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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Approach to Acting
It took quite some time, four weeks to be exact, to set a date for an interview with the London-born actor James D’Arcy, and understandably so. Mr. D’Arcy has been incredibly busy working on multiple projects, having to conduct this particular interview over the phone from London. It was immediately clear from the beginning of the interview that not only was James a magnificent actor, but he was one of the nicest people I’d ever spoken too. A true gentleman.
Daniel Tucker: What was your reaction when you first read the script?
James D’Arcy: I had absolutely no idea what it was. I just read the script completely cold, nobody pitched it to me or anything. I feel like the minute that it really got me is when I shot the firs t kid. I think that’s when I went, “OH, THAT’S TOTALLY UNEXPECTED!” It was brilliant. It really appealed to me that you had this character who was kind of in a grey area in terms of his motivation and who exactly he was. And I could never quite tell if he was a good guy or not. He’s this sort of weird Machiavellian puppeteer of everything that’s going on. I also liked that it was smart, I liked that it had aspirations to make you work your brain a little bit in the process of enjoying the film. I feel like a lot of those kind of films don’t even try, and I admired that this did. They sent at the same some photographs of where they were going to shoot. I was so blown away by these locations. I don’t feel like I’ve ever Pambernam, which is the first experiment where we end up. I don’t feel like I’ve ever seen it on film before! And Mt. Bromo I’d don’t feel like I’d ever seen on film before. And then those islands that we shot on! Idyllic paradise is the only way to describe it. It was a complete joy for a week to get to work there.
DT: So when you get a script is there a particular thing that you look for? Or do you look at the character first and its relation to the story?
JD: It’s difficult to know really which comes first, the chicken or the egg. I feel like you have to have at least one of your eyes on the whole story. You can play a great character in a really lousy film and that’s not ideal. I’m more inclined to be involved in something where the story is interesting. It’s difficult to pin point exactly what it is that attracts you to any one project. I think there’s an element of fear that I quite like. If I read a script and think, “I can’t do that,” I quite often gravitate towards those in the end.
DT: Is there more pressure playing a real character, Anthony Perkins for example, than a fictitious one?
JD: Well, I’ve done that a couple of time. With Anthony Perkins, I wasn’t playing Norman Bates so I didn’t have to do any of the lines from Pscyho. I felt like people know who Norman Bates is, but don’t’ really know much about Anthony Perkins. I didn’t seem so intimidate by that prospect, I suppose. When I played Edward VIII, I didn’t look anything like him at all. I’m much too tall and have blonde hair. Also, the whole of that film was sort of told through Abbie Cornish’s eyes, a character in the modern day who was sort of imagining to an extent what it was like. I felt that it really wasn’t a bio pic. I do think that in the end that these things are entertainment. We’re not the history channel. We’re not making a documentary. You try to capture something of the essence of the character without doing a straight up impression.
DT: So in those two cases, do you refrain from doing a lot of research and try and bring your own thing to the character?
JD: What I did was I watched a lot of interviews with Anthony Perkins, although in fater in his ct there aren’t a lot of interviews. But the interviews that are easily accessible were very much later in his life. His voice sounded very different. The ones that were from younger in his life were mainly in French. My French is not fantastic, so it wasn’t brilliantly helpful. Someone wrote a very good biography of him which was also helpful.
DT: When you approach a role like this in After the Dark, do you have to understand and agree with the character’s motivations and beliefs?
JD: I know where you’re coming from with the question, but ultimately that’s acting. It’s what we do. If I only played characters with whom I completely identified with, I’d only ever get to play me. One of the things that I really enjoy about acting is you sort of get to vicariously live your life through these other characters. I suppose there must be some small corner of me in there. You can’t not bring some part of you to it. I’ve played in the past mass murderers. I have no identification of that. I have no concept of what that would feel like or be like, and I don’t want to have to any idea of that might actually feel like. That’s when you just try to find the drama, as it were.
DT: There are a lot of philosophical conundrums presented throughout the film. Did the movie change your own beliefs in any way?
JD: I think there’s a definite philosophical question being presented in the movie, in terms of what would you do in a nuclear apocalypse. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life strongly contemplated that, but I feel like that was the sort of thing we used to talk about when I was a kid in the 80s. We always thought there was going to be a nuclear bomb dropped at some point, and that happily seems to not be the case these days. So I don’t know that it did make me change my philosophy of life at all, and I don’t know that it made me examine how I felt about that particular question. Our director, John Huddles, is so smart that it was quite a lot to keep up with what we were trying to do, as it were.
DT: What can you tell me about Survivor?
JD: Well, Survivor is this film with Mila Jovovich and Pierce Brosnan and Dylan McDermott. It’s directed by James McTeigue. I don’t how much of the plot I’m allowed to give away, in truth, because I’ve never really had a conversation about it. But anyway, those are the players and people involved, and I am one of them. And I’m after Mila Jovovich.
DT: I have to ask you what it was like re-teaming with The Wachowski’s a second time. After Cloud Atlas, I’m really excited to see what they do next. Filming on Jupiter Ascending wrapped pretty recently, right?
JD: I wrapped filming on it nearly a year ago, plain truth. I was it weren’t so, but my contribution to Jupiter Ascending is pretty minimal. I was there because they are the most extraordinary, wonderful filmmakers. I would do anything for them. This little part came up and they said, “how do you feel like doing it?” It was a complete nobrainer at all. I, like you, am excited to see what they come up with.
DT: Cloud Atlas remains one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. There’s nothing quite like it. To have been a part of something like that must have been amazing.
JD: It really was. When it was being made, everybody knew that this was a real once in a lifetime experience. Because everybody played multiple roles, all the actors were really happy. Everyone got to have a go at trying out different things. Andy and Lana and Tom Tykwer are three of the most extraordinary human beings on earth, and they made the experience so fun. I can’t tell you. Every single aspect of that film, I adored being part of it
DT: I re-watched the movie fairly recently, and I was still blown away by things I hadn’t seen before. It’s such an intricately crafted screenplay.
JD: I remember when I first read the script, there was a key to who would be playing each of the characters. It was hard to read it at first, because I understood what was happening but had to keep referencing back to who was playing what and blah bla blah. By the time I got to the end of the script, I remember thinking that it’s almost like though there’s only one actor in the film. Everyone crisscrosses all the way through, and of course that’s the tag line – everything is connected. But it was almost like there was only person in the film, played by a huge number of us. I had just the greatest time. There was no ego on that film, and that’s hard to top. Tom Hanks is just the sweetest man, as was absolutely everybody else. Honestly, I wish I could just make Cloud Atlas for the rest of my life.