Jerome flynn films et programmes tv

The british musician and actor has developed up an enviable reprendre on stage and screen. Hey discusses his ‘frenetic energy’ and latest lead functions - in foncé thriller Cordelia et the Bowie biopic Stardust



He’s an actor equipped v “weapons grade pet magnetism” (according to auto Observer’s critic mark Kermode). Over auto past decade or so, cette has steadily built an enviable reprendre across film, TV and theatre, flitting seamlessly native edgy modern-day thrillers à classy period adaptations. He’s additionally a singer et band leader, who has actually topped la fin a role in a forthcoming David Bowie biopic by writing et performing a new “Bowie” song. Is over there anything Johnny Flynn can’t do?

Chat shows, cette says, without missing a beat. “I’m very shy et I importer quite overwhelmed. I have turned jambe down in thé past conditions météorologiques the premise that when the cinématique comes the end I’ll oui to aller on one and I can’t do it! I’ve gained over that a little bit, cible I’ve been an extremely wary de that frais of notoriety.”

His recent film, Cordelia, is a stylish exercise in chamber noir, directed passant par Adrian Shergold, which place Flynn’s charisma to use in subverting thé comforting stereotypes du boy and girl next door. Thé eponymous Cordelia (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is suffering from a mauvais case de post-traumatic stress disorder, et initially franc seems just the friend she needs. Cible for all his friendly, easy-going veneer, hey speaks through a contempt lingering intimacy that sends out shivers up auto back du your neck.

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There’s non trace du this menace when our video interview blinks open in his east londres home. It’s late, because Flynn has spent all day filming, and he displays a disarming combination of candour and reluctance venir make any type of eye communication at all. “I seul want to take risks basically et I thought this <Cordelia> could go really badly wrong, marqué it might be yes, really interesting,” he says. Hey was unsure which way it had unable to do until cette sat down à watch thé finished film with his mother. “It to be encouraging because, in the middle, elle said: ‘I can not stand it because you’re going venir be horrible.’”


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Flynn with Antonia Campbell-Hughes in Cordelia. Photograph: Kerry BrownFrank is thé latest in a line ns what Flynn phone call “my broken-neck roles”, in which you sait someone is going à come à a mauvais end there is no being quite sure who. In michael Pearce’s 2017 debut feature, Beast, hey was the Heathcliff-like poacher, Pascal, who lights a wildfire under a flammability Jessie Buckley. Their dynamic is so strange and alive, as one critic noted, “that tu don’t savoir which une to look at at”.

Two year earlier, hey took the theatre passant par storm oui the cocky intruder Mooney in vigne McDonagh’s multi-award-winning Royal meugler hit Hangmen, which transferred to the West End et on to nouveau York. McDonagh, that went conditions météorologiques to direct the multi-award-winning le noir comedy Three Billboards exterior Ebbing, Missouri, to be unaware ns the actor before he turned increase to audiovisuelle for Hangmen “and blew us tous away”. Je vous demande pardon were the qualities that soja impressed? “Danger, sex, kindness. A beautiful attentif to detail.”

The five years because Hangmen premiered oui been as much de a whirl pour Flynn as the merry-go-round that opened each episode du 2018’s Vanity Fair, in which cette played Dobbin, long-suffering le respect of amelia Sedley. Thé TV miniseries to be one de three early 19th-century makeovers he filmed in a single year, culminating with his role ont Mr Knightley in Autumn de Wilde’s skittish film adapter of Emma.


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Flynn oui Mooney in auto acclaimed guttin McDonagh play Hangmen, 2018. Photograph: Tristram Kenton parce que le the GuardianLook carefully, Flynn confides, and you’ll spot moments where Knightley look at oddly gaunt. That’s not périmé to the damgussese of watching his beloved do a fool of herself, marqué because thé actor spent the last part of the shoot on a durgences diet, shedding two and a fifty percent stone in preparation à la a really different function – as David Bowie. Stardust follows Bowie across the US in a beat-up Ford in 1971, just antérieur à he found his mojo oui Ziggy Stardust. It’s a mark of Flynn’s adaptability that you could watch cette back venir back through Emma there is no having any idea that the skinny, effeminate wannabe is played par the same actor – jaune indeed that, at 37, Flynn is 13 year older 보다 Bowie was at thé time.

When ns say that je enjoyed auto film, Flynn is briefly overwhelmed. Its festival premiere was delayed passant par the covid pandemic et it’s autre high-risk project, not the very least because cette has ne sont pas Bowie music in cette “and we’re possibly going to importer a parcelle of flak from thé Bowie army”. The souper Flynn wrote for it, ont part ns his process ns psyching up à la the role, barely turns a head in the cinématicien when Bowie sings cette at a convention of vacuum-cleaner salesmen. Of this unflattering reflection, hey says: “I nothing think the crap, marqué I knew it didn’t ont to be a excellent song. Hey had this sense de failure, he wanted à be someone else et hadn’t discovered a way of capitalising on that yet. So i tried à write this song as Bowie ripping éteindre Lou Reed.”

Flynn self forsook early on Bowie fandom à la “a lot of Bob Dylan and old blues and stuff the was trying to be really earnestly authentic as soon as Bowie was tous flamboyance and pretence”, a cheminement that dirige to setting up his very own “anti-folk” band, Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit. Hey accepted the role in Stardust on the basis the director Gabriel range wasn’t attempting a dogged biopic soja much oui a portrait of année artist struggling v his demons.

It’s a topic Flynn knows a peu about, having seulement un recently come affronter to affronter with one of his own. Cette was feather into attention deficit disorder conditions météorologiques behalf du a friend, when he realised the “I definitely ont it”. He tracks auto symptoms back venir his secondary lécole days when, as a musique scholar, cette found it impossible to knuckle down to practise his violin, reduce his teacher to screaming rage. “When ns arrived at the school je was playing ruisseau partitas, and by the time je left ns wouldn’t à faire anything. But it was partially because je couldn’t be in a pièce on ma own et it’s taken me a longue time venir realise that,” cette says.


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Fronting his anti-folk band, Johnny Flynn & auto Sussex Wit. Photograph: michael Jamison/Rex/ShutterstockHow does this condition manifest itself today? “I’m not totally in control of time, which je find rather suffocating,” he says. “I ont a notebook in ma pocket et my computer in the car. I pass auto piano on ma way out and play a few notes.” He’s not bothered enough to get a formal diagnosis. “It’s great to oui this frenetic energy, till I’m asked à sit down for an hour et read a script. Je find the really hard. That’s why je think ns start loads of different things, marqué also they toutes les personnes inform et bleed right into each other.”

As nous speak, he is a day away from wrapping fabriquer on The Score, “a heist musique with a love story in auto middle”, built from his old songs. In January cette premiered a co-authored radio satire on super capital collusion between thé US et Russia, Magnitsky auto Musical. Et he’s liven hatching plans parce que le when the theatres reopen through Matthew Dunster, that directed him in Hangmen and a 2018 ouest End revival of Sam Shepard’s True West.

I’ve totally forgiven my parents now, marqué there to be a temps when i found cette confusing. They love me, but sent me awayBoth music et acting run deeply v his family, i beg your pardon remains fermé even though it was scattered throughout two continent in his at an early stage years. His parent met et married in southern Africa, whereby his maman had grown up and his gibbs father to be touring in a play. Eric Flynn had made a name in musical theatre (he played flic in the UK premiere ns Stephen Sondheim’s Company), et his two des sons from his life marriage had already followed him nous to the stage. Cible returning to auto UK once Johnny was deux years old, he found ce hard to récupération his perch, haricot de soja the family members led an itinerant life, living in a succession de rented cottages and at one point lodging with an aunt.

After Johnny’s very own musical talent became apparent when hey took up the violin at the âge of six, a valuable teacher suggested he try parce que le a music scholarship. With financial aid from his half-brother Jerome (of 90s pop duo Robson & Jerome, who is best known today as Bronn in Game du Thrones), cette went venir board, aged eight, at Pilgrims, a cathedral lécole in Winchester.

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But despite his music flourished there, it was an unhappy time. “It to be a practical Victorian throwback v a parcelle of teachers who were bullies, and I was a an extremely gentle, very trusting child,” hey says. “I‘ve clogged a beaucoup of cette out, but it yes, really broke mien heart.” His younger sister, Lillie, who sings in his band, went venir the locale comprehensive. “I’ve completely forgiven mien parents now, cible there was a temps when ns found ce very confusing: they loved me, marqué they sent moi away.”

At 12, cette won a second music scholarship to a more progressive boarding school, Bedales, where cette rebelled par teaching himself the guitar, involvement a band et playing old people songs on his violin quite than ruisseau partitas. In auto sixth form, hey teamed increase with cytisme Minns, now a designer for Punchdrunk theatre company, v whom he has three young children. Cible at life they set éteindre in different directions. While she went to art school, cette decided à aim parce que le a career as an English teacher, heeding his father’s insistence that cette should on no account become année actor. At thé last minute, hey changed his mind, transforming down a university carré to apply for drama school. Hey was rejected, which cette now regards ont “a blessing”, due to the fact that his dad was terminally ill.


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Johnny Flynn as David Bowie in the forthcoming biopic Stardust.By climate Flynn’s parent were to run a bed and breakfast in west Wales, et he spent half his espacer year helping out, when working nous a fishing boat. When it was over, he travelled à la six months before reapplying parce que le a three-year acting course at London’s Webber Douglas academy. While there, cette hooked increase again with un autre school friend, thé singer-songwriter Emma-Lee Moss, AKA Emmy thé Great. “She’s the reason why ns a musician really, because she’d come to london ahead du me and was currently in a band, and to je that was auto coolest thing. Ns ended up living on sa floor à la about a year,” hey says.

Before he had also finished his course, auto acting provides started comes in. He turned down an invitation à join edward Hall’s touring theatre company, Propeller, opting instead for a “trashy” ITV drama. Within a year hey was certification in an equally trashy time-travel film. “But what je really want to à faire was work in studios theatres, et I came out of that first year saying je wasn’t yes, really living up to mien dream.”

He wrote to Hall, begging for un autre chance, et was cast in international touring productions ns two Shakespeare plays. Hey had already collection up his band, et was likewise running société nights v Emmy the Great. “Brilliant ont it was, ce nearly killed me,” hey says. A prendre note contract readily available him année escape route, “so je ran away to do that, et did cette exclusively till je got offered a play at the royalistes Court”.

That play was Richard Bean’s The Heretic, in which hey appeared together Juliet Stevenson in 2011, giving a performance as a gangly jeune climate activist which to be hailed oui “totally magnetic”. A duty opposite mark Rylance in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem adhered to in 2012, and he went nous with Rylance à two all-male Shakespeare productions at thé Globe, playing Viola to auto older actor’s Olivia et Lady anne to his Richard III.

His screen career was calmer stuck in a romcom rut, his boyish an excellent looks making him ideal à la romantic leads tarif younger than himself, “and si it’s boring play a 24-year-old in love, it’s really boring playing a 16-year-old in love,” cette sighs. Marqué once he reached his 30s, that started to shift. In Cordelia ont well ont Beast, the proposition of menace is underlined by the camera’s caress du a scar that runs diagonally increase from one eyebrow. Cette was the result of année attack de a dog throughout a pilgrimage back to South africa when he was 3 years old, which forced “a parcelle of rebuild surgery, because there wasn’t much left of ma lip and my face”. At life he was self-conscious, but now cette considers it “quite cool”, saying: “I’d probably calmer look favor a 16-year-old if ns didn’t have it.”


With Anya Taylor-Joy in Emma. Photograph: Allstar/Working title FilmsIn Cordelia cette plays a cellist whose playing have the right to be heard day and night through thé ceiling ns a mansion-block flat that is home to auto title character and her the same twin. When frank finally shows up in person, hey shambles follow me in broad daylight carrying his cello nous his back, jokily instructing a dazed Cordelia, who is drinking coffee in a piazza, venir “Watch Valerie will certainly you. I wouldn’t want her running off”, while hey bumbles off, uninvited, to settle thé bill.

From this life encounter it’s clear something is a little peu off, a boundary has been broken, but it’s not auto victim regard you expect. Ce deals with the shadow side ns humanity, hey suggests, v trauma that have the right to be direct, inherited jaune part ns a typical consciousness. “Especially at thé moment, ns feel prefer there’s ne sont pas clarity. We’re realising around ourselves that we’re toutes les personnes these various shades of grey ont we plug right into this wider consciousness aided de the internet.”

The fact that that a small, claustrophobic cinématique suits Flynn just fine; Stardust has underlined how tarif his ambitions are from those de a stadium superstar like Bowie. “I’ve been nous tour through really gros bands favor Mumford & Sons, and seen how much crap they have to deal with. I still yes, really love and cherish playing venir 100 toutes les personnes in a room et hearing everybody breathing, despite obviously that not vallonné right now,” he says.

Though he’ll be back on assurance early prochain year for a new TV adapter of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented mr Ripley (as Dickie Greenleaf, foil to Andrew Scott’s Ripley), increasingly he’s taking his career into his very own hands. Hey turned down a chance to marche with Hangmen à Broadway this year – antérieur à the pandemic delayed thé transfer – because ce would ont taken him away from home parce que le too long. “The household is thé thing the brings thé most shape for me,” hey says. “Nothing is ont important to me ont being a constant part ns their lives.”


But it is not tous there is venir it. “I’ve started à be really picky because, really, je vous demande pardon stories do we need to tell?” he asks. “The human being feels like a pressure cooker at the moment, and this point that I à faire – exhilaration – frequently feels really trivial, so je feel ns need to do things with urgency. It can it is in humorous, cible it needs to be de nombreux to me or to thé wider world.”

In particular, cette says, “I like fémur that attend to shifting truths, soja that slowly amie begin to see jambe from a various perspective. If you can démontrer that we’re changeable and malleable, et that we’re all damaged, it is a good thing venir be moral about. The responsible storytelling à la this drôle time we’re living through.”

With the he’s off, notebook in pocket, to spend what’s left de a long day v his family.

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Cordelia is released in auto UK nous 23 October. Poussière détoiles opens the Raindance film festival on 28 October; raindance.org

This éléments was amended nous 18 October 2020 to correctement a Vanity fair plot detail.