Welcome to Jack O'Connell Web, your newest source for the british actor Jack O'Connell. You may recognize Jack from the television series "Skins" or from the films "Starred Up,", "Unbroken," and Money Monster." The site aims to provide you with all the latest news, photos, media, and more on Jack and his career. Please take a look around the site and visit again soon!
Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
emily • 09.27.2017 • 0 Comments

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2017 > The Sunday Times

THE TIMES – Most people know the story of Jack O’Connell. The bad boy from Derby; the teenage delinquent turned Bafta-winning Hollywood actor; the go-to guy for a “troubled youth” tale; a skinhead in This Is England, a sexy, self-destructive lost boy in Skins. He dates pop stars and supermodels; he gives interviews with a hangover. As the tattoo on his biceps says, he is the definitive Jack the Lad.

But that’s not the man I interview one Thursday afternoon in Camden, north London. The guy I meet is softly spoken, calm, seemingly unflappable and with impeccable manners, a guy who gives me tips for the best Sunday roasts in Hampstead, who leans over to pick up my jacket when it falls off my chair, who offers to share his last cigarette and who orders two scones with cream and jam at the gastropub where we meet around the corner from his new home. He moved here in May from east London, where he’d lived for years. “I had my local pubs I went to,” says the 27-year-old. “I’d speak to all the old fellas in there, go for two or three pints, then lock-ins would ensue.” He’s already finding new watering holes with the same “old fellas” in NW1: “I like a pub, me. You can have a nice boogie in some pubs.”

This summer, O’Connell has risen to a whole new level of fame after starring in Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Benedict Andrews, at the Apollo Theatre. He plays Brick, a broken, alcoholic, ageing football player who is grieving the loss of his best friend and whose marriage is falling apart. O’Connell says he has enjoyed the routine of theatre and the opportunity to evolve his character, though, “I’m over halfway through and I feel I could be better. I wonder if it would be more truthful if I took the edge off, instead of belting it out,” he thinks aloud. “Because I’m really starting to feel sorry for people in the front row.”

Certainly they get an eyeful. The play opens with O’Connell sitting naked and spread-eagle under a shower and, predictably, his full-frontals have received much publicity. (“Worth coming all the way from Stoke-on-Trent for!” one woman trills in the interval the night I attend.) He says he has “got used” to the nudity and likes the “immediate intimacy” of marriage it establishes between him and his on-stage wife, Maggie, played by Sienna Miller. He describes his co-star as “wonderful. A powerhouse. She’s just solid,” adding that she started a tradition of a “company cuddle” with the cast before every show. “Every time we’re on stage, she’s energised,” he says. “Even as recently as our last performance, she’s trying new things, which is exciting for me, too.”

I wonder how he copes with his sudden sex-symbol status. I tell him George Clooney once said that the level of attention he gets is embarrassing. Does O’Connell feel the same? “I’m willing to put money on the fact that George Clooney is not embarrassed about it at all, not a chance,” he laughs (they featured together in the 2016 film Money Monster). “I play characters for a living. If they come across looking like they breathe real air, then sweet. If people want to f*** them as well, sweet — that’s another reaction altogether. But really, I don’t pay enough attention to feel anything towards it. It’s a by-product.” It may be a constructed front of modesty, but I can believe it.

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emily • 06.05.2016 • 0 Comments

YOU get the impression that Jack O’Connell is pretty easy going from the moment you meet him. There’s no pretence, plus addressing someone by their first name before you’ve even met is always going to win brownie points. The Jack you see is the Jack you get. He’s relaxed and all-inviting handshakes, big grins and quick to banter, at ease even after a gruelling press trip that comes with the territory of taking a lead in blockbuster movies.

Money Monster, which is in cinemas now, was shot in New York and called for the streets of the city to be shut down. “For me, it epitomised the typical American film-making experience in the middle of downtown New York,” O’Connell confesses, not a sight of a transatlantic lilt in his Derby accent. While he isn’t willing to name names, shooting Money Monster was a different experience from those he has had in the past, and not just down to the sheer scale of the project.

Shooting this was very fulfilling. I’ve been on sets before where you’re thinking this is bullshit, this hurts, people are getting treated horribly, and no one has got any money for the budget so no one can make you comfortable. If you do enough of that you stop expecting to feel comfortable when you’re at work. I’m very thankful for all those lessons, but when I was finally on this multi-million-dollar set in the middle of New York I could feel a real sense of gratitude.”

Another thing that you notice is that O’Connell is a genuine optimist and a thinker too, although not in the sense that he’s watching his words. On his first day on set, was he intimidated by acting alongside household names? “No more than anyone starting a new job amidst very esteemed colleagues.” Instead the 25-year-old focused on the opportunity presented. “You’re offered a level of confirmation that people are going to see your movie and this can make you feel very confident, which I chose to dwell on more.”

It wasn’t just his on-screen peers that may have been intimidating. Sat in the director’s chair was Jodie Foster, herself an Academy Award-winning actress with 50 years in the industry to her name who has done nothing but sung praises about her experiences working with O’Connell, telling Vogue: “He works so hard and he brings so much to the equation.” The film marks the second time that he has worked with an actress-turned-director. The first, Angelina Jolie, cast him in Unbroken, in which he portrayed Olympian and prisoner-of-war survivor, Louis Zamperini. He notes the film as his proudest professional moment. Describing Zamperini as a “hero” and a tale so epic that, “if you wrote it, people would chastise it.”

Read more of the interview at the source

emily • 05.21.2016 • 0 Comments

Jack O’Connell, whose previous lead roles include Starred Up, ’71 and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, discusses his latest film in which he plays a disgruntled New Yorker with a grudge who takes George Clooney’s character hostage in the financial thriller Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster.

Seeing Round Corners at Turner Contemporary in Margate explores the role of the circle in art. From sculpture to film and painting to performance, the exhibition brings together works by leading historical and contemporary artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Barbara Hepworth, JMW Turner and Anish Kapoor. Art historian and critic Richard Cork reviews.

Jason Solomons rates the contenders for the Palme d’Or as the Cannes Film Festival comes to an end this week.

Spymonkey’s The Complete Deaths brings all of the killings in Shakespeare’s works into one play. Kirsty speaks to actor Toby Park and director Tim Crouch.

emily • 05.17.2016 • 0 Comments

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > Flaunt

FLAUNT – Jack O’Connell pauses, rakes his knuckles across his knees, and shouts, with a northern English kind of muscularity, “Ooff.”

I’ve just asked him to describe his perfect night out—his version of a truly good time. The 25-year- old is sitting with me today to talk about the future. He doesn’t want to trip down the path Hollywood continually prods him along; to play the scar-faced bullyboy for the rest of his life. Had I asked him this question back when he was auditioning for parts at the Royal Court, in the thick of a year-long Young Offender’s Referral Order as a late teen, I suspect his answer would have been brief: “To stay out of jail.”

Instead, he talks about wide horizons. Good music, a decent crowd, a stunning backdrop. Oh, and nice quality beverages. “Not just tinnies.”

O’Connell—who stars this spring in Jodie Foster’s reality TV thriller, Money Monster—grew up in rural Derby. You can trace the trouble he got into there along the ridge of his forehead, where flesh is divided by thick, ruler-straight stress marks. It’s a toughness that has brought him film roles and fashion gigs; from a starring part in David Mackenzie’s drama Starred Up (2013)—where he plays a savagely hotheaded prisoner—to a Prada shoot with Craig McDean—where he appears in a taut, noisily patterned turtleneck, swizzling a gin tumbler. Shane Meadows spotted his leatheriness early on, casting him as bovver-booted gang protégé in 2006’s brilliant, bleak, fascism tome, This Is England.

There was always a strange sadness to O’Connell’s violence, though. In an early days This Is England audition tape, he raps as part of a three-piece hip-hop group, a knock-off designer tee jangling around his knees. “I’m a tough little cunt and I’ve got no hair,” he spits, almost melancholically. “I’ll put you down and I don’t care.” Then there was ITV’s cop soap The Bill, in which he depicts sexually abused 13-year-old Ross Trescot, who rapes a middle aged policewoman. For the largest part of O’Connell’s decade-long career, he’s played characters that are bad because bad things have happened to them: in turn, his performances are both brutal and beckoning.

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emily • 05.13.2016 • 0 Comments

YAHOO – Jack O’Connell is just anonymous enough — for now, anyway — that unfamiliar viewers who see Money Monster are going to be stunned to discover he was brought up in Derby, England. The 25-year-old Brit nails the Queens accent, along with the borough’s blue-collar sensibilities, as Kyle Budwell, a man so enraged by a bad, savings-depleting stock tip that he takes hostage the TV financial guru (George Clooney) responsible for the bum advice.

O’Connell has earned acclaim in a series of low-budget British-produced films like This Is England, Starred Up, and ‘71. He also won wide praise for his lead role in his Hollywood breakout, the Angelina Jolie-directed WWII drama Unbroken, although the movie failed to live up to its pre-release Oscar hype. And while he played a mild-mannered soldier in that film, Money Monster shows O’Connell simmer in a performance that manages to upstage both his Academy Award-winning co-stars, Clooney and Julia Roberts. It’s no wonder the Oscar-winning actor who directed them, Jodie Foster, plucked a guy from Derbyshire to play a New Yorka.

At the Los Angeles press day for Money Monster, O’Connell revealed another quality: being a candid, grateful, soulful, introspective interview. He said actors can be a–holes to each other. He gave a truthful assessment of how his hard-scrabble upbringing in the U.K. would have lead him down a dark path had he not made it as a performer. And he expressed frustration over the process of auditioning to play a young Han Solo in an upcoming Star Wars spin-off, a role that went to Alden Ehrenreich instead (the announcement came just hours after our interview). Few 25-year-old Hollywood neophytes would dare give such an honest response given the politics of the industry and what it could mean for future opportunities. Then again, few 25-year-old Hollywood neophytes have the chops that O’Connell possesses.

Like Unbroken, one of the last films we saw you in, Money Monster is directed by an Oscar-winning actress who is more about filmmaking these days. Developing trend, or pure coincidence?
Pure coincidence, I would say, mate. I mean if it is a trend then more female directors, please. But that’s speaking selfishly. I consider myself fortunate. Angelina I’ve stayed in touch with, she’s a very loyal person. She came and watched my play, The Nap. We did it up in Sheffield [England]. It was off the circuit, a little bit, in terms of London. I invited Angelina along, said, ‘Look, I know you’re in the country. I’m doing this play if you want to come and see.’ And I couldn’t believe it, she turned up. I think going anywhere with her level of stardom is quite an issue. But she doesn’t let it impede her. I think that is very admirable.

What was your impression of Jodie as a filmmaker?
I loved her level of commitment. She was always there. And though she was an actor, she was never in her trailer, which is alien because actors love trailers. Some love them too much. But she’s very driven… Jodie kept me on my toes.

Did you see any similarities in the filmmaking approaches of Angelina and Jodie, given they’ve had somewhat parallel paths?
I think they both recognize that everything you do as an actor is at some kind of cost. Whether it’s emotional or physical or financial or whatever. Not all directors respect that. Not all directors care about that. And I think that can also be a very effective environment to work in as well. But, I certainly appreciate the level of consideration that Jodie and Angelina both kept when they were delivering their direction and trying to steer my performance… It makes me feel like going the extra mile then.

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emily • 05.13.2016 • 0 Comments

COLLIDER – From director Jodie Foster, the real-time, high-stakes thriller Money Monster follows financial TV host Lee Gates (George Clooney) and his producer, Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), as they are put in an extreme situation when a young man (Jack O’Connell) who has lost everything takes over their studio. During a tense stand-off that’s broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy that led to the disappearance of $800 million of investor money.

At the film’s press day, actor Jack O’Connell sat down with Collider at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles for this exclusive interview about what drew him to Money Monster, making the accent feel lived in, and whether his character was seeking redemption. He also talked about playing a cowboy in the upcoming Netflix series Godless, set in 1800s America. Be aware that there are some spoilers.

Collider: This is a wholly original adult thriller, it’s smart and relevant, it relies much more on character development than action sequences and set pieces, it’s opening in summer movie season and it’s directed by a woman, which is very rare these days. When you got this script and read it, what was the draw for you?

JACK O’CONNELL: Just the reality of it all. What personally makes me feel very excited, as an actor, is when a film is brave and bold and it exposes wrongdoings, which are real. And it was a great opportunity to step into the shoes of someone that I could find quite instantly relevant. Being the same age, I’m sure if I wasn’t acting, I’d probably be a lot worse off than Kyle is. That was quite instantaneous, the way I was able to adopt that, and that was very attractive. But also, to be in there with Julia [Roberts], George [Clooney] and Jodie [Foster], it gives you an instant gratification.

Doing an accent is a challenge, in and of itself, but in this film, you have a lot of dialogue. Does that make it even more challenging?

O’CONNELL: It can never be an impersonation. I can never be trying to imitate. I have to feel like I’m giving something that’s lived in and natural. That’s the main challenge. It’s made a lot easier when all of the content is on the page ‘cause then you have something very definite to work towards. Also, sometimes in a scene, you might go off page, so you have to give yourself enough room and prepare enough. That way, when you do find yourself in that scenario, you have something that you believe in. Otherwise, it’s just too much to juggle. It requires preparation. I can’t imagine taking on any role without trying to figure them things out first.

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emily • 05.12.2016 • 0 Comments

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > Evening Standard

EVENING STANDARD – A bright, crisp, spring afternoon in Mayfair and Jack O’Connell — dressed almost entirely in Dior, his scuffed blue suede Adidas the only nod to his pre-fame life — is sitting on a velvet sofa in one of the best suites at the Dorchester, reflecting on the downsides of stardom.

My whole life’s different,’ he says in his thick Derby accent. ‘I can’t live the life I grew up living. I used to enjoy going to the football, being around ordinary folk, or so-called ordinary folk, and family get-togethers. Now even they’re difficult. If I go to certain dos every f***er in there’s gonna want a photo.’ Then there’s the small matter of his (perfectly passable) ‘English’ teeth: ‘Whenever I go to LA, people tell me I should get my teeth done. Unless they want theirs f***ing rearranging as well I suggest they keep their mouth shut. My teeth are my teeth and I’ll be f***ed if I’m ever going to do a job on them just to serve their purposes. Well f*** ’em anyway.’ He gives a blast of infectious laughter. ‘I’m not Hollywood. There’s not a bit of me that ever wants to consider myself “Hollywood”.’

It’s hard not to think he may have to acclimatise. Just 25, O’Connell has stacked up an impressive collection of roles, including outstanding performances in Starred Up as a violent prisoner, and a turn as a British soldier lost in a riot in Belfast in ’71. This summer he’s set to go stratospheric: in July he stars alongside rumoured ex- girlfriend Cara Delevingne (more of whom later) in Tulip Fever and plays a Czech soldier in HHhH with Rosamund Pike and Mia Wasikowska. Before that, you can catch him in the Jodie Foster-directed thriller Money Monster, out today, in which he stars alongside bona fide Hollywood royalty Julia Roberts (‘a dream to work with’) and George Clooney (‘piss funny’).

Not to mention his relationship with Angelina Jolie, who cast him as the lead in her 2014 Second World War biopic Unbroken and has become a kind of mentor. Days before we met she flew to Sheffield by helicopter to see O’Connell in The Nap, the play he was starring in at the Crucible Theatre. ‘She just came up with a friend. Proper.’ She’s even met his family — after casting him in Unbroken, she took ten of his closest friends and family members out for a pub supper, which must have been a little surreal. ‘She wanted to meet my people,’ says O’Connell. ‘We all went to this place out of the way in Derbyshire, a pub where you can eat nice food. She came up on her own, man. She had some security people but they weren’t really involved and, yeah, we were all just sat around.’ Jolie, meanwhile, has said she’s ‘in awe’ of him and hailed his talent as ‘a gift’.

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emily • 05.11.2016 • 0 Comments

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > Evening Standard

STANDARD.CO.UK – Jack O’Connell has gone from Skins to co-starring with heavyweights Julia Roberts and George Clooney in a dizzying rise to fame but the actor has vowed never to go “Hollywood”.

The 25-year-old says his former “ordinary” life is at complete odds with being recognised everywhere since landing lead roles in ’71 and Unbroken — when he gained a mentor in Angelina Jolie.

But despite his A-list status — set to be cemented with the release of his latest movie Money Monster on Friday — O’Connell says he refuses to succumb to pressure to “fix” his “English teeth” or strive for Hollywood perfection.

He told ES magazine: “Whenever I go to LA, people tell me I should get my teeth done. Unless they want theirs f****** rearranging as well I suggest they keep their mouth shut.

My teeth are my teeth and I’ll be f***** if I’m ever going to do a job on them just to serve their purposes. I’m not Hollywood. There’s not a bit of me that ever wants to consider myself ‘Hollywood’.”

In Money Monster, O’Connell is a disgruntled investor who takes a financial adviser, played by Clooney, hostage. He will also be seen in historical drama Tulip Fever with Cara Delevingne and Alicia Vikander and as a Czech soldier in HHhH with Rosamund Pike and Mia Wasikowska. The Derby-born actor, who counts Jolie and Brad Pitt as friends, said: “I can’t live the life I grew up living.

I used to enjoy going to the football, being around ordinary folk, or so-called ordinary folk, family get-togethers. Now even they’re difficult. If I go to certain dos every f***** in there’s gonna want a photo.”

He has been threatened by jealous relatives: “People assume I’m wealthy beyond belief. I ain’t. I need to work for a living. I have family members come out with claims, trying to threaten they’re going to the newspapers about me.”

He has been romantically linked to former Skins co-star Kaya Scodelario, Tulisa Contostavlos and Delevingne — who posted an Instagram picture of his neck covered in love bites with the comment #fittybum — but is currently single.

He said his fame usually helps with women, but added: “It depends on what I’m after. If it’s a bit more lingering than one night, then maybe not.”

emily • 05.07.2016 • 0 Comments

YAHOO – Rising British star Jack O’Connell has been on a roll lately, landing lead roles in high-profile dramas directed by Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) and Jodie Foster (Money Monster).

He didn’t have as much luck going out for the role of a young Han Solo in Disney/Lucasfilm’s upcoming Star Wars anthology story, and he expressed some clear discontent about the experience yesterday while promoting Money Monster in Los Angeles.

I love the process of auditioning, even the rejections,” O’Connell, 25, told Yahoo Movies a couple hours before it was announced that Hail, Caesar! breakout Alden Ehrenreich had been cast to play the iconic antihero. “It will refine you and make you stronger as an actor. Or sometimes it can be so tediously frustrating that it exhausts you as an actor. I think that applied throughout this process.

It didn’t go my way. I wish them all the best of luck. But I don’t know necessarily agree with the reasons given.”

It was first reported in January that there were about a dozen young actors in the running for the highly sought-after gig, with the shortlist including names like Miles Teller, Dave Franco, Taron Egerton, Ansel Elgort, Jack Reynor, and Logan Lerman. In March that list was reportedly whittled to three — Reynor, Egerton, and Ehrenreich, though Variety reporter Justin Kroll tweeted that O’Connell and Blake Jenner were also still in contention to land the lead in the 2018 film, about the early days of the scoundrel made famous by Harrison Ford in 1977’s Star Wars and helmed by 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miler.

O’Connell confirmed to us that he auditioned — once — and that was part of the problem in his eyes. “The most frustrating thing is when you feel like your full potential hasn’t been recognized,” he said. “Or, the imagination required for your potential to be recognized, isn’t necessarily there. And it’s very hard to convey all these things in one audition. But that’s the process, and I don’t think one individual will change that.”

It was only one audition, but the experience was nonetheless grueling, O’Connell explained. “That process kind of contributes to the overall exhaustion that you have to face as an actor. It’s part and parcel of the job, and the roles that are worth getting are the ones that you’ve got to fight for. As the way I see it, it’s only so often that you’re given a role that you’ve always wanted to play.”

As O’Connell admitted even before the Ehrenreich news was announced, “That ship sailed.” But the actor probably won’t have to worry about too much more disappointment along the way. After two highly acclaimed performances in the war films ‘71 and Unbroken, O’Connell will undoubtedly earn more praise and attention for his role in Money Monster. The Brit nails the outer-boroughs New York accent as Kyle Budwell, a blue-collar man who takes a financial talk show host (George Clooney) hostage after a bad stock tip decimates his life savings. And in a raw and intense performance, he pretty much steals the movie from not his Oscar-winning co-stars Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Money Monster opens May 13. Look for our full Q&A with Jack O’Connell next week.

emily • 04.29.2016 • 0 Comments

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES TIMES – There aren’t many young actors who wouldn’t be intimidated by costarring in a film with George Clooney and Julia Roberts and directed by Jodie Foster.

Except maybe for one who’s just finished working with Angelina Jolie.

When Jack O’Connell put himself on tape for Foster’s financial thriller “Money Monster,” he’d recently completed filming Jolie’s WWII movie “Unbroken.” The British actor was the lead in the 2014 film about Louis Zamperini, an Olympian who was captured as a prisoner of war. And after the movie came out, O’Connell found himself bombarded by questions about Jolie.

“The one I can’t really hack is, ‘What’s it like to be with said famous person?’ because I’m not sure what that is as a question. It’s not very specific,” the actor recalled by phone from London. “But that movie did help me promote myself in the States with work that I’m genuinely proud of.”

His pedigree impressed Foster, who said she auditioned hundreds of twentysomethings to act alongside Clooney and Roberts. She was looking to fill the part of Kyle Budwell, a blue-collar worker who takes financial advice from a popular television personality named Lee Gates (Clooney). When one of the TV host’s stock picks turns out to be a bust, Kyle loses $60,000 and, in a rage, he turns up on Gates’ set with a gun to take the production hostage.

“At first, I was concerned Jack might be too young,” Foster said of the actor, now 25. “But he has a face that’s lived and this amazing combination of someone who can be threatening and primitive but is also really lovable.”

“Money Monster” — which will debut at the Cannes Film Festival next month before it hits theaters on May 13 — marks the first film O’Connell has made in the United States. To prepare himself for the role, he spent time in Brooklyn, hanging out with firemen, riding on their truck and listening to their strong accents. He spent less time researching the stock market, which he said he has never dabbled in on his personal time.

“This was a guy who was promised some version of an American dream and the pot of gold, and he doesn’t get that,” said O’Connell. “There were certain crew members, including Jodie, who were rooting for Kyle and believed in his situation. That helped me to understand his reasoning.”

On set, Foster said, Clooney took O’Connell “under his wing.” “I don’t think Jack is impressed particularly by movie stars,” the filmmaker noted. “But George has a lot to impart to somebody like him, and Jack was open to listening.”

So what advice did Clooney offer to his young costar? O’Connell wouldn’t reveal any secret nuggets of wisdom but said he took the most away from learning that the 54-year-old still wrestles with insecurities at work.

“When you see an actor like George Clooney making the same mistakes that you do and asking the same questions you might ask,” said O’Connell, “it’s very reassuring to know that you don’t stand out as being difficult.”