Jack O’Connell, whose previous lead roles include Starred Up, ’71 and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, discusses his latest film in which he plays a disgruntled New Yorker with a grudge who takes George Clooney’s character hostage in the financial thriller Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster.
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I have added high quality photos of Jack attending a premiere of Money Monster in Madrid Spain at the Picasso Tower earlier today to the gallery! Keep checking the gallery for more photos to be added tomorrow.
FLAUNT – Jack O’Connell pauses, rakes his knuckles across his knees, and shouts, with a northern English kind of muscularity, “Ooff.”
I’ve just asked him to describe his perfect night out—his version of a truly good time. The 25-year- old is sitting with me today to talk about the future. He doesn’t want to trip down the path Hollywood continually prods him along; to play the scar-faced bullyboy for the rest of his life. Had I asked him this question back when he was auditioning for parts at the Royal Court, in the thick of a year-long Young Offender’s Referral Order as a late teen, I suspect his answer would have been brief: “To stay out of jail.”
Instead, he talks about wide horizons. Good music, a decent crowd, a stunning backdrop. Oh, and nice quality beverages. “Not just tinnies.”
O’Connell—who stars this spring in Jodie Foster’s reality TV thriller, Money Monster—grew up in rural Derby. You can trace the trouble he got into there along the ridge of his forehead, where flesh is divided by thick, ruler-straight stress marks. It’s a toughness that has brought him film roles and fashion gigs; from a starring part in David Mackenzie’s drama Starred Up (2013)—where he plays a savagely hotheaded prisoner—to a Prada shoot with Craig McDean—where he appears in a taut, noisily patterned turtleneck, swizzling a gin tumbler. Shane Meadows spotted his leatheriness early on, casting him as bovver-booted gang protégé in 2006’s brilliant, bleak, fascism tome, This Is England.
There was always a strange sadness to O’Connell’s violence, though. In an early days This Is England audition tape, he raps as part of a three-piece hip-hop group, a knock-off designer tee jangling around his knees. “I’m a tough little cunt and I’ve got no hair,” he spits, almost melancholically. “I’ll put you down and I don’t care.” Then there was ITV’s cop soap The Bill, in which he depicts sexually abused 13-year-old Ross Trescot, who rapes a middle aged policewoman. For the largest part of O’Connell’s decade-long career, he’s played characters that are bad because bad things have happened to them: in turn, his performances are both brutal and beckoning.
Jack O’Connell attended a photocall for Money Monster earlier today at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, Germany. You can check out high quality photos from the photocall in our gallery!
I have added high quality photos of Jack attending The 8th Annual Filmmakers Dinner hosted by Charles Finch and Jaeger Le-Coultre at Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc yesterday to the gallery!
I have added additional HQ portraits Jack for the Los Angeles Times last month to the gallery! Please credit back the site when re-posting photos, thanks! <3
Jack’s feature in Evening Standard Magazine released today. You can check out digital scans from the issue in the gallery!
YAHOO – Jack O’Connell is just anonymous enough — for now, anyway — that unfamiliar viewers who see Money Monster are going to be stunned to discover he was brought up in Derby, England. The 25-year-old Brit nails the Queens accent, along with the borough’s blue-collar sensibilities, as Kyle Budwell, a man so enraged by a bad, savings-depleting stock tip that he takes hostage the TV financial guru (George Clooney) responsible for the bum advice.
O’Connell has earned acclaim in a series of low-budget British-produced films like This Is England, Starred Up, and ‘71. He also won wide praise for his lead role in his Hollywood breakout, the Angelina Jolie-directed WWII drama Unbroken, although the movie failed to live up to its pre-release Oscar hype. And while he played a mild-mannered soldier in that film, Money Monster shows O’Connell simmer in a performance that manages to upstage both his Academy Award-winning co-stars, Clooney and Julia Roberts. It’s no wonder the Oscar-winning actor who directed them, Jodie Foster, plucked a guy from Derbyshire to play a New Yorka.
At the Los Angeles press day for Money Monster, O’Connell revealed another quality: being a candid, grateful, soulful, introspective interview. He said actors can be a–holes to each other. He gave a truthful assessment of how his hard-scrabble upbringing in the U.K. would have lead him down a dark path had he not made it as a performer. And he expressed frustration over the process of auditioning to play a young Han Solo in an upcoming Star Wars spin-off, a role that went to Alden Ehrenreich instead (the announcement came just hours after our interview). Few 25-year-old Hollywood neophytes would dare give such an honest response given the politics of the industry and what it could mean for future opportunities. Then again, few 25-year-old Hollywood neophytes have the chops that O’Connell possesses.
Like Unbroken, one of the last films we saw you in, Money Monster is directed by an Oscar-winning actress who is more about filmmaking these days. Developing trend, or pure coincidence?
Pure coincidence, I would say, mate. I mean if it is a trend then more female directors, please. But that’s speaking selfishly. I consider myself fortunate. Angelina I’ve stayed in touch with, she’s a very loyal person. She came and watched my play, The Nap. We did it up in Sheffield [England]. It was off the circuit, a little bit, in terms of London. I invited Angelina along, said, ‘Look, I know you’re in the country. I’m doing this play if you want to come and see.’ And I couldn’t believe it, she turned up. I think going anywhere with her level of stardom is quite an issue. But she doesn’t let it impede her. I think that is very admirable.
What was your impression of Jodie as a filmmaker?
I loved her level of commitment. She was always there. And though she was an actor, she was never in her trailer, which is alien because actors love trailers. Some love them too much. But she’s very driven… Jodie kept me on my toes.
Did you see any similarities in the filmmaking approaches of Angelina and Jodie, given they’ve had somewhat parallel paths?
I think they both recognize that everything you do as an actor is at some kind of cost. Whether it’s emotional or physical or financial or whatever. Not all directors respect that. Not all directors care about that. And I think that can also be a very effective environment to work in as well. But, I certainly appreciate the level of consideration that Jodie and Angelina both kept when they were delivering their direction and trying to steer my performance… It makes me feel like going the extra mile then.
I’ve added a new portrait Jack took for Vanity Fair at the Cannes Film Festival to the gallery!