Archive for the ‘Photoshoots’ Category
emily   –   September 01, 2021

Jack has done a great new interview and photoshoot for The Observer! You can check out the photos in the gallery and read the interview below.

THE GUARDIAN – Are you here to see man?” asks a Spanish waiter as I walk through the café garden, and points towards the table just beyond the loos where Jack O’Connell stands, his hand raised in a solemn hello. Yes I say. Yes I am.

To sit in the dark and watch Jack O’Connell’s work, from the very earliest characters he played (a boy accused of rape in The Bill, Pukey the skinhead in This Is England) through to self-destructive lad Cook in teen drama Skins and the boy incarcerated with his dad in prison drama Starred Up, followed by a squaddie in Northern Ireland in the Troubles film ’71, is to watch a slow portrait of contemporary masculinity. What O’Connell does, with his eyes and voice, and careful violence, is show the vulnerability beneath his characters’ cracked shells, and I’m keen now to find out how much of them is him, and how much of him is them, and what he’s learned about masculinity.

Unfortunately, though, it is 2021, and it has never been harder to talk about being a man, yet this is how we begin.

“It’s quite a… complex topic, isn’t it?” O’Connell says, taking a swig of his juice (flavour: red). “I grew up in a lot of genuinely macho environments. My dad played football for a team until I was seven, and I can still remember that musk of the dressing room.” This was Derby in the mid-90s, when his late dad, an Irish immigrant, worked on the railways. He wanted to be a footballer too, but injuries got in the way, and then a hairdresser, because it looked glamorous, and then he wanted to join the army, but his juvenile criminal record ruled that out. “The environment with my uncles was a jovial one, with hilarity, honesty.” He leans back. “I don’t think the term ‘toxic masculinity’ is very helpful though. It makes me feel… a certain way to see men’s lives getting clouded by it, and burdened.”

The waiter gives a jolly thumbs-up from across the room.

“Men are a chastised group within society. But my experience with male-dominated crowds was always that they were… gentleman.” Is he sweating slightly? He wipes his face, tanned after shooting in the North African desert, a series about (“Oh, you’ll love this”) the foundation of the SAS. “Misogyny is a pig-ugly trait, but you could also call it a self-absorbed, self-serving self-centredness. And no one likes a selfish cunt.” We relax for a second. “It’s tough. I mean, I read the Guardian. And a lot of time I feel targeted, just by virtue of being a lad.”

I feel bad. I intended this to be a gentle celebration of Jack and his trade, the question about men simply a fun way in, but of course I was ignoring the political fog that we’re sitting in. Would he like something to eat? I join him in an avocado toast. “I suppose, with my work, I’ve been able to explore ‘masculinity’, and those type of themes, and hope to do justice to the reality of them, as opposed to showing them in 2D.” O’Connell started acting at school, where drama classes were “a welcome change from being sent to face the wall in the corridor,” and was soon accepted into the Television Workshop in Nottingham. They met twice a week and all day Sunday, and it seems to have saved him from the kind of life he went on to play on film. On the day he was starting a show at the Royal Court in London he was in real court waiting to find out if he was getting a custodial sentence; when he came to London for auditions he’d sleep on a park bench. He has a rare talent; he credits luck. “I’m hyper-aware of just how much fortune has been involved, a series of events that simply would not happen now.”
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emily   –   August 25, 2021

Jack is featured on the cover of GQ Hype. You can check out the photos from the shoot in the gallery and read his interview below where he talks about The North Water and other projects.

Magazine Scans > 2021 > GQ Hype (August)
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2021 > GQ Hype

GQ HYPE – To see Jack O’Connell drifting on deck through the scenic fjords of Svalbard, 1,000 kilometres north of Norway, you’d never have guessed the traumas he was there to film. En route by boat to Arctic waters to shoot The North Water, a BBC survival drama set on an 1850s whaling ship, O’Connell and his cast mates Colin Farrell and Stephen Graham would soon find themselves reenacting murder, theft, on-board sexual assault and a lot of bloody seal and whale hunting. But for a short period, things were utterly peaceful and even quite temperate under the low-slung Arctic summer sun. “There were some really unforgettable moments,” recalls O’Connell, “of setting sail and ending up in these glacier fjords. Sitting there with your mates, pint in hand, going ‘Look where we are.’ It was mind-boggling.”

Mind-boggling is an apt way to describe much of The North Water, which is based on a novel by the author Ian McGuire. While most of the action takes place north of the Arctic Circle, the series begins in tropical-by-comparison Hull in 1859, where the whaling ship Volunteer is about to set sail on a final, possibly lucrative voyage to fill her hold with blubber. An early hint as to how the trip will pan out comes in the form of a cheery quotation from Schopenhauer during the opening credits: “The world is hell, and men are both the tormented souls and the devils within it.”

Among the undesirables assembled to crew the Volunteer is master harpoonist Henry Drax, played by a hirsute Farrell, and the ship’s surgeon, Patrick Sumner, who O’Connell plays. Drax, fittingly enough for an era when Darwin was the talk of Victorian society, is the living, brutal embodiment of “survival of the fittest.” A bearded man who will brutalise his crewmates for a dram of whisky or even trade his boots for a drink if there’s nobody around to rob, Drax carries a lank, latent threat and acts on pure impulse.

Sumner, meanwhile, is a surgeon and an educated man, albeit one with a murky past. A little uptight and reserved, he reads Homer and keeps a journal to try to make sense of what goes on around him – a mistake on a ship where there is no deeper meaning to life than killing for money. Sumner is also nursing a laudanum addiction triggered by the cruelty he saw in action during the Indian Mutiny and carries a belief in the rule of law that quickly puts him on a collision course with Drax. “It’s important to Sumner to maintain order,” explains O’Connell. “When there’s a victim, he takes it on board as his responsibility to see that the perpetrator is punished. That lands him in Drax’s crosshairs – he’s the target of a lethal killer.”

Sumner is quickly forced to embrace his violent side to survive the Arctic. And how violent. Almost every character in The North Water is packing a knife or a blackjack and most exist exclusively on hard spirits. Life is cheap amid the pack ice; over six parts, as madness and hardship begin to set in for the ship’s crew, the show borders on Moby Dick and Heart Of Darkness territory. “We’re refugees from civilisation,” Graham’s Captain Brownlee says of his crew at one point and the theme of a battle in each man between civilisation and savagery quickly takes root. And if Drax represents savagery then, as O’Connell explains, Sumner is the embodiment of civilisation and rationality. “Sumner has an infatuation towards Drax. He’s trying to academically understand everything, whereas Drax just feels his way through life, acting on impulse, doing whatever pleases him at the time.”
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emily   –   September 27, 2017

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   –   July 26, 2017

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2017 > National Portrait Gallery

THE GUARDIAN – He has gained a reputation as an angry young man, both in character and real life, and is this week making headlines for spending a large chunk of his current West End play naked.

But a newly commissioned photograph of the actor Jack O’Connell shows a different side: calm, reflective, vulnerable – and dressed.

The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) announced it had commissioned the London-based Slovakian photographer Tereza Červeňová to make a portrait of O’Connell for the national collection.

It was taken at O’Connell’s family home in Derby and deliberately challenges the “angry youth” image associated with him, both in his own life and in many of his early acting roles, including as skinhead Pukey in the 2006 film This Is England and drug addict Cook in the TV series Skins.

Červeňová said: “In portraiture my aim is always to manage to unveil what lies beneath the surface and meet the real person behind it and thanks to Jack’s openness, seeing through the ‘actor’s shield’ was both natural as well as effortless.”

O’Connell, 26, has for some time been regarded as one of Britain’s most exciting young acting talents. His movies include Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, for which he received the Bafta rising star award, and the Jodie Foster-directed Money Monster, as an ordinary joe who takes George Clooney’s TV presenter character hostage.

As a youth O’Connell was in and out of court and has talked about the day he was starting the play Scarborough at the Royal Court in London – a day when he was in a criminal court hearing if he was to get a custodial sentence, which he did not.

He is currently playing Brick opposite Sienna Miller’s Maggie in the Young Vic production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the West End, a performance described as a “revelation” by the Guardian’s Michael Billington and “unflinching” by Matt Trueman in Variety. It is unquestionably brave since he is naked for much of the play. If not naked then trying to keep his towel fixed as he hobbles on a crutch to get another glass of whisky.
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emily   –   August 26, 2016

Sorry for the lack of updates! I’ve been pretty busy with host issues. We have moved again to another host and hopefully this will be the last! I have added some additional portraits Jack took during the BAFTA Awards earlier this year. Enjoy!

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > BAFTA
emily   –   July 20, 2016

With slow news on Jack, I thought it would be nice to give you an update in the gallery. I have added over 40 high quality outtakes from Jack’s shoot earlier this year for ShortList. Be sure to check them out! It would be greatly appreciated if you did not repost the photos. I had to spend a lot to get these photos for you all to have.

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > ShortList
emily   –   June 17, 2016

I’ve updated the gallery with 3 additional outtakes from Jack’s photoshoot for Interview Germany. I’ve also replaced the previous ones with higher quality. Enjoy!

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > Interview Germany
emily   –   June 02, 2016

Jack O’Connell is featured on the cover of the Summer 2016 issue of Interview Germany. You can find the cover and some gorgeous outtakes in our gallery!

Magazine Scans > 2016 > Interview Germany (Summer)
Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > Interview Germany
emily   –   May 17, 2016

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   –   May 13, 2016

I have added additional HQ portraits Jack for the Los Angeles Times last month to the gallery! Please credit back the site when re-posting photos, thanks! <3

Photoshoots & Portraits > 2016 > Los Angeles Times