjowl.com/the_winter’s_tale.php#calendar
You can also watch the live recording of the production on BBC iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04zn5rl
Interview by Ian Casey
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato