Interview: Emery Kelly on Netflix’s ‘Alexa & Katie’ & Forever In Your Mind


Emery Kelly Photoshoot 2018Joining Netflix this month is original sitcom series ‘Alexa & Katie’ – which follows two best friends who can’t wait for their first year of high school, even though Alexa is dealing with a secret with Katie by her side. Alongside the titular characters is EMERY KELLY – best known for being one third of Forever In Your Mind (a pop boy band that formed five years ago while appearing on the show ‘The X Factor’). They recently released their latest single “Rabbit Hole”, performing it on MTV’s ‘TRL’ and NBC’s ‘The Today Show.’ At beginning of the year, Forever In Your Mind released their EP “Euphoric”.

How did your role in Netflix’s ‘Alexa & Katie’ come about?

I saw my amazing cast mate and loving friend Paris Berelc book ‘Alexa & Katie’ last year and wanted to see if there was a brother role, and lucky enough there was!

Did you audition?

Yes, I don’t remember how many, I think it was two or three times before I booked the role.

You’ve worked on a few shows now, what are the unique challenges to acting in a sitcom?

The unique challenge for me would sometimes be timing. But thanks to working on ‘Alexa & Katie’, I was able to overcome that obstacle.

How do you spend your time between takes?

Chilling with Paris [Berelc], Jack [Griffo], Isabel [May], and Finn [Carr].

Tell us about your role in ‘Alexa & Katie’…

My role is Lucas Mendoza, Alexa’s older brother. He’s really chill, plays basketball, loves his family and has an obsession with his hair (in real life I don’t really have that much of an “obsession” like Lucas has).

Emery Kelly Photoshoot 2018

Did your passion for music come before acting?

I feel like they both came in at the same time, it was organic beccause of growing up around musical theater kids.

If you weren’t called ‘Forever In Your Mind’, what would your name be?

We’ve had a couple names but I honestly think we couldn’t change the name. It’s been with us forever, why change it?

Disney started developing a series starring the three of you – ‘Forever Boys’, do you think that it could still one day happen?

Honestly, no I don’t think so, due to the demographic they’re going for, but, I will always have love and appreciation for the mouse family.

Have there been any other ideas thrown around about how the three of you could star in something together?

Not since Forever Boys…but you never know!

How long do you guys see yourselves being a group for?

It could maybe be forever or maybe a few more years

Have you considered a solo career at all?

In the future, absolutely.

Emery Kelly Photoshoot 2018

Do you have plans to go on tour this year?

Yes we do! We can’t wait to see our fans.

In the world of acting, who do you look up to?

Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg and Seth Macfarlane.

Who would your dream co-star be?

Anyone I mentioned earlier from ‘Alex & Katie’. Also anyone from the casts of ’13 Reasons Why’, ‘Riverdale’, ‘Everything Sucks’, ‘On My Block’. Love those shows!

You haven’t uploaded to YouTube in a year, why did you stop?

Emery Kelly Photoshoot 2018Yeah it’s been a while, honestly I stopped because I’m focused more on acting, music, producing music, reading, and eating healthy. I still film all my adventures with my friends, band, and family. I just haven’t posted any of it.

Is it something you want to come back to?

I don’t know yet. If I were to upload videos again, they would be cinematic films featuring music I produce and the way I see the world.

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH EMERY KELLY

Last movie you watched? Annihilation

Best show to binge-watch? Friends

What’s the strangest food combo you’ve ever had? Chicken and Apple Slices

What’s on your music playlist at the moment? Bazzi, IRL, Daniel Caesar

Best store to visit in a shopping mall? Food court [laughs]

Everyone has a cool app idea, what’s yours? Can’t tell you!

Advice to your younger self? Keep doing your thing kid, you be you.

Is there one thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future? Alexa & Katie

A sport you wish you could play? Soccer

Worst joke you’ve ever heard? Can’t remember

What was the last book you read? House of Leaves

Would you rather be at a mountain hideaway or a beach house? Mountain hideaway

What is the farthest you have been from home? Everywhere is my home.

Netflix’s ‘Alexa & Katie’ starring Emery Kelly is now streaming globally

Photographer: Leo Deveney

Interview: Adam Crookes

Styling: Aisha Rae

Makeup: Heather Rae Cheszek

Hair: Darine Sengseevong

MORE INTERVIEWS:

Interview: Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden are teen-misfits in ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ on Netflix

Interview: The Magnetism of Billy Magnussen – ‘Black Mirror’ & ‘Game Night’

Interview: Wallis Day has landed on ‘Krypton’

Interview: Ray Panthaki on ‘Marcella’ Season 2 & being a BAFTA Breathrough Brit

Interview: Blossoms on directing their music videos and their new album

Interview: Hayley Law is taking over your screens on ‘Riverdale’ & ‘Altered Carbon’

Interview: Violett Beane plays Truth Or Dare and shares her App Idea

Interview: Ralph Ineson on the freedoms of motion capture and his role in ‘Ready Player One’

Interview: Tommy Bastow on his role in ABC’s ‘The Crossing’

Interview: Jack Maynard on moving forward & balancing YouTube, TV & Touring

Interview: Disney’s Meg Donnelly talks ‘Zombies’ & ‘American Housewife’

Interview: Milo Manheim on role in Disney’s ‘Zombies’

Interview: Jack Maynard on moving forward & balancing YouTube, TV & Touring

Jack Maynard Photoshoot 2018

A YouTube Vlogger, a Music Artist, a Reality TV Contestant, a Presenter and an ex-Personal Trainer – JACK MAYNARD has been doing it all, whilst gradually amassing millions of followers on social media.

For Jack Maynard, 2017 didn’t end quite how he expected, leaving the jungle-set reality TV-show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ weeks early after a past controversy unexpectedly came to light. Now three months into 2018, Jack Maynard has successfully moved past the controversy whilst reflecting on his actions and the way he sees social media.

After the incident with ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’, do you see social media in a different way at all?
Definitely, it has made me realise how careful you have to be with everything you put online, and the impact of the words you say can have on people. Regardless of your number of followers, everything you put online will leave such a massive footprint which can come back to haunt you – it is so vital just to simply take a second to think about what you’re going to say.

It has happened to so many celebrities recently, so now I can only hope that our younger fans will learn from the mistakes we’ve made online and not make the same. Even with everything that has happened, it certainly hasn’t made me look at social media in a negative way. The internet is so important, impactful and it has given me so many incredible opportunities, we’re all very lucky to have it.

Are you interested in potentially taking part in the show this year?




Who knows! But I think I would be silly not to! I was having such a great experience in the time I was on the show, to then turn it down would be a huge waste! I do think I’d have to seriously prove myself in there, as last year I didn’t really see the worst the show had to offer. Although, I do remember waking up every morning thinking to myself “What am I still doing here?!”

Do you think your experience on YouTube has prepared you for something like that?
I don’t think anything could prepare you for something like that, I think anyone who has been on the show would agree with me. One think I would say is, YouTube and vlogging certainly made it easier for me than maybe some of the others, I’m used to having camera’s following me around!



Jack Maynard Photoshoot 2018


Looking back, what’s the best vlog you’ve made?
I recently took a trip to Cape Town with Conor, Caspar, Joe & Josh for new years where I filmed a bunch of vlogs. I think those vlogs together are certainly some of my favourites. It was just me and my friends partying… A lot.

Do you think that clickbait is a problem on the site?
I think it certainly used to be a problem, but now it seems everyone is so used to it. I don’t think you can make a video or even click on a video without there being clickbait involved. I feel that these days it’s a competition for the best title and thumbnail which I personally don’t like, the video content should be considered too.

What’s the next YouTube challenge your considering doing?



Trends change so fast on YouTube, it’s hard to say what I’ll be doing next. I don’t tend to plan too far ahead with what kind of video I’ll be filming, I just usually just go with what I know my audience will enjoy the most.

You’ve regularly got Caspar Lee, Joe Sugg and your brother Conor dipping in and out of your vlogs. Who is the dream team right now?
Well obviously for me, we are the dream team! [laughs]. But people like KSI and the Sidemen are really running YouTube at the moment which is so amazing to see. They’re all very smart guys, especially KSI himself. The YouTube boxing match has really taken him up a level.

Lots of YouTubers have daily/weekly vlogs, how do you decide when you want to put a vlog out? Are you thinking weeks ahead about content or just a day at a time?
If I know I’ve got a very busy week ahead, or I’m going to be going on holiday, I do tend to think about the content in advance like who’s going to be there with me, what we’re doing each day, am I going to be pranking anyone? Just simple things like that. But I mostly just take each day as it comes.

With all the projects you have going on, do you ever get any time off?
Luckily with what I do, I kind of get to work from wherever and whenever I like. But I’m certainly very busy!

Jack Maynard Photoshoot 2018


The audience you get on YouTube is arguably almost as big as what you would get on TV, does TV still feel like a step up?
The main difference is when I’m filming for TV I’m not always in full creative and editorial control, I am being told what to do. Whereas for my YouTube channel, I am in total control from the creative concept, the edit and the promotion around it – I can do whatever I like. So yes, there is a lot more process in TV, however the two combine when I am producing longer form content for my channel, I sometimes need a production team around me to deliver bigger videos (GOAT music videos for example).

You’ve just been on a freshers tour, was there a stand out crowd? How do you prepare for a gig?
I’d have to say Bath was maybe the best one for me, mainly because it was such a huge crowd! When I’m preparing for a show, I tend to just have the perfect mix of what I enjoy and what I know the crowd will enjoy. I try to just make it as fun as possible. So finding songs that are hot right now, and of course throwing in some classics!

If you weren’t called GOAT, what would you be called? Whose idea was it?
The name was just very random, it wasn’t exactly something we had planned or thought about for a long time. We were just brainstorming ideas and I think Conor said something about GOAT and it just clicked! If not GOAT, I’m not entirely sure what we’d go for… Conor would most likely have us called “Conor Maynard and his brother”

What can we expect from GOAT in 2018?
You can expect even BIGGER music and even BIGGER videos! We’re aiming for hopefully another 3 singles this year and one is being released very soon! We’re trying to just make the videos huge and hilarious, so we’re working so hard to get them all out as quick as we can.

When you were younger, did you enjoy school?
I really didn’t mind school If I’m honest! My mum might tell you I enjoyed it a little too much…!

10 Quick Questions with Jack Maynard:

Biggest pet peeve?
People eating with their mouth open/poor manners in general.

Last movie you watched?
Game Night (it was hilarious)

Best show to binge-watch?
Narcos

What’s the strangest food combo you’ve ever had?
Chips dipped in chocolate milkshake (very odd, but amazing)

What’s on your music playlist at the moment?
Enjoying Tory Lanez new album, Loving James Bay’s new stuff and Swae Lee’s solo music.

Every has a cool app idea, what’s yours?
‘JackTube’ – It’s like YouTube, but you can only watch my videos!

Advice to your younger self?
Be patient

Do you have a hidden talent?
I always get asked this, and I really don’t have a hidden talent! It used to be DJ’ing, but now I’m showcasing it as best I can

Is there one thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future?
Just seeing where my YouTube and social platforms can take me. It’s given me so many amazing opportunities already over the past two years, I’m going to keep working hard so that doesn’t stop!

A sport you wish you could play?
I wish I was really good at skateboarding!

Jack Maynard is going on his debut tour ‘The Headlines’ in October 2018, tickets are on sale now.

INTERVIEW WITH ADAM CROOKES

MORE INTERVIEWS:

Interview: Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden are teen-misfits in ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ on Netflix

Interview: The Magnetism of Billy Magnussen – ‘Black Mirror’ & ‘Game Night’

Interview: Wallis Day has landed on ‘Krypton’

Interview: Ray Panthaki on ‘Marcella’ Season 2 & being a BAFTA Breathrough Brit

Interview: Blossoms on directing their music videos and their new album

Interview: Hayley Law is taking over your screens on ‘Riverdale’ & ‘Altered Carbon’

Interview: Violett Beane plays Truth Or Dare and shares her App Idea

Interview: Ralph Ineson on the freedoms of motion capture and his role in ‘Ready Player One’

Interview: Tommy Bastow on his role in ABC’s ‘The Crossing’

Interview: Disney’s Meg Donnelly talks ‘Zombies’ & ‘American Housewife’

Interview: Milo Manheim on role in Disney’s ‘Zombies’

Interview: Ray Panthaki on ‘Marcella’ Season 2 & being a BAFTA Breathrough Brit

Ray Panthaki Photoshoot 2018RAY PANTHAKI is one of those very rare multi-talented artists – who manages to balance the roles of an actor, director, producer and writer – with success in each. From being named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2014 to making it onto the list of Raindance’s top ten actors/producers in 2016 – Ray Panthaki is quickly becoming a momentous force in the industry. As a director, Ray Panthaki made his debut with the hard-hitting short film in 2013 – ‘Life Sentence’ about the UK’s knife crime epidemic. It went on to win ‘Best UK Short’ at the East End Film Festival and was subsequently long-listed for a BAFTA. Having acted in many British films, included the cult hit ‘Kidulthood’, Ray Panthaki starred and soley-produced ‘Convenience’, featuring BAFTA winners Vicky McClure and Adeel Akhtar – which won a BAFTA Cymru and was later acquired by Netflix. Ray has just returned to our screens in the highly anticipated second season of hit Scandi-Noir show – ‘Marcella’ on ITV and Netflix, in which he plays the lead alongside International Emmy Nominated Anna Friel. We catch up with Ray to talk about this season of ‘Marcella’, his inspirations and multi-hyphenate film makers.

 

Ray Panthaki Photoshoot 2018
 

AC: Has your inclusion as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit a few years ago made you more confident as an actor/director?
I guess it has. You know as artists we’re constantly racked with feelings of self doubt and worthiness. Alleviating that is hard, especially when you’re trying to do things auteurial and against the norm, so being acknowledged by such an establishment was affirming for me and their support has been incredible. People work in different ways and I’ve learnt that words of affirmation is definitely my love language, so for me it gave me confidence and taught me to trust my choices and be unwavering in my vision.

What can we expect from this season of ‘Marcella’?
More twists, turns, red herrings, more London, more darkness and something more emotional. The storyline is really hard hitting. Saying any more than that would do a disservice to the show because it lives and dies on its unpredictability.

Were you a fan of detective dramas growing up?
Not at all! I think I’ve always neglected TV shows in general because I am and will always be such a film buff. Growing up watching a tv series would take the same amount of time as watching five obscure movies, so it was never an option. Detective dramas are not usually my thing. I’m the guy that still hasn’t watched The Wire! I have to apologise for that kind of criminal behaviour a lot.

Ray Panthaki Photoshoot 2018
The show has received so much acclaim and has become a rating hit, what do you think is behind its appeal?
I think bringing Hans Rosenfeldt’s unique writing to a populist UK audience through Anna Friel is the first thing. I don’t know if they’ve ever seen something so dark and twisty before. I also think the way the audience is invited to become a sofa detective has kept people watching. Hans writes in a way where you can’t miss a beat, the effect of that is that people stop going down to their iPhone every ten seconds. Not only do we live in the age of the short attention span, audiences are now super smart so you have to be five steps ahead of them, the moment you become predictable they’ll click back onto their mates vegan meal on instagram and you’ve lost them. I think Hans is the master of that, his writing doesn’t let you off for a second.

What’s it like working alongside Anna Friel?
She’s become a dear friend through this whole process and I think it’s because we sort of see the world quite similarly. She’s a complete perfectionist who lives and breathes what she does, much like me and I think that gives us a huge mutual respect. In terms of what she does on screen, I don’t think I’ve worked with many better. She immerses herself into the character and it’s a joy to play against.

Is 2018 your first experience of Sundance? What’s the atmosphere like?
Fourth! It’s mental, it’s a festival I’m incredibly fond of. Strangely, every time I land I immediately zone into my happy place. I think it’s the amalgamation of the atmosphere, the films, what it represents for independent filmmakers, the generosity of the locals, my own memories and what I’ve discovered there. Twice I’ve just randomly been handed tickets on the street for a screening and both times those films shifted me as an artist. It’s a place where I feel the glitz and glamour gets taken away from the industry for two weeks and it’s stripped back to being all about the film and filmmaking. When you have stars turning up to premiers in beanie hats and wellies, it hands the power back to the actual work and takes the headlines away from the best dressed and I think that’s a positive thing. I can also judge my career trajectory by my Sundance experiences. The first time I went with a little indie movie, there were 6 of us sharing a camper van in a trailer park, the heating failed when it was minus 10 outside and we all spent a night with clattering teeth like you’d see on a cartoon, I can laugh about it now but at the time it was awful. People woke up with ice in their beards. This time around I was in a nice condo, with my team and a schedule that had been drawn up for me, so there’s been progression!

Ray Panthaki Photoshoot 2018

Can you talk about your part in ‘Colette’?
I play Pierre Veber. He was a real life French writer and playwright who was born in the late nineteenth century. In the movie we meet him at the time he was working as a prolific ghost writer for Willy (played by Dominic West). It was incredible, I got to dress in all the wonderful costumes and play with the greats. So many of my filmmaking heroes worked on this movie Gary Michael Walters, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley and of course the director Wash Westmoreland who is a complete and utter genius and true visionary.

Looking at success you had with ‘Life Sentence’, which directors have inspired your work?
Oh where do I start. So many, so many. The film that rocked my whole world was the French movie La Haine. I don’t think there’s a film that has influenced me more as a filmmaker. Matthew Kassovitz was 23 when he wrote and directed it, and it’s a complete piece of art. In fact, when cinematographers were telling me that my ideas and lack of budget were too ambitious for what I wanted to achieve on Life Sentence, I decided I was gonna track down the guy who shot it – Pierre Aim. The short version of a long story is I hunted him down in Paris, flew him to London and persuaded him to hear me out. My passion for something so personal to my heart enticed him and we made the film with very little resources, it did well and lead to this parallel career for me. I adore that man for believing in my vision when others didn’t. More recently I’m continually moved by Luca Guadignino’s work. A Bigger Splash was commercially underrated but I’m glad Call Me By Your Name has brought huge mainstream recognition, two beautiful movies and a testament to how powerful voices just cannot be kept quiet for ever.

Is it your intention to be able to direct your own scripts?
Absolutely. The great thing about directing for me is that as passionate as I am about it and as much as I know I’m called to do it, it was nothing I ever set out to do. That was always the acting, so the striving for it doesn’t exist, that brings a certain amount of peace that I never had starting out as an actor. It’s incredibly liberating. Directing comes more naturally to me than anything else that’s for sure and it’s important to me that when I do direct something it’s with purpose, it’s humanistic and it’s something that will at least attempt to change the way the viewer sees things. Sometimes that will be subtle, sometimes not, who knows. I’ve been sent a ton of scripts since Life Sentence did the festival circuit but I’m happy working on my own stuff for now.

Of – acting, directing and producing – which interests you the most going forward?
All of them. I like to think I’m self aware enough to know if I was bad at one I’d give it up. The films I want to direct are different to the films I want to produce which are different to the films I wanna be in. So every day stimulates me differently. My biggest mission is to make sure I’m never defined by anything, which is hard in a business that likes to pigeon hole. If I had a gun to my head and I had to pick, I’d say both acting and directing are on an even keel. Producing is something I realised quite early on that I was good at but it’s never quite stimulated me as much. The good thing is it’s taught me a lot and allows me a certain amount of control of my own projects. Overall I have this incessant need for constant change and I’m fortunate that doing all of three of these things allow me to have that.

For an artist to be successful, do you think that it can be better to aim to be an ‘all-rounder’ instead of narrowing in on a specific job like an actor.
It’s interesting because I think I was probably one of the first of this new UK breed of multi-hyphenate film makers. I was 25 when Kidulthood was made and not long after I set up Urban Way. I started doing it out of necessity because of the lack of leading opportunities for a working class, ethnic minority actor in those days. Fortunately things have progressed a lot since then.

I think the answer is to stick with what you’re good at. I know the acting industry is completely over saturated and because of that, even being seen these days is hard but if you truly believe deep in your soul that you were born to do it, that’s when I would advise a young actor who’s struggling to get noticed, to ‘take the industry to the industry’ and what I mean by that is to go and create something – I can’t say it enough, the power is in the creating. Most people think they can’t write but persistence is key. You create something original enough that people want, believe me you’ll be negotiating yourself a role before you know it.

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH RAY PANTHAKI

Favourite film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival? 
Have to say Colette, Keira’s performance is jaw dropping and award worthy but also Gus Van Sant’s ‘Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot’ I’m convinced both Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill have set the bar for 2019’s Oscar race.

Best show to binge-watch?
Marcella. Obvs.

What’s the strangest food combo you’ve ever had?
I’m currently in LA and seeking out this pizza burger I saw on someone’s Facebook page. Problem is I’m allergic to a lot, so I’m not sure how stomach friendly it would be to me.

What’s on your music playlist at the moment?
The soundtrack to A Ghost Story.

Favorite band? 
It changes, I write to music and right now the first London Grammar album is inspiring me a lot visually.

Everyone has a cool app idea, what’s yours? 
I kid you not, about 5 years before tinder burst onto the scene I’d designed an app called ‘mingle’. It was basically tinder for both dating and business networking and dare I say even more advanced. We even had a working prototype but then the designer went awol, I got busy with the work I’m more passionate about and lost my focus with it. I knew I was onto a good idea but the drive for making films was stronger. Few years later tinder bursts onto the scene and becomes a billion dollar business. Oh well. If I worried about every idea I’ve had that eventually got made, I’d drive myself insane. It’s made me have this crazy spiritual theory that ideas come into the ether at the same time and can be received by people who are naturally gifted idea receptors, so they are all tuning in to the same thing at approximately the same moment but I guess it’s then down to whoever decides to act upon it first. It’s how I explain why similar films tend to come out around the same time. I know you’re sitting there thinking I’m mad because now I’m saying it out loud, I’m thinking that too.

What’s that one food that you haven’t yet tried?
Bacon and banana crisps. Because I just made it up and I don’t think they exist.

Advice to your younger self? 
Read more, exercise more and try to be a little less sensitive.

Is there one thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future? 
In a worldly sense, a spiritual revolution or the day that chemicals in foods are banned. Both are coming.

What was the last book you read?
Own the Moment by Carl Lentz, whatever your beliefs it’s a beautiful book sharing the message of love.

Would you rather be at a mountain hideaway or a beach house?
Tough one. Beach edges it.

What is the farthest you have been from home?
Probably Cape Town.

Do you have an aim or a target for the year ahead?
To continue to choose wisely and work with people I admire.

‘Marcella’ is currently airing on ITV (Mondays at 9pm) and will hit Netflix later in the year.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOSEPH SINCLAIR

INTERVIEW WITH ADAM CROOKES

MORE INTERVIEWS:

Interview: Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden are teen-misfits in ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ on Netflix

Interview: The Magnetism of Billy Magnussen – ‘Black Mirror’ & ‘Game Night’

Interview: Wallis Day has landed on ‘Krypton’

Interview: Blossoms on directing their music videos and their new album

Interview: Hayley Law is taking over your screens on ‘Riverdale’ & ‘Altered Carbon’

Interview: Violett Beane plays Truth Or Dare and shares her App Idea

Interview: Ralph Ineson on the freedoms of motion capture and his role in ‘Ready Player One’

Interview: Tommy Bastow on his role in ABC’s ‘The Crossing’

Interview: Jack Maynard on moving forward & balancing YouTube, TV & Touring

Interview: Disney’s Meg Donnelly talks ‘Zombies’ & ‘American Housewife’

Interview: Milo Manheim on role in Disney’s ‘Zombies’

Interview: The Magnetism of Billy Magnussen – ‘Black Mirror’ & ‘Game Night’

 

Billy Magnussen Exclusive Photoshoot“I find myself craving to live a character out on stage again.”

With renowned photographer Matt Doyle, BILLY MAGNUSSEN – a New York-native – took part in a photoshoot on a December winter’s day in the city for CROOKES Magazine. Having now been immersed in the acting world for a decade, Billy Magnussen has steadily steered an impressive and diverse range of roles in film, television and on the stage – that have become increasingly more high-profile as the years have gone on. “Each project is a building block. A different lesson is learned through each project, and I would be cheating myself if I didn’t honor each part equally.” A rarity in the industry, Billy Magnussen is achieving success in all three mediums. But whilst he would probably be best recognised for his work on the big screen (with performances in ‘Into The Woods’, ‘The Big Short’ & ‘Bridge Of Spies’), his roles on the stage have bought him the most acclaim. In 2013, Billy was nominated at the prestigious Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor In A Play for his role in ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’, for which he played Spike. When I asked Billy about his experiences on the stage, he was quick to exclaim his love of performing at theatres: “I find myself craving to live a character out on stage again. To just eat up and breath every human emotion within two acts and an intermission. Theatre is so challenging, but after a show, that bow, honor, gratitude, love – it is worth everything.”

 

“Receiving the opportunity to play, dream and imagine again is spectacular gift.”

Magnussen’s last performance on stage was back in 2014, in a critically acclaimed off-broadway production of ‘Sex with Strangers’ alongside Anna Gunn, directed by David Schwimmer at the Second Stage Theatre – for which he received praise for his ‘quirky comic lines’ and his ‘bouncy magnetism’. This magnetism has not gone anywhere in the most recent years, with his focus having been on film and television roles – most notably in the Academy Award winning ‘Bridge Of Spies’ and the Academy Award nominated ‘Into The Woods’, as well as the Emmy winning shows ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’. I asked Billy if he had a dream role – to which he replied: “Every role I get is a dream role. Receiving the opportunity to play, dream and imagine again is spectacular gift. To be working as an actor is an honor.”Billy Magnussen Exclusive Photoshoot

On the 29 December, Netflix dropped the entire season of the award winning anthology series ‘Black Mirror’. Every season, there inevitably seems to be one particular episode that gets every talking – and this year – that episode was the Star Trek-inspired nightmare ‘USS Callister’ starring Billy Magnussen. “This gentleman knows what’s going down” Magnussen said speaking of the show creator Charlie Brooker. “Are you asking me to play a space alien villain? Where do I sign?”. Billy also pointed out to me that he starred alongside Chris Pine (who plays the leading role in the most recent Star Trek films) in ‘Into The Woods’ only a few years ago, “Live long and prosper” he exclaimed. I asked him what would be his alternative title for ‘USS Callister’, to which he replied “Play Nice” – referencing the antagonist’s alter-ego that is inflicted upon those stuck in the Star Trek-themed virtual reality – including Billy’s character.

Billy Magnussen Exclusive PhotoshootThis February, Magnussen is heading back to the big screen as part of an ensemble cast in the mystery thriller comedy ‘Game Night’. In this hilarious comedy, Billy will star alongside Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams and Jesse Plemons – who he recently worked with before in ‘Black Mirror’. “I have to say, I gained a friend with that guy [Plemons]. He has a hardworking Texan heart. If he tells you he beat me at a game of pool, he is lying and he still owes me twenty bucks.” The story follows a group of friends who meet regularly for their game night, and one night they find themselves investigating an actual murder mystery. I asked Billy when he last had a Game Night – “Just rocked out a Game Weekend up in Wyoming.” Naturally intrigued as to what games he played, I asked exactly that – “There are too many I love: ‘Betrayal at House on the Hill’ – a lot of rules, but worth the stories, ‘Cranium’ – I’ve never yelled so much, ‘Running Charades’ – you can skip the gym that day and ‘Credit Card Roulette’ – you don’t want to lose.”

Then in March, Magnussen will be starring in satirical thriller ‘The Oath’. Set in a near-future America in which citizens are required to take a loyalty oath — follows a man trying to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday without destroying his family. “To work with Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish, who are hilariously badass gracious people, was such a pleasure. I laughed and enjoyed myself so much making that film with them.”Billy Magnussen Exclusive Photoshoot

Another project we’ll get to Billy in later this year will be Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ with Academy Award Nominee Jonah Hill and Academy Award Winner Emma Stone. “I got the role because I think I have one of the best and hardworking management teams out there. Thank you Dara Gordon, Esther Chang, Hanley Baxter and Charles Bodner. Cary Fukunaga and Patrick Somerville [Director and Writer respectively] made a crazy playground to play on. I truly cannot wait to see it myself.”

It’s a busy year for Billy and his team, but he shows no signs of slowing down, with a role next year in Guy Ritchie’s highly-anticipated live-action reimagining of ‘Aladdin’. I asked him what audiences can expect from the film, to which he simply replied: “To be surprised”. For my last question, I was interested to know who Billy Magnussen is keen to work with: “Dreamers – Damien Chazelle, Steve McQueen, JJ Abrams.”

’Game Night’ hits cinemas on 23 February

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT DOYLE

INTERVIEW WITH ADAM CROOKES

GROOMING BY CECILIA ROMERO

STYLING BY CATHERINE PERIDIS

MORE INTERVIEWS:

Interview: Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden are teen-misfits in ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ on Netflix

Interview: Wallis Day has landed on ‘Krypton’

Interview: Ray Panthaki on ‘Marcella’ Season 2 & being a BAFTA Breathrough Brit

Interview: Blossoms on directing their music videos and their new album

Interview: Hayley Law is taking over your screens on ‘Riverdale’ & ‘Altered Carbon’

Interview: Violett Beane plays Truth Or Dare and shares her App Idea

Interview: Ralph Ineson on the freedoms of motion capture and his role in ‘Ready Player One’

Interview: Tommy Bastow on his role in ABC’s ‘The Crossing’

Interview: Jack Maynard on moving forward & balancing YouTube, TV & Touring

Interview: Disney’s Meg Donnelly talks ‘Zombies’ & ‘American Housewife’

Interview: Milo Manheim on role in Disney’s ‘Zombies’

Interview: Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden are teen-misfits in ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ on Netflix

Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden in Netflix Comedy The End Of The F***ing World

ALEX LAWTHER AND JESSICA BARDEN are a force to be reckoned with in this critically acclaimed Netflix comedy – ‘THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD’. Lawther is currently regarded as one of the most promising young talents on screen, with roles in ‘Black Mirror‘ and ‘The Imitation Game‘, his diversity as an actor is award-worthy. In this 8-part black comedy, Alex plays the character of James – a disturbed teenager who believes that he is a psychopath. James becomes acquainted Alyssa – a rebellious schoolgirl of the same age – whom he plots to kill whilst embarking on a roadtrip with her. Alyssa is played by Jessica Barden, who like Alex, has been taking the screen by storm with roles in ‘Penny Dreadful‘ and ‘Vera‘, Barden brings real presence in every scene, as the ‘says it as it is’, not to be messed with, teenager. I spoke to them both about their brilliant new show.

AC: How did you initially react to the title of the project?
ALEX LAWTHER: I think the title for me was explained by Chuck Foreman at the end of his comic, something along the lines of “of course it’s not the end of the world, they’re teenagers”. And reading that made sense of the stakes for Alyssa and James. Everything is do or die for them, literally. Everything is big, everything is important, everything is the end of the fucking world. And that’s a fun thing to play.

JESSICA BARDEN: I thought the title was really cool due to it being so shocking. I think it is the perfect title to represent the show, it tells you straight away that the show is going to be quite fearless.

Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden in Netflix Comedy The End Of The F***ing World

Did you read the comic before filming? How long did it take you?
ALEX LAWTHER: I read Chuck’s comic in a day before one of the first readthroughs. But the world we were playing in was Charlie Covell’s, and to me her James and Alyssa live in a sort of parallel British universe to that, and I felt it made sense to put my attention on tell the story she had written above all.

JESSICA BARDEN: I was sent this script about 6 years ago, so I read the comics before they were put together as one whole book. I found some and also my friend had some as he has been a fan of the comics for years. I don’t find comics take me long to read which is why I like them.

What was your favourite line from the script?
ALEX LAWTHER: In Episode 6, at the petrol station. “It’s a Glock 17MB. Ambidextrous magazine catch. Recoil operated. 19 rounds.” And then knowing in Alyssa’s head, in her voiceover, she was responding with “Yes James!”, which Jess had written all over her face.

JESSICA BARDEN: I loved everything I have to say! Charlie is such a brilliant writer, every line was so well thought over by her but at the same time she somehow managed to make it throw away, I feel like this is very true to how young people speak. She created a rhythm with her dialogue on the page and those scripts are always my favourite ones to act.

Alex Lawther & Jessica Barden in Netflix Comedy The End Of The F***ing World

What would your alternative title for the show be?
ALEX LAWTHER: “Not waving but drowning.” I think that sounds sort of catchy. It doesn’t have anything to do with the show, not really, other than poetically, maybe, but I love Stevie Smith and I think she’d get why Alyssa and James would steal a car and jump town.

JESSICA BARDEN: I think a good alternative title would be “Bye Marvin”.

Was there any improvisation at points?
ALEX LAWTHER: Not in the sense that we were making up lines as we went. There is a strict rhythm to this piece of Charlie’s writing, and if you start trying to naturalise it with ‘uhms’, and ‘ahs’, I found for me that messed it up. And James is not a man of many words. He seemed on paper, especially in the first half the series, to be allow himself to operate only in a painfully small box. A “yeah” or an “ok” is about as much as he can often muster.

THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD is streaming now on Netflix internationally.
 

INTERVIEW WITH ADAM CROOKES

MORE INTERVIEWS:

Interview: Liam Gallagher on his new album ‘As You Were’

Interview: The Magnetism of Billy Magnussen – ‘Black Mirror’ & ‘Game Night’

Interview: Wallis Day has landed on ‘Krypton’

Interview: Ray Panthaki on ‘Marcella’ Season 2 & being a BAFTA Breathrough Brit

Interview: Blossoms on directing their music videos and their new album

Interview: Hayley Law is taking over your screens on ‘Riverdale’ & ‘Altered Carbon’

Interview: Violett Beane plays Truth Or Dare and shares her App Idea

Interview: Ralph Ineson on the freedoms of motion capture and his role in ‘Ready Player One’

Interview: Tommy Bastow on his role in ABC’s ‘The Crossing’

Interview: Jack Maynard on moving forward & balancing YouTube, TV & Touring

Interview: Disney’s Meg Donnelly talks ‘Zombies’ & ‘American Housewife’

Interview: Milo Manheim on role in Disney’s ‘Zombies’