Jeremy Irvine talks about unexpected fame, fans and Colin Firth

Jeremy Irvine and Colin Firth – Less than four years ago, Jeremy Irvine was about to throw in the towel.

“I was thinking I’d made a horrible mistake,” says the 23-year-old actor. “I’d missed out on university and even turned down drama school because I wanted to go my own way about it. I was thinking, ‘This wasn’t a very sensible decision.’”

But then a certain Mr Spielberg took a hand in his career, casting Jeremy as the hero of his 2011 epic War Horse, and this young man from a Cambridgeshire village became one of the hottest actors around, almost overnight.

Jeremy popped up again in the 2012 teen drama Now is Good; he played Pip in Mike Newell’s Great Expectations and he has just finished filming The Reach, a thriller with Michael Douglas. But the project closest to his heart has been The Railway Man – the harrowing true story of Eric Lomax, a British officer tortured by the Japanese during the Second World War.

To play the young Lomax, Jeremy lost 30lbs from his not exactly bulky frame. “But I was lucky enough to meet the real Eric Lomax before he died,” explains the actor, “and I wanted to do his story justice. Having said that, a lot of what he went through was unthinkable and we only touch on it in the film.”

The Railway Man also allowed the young actor to meet a personal hero – Colin Firth – who plays Lomax as an older man. “He’s the nicest guy,” says Jeremy. “He invited me into his home to rehearse, even though we don’t share any scenes and he really didn’t have to give up his time to help me. And you’ve no idea how many of my mum’s friends have begged me for tickets to the premiere now. I just hope Colin has good security.”

And what of his own female fanbase? “I don’t do social networking so I’m happy in my ignorance,” he smiles. “But I get a lot of letters and I’m lucky that they’re always nice.”

The fanbase continues to grow, as does Jeremy’s CV. He has just been cast in Fallen, adapted from Lauren Kate’s series of young-adult novels, and when we meet he’s in the middle of shooting Angel of Death, a follow-up to the horror hit The Woman in Black.

“I get to play a fighter pilot and wear a big bomber jacket, which is every kid’s dream,” he says. He could even, at a push, fly a plane himself, having taken lessons with the RAF while at school.

Other skills in his portfolio include riding, which he learned for War Horse, and motorbiking, which he does in The Woman in Black: Angel of Death. So is there anything he can’t do?

“Dance,” he laughs. “I’m terrible. I have a few drinks and think I can do it, but I really can’t. I like the romantic idea of doing a musical but no one is going to cast me in one.”

Though he’s now a Londoner, at least by adoption, Jeremy takes every chance to revisit his country roots. “My friends and I still behave like 12 year olds,” he grins. “We muck about in the fields, and that’s great for me. Swanky events are nice once in a while but they’re not really my scene.”

He didn’t hesitate, however, when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge invited him and the rest of the War Horse cast back to their place for drinks after the premiere.

“And that was lovely,” says Jeremy, “because my grandma was my guest so I got to take her to Buckingham Palace.”

Does he sometimes have to pinch himself? “Yes, but you can’t think about all that stuff otherwise you’d go insane. Fame scares me sometimes because you can’t switch it off, but someone once told me: ‘Just do the work and then go home – that’s where you can freak out’.”

The Railway Man opens on January 1 [UK].


Jeremy Irvine – ET Interview

Jeremy Irvine - ET Interview

ET Online – When Steven Spielberg handpicks an actor to hang an entire movie on, there are great expectations placed upon their performance and subsequent success. Luckily for us all, Jeremy Irvine’s post-War Horse career has been as gripping and exciting as his Oscar-nominated, tear-inducing film debut.

Following the little-seen, but simply wonderful, Now Is Good, Irvine stars as Pip in Mike Newell’s retelling of Shakespeare’s Great Expectations. And while the film is set in the 1800s, there’s a marvelous modernity infused throughout that elevates it above your standard classic literary adaptation. ETonline chatted with the rising star about taking on this iconic role, how he brought something new to the seventh version of Pip and which of his upcoming roles he’s most excited for audiences to see.

ETonline: What appealed to you about this incarnation?
Jeremy Irvine: There have been a few TV adaptations, and that modernized movie, but there hasn’t been a period movie version since David Lean’s movie [in 1946]. I felt like it was about time. There’s a trap that actors fall into while doing period pieces; we get caught up in the etiquette of the time. If two characters are in love, they stand on opposite sides of the room and are terribly prim and proper. We wanted to make something a little bit more raw and violent and visceral. We didn’t want to get caught up in that. Mike Newell, the director, wanted to do a movie that felt modern despite the period clothing.

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Jeremy Irvine joins “The Reach”

Jeremy Irvine and Michael Douglas will star in "The Reach"

Jeremy has added another project! He will join Michael Douglas in the thriller “The Reach,” which begins filming next month in New Mexico. Up and Comers reports:

Douglas will play a hunting enthusiast who hires Irvine’s character as a guide to trek through the desert in the two-hander. The two men don’t get along, and things take a turn for the worse when the hunter’s true nature is exposed after killing a prospector. He takes his guide hostage, mercilessly torturing him and “puts him through painful mental and physical tests in the middle of the sweltering desert.” Jean-Baptiste Leonetti is directing the thriller from a script by Stephen Susco.

Congrats to Jeremy! Michael Douglas even posted about this on his official Google Plus profile.

Source: Up and Comers