Photographer: Klara Waldberg
Stylist: Annabel Lucey
Makeup: Charlotte Yeomans
Interview: Ines Shubshizky
Congratulations on the release of Pistol – What makes the show so special? :
Thank you! I think it’s utterly unique. It’s inspired by Steve Jones’s memoir “Lonely Boy – Tales From a Sex Pistol”, which is an amazing book in it’s own right. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know that much about the Sex Pistols before getting cast in the show, so I’m grateful to the show for enlightening me on just how large an impact that the Sex Pistols made on the world, and in doing so, effecting popular culture today. I think the most special thing about the show though is how it redefined the meaning of “Punk”. I think I always assumed Punk was just coloured spikey hair, lots of piercings, and loud – in your face – music. I’ve since learned that it is so much more. It’s an ethos – a mind set so to speak, which is essentially all about being true to who you are. Not caring what anyone else thinks of your quirks and eccentricities. Not being governed by any entity and being truly individual. Not being a sheep. I loved that, and hope I keep that spirit with me.
What made you want to become an actor at such young age?:
My family is in the music side of the industry, so it definitely helped growing up around creatives. And from a very young age they always encouraged our natural ability, even when we were just mucking about as kids. I remember very vividly watching a scary movie as a kid (I think it was the original “IT” with Tim Curry) and naturally being very scared, but any time my dad would notice me getting scared, he would turn to me and say “That’s great acting isn’t it son?” and immediately it not only relaxed me, it fascinated me. You mean getting to dress up in a costume and pretend to be someone is a paid job? As a kid I was already doing that, so it was a no brainer, and from then on I’ve never wanted to do anything else.
What has been (one of) your most favourite experience of your career so far?:
Pistol one hundred percent. I always say as an actor you are only as good as the opportunities you’re given, and this is by far the best presented to me. Being a musician as well, I always love to seek out rolls where I get to flex both muscles. I was a piano player mainly before this gig, but now I can proudly say that I play bass now too. Apart from that I always feel lucky getting to act alongside my identical twin. Twin roles are obviously few and far between, but we’ve been lucky enough to work together professionally three times now.
Which piece of advice would you give to aspiring actors?
Less is more. The saying may be overused but when it comes to acting it’s something I live by. First time actors have a tendency to oversell their thoughts, and try to show us their emotions (I know I did) but you have to trust the audience knows the situation and the context. Therefore all you need to do is be. Also it may sound obvious but don’t give up. Hang in there. In the beginning, ninety percent of our job is rejection. Most people just have one or two major job interviews in their life, but as actors they are never ending and that can really take its toll. But with each “no” comes a lesson, and also another step closer to that next job. Don’t do the audition for the job. Just relax and enjoy the opportunity to act. Take the pressure off. That’s when the jobs start coming in.
What makes a good friend?
One that accepts you fully for you are. I always appreciate when someone checks in randomly to see how you are. For me personally, someone who can have a good laugh and not take themselves – or life too seriously. Most importantly I think a good friend should be there for you no matter what you may be going through. As Will Smith once said, “Keep my wife’s name–” Oh, sorry wrong quote. I mean “If you’re not present during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”
What is the most important quality / trait to be successful?
Kindness. Now I know there will be many who disagree with this. I mean after all, a high percentage of CEOs are reportedly sociopaths. So I’m not saying that being a cut throat arse hole won’t get you places in the world, it depends on how you define “success”. To be successful doesn’t always equate to being financially stable, and working every day of your life. To me, being truly successful is to be happy. As long as you can do the job you love, and be happy doing it, that’s what counts. Some people at the top of their game are miserable, and to me that’s not succeeding. And in this industry being kind counts. There’s a lot of people on that set that are waking up a hell of a lot earlier than you, so be kind. It’s the least we can do.
Who was your celebrity crush as a child / teenager?
Hmm good question. I can’t remember if I had any celebrity crushes as a child. I think I remember liking Alexa PenaVega who plays Carmen Cortez in “Spy Kids.” But as a teenager it was definitely Chloe Grace Moretz.
Do you prefer working on a show or a movie?
I thought about this recently and they both have their plus sides. You can really take your time to explore your character on a TV show and I love that. But there’s just something about the magical quality of watching a movie on the big screen that you can’t quite replicate at home on your couch. You’re instantly connected to a bunch of strangers, all gasping, laughing, and crying in unison. You’re taken on a collective journey, and for 2 hours, you are not in this reality, you are somewhere else. So for that reason I would have to say that movies just have the edge.
Do you believe in fate?
No. Definitely not in the sense that our paths are written. But I would say I believe in destiny. I know they feel similar, but to me they are different. Because to me, someone could be destined for something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that destiny will be fulfilled. That’s on you to get up out of bed and make it happen. If you believe in something wholeheartedly, and work toward it every day, it’s not a matter of if, but when.
What makes you unique?
Some would say being an identical twin means that I’m not unique, but I would obviously beg to differ. Even though we may share features and interests, we are both intrinsically different. We all are. I could give you a simple answer like, “I’m a shortsighted, vegetarian, Star Wars nerd etc.” But I think being unique is what it means to be human.
What is your vice?
Coke ( A Cola).
How do you deal with criticism?
Criticism doesn’t bother me.
What was the last lie you told?
The last question I answered.
What is something that always brings you joy?
It changes over the years. Recently its nature. Being in a park makes me very content. Being fully present and awake. Apart from that, just being with and spending time with family and the people I love. My girlfriend and I have been together for almost six years now, and a large portion of that time was long distance. Going through that with someone really makes it impossible for you to take them for granted.
Is there anything you would change if you could go back in time?
Nope. Everything we go through in life makes us who we are. Even the insanely sad and traumatic moments are necessary in forming you. So if I were to go back and change anything, even the smallest decision, I would be a completely different person. And to quote John Candy in ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ – “I like me…”
Which projects can we expect from you in the near future?
Well apart from PISTOL which is streaming now on Hulu in the states and Disney Plus everywhere else, I made a movie called Phantom Of The Open with my twin last year. It’s an amazingly inspiring true story about a man who enters the British Open having never played around golf in his life. We star alongside Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins and the movie is directed by an incredibly talented young director Craig Roberts. Getting to work with all of them was a true masterclass and that movie is out right now in the U.K. and on June 3rd in L.A. and N.Y. with the rest of the states to follow shortly after!
PISTOL is out now on HULU and Disney +