Love Thy Keepers (2018)
001Lithium X (2018)
Role: Adam Bird
Das Boot (TV series 2018)
Official Site. Photos. IMDb
The Snowman (2017)
Role: Filip Becker
Release: Oct. 13 2017
Role: Colonel Winnant
Release: May 2017
Chicken/Egg (short film 2016)
Release: Febr. 2017
Role: Henry Howell
Release: 26 April 2016
Agent Carter (TV Series 2016, S.2)
Role: Edwin Jarvis
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James D’Arcy: Someone pointed a gun at me when I worked at McDonald’s
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What was working with Madonna like?
She was great. Incredibly well researched and well prepared, and had a clear vision of what she wanted. You’re dealing with the period part of the story with two historical characters who have had lots of contradictory stuff written about them, so you could have told any one of a number of stories. It was good to have someone who was clear about the story they wanted to tell and I admired that she told it through the eyes of a modern-day character. As soon as I hear the words ‘king’ and ‘abdicate’, I think: ‘I don’t know much about that, they’re from a different period of history so maybe don’t feel about things the same way I do.’ I hope the film says that these feelings are universal. The question there is: ‘What would you be prepared to do for love?’
What are the challenges of playing a real person?
There’s a sense of responsibility and also, in this instance, we were not documentary makers – it’s entertainment. My job is to serve the director’s vision of the script. That liberated me as Madonna was very clear about the story she wanted to tell.
Have people been unduly critical of the film because of its director?
I haven’t read any of the reviews, so I don’t know.
Why don’t you read reviews?
When I was younger, more experienced actors told me: ‘If you believe the good reviews then you have to believe the bad ones.’ I don’t want to read the bad ones. As much as I don’t mind good ones, I don’t need to be validated by them. I have my own feelings about projects I work on and what they mean to me. The reviews are for other people.
Have you kept up clay pigeon shooting after trying it in the film?
No, I haven’t, which is a shame because I was told I was a good shot. That scene didn’t make it into the final film. I had a fun summer learning to shoot clay pigeons, dance, play the bagpipes for another scene that was cut and ride horses. The riding is quite useful. I learned sword fighting for other films, which doesn’t come in so handy.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
I worked as an actor for a month after leaving drama school but not again for a year. I cleaned the streets for a while. It was before they had the machines they have now. I did it in the autumn. The leaves had fallen off the trees and it rained so I had to bend down and pick these damp clumps of leaves up with two pieces of wood. That was my least fun job, although someone brandished a gun at me when I worked in McDonald’s, which wasn’t great either.
I was behind the till and someone pointed a gun at my face. He’d come in looking for someone else but that guy wasn’t working that night. He came in, pointed the gun at me and ran away. They gave me a 1p per hour pay rise and I left the place soon afterwards.
Was that as compensation for being held up at gunpoint?
No, after your probation period they gave you a pay rise of between 1p and 5p per hour and they only gave me the 1p pay rise. I felt that wasn’t a good summation of the hard work I put in, so I left.
What role has had the biggest impact on your career?
I did a job called Rebel Heart around ten years ago. It was a lead role in a four-part TV drama, which changed things for me.
What do you get recognised from most?
People tend not to recognise you from period things. They don’t think someone from the 18th century will be sitting next to them on the bus. I got recognised quite a bit from Secret Diary Of A Call Girl.
What are you getting up to in Cloud Atlas?
I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to talk about it. I play six parts spread over a period of something like 600 years. It’s got a very starry cast and starry directors, and people swap gender and race. It’s a great, big epic ambitious project, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that turns out.
What roles would you like to do?
I’ve been really lucky over the past few years. I’ve worked with exciting film-makers on projects I’ve been passionate about and you don’t always get to make those choices as you have to pay the rent at the end of the day. I hope that situation continues. I just want to work on exciting projects.
Do you plan to move to LA?
I’ve been out there but don’t plan to move there. It’s great – the sun shines all the time but I don’t know I really live anywhere. Being an actor is like being a gipsy – you go where the work is.