Oliver Coopersmith

Who is your favourite public figure to watch interviews of? 
There’s loads, I’m a sucker for The Graham Norton Show. I haven’t missed an episode in years.

What part of your family history did you find interesting or surprising to learn?
My dad had to stop for petrol when my mum was in labour with my brother. It didn’t go down well.

Would you rather give advice to yourself 10 years ago or receive advice from yourself 10 years in the future?
Receive advice from myself 10 years in the future. Although I’m sure that person would say the same thing.

What was at one point one of your favourite films that you now enjoy the least?
When I was 13 I was obsessed with a film called Stormbreakerwhere a teenager is chosen by MI6 to be a secret agent. I was hoping it was based on true events but it turns out that doesn’t happen… does it?

If you could only bring one book with you to work for the next year, what do you bring?
A dictionary: people in this industry use words I don’t understand.

Who have you learned the most about film and acting from?
I can’t narrow it down to one person. I learn the most from other actors, watching them, working with them and talking to them.

What living person would you like the chance to talk to again?
My agent.

What is your most uninteresting interest?
Watching England play football.

Tin Star, your newest project revolves around a small town murder. This is a recurring theme in film and literature that parallels/ juxtaposes the stories set in urban cities. Where do you perceive the greater fear, in the isolated tension of the rural or the manic chaos of urban living? 
I don’t think locations are scary, I think people are. In Tin Star there’s a sense that crime shouldn’t exist somewhere naturally beautiful and peaceful and it doesn’t really until people come and shatter it. God, that’s a tragic metaphor.

Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.

Oliver Coopersmith can be seen now in Tin Star, on SKY Atlantic (UK) and Amazon Prime (US).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Grooming: Helen Asher

Inside Look: Christian Cooke

Christian Cooke on the set of Knives in Hens in London, UK on September 26, 2017.

We spoke to actor Christian Cooke about his role as Pony William in the Donmar Warehouse production of Knives in Hens.

Knives in Hens is set in a rugged ‘pre-industrial’ time and place far removed from contemporary life. What was the nature of the conversations with the director and fellow cast regarding how these characters exist, or even your own thought process?
A lot of the early work we did was physical. Lots of movements work to really get inside the bodies of these people and consider how they move. They are people of the land who were put to work from a young age so it was important for us to understand as much as possible, the nature of that hardship and how that reflected in their movement. And with that the economy of how they move when they’re not working.
We also spent hours talking about how relationships between men and women have changed throughout the years and how the ideas of masculine and feminine have also evolved over time. It was important for us not to judge these characters but to understand the world in which they were a part of.

Have your feelings of the play or your character shifted since you first performed it? If so why or how?
I don’t think my feelings towards William have changed. I’ve always understood him and sympathised with him and a strong sense of his own longing and pain. The great thing about theatre is that you’re always finding new things in the work and making new discoveries with the language. That’s the joy of repeating it every night. No two shows are ever the same and sometimes the language resonates in a new or different way.

Do you prefer having a more abstract, sparse setting/ environment for your performances? Does it pose a greater challenge or do you tend to find more with less? 
I think as long as the set and the props you’re working with is true to the nature of the work you are doing  and helps to define the directors vision, then that’s fine. When the set or props start to distract from the language or the work in a negative way, it’s better to strip things back.

What is your favourite moment in the play that doesn’t involve your character? 
I love it when the Miller decides to leave and the Young Woman asks where he’s going and he replies, “to the town won’t call me, Miller.” I love that exchange. In fact that whole scene is my favourite scene in the play. The language is so economical and powerful. Both characters have grown and have a new horizon in their sights. It’s an extremely hopeful scene.

Applause and ovations notwithstanding – what has been the most rewarding moment of your experience on this production so far?
Working with Yael Farber. She’s an artist to her very core and someone who makes me want to be better every day.

What is a small perhaps even imperceptible detail from your performance or the play itself that is an incredibly significant element?
I think the speech that I have at the end of scene one about the field can be easily looked over because it comes so early in the piece. But it’s incredibly important to show William’s longing and pain and it’s a part of him that doesn’t resurface until the end. He hides that side of him for most of the play but it’s important that the audience remember that it exists within him.

Christian Cooke applied his stage makeup in his dressing room.

Cooke pointed to a joke from his fellow castmates.

Before performances, Cooke often listened to the soundtrack of The Assassination of Jesse James.

Props backstage.

Cooke warmed up on stage before the evening’s performance.

Christian Cooke can be seen in Knives in Hens, on now until 7 October 2017 at the Donmar Warehouse, London (UK).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Photographer: Jessie Craig

Anders Hayward

Suit by SELECTED HOMME. Shirt by HUGO BOSS. Boots by DR. MARTENS.

What was the most interesting location you filmed at for Gap Year?
It’s hard to pick just one place, because everywhere we shot was different, but I really did love Kathmandu. It was just a completely bonkers place with everything happening at a million miles per hour. Buildings being rebuilt, motorbikes and cars everywhere. Also just the people were so lovely and positive. It really felt like a properly old place filled with a lot of history.

Jacket by NOOSE & MONKEY. Jumper by PAUL & JOE.

Out of your favorite films, which do you think would be the best and worst choice to screen for a date?
One of my favourite films is Dead Man’s Shoes by Shane Meadows and as incredible as it is, its definitely a film you have to be mentally prepared for. It was the first film I cried at and it just makes me sad every time I watch it. I don’t think the old yawn, arm round trick would work during that film.

What do you wish never got dirty or worn down through time?
I have a few pairs of shoes that I wish could last me an eternity that are looking a little battered at the moment, but I refuse to give them up.

Is it harder to tell a white lie that you then have to keep up on an ongoing basis or to tell someone a blunt and uncomfortable truth?
I am a terrible liar, which is probably for the best because I feel my brain would probably explode through guilt. Even though the truth can be hard sometimes I just feel that honesty is the best policy.

What did (or do) you find the most difficult act or exercise to practice?
I have and probably will always be a disorganised wreck of a human. I just never seem to be able to retain any important information, but oh of course the most useless and banal facts are stuck to my brain like barnacles. (Slugs have 4 noses.)

What’s the best or most memorable insult you’ve heard?
I’ll have to take this one from Monty Python, but it was “your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries”.

Jumper by SELECTED HOMME. Jeans by LEVI’S.

You can only eat food starting with the first letter of your first name or your last name, which letter/ food do you select?
I think I’m going with H because ham and haddock are things that I could probably live off.

What is a question that you don’t want to know the answer to?
When will the day come when I finally feel old. (Shivers)

If you had to listen to any (3 minute minimum) song 10,000 times in a row while awake, which song would you pick? Let’s say your auditory sacrifice would remedy world hunger and poverty!
I would definitely try to not go too sad and depressing. I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty is a fantastic song that just has everything you need for all listening occasions.

What seemingly benign film, book, or concept scared or unsettled you?
I remember watching Black Swan for the first time thinking it would be a chick flick. Oh how I was very wrong indeed. I was not prepared for it at all.

What was something that you found was way harder than it looked and something way easier than it looked?
Skateboarding was insanely harder than people make it out to be. I look at people do things on skateboards like it’s nothing, but I can barely push on the bloody thing. However I would say that I find myself most surprised in the kitchen. Things that look like it can only be created by magicians and people in tall white hats, but if you just stick to a recipe usually it works out just fine.

Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.

Anders Hayward can be seen in Gap Year, now online on E4 On Demand (UK).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Indigo Goss
Grooming: Lillie Russo

Sacha Dhawan

(L) Jumper by YMC. Jacket by REISS. (R) Jumper by YMC. Boots by DR MARTENS.

You recently appeared in the newest series of Sherlock. If you could have possessed Sherlock’s powers of logic/ detection for one day of your life, when would you have called upon it?
I had just come back to the UK from being on an 8 month tour of a play. I was still stuck in that monotonous routine; my comfort blanket, which meant my performance ability had become a little ‘rusty’. My first audition back was a workshop for a very high-profile physical theatre company. Upon entering the audition room I wish my logic/ detection kicked in at that very moment when seeing my fellow competitors in an array of yoga poses as they prepared for the ‘physical’ day ahead of them. My logic/ detection would have forced me to leave the room, and fake a sudden illness. Instead, with my tight jeans and slippy-soled winkle pickers, I found myself in an improv situation; the four of us gathered ourselves in the centre of the room, and without a moments notice I launched myself into role play with a desperate need to prove myself, and declared loudly: “I’VE SHIT MYSELF!!!” I honestly, to this day, do not know where IT came from… and to make matters even worse, the artistic director stopped me mid thespian pose and said “I haven’t told you to start yet?!” I crumbled as did the four walls around me… horrible.

What is something you wish you knew how to fix?
If I even begin to answer that we’ll be here allll day… I can already feel my obsessive nature starting to rumble so I’m going to move onto the next question…

Who was the last film maker or writer who you’d never heard of before their work blew you away?
Damien Chazelle. I loved his film Whiplash. I admire film-makers who take on different genres and he’s someone I feel who will continue to surprise us.

What is something that used to annoy you but that you now tolerate or even like? (Or vice versa)
Disingenuousness AKA ‘Bullshit’. I could never smell it a mile off. But I like to think my sense of smell has vastly improved since then so I’d rather cut to chase, or stay well clear of it.

Jacket by TOPMAN.

If you could replace any film from the IMDB top 10 and replace it with one of your choices, what would you swap in/ out? (They are: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974), The Dark Knight (2008), 12 Angry Men (1957), Schindler’s List (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Good The Bad and the Ugly (1966), Fight Club (1999))
Replace: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Add: Cinema Paridiso

If you could pick one trait from a family member or role model to pass along to someone else, what would you pick?
My mum’s generosity.

What picture best sums up the idiom, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ to you?
I stumbled across an old picture of my uncle, who recently passed. He was the first sibling in my mum’s family to arrive in England from India. He looked pretty cool in the picture, having quickly adapted to the ‘western style’; but it’s the sheer joy in his eyes that will always inspire me. He’d not only made a success of himself, but he’d done this whilst supporting his family back home, and I know it wasn’t easy. I take one look at that photo and I’m reminded of the foundations that my family laid down for the next generation to build upon.

What’s a job you would love to learn about by way of a future character you would play?
Political speech writer.

You must work in any entry-level service industry job for one month, staffed by yourself and three fictional film characters. Where do you work and whom do you work with?
Private Butlers for the Queen: Randle McMurphy, Wednesday Addams, Forrest Gump.

What do you wish you had taken lessons for throughout your adolescence?
Singing, and learning as many languages possible. I wish I had a few life lessons as well, but I guess you learn from your mistakes…

Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.

Sacha Dhawan can be seen now in Iron Fist on Netflix (US).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Grooming: Samantha Cooper

Rory Fleck Byrne

(L) Coat & jumper by PETER WERTH. (R) Jacket by ALLSAINTS.

What’s your favorite word or expression that isn’t part of the English language?
“Il y a du pain sur la planche. It’s French for ‘there’s a lot to do’ – it literally means there is bread on the table.

If from now on you could only play characters that have already been performed, or ones that do not exist/ haven’t been performed yet – which do you play?
Haven’t been performed/ do not exist yet.

What was the last thing you learned about yourself?
I don’t think I want to tell you that 😉

What is a tradition you love and a tradition you loathe?
Love: Christmas dinner.
Loathe: The traditional “masculine” image in the media. Time to break that down.

What product or service is worth paying extra for? (i.e. no-name toilet paper vs. the ‘luxury’ of 4-ply)
Headphones.

What three songs would be part of the soundtrack to the past year of your life?
M83 – Outro
The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
This Will Destroy You – The Mighty Rio Grande

Coat & jumper by PETER WERTH.

If you could insert one falsity into your ‘official’ bio, what would you alter, add, or change?
I can fly/ worked with Xavier Dolan

What do you consider the most risky thing you’ve ever chosen to do?
Jump out of a plane

What is your favorite compliment that you received from someone you didn’t know? 
A stranger I met in the line for a play said that every time they looked at me they saw something new, that my face changed like the seasons. That was about 5 years ago and I only just remembered that answering this question! How bloody lovely is that! I think that’s the nicest thing someone’s ever said to me. Because it’s poetic I guess. I wrote a song about it. The song was terrible. Haha.

What was a “well, I guess I shouldn’t believe everything I see on T.V.” moment?
Well, the other week when I went shark cage diving I experienced that the great white is in fact a very majestic, serene predator. Not the scary man eating monster we’ve all come to know from films like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea. They are misunderstood and we really shouldn’t believe everything we see on tv!

You’ll soon be appearing in the revenge film The Foreigner. What is your favorite film driven by the theme of revenge?
True Lies – a good old Arnie / Jamie Lee Curtis classic with a young Eliza Dushku (Faith from Buffy) – had a huge crush on her when I was a kid. – that is a revenge film right? If not – the action is good and it’s fun.

Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.

Rory Fleck Byrne can be seen in Harlots this April on Hulu (US) and ITV Encore (UK).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Grooming: Samantha Cooper