November 17, 2016

What was your first theatre experience?

I remember seeing The Seagull with Ian McKellen – it was a standing performance, and I didn’t even notice I was on my feet for three hours. But I was quite late to acting, about 16 or 17 – I’m definitely not one of these stage school kids. It was rebellion. I wanted to do something different to everyone else – I hated school and I didn’t want to go to university. I had a great drama teacher who went to LAMDA, where I ended up going – he made out it was this really tough boot camp: 6,000 apply, 30 get in, and they beat the shit out of you. I liked the idea of that challenge.

And the people really drew me to theatre. I worked backstage as a tea boy at Her Majesty’s Theatre and had a great time. It’s a myth about Hollywood and the theatre industry that it’s full of divas and drama queens – 99% are really nice. I wasn’t around nice people in my day-to-day life at the time, so that definitely appealed.

Is it true you’d also applied to the army?

Yes, at 17 – and I’m very glad that didn’t work out! That was the mood I was in. Typically rebellious teenager.

How long did you study?

I did a year at LAMDA. I’d probably had enough of education by the time I arrived there. I think drama school is one of those things that’s what you make of it – I’m still not convinced you can teach someone to make an actor, but it’s a great environment for you to figure yourself out. I spent my weekends with friends trying to film scenes for a show reel, which I then told agents was professional work. One humoured me enough to take me on. Then I got the lead in War Horse, which was pretty unreal.

And you were playing a tree before that?

Yes, in Dunsinane for the RSC – I was in the chorus. But I really thought that was as good as it got; I was always taught that that’s the height of what an actor can wish for, and I still think that really. To be with acting greats, who are respected all over the world, and working in that incredible environment is pretty special. I’ve been really pining to get back to theatre. Then I heard about Ed Harris doing Buried Child, and knowing Sam Shepard wrote a lot for Ed, I thought it would be a once in a lifetime experience just to see the production, let alone be in it.

Was it an easy transition coming back to the stage?

I kept doing play readings while I was making films. And the first day of rehearsals I thought “Oh yeah, this is why I got into acting.” That collaborative process, you just don’t have time for a rehearsal period in films. In cinemas, you’re probably seeing the first or second time an actor’s done that scene, and they only met the actress in the make-up trailer that morning.

What do you enjoy about Shepard’s writing?

It’s so good – the deeper you go, the more you discover. Like all great playwrights, you never stop finding new things in their work. Ed and Amy [Madigan] have done the show on Broadway, but in the rehearsal room you wouldn’t know it – every single time they did it differently. It’ll be the same with performances: each one will be magical and unique, and that’s very exciting for audiences.

Did you do much preparation?

I did, but no matter how prepared you are, you have to be able to throw it all out the window and completely alter your performance nine, ten times a day. It doesn’t work unless you can be fluid with whatever the director and other actors throw at you. There wasn’t a shred of ego from anyone on this.

Read the full interview at BroadwayWorld.

June 12, 2016

December 30, 2015

It’s a cruel paradox for an actor. To get work, you first have to have done work: without credits and a compilation video of your earliest film and television work (even if it’s just playing a dead body on Law & Order) that you can present to agents, producers, and casting directors, you’re just one more random face, another pretty head shot, the next in a long line of impossible dreamers.

Several years back, when he was all of eighteen years old, British actor Jeremy Irvine realized that he, like so many before him, was caught in the industry’s inexorable catch-22. But unlike those countless others helpless to escape it, he conjured up his own performance history. With several friends, he shot scenes of himself in nonexistent films, credited to fictional directors. “I did my best to make them look like real movies,” Irvine says of his scheme. Stitching together those imaginary roles into one reel of his simulated greatest hits, Irvine then sent the assembly to London talent scouts.

“I don’t know if anyone really believed me, but one agent took pity on me. He signed me on a Friday,” Irvine says. The following Tuesday, the agent rang Irvine up: Might he be inclined, for his very first real film role, to star as the lead soldier Albert Narracott in Steven Spielberg’s epic battlefield drama War Horse? The answer, and the rapid acceleration of Irvine’s career, was clear. Soon thereafter, Irvine would appear opposite Michael Douglas, Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Duvall, and Dakota Fanning. He no longer needed a reel of fake clips. (Even as his stardom has risen, Irvine remains represented by the same London agency that first signed him.)

You might on occasion be able to make your own luck in life, just as Irvine did, but talent and determination and an unshakable confidence in yourself are invariably as critical as providence. At one point in his youth, Irvine saw a future that was as limited and bleak as the local grocery store shelves he used to stock. His father was steering him toward a career as a welder, and he even applied for the army, only to be rejected because he has diabetes. Thankfully, a teacher named Jason Riddington recommended acting—almost as the equivalent of boot camp—and that sparked a passion inside the teenage Irvine that could not be extinguished.

“I was always a little bit of an outsider. I wasn’t excited by academia. It wasn’t really my thing.” So rather than prepare to study for a trade or profession (his father is an engineer, his mother a local politician), he performed as Romeo in a school production, joined the National Youth Theatre, and followed that with a stint at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. “It was the rebellious thing to do, to say ‘fuck you’ to all my academic studies.”

Yet rebellion doesn’t always (and usually doesn’t) yield tangible results, and Irvine for the longest time couldn’t get anyone to pay attention to him or his work. “You have no idea what it’s really like. You’re dealing with rejection on a pretty much daily basis. You’re going on as many as four or five auditions a week. And I didn’t get a call back for a year and a half,” Irvine says. About the best he could get was a part as a nonspeaking tree in a Royal Shakespeare Company show. “You need to have some real resilience. And I just said to myself, ‘I’m gonna show these fuckers.’”

That’s when he cooked up the idea for the bogus clip reel. Even if the movies weren’t legit, Irvine labored to make sure his acting in them was. “I really did my absolute best,” he says.
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September 22, 2015

September 16, 2015

Blowback from a mere two-minute-and-twenty-three-second trailer of “Stonewall” stormed the web in early August. It was intense. Like the historic brick-throwing, slur-lashing brawl that broke out in New York City outside a Greenwich Village gay bar in 1969, it provoked an uproar. And also like the Stonewall riots, the melting pot of people the film sought to represent felt… unrepresented.

“To all considering watching the newest whitewashed version of queer history,” began self-proclaimed 18-year-old “transwomyn of color” Pat Cordova-Goff via the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, alleging the movie’s cast lacked diversity. As she declared her resistance to openly gay action-turned-indie director Roland Emmerich’s fictional interpretation based around the events leading up to a landmark moment in LGBT history, the Stonewall riots, she rallied a fervent army of fellow boycotters. Twenty-four thousand… and counting.

The issue, according to Cordova-Goff and other opponents: Its ivory lead, Jeremy Irvine as small-town-turned-big-city rebel Danny Winters, is white.

And it’s true. He is not black. He is not Puerto Rican. He is not female. But the “Stonewall” ensemble, Irvine insists, is a “wide, diverse cast.” The 25-year-old English actor fully acknowledges he expected a passionate reaction to the film, particularly because “we’re doing a story that is so important to so many people.”

Irvine, though, did not foresee the kind of pre-release revolt from those who claimed “Stonewall” underemphasized the trans community and queer women of color, deeming the film a “whitewashed” take on an otherwise mixed-minority historical occurrence.

“That was a surprise; I never expected to hear that,” says Irvine, spotlighting Danny’s band of fellow rioters: Marsha B. Johnson (Otoja Abit), a black transwoman who co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries with prominent trans activist Sylvia Rivera, and a lesbian credited by some as initiating the riot, calling on others to “do something.” Breakout actor Jonny Beauchamp also stars, playing self-proclaimed “street queen” Ray / Ramona, a composite of both Rivera and jailed protester Raymond Castro.

Emmerich insists his dramatization, inspired by a distant friend’s real-life experience and also Emmerich’s own, is “inclusive”; that Irvine’s Danny is the lens through which we see these events unfold. “I think it’s cool when a white kid learns from a Puerto Rican and a black kid,” he continues, “and is a better person afterwards. Becomes a true friend.”

Regarding the controversy: Emmerich says that, while shooting “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “they kept it away from me.”

“Only for so long, however,” he continues. “After a while, you kind of know what’s going on. I was shocked. Luckily, I had some gay activists, like Larry Kramer, speak up for us.” (Kramer, the 80-year-old writer and HIV activist, addressed Emmerich on Facebook: “Don’t listen to the crazies,” he wrote. “And thank you for your passion.”)

So: Why did Emmerich cast a white, as he calls him, “catalyst character”?

He says, simply, “You have to put yourself a little bit in, and I’m white.”

“Stonewall” was never intended to focus on race but rather it was meant to trace the beginnings of the gay rights movement, the steps we’ve made and the steps we haven’t.

For Emmerich, the director behind major blow-up-everything blockbusters such as “Independence Day,” “Godzilla” and “Day After Tomorrow,” it’s a passion project – a piece of work so close to his heart he self-financed the film with friends and even stepped in as director when no one else would.

“Nobody wanted to do it,” he reveals, “and I was stubborn, and then I got it done.”

Read entire interview at PrideSource

April 20, 2015

New photoshoots keep on coming, but I see no reason to complain about it! Check out 4 new outtakes from a session Jeremy did for Interview Magazine, and go read Michael Douglas’ interview with Jeremy below or on Interview Magazine’s site.

JEREMY IRVINE: How are you?

MICHAEL DOUGLAS: I’m great. Catherine just told me some terribly nice things you said about me [on The Talk] with Ms. Osbourne, so I’ll pay you when this is all over, Jeremy.

IRVINE: [laughs] I’d like that—a check in the post.

DOUGLAS: Can you believe it’s been a year and a half?

IRVINE: I can’t! It really does not feel like that long ago.

DOUGLAS: What have you been up to lately?

IRVINE: I’ve been in L.A. doing a few meetings and things. I had some stuff out in January, so the other side of our job. Hopefully we’re shooting the next thing in July.

DOUGLAS: Where is that going to be?

IRVINE: I’m hoping in London.

DOUGLAS: I can’t remember—did you get a new place?

IRVINE: Yeah, I bought my new place when I came and did The Reach. I remember I was going through all the madness of buying a house while I was in the desert.

DOUGLAS: What do you think, is this the toughest picture physically you’ve ever done?

IRVINE: I would say so, yeah. How about you?

DOUGLAS: It was definitely right up there. Did you stay in shape?

IRVINE: Having had to lose a lot of weight before this movie, I found that easier, actually, than putting it on.

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April 13, 2015

Listen to StraightTalk’s interview with Jeremy below. Jeremy’s interview starts at around the 26:20 mark. And huge thanks to kate and CRASH for mentioning the site and asking the questions we submitted!

April 11, 2015

Make sure you take some time to read Hunger TV’s interview with Jeremy below. And here are 5 outtakes from the photoshoot! Check them out by clicking any of the thumbnails below or go straight to our gallery.

Hunger: Jeremy, how difficult is waiting for that big break and not knowing if it’s going to come?
Jeremy Irvine: It’s the worst thing in the world and it’s very difficult to come to terms with, if it does happen to you and if it doesn’t. There are friends of mine who are incredible actors who might never get their break. And that’s not because of bad acting, it’s just the way it is. I found it quite difficult to come to terms with why it was me, why I was picked when others weren’t.

Do you still feel like you need to prove yourself?
Yeah, I do. I was terrified after War Horse that it might have been a fluke — usually you learn on the little indie films and then you get your big break. After War Horse, I had to make a very clear decision not to take a couple of the big studio projects that I was offered, as they just weren’t right. I played some slightly odd characters in some movies that didn’t get big releases, but it was kind of like my drama school. I had to strive for credibility, and I think a lot of people are very afraid of the fame side of things right at the beginning of their career. I was running as fast as I could from all of it, but I’ve got more confidence now.

Your performance in The Railway Man alongside Colin Firth was lauded by critics. How much did that role stay with you?
It was Colin Firth who put me in that role, and when someone like that suggests you for a part, you jump at it. But I knew the story before the movie because I’ve always been fascinated by the history of the Second World War. I kept going back to the book during prep for the movie, and every single time I was overwhelmed with emotion. There was one part of the book that I must have read a hundred times and it still makes me cry. It’s a story that I think we all, as a cast, got very attached to. I got to know Eric very well, and his family, and it was so much more than a movie to everyone involved.

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