Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
emily   –   May 11, 2016

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   –   May 07, 2016

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   –   April 29, 2016

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.”

emily   –   March 13, 2016

emily   –   March 13, 2016

Jack did an interview for ShortList last month. You can check out the cover and some great outtakes in our gallery! You can also read the interview below.

Magazine Scans > 2016 > ShortLIst (February 18)
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > ShortList

SHORTLIST – Jack O’Connell made a name for himself playing delinquents. Has he changed? Not if his new role is anything to go by

“I’ve got gaping nostrils,” says Jack O’Connell, wiping his nose with a tissue he’s rescued from the depths of his back pocket. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed?” I hadn’t, actually, I say. “You’re just being polite, Louise,” he says, in that now recognisably deep, Derbyshire drawl. “Right, what was the question again?”

Chatting with O’Connell for 45 minutes is a disarming affair. Not just because we’re squished together on a table so tiny I keep accidently kicking the leg (and him. Sorry again, Jack). There’s his unquestionable charm, sure. The boyish grins. The effing and blinding his way through sentences. But there’s also a laddish, unpredictable side to him that bubbles under the surface of his Fred Perry polos. When we first sit down, I ask about his ShortList shoot. Does he enjoy those things? “Nah,” he says. “It’s f*cking boring, isn’t it?”

Or take the subject of his new play, The Nap. O’Connell plays a young, Sheffield-born snooker player, Dylan Spokes, who’s fending off pre-second round nerves, his ex-con dad and a local gangster called Waxy Chuff. In keeping with the play’s theme, ShortList arranged to meet O’Connell in a suburban town snooker hall, 20 miles from nowhere. As he expertly pots a red, then a blue, I mention the play is described as a ‘comedy thriller’…

“I dunno,” he interrupts. “I can tell you the name of the critic who wrote that. But let’s not, for security reasons.”You get the impression he’s caught between two Jacks: the burgeoning, hot Hollywood property who shakes my hand, dressed in Paul Smith jeans, swaggy Burberry jacket and one particularly expensive-looking Victorinox watch. But then the lad from Derby emerges, the one who graciously describes his upcoming film, HHhH, as a job “that’s torn me a new bumhole” and you can’t quite connect this Jack with the guy who Angelina Jolie once flew up to meet in her helicopter. “Sorry for the turn of phrase,” he grins.
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emily   –   September 24, 2015

GQ-MAGAZINE.CO.UK – Jack O’ Connell caught our attention when he was cast in Skins back in 2009 and since then he’s established himself as one of the most talented British actors of his generation. Not to mention he’s worked alongside some of the biggest names on the planet from Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken to George Clooney in next year’s Money Monster. Here’s a preview of the bad boy of acting’s cover interview and shoot…

On George Clooney (his co-star in Money Monster):

“On all fronts, in terms of the events he goes to, the charities he represents, the humanitarian work that he does. He set a good example for me. He’s a good man. We had a good laugh.”

On his past brushes with the law:

“I still have to remind myself to stay focused. Less so these days, but I am still nervous of what happens in my own time. I might react badly in certain situations that might hinder my future. So at the moment I’m between jobs. And I’m looking forward to getting back under it. I’d hate to find myself in a predicament that would potentially compromise what I’d like to achieve.”

On trying to stay out of trouble:

“You always encounter wankers and sometimes they get the better of you. I heard this saying about arguing with idiots. It goes: ‘Never fight an idiot. You’ll never win, because they bring you down to their level.’ So I’m trying my best not to be an idiot.”

Read the full article in the A/W ’15 issue of GQ Style, on sale on 24 September in print and as a digital download.

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2015 > British GQ Style
emily   –   February 26, 2015

One of the major pleasant surprises at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, ’71, a gripping and thoughtful drama set in Belfast during The Troubles, hits theaters this Friday. The film stars soon-to-be-household-name Jack O’Connell as Gary Hook, a British serviceman trapped behind enemy lines during a night of intense sectarian unrest.

O’Connell may be best known for his work on the U.K. soap hit Skins, but 2014 set him on a trajectory for Hollywood’s A-list. While American audiences might have spotted him in 300: Rise of Artemisia, it was the critically acclaimed British prison drama Starred Up, and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken that cemented O’Connell as the potential next “it” actor.

We caught up with O’Connell (and the film’s director, Yann Demange) back at TIFF to talk about what makes ’71 a unique war story, and how he’s handling the demands of movie stardom.
Check it out below, and enjoy!

How did you come to be attached to the film?
Jack O’Connell: Jina Jay, who cast ’71, I’ve got a good relationship with. So she made the right noises to Yann [Demange] and he just wanted to get together and meet me. It was like a straight-out offer, he had decided that I was his Gary, and he was going to make it work. That was flattering, it was the first time in my career that that had happened. So, beginning last year, I had three films, back-to-back. Well, one of which being Skins, but that kinda felt like a movie shoot as well. That’s how it came about, but it was very challenging to do three jobs, three very different characters, back-to-back.

What is it about the Hook character that makes him a unique centre for an action movie?
JO: I’d say because we see him as a human, we don’t know if he’s capable to get through it. He’s not a stone-faced killer, he’s not a savage. He loses his best mate, he’s got a relationship with his younger brother which is vital to him. He has to return, otherwise his brother’s f***ed. There’s no selfishness to him, so he’s got a good reason to get the f*** out of there. But he’s so out of his depth, and he’s a young lad. It’s quite plausible that’s been the case; if I was witnessing this as an audience member, I’d really appreciate the lack of bulls*** that we offer.

Do you think Yann’s accomplished that: a film free of bulls***?
JO: Yeah, yeah. We never try to perpetrate, or assume, or point fingers, or explain anything that hasn’t already been discussed. It’s not a revelation, hopefully we’re exposing the cost on ground level. We see the lack of animosity between Gary and, who were at the time, his enemies. And we see how brainwashing takes its toll, and how that then escalates into these conflicts.

It’s a hard film to pin down. What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you try to explain what it is to people?
JO: I hear the word “thriller.” But I never set out….or certainly on set, I didn’t feel like we were making a thriller. I guess in a word, it’s an “insight,” isn’t it? We’re portraying it on ground level, and we see costs like that. We throw out questions afterwards. So instead of boring an audience with low-budget cinema – with a portrayal of the politics and where this war started – we’re just in there. And it is thrilling, and that was Yann’s job, to provide that. But for me, I was portraying someone who, for as far as I was concerned, existed.

Did you film ’71 before or after Starred Up?
JO: After.

So did that make it hard to switch into a character that is very vulnerable and reactionary?
JO: Sure. That’s where Yann came in, and that’s why I’m here. With a lesser director I’d have been f***ed. So, I’ve come out here, mainly to support Yann because of his support for me during the shoot. He was always there to remind me when I was, perhaps, reverting back to something that I should have left in Belfast – funny enough, we shot Starred Up in Belfast, and then ’71 in Northern England. So that was his expertise, to have that sensibility, and enable and steer me in that way. I didn’t know the answers in this one, I don’t think anyone who’s in a realistic, life-threatening situation knows all the answers, you know?

Was Yann who you would go to when you didn’t have those answers yourself?
JO: Yeah. I mean, he was always available like that, but it wasn’t continuous. Sometimes I was trying to make my own mind up, and we had experts around the set as well. I knew the cinematography was going to be brilliant, because I trusted the people in charge. So there were all these elements in the film where I could find conviction, and I knew I was in a different beast all together, but it’s so f***ing physically enduring, that shoot. It was bad, man, I made myself ill.

What was straining you?
JO: The repetition of the running, stunts, and perhaps not the necessary attention to people’s safety. It results in bust-ups, and it wastes times. But I guess that’s all part of the process.

How’s it been handling all the publicity and work lately?
JO: Young as I am, 24, I started going out partying way before the legal age. I don’t have a lot of curiosity for that, I don’t feel any desire to be out on a Friday or Saturday night doing any of that s***. I think it’s very important the things I decide to do between work. So if I can just concentrate, knowing that I’ve got work coming up, if I can concentrate while I’m recouping myself, rejuvenate, it means I’ve got something to offer. It’s a full-time job, and I’ve always wanted to be here, but it’s a sacrifice.

What are you hoping people are going to be saying once they’ve seen the film?
JO: I just hope they feel like they watched a lot of honesty onscreen. I hope they feel enlightened by that version of honesty, not glorification of war. We all have a responsibility in this industry to tell proper stories amidst entertainment. I hate the term “war porn,” I f***ing hate that terminology. I find it insensitive, quite beyond belief. But it exists, and I’m going to be steering clear of war porn.

I don’t think anyone would accuse ’71 of that title, but it was Truffaut who said there’s no such thing as an anti-war film. Would you say ’71 is trying to be an anti-war film?
JO: It’s a depiction of war. In that sense, it can’t be an anti-war film, because otherwise it would so blatantly be an anti-war film that it doesn’t become interesting. We have to make out own minds up during that depiction. We certainly don’t glorify it, and the idea isn’t to tempt anyone into finding themselves in that situation, but again, we wanted to provide a reasoning for people on either side. All too often, you don’t see both sides of the story portrayed at the same level of attention and decency. I don’t think we can be accused of that.


emily   –   February 11, 2015

Jack is featured in Vanity Fair’s British Invasion interviews. Check them out below!

emily   –   February 09, 2015

emily   –   February 09, 2015