Anna Brewster


Do you still consider a particular place ‘home’?
To be honest no, I travel so much so it’s rare for me to be in one place for more than a couple of weeks. I split my time between London and Paris and I love both cities for different reasons, but I find it hard to stay in one place for too long. I think the place I feel most at home is with my family, that’s where you can truly relax and feel safe and I guess that’s the definition of ‘home’.

If you could send a 2 x 2 package to your past self, circa 2007 but it couldn’t include any specific warnings, instructions, investment opportunities etc, what would the package contain?.
I would probably send myself a couple of round the world tickets for a time when I now know I wasn’t working, and force myself to take a year off and enjoy the world.

Is there anything you once regretted but now feel thankful for?
Oh god so so many things. It’s that old saying if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger, and I think it’s true. I have regrets about work, about loves and mistakes, but they all got me to where I am today so I suppose I should be thankful for all of them.

If you had to take a one-year hiatus from working professionally, but you would be financially secure, where would you go and what would you do with your time?
I’d travel the world on boats, planes and trains. I have been lucky and travelled a lot with work but you never get to see much, so although I’ve been to a lot of places I wouldn’t say I’ve really experienced them. I just got back from Mexico City which is an amazing vibrant place so I would start there, then head down to South America. I’d also like to take the Orient Express, The Flying Scotsman. And I have always wanted to go to Tokyo. The list is endless…

(L) Dress by TATA-NAKA. (R) Top & skirt by SANDRO.

What is the ideal view from a bedroom or living room window?
I love waking up next to water, especially a lake because it’s so calm. I went to Lake Cuomo recently for work and it was everything I had hoped – this serene beautiful place, and the light is incredible. I also once did a shoot and we stayed by a lagoon in Vietnam in one of the houses on stilts in the water, I woke up early because of jet lag and watched the sunrise and it was the most beautiful moment. I will never forget it – I love a good sunrise/ sunset.

Is there a particular positive experience or memory where you wish you had a photograph for posterity’s sake?
Nothing ever looks as good in photographs. There are so many memories. The thing is nowadays it’s so easy to take pictures and we document everything. But they just provide triggers for the real memories.

What is one of your favourite collaborations?
A friend of mine passed away last year, he was a photographer and I used to love working with him. He was so fun and made you totally relaxed and the pictures always reflected that. We kind of ‘grew up together’ professionally. I remember bumping into him at JFK. We sat in the Virgin Lounge getting massages and drinking champagne, we were quite proud of ourselves for where we had got to from when we had first met. Back then, he was on the door of a club and I was 19 and starting uni. He was a victim of mental health problems and I think it’s something we all need to talk about more as it’s a silent killer. It’s such a shame to lose such an amazing talent and friend like him.

What critic, publication or site (if any) do you frequent to keep up to date or learn more about film/ TV/ theatre?
I don’t really, I seem to have a lot of vocal people on my Facebook who always recommend films, TV shows etc so I just steal their suggestions.

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

Anna Brewster can be seen in the second season of Versailles from April 21 on BBC2 (UK).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Harriet Byczok
Hair: Tracie Cant
Makeup: Gia Mills

Freya Mavor

Top by LE KILT. Shorts by FILIPPA K.

Describe one of your favorite actors without naming a character or a film.
Vincent Cassel. I think I could watch him hoovering his house and I would find it fascinating.

What is something you’d like learn how to build, if time, difficulty and resources were no longer obstacles?
A giant badass pirate ship I could sail around the world on with my friends.

Would you rather have the ability to make your clothes feel like they are always fresh from the dryer or your bedsheets?
Clothes. I cycle most places so I usually turn up looking like a bit of a wind swept mess with my clothes sticking to me.

Have you ever experienced common or routine act or exercise that unequivocally surpassed all the other same/ similar experiences? 
I recently got a plane from Barcelona to Paris where the two air stewards who were looking after the cabin couldn’t stop laughing. They would put on funny accents when making announcements to the aircraft and they kept on cracking up when doing the safety demonstration. I was by myself but there was this beautiful atmosphere of togetherness in the plane because everyone was smiling at each other and laughing at the stewards banter. It felt like a really beautiful moment shared with complete strangers.

(L) Top by RELATED. Jeans by JOVANNA. (R) Top & skirt by LE KILT.

What was your most uncomfortable film experience?
When I was about 8 years old my father took me to see a weird Czechoslovakian film whilst in Prague called Otesanek – a really creepy film about a childless couple who decide to carve a baby out of a tree. The wife takes the root and pretends that it is real until one day it actually does come to life. I was genuinely terrified and wanted to leave the cinema about 10 minutes into the film but my father was enjoying it and laughing so much we stayed. I spent most of the film curled in a ball on my seat with my hands in front of my eyes. I laugh looking back on it though because it’s one of the creepiest most memorable films I think I’ve ever seen, even though I was so uncomfortable at the time. It’s also become a fond memory of my dad as it was just us and I spent the whole film with my face buried into his side.

Do you find it easy to make up your mind? Do you have a go-to method or outlook for making a choice?
I think it takes me a while to figure things out. I think thoughts and decisions need time to mature and grow. I’m quite pragmatic and am obsessed with lists (nothing more satisfying than crossing things off a list!) but I am also a firm believer in trusting instinct. I always listen to my gut and what my body’s telling me. That is ultimately what drives my every decision.

What used to be hard and is now easy?
Not wearing makeup. When I was in my early teens I was a punk/ goth. I wore tutus and ripped tights, had knee high boots and purple hair and wore about 1cm of kohl under my eyes. The thought of not wearing all that seemed ludicrous. Now I’m the opposite. I only really wear make up when I’m working or going out.

What is the best and worst part about working on a set as compared to other work environments?
The best part is the camaraderie you create on a film set. Meeting people of different backgrounds, ages and personalities. It’s like you create a whole new universe and family with every new job. The worst is the fight for authenticity and getting over the hurdle of self-awareness on camera. Really striving to lose yourself to the craft and not to be afraid to embarrass yourself in front of a huge film crew. That requires a degree of bravery and confidence that is not always easy to muster up.

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

Freya Mavor can be seen in The Sense of an Ending in cinemas from April 14 (UK).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Harriet Byczok
Hair: Tracie Cant
Makeup: Gia Mills

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)

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

Inside Look: George Blagden

George Blagden on the set of The Pitchfork Disney in London, UK on February 14, 2017.

We spoke to actor George Blagden about his role as Presley in the Shoreditch Town Hall production of The Pitchfork Disney.

What was the most challenging aspect of the play as you read it, that surprised you in how well it unfolded live?
The language. When you read Philip’s work for the first time, your imagination takes you to a million different places of where this sort of story-telling could work effectively. If you didn’t have the luxury of having Phil there (which we did!), you could interpret his writing in lots of different ways, and different productions of this have done the play in a number of different ways. But this is the genius of it. It is applicable and meaningful to a variety of different social/political settings. I think that is why it is just as engaging to an audience now as it was when it was first produced in 1991.

Do you generally have the same expectations for/ of your director from project to project?
Absolutely not. I think the role of director is so important because they are essentially the “chief story-teller” – we are telling whatever story it is that the director would like to express. And this can often be totally different to how you interpreted the piece when you first read it. It’s why one of the most important jobs of an actor is to trust in the director of the film/episode/play you’re doing and wholly engage in their process, because you are a tool in making their story come to life. And not having any expectations going into something is what makes our job so exciting – to be surprised and inspired by people makes you want to follow them into battle.

Much of the commentary regarding the play pays tremendous credit to the direction of Jamie Lloyd. How/ when did you become aware of his work? What separates his productions from others?
I had heard of his productions and knew that his work had inspired a lot of talented people in our industry to want to work with him. But I am so embarrassed to say that I had never seen any of Jamie’s work before this production! So when he asked me to do it, I suppose I had the luxury that I mentioned above of not having any expectations! The only thing I think I knew, from hearing about his previous work, was that I would be working with a very brave director.

Adding to the previous question, have you noticed these distinctions in Lloyd’s work altering your performance or outlook in any way?
Absolutely. When you work alongside people who are fearless in their approach to the work, it is infectious. And I feel much braver as an actor than I did before I started working with Jamie.

What made this particular project so immediate/ relevant /appealing to you at this point in your life and career?
I have wanted to work on stage for so long, and never been given the opportunity until recently. The idea that I could work with this incredible cast of actors on a Philip Ridley play with Jamie directing as one of my first professional experiences in theatre was too good to be true. It was an opportunity to challenge myself in a way that I haven’t been challenged over the last few years, and I knew it would definitely be a very rewarding experience.

What has been your favourite memory of The Pitchfork Disney that wasn’t onstage?
There were a couple of times in rehearsals where we were reminded (in amongst the chaos of trying to put on a play in 3 weeks!) of why we do this. Some real “pinch-me” moments. In an industry where you can easily get lost in focusing on stuff that isn’t about story-telling, there were times when I realised that this project is exactly why I do this. Being part of one of the best creative teams in our industry to tell a story every night that affects people in some way. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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

George Blagden in the dressing room he shared with his castmates.

Notes on the script for The Pitchfork Disney.

Blagden changed into his all black costume.

Blagden led us from the dressing room to the performance area that had been constructed in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall.

Props which were used in the play.

Blagden gave us a tour of the performance area, standing by a bare bulb – one of many small fixtures which atmospherically lit the set.

Talking through various scenes, Blagden sat with castmates Seun Shote and Tom Rhys Harries in the chairs reserved for audience members during a performance. Unlike traditional plays with a separated stage and seating area, the audience was placed within the set.

Blagden sat for an interview with Shoreditch Town Hall.

Before every performance, Blagden ordered the soup of the day at a nearby restaurant.

Blagden and castmate Hayley Squires rehearsed a key scene.

Squires and Blagden continued to work through the scene.

Back in their dressing rooms, Blagden, Squires and Rhys Harries finished getting ready for the night’s performance.

Blagden mentally prepared himself by listening to the soundtrack to The Revenant. Hear him speak about this in our behind-the-scenes film.

Blagden and Squires worked through a few final points in the countdown to the evening’s show.

Blagden took his first position in character, awaiting the audience to enter the set.

George Blagden can be seen in The Pitchfork Disney, on now until 18 March 2017 at Shoreditch Town Hall, London (UK).

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Photographer: Jessie Craig