Marie Claire UK - 10.2019

(Axel Boer) #1




Callum Turner has just said
goodbye to his colleague.
Smudge, he explains, is an ex-
paratrooper training him to play
Shaun Emery, a soldier convicted of
murderin Afghanistan, in new six-
part BBC dramaThe Capture. ‘It’s
intense,’he says of the role, which
sees the soldier fighting for his
freedom.Later this year, Turner also
joins Anya Taylor-Joy and Bill Nighy
for the 2019 big-screen adaptation
of Emma, in which he plays romantic
deceiverFrank Churchill. Growing up on
a council estate in London’s Chelsea,
Turner left school at 16 to pursue modelling

  • ‘[school] was very rigid, I couldn’t wait to
    leave’ – before his first major role beckoned
    in2014’sGlue. The BBC adaptation ofWa r
    & Peacefollowed, then his breakout film,
    TheOnly Living Boy In New York, before
    Turner was selected by JK Rowling for
    FantasticBeasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald,
    which firmly put him on the map. Now
    datingfellow actor Vanessa Kirby, who he
    met on 2014 drama Queen & Country,
    Turner explains where it all went right...

What was it like training with a real soldier for your
character inThe Capture?
‘I trained with Smudge four times a week. We learned
surveillance and how to shoot guns. That stuff is so
important because if you’re playing a trained soldier,
it’sa completely different perspective on life.’
Is it ever surreal, thinking, ‘Who am I today?’
‘Yeah.I didn’t have it so much with Shaun, but I was doing
a dance sequence in Emmaand I had an out-of-body
experience, like, “What’s going on?!”’
Do you think skipping drama school has had an
impact on the kind of roles you’re offered?
‘At the beginning, definitely. I remember people saying
I should go to drama school [while I was modelling] and I
thoughtabout it, but, actually, in the three years I would’ve
been at drama school I worked with John Boorman, Paul
McGuigan,Jeremy Saulnier, Adam Leon... I would’ve been
wanderingaround pretending to be a tree so I’m glad I didn’t!’
Didthe modelling come in useful?
‘I guess [acting and modelling] are similar. I started modelling
at 16 − I’d just left school and someone asked, “Do you want to
go to Paris tomorrow?” and I was like, “Sure, why not?” I didn’t
do it for long, but I guess being in front of a camera,
understanding angles and building confidence helped.’
Whatkind of films were you into growing up?
‘Myearly inspirations were − and still are − anything by
GaryOldman, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson
isthe god of cinema. He didFive Easy Piecesplaying this alpha
male character, then inThe King Of Marvin Gardenshe plays
thecomplete opposite. He can do anything!’
Yourroles are varied, too...
‘If I do ten per cent of what Jack Nicholson does, I’ll be happy.’
Whatmade you want to become an actor?
‘I’ve always loved films and the way you can tell the same story

in different ways. Watching films
for escapism, and being entertained

  • that’s why I’m in it. I don’t want to
    justplod along, I want to work with
    people who do stuff that’s interesting.
    My philosophy has always been that
    I’lltake on any character... it means
    I get to play a varied bunch of people.’
    Fantastic Beasts was huge.
    How did it feel to land the role?
    ‘I was over the moon because I really
    wanted to work with David Yates
    and Eddie Redmayne. And obviously JK
    Rowling, whose cultural footprint on this
    earthwill last hundreds of years. I wanted
    to learn from them, and Zoë Kravitz. We’re
    all friends now, that feels very special.
    To see how it works on such a big movie −
    what they all do is create this safe space,
    thisintimate environment for you to feel
    comfortable. Everywhere you go, there’s
    aHarry Pottershop! I feel very blessed.’
    What’sit like to step on to a new set?
    ‘I think every actor will say it’s nerve-
    racking on the first day. It’s like going to
    a new school. But that’s why I like playing
    leads because you’re on the journey the
    whole way through, with the director and other actors. So
    you find the rhythm and the flow, and can really start to play.’
    It must take time to spot everyone’s work style?
    ‘Completely. Like when I didThe Only Living Boy In New
    Yo r k, I had two weeks with Jeff Bridges, then a week with
    Pierce Brosnan and a week with Kate Beckinsale, then
    finished with Cynthia Nixon. I didn’t go to drama school,
    but watching those guys do their thing − that’s how I learn.
    These people are experts; they’re at the top of their game.’
    Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the talent?
    ‘No, I don’t get star-struck. I get nervous in the same way I’d
    get nervous if I went to a friend’s party and you don’t know
    many people. But it’s soon cool and I don’t get overwhelmed.’
    I guess they’re not ‘Jeff Bridges’ any more, just ‘Jeff’?
    ‘Yeah it’s funny. I’ve got a great video of me and my friends
    and Jeff and his mate when we were doing the press for
    The Only Living Boy In New York. We got a helicopter and were
    all pretending to play it cool like, “Yeah, we’ve been in
    a helicopter before” and all of us are freaking out and laughing
    − it felt like we were six years old, having too much sugar.’
    Some actors hate watching themselves back. Do you?
    ‘I think it’s important. I’m a visual person and I’ve got a system
    − I watch it once to get through it, cause I’m dying inside. Then
    I watch it again [feeling] less [like I’m] dying, then the third
    time I watch it for the performance. Like, “I wonder why that
    shot was used”, or “I could’ve done that more”. I analyse.’
    Acting can be feast or famine. Is that stressful?
    ‘Last year, I didn’t work because the films I wanted to do fell
    through, and I was quite bored work-wise. We spend all this
    time doing interviews, going to events, meeting with people...
    then the bit you enjoy most is between ‘action’ and ‘cut’. That’s
    what’s frustrating. You’re not doing ten hours of acting, you’re
    doing 20 minutes. Playing someone else, going ten to 15 times,
    th a t’swhat I want to do.Th a t’swhat’s exciting.’■
    The Captureis on BBC One and BBC iPlayer now

‘In the yearsI would

have been in drama

school, I worked

with John Boorman,

Paul McGuigan

and Adam Leon...

I’m glad I didn’t go’

co- star Laura
Haddock, in
The Capture
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