Oliver! Thank you for sitting down with us. Congratulations on ‘Witch’ that was a big hit at the London Independent Short Film Festival. Do you work mainly in film in London, and how do you choose your projects?
Thank you for having me. Yeah, I’m glad the film was well received, I had a great time working on that. Steph the director, and Joe Elliot the producer had such a clear vision for that particular film, it was fantastic to work with them both. I feel we left people wanting more, with thoughts and questions that linger after the credits roll, which is what you want to strive towards. How I choose projects comes down to the material and the passion of whoever is driving it. I like to challenge myself as an actor. I feel fortunate, as I get to do a lot of different things, which is brilliant to have that variety. I do a lot of commercial work, and have done some great campaigns for some big brands that have had a really wide reach globally. Recently I’ve done a couple of cool music videos, and a few other things, but yes, Film is really where my focus lies, and what I’m drawn to working on.
What was the biggest challenge as an actor in London when you started?
That’s a difficult question. For me, I think like anything when you start from nothing, with no platform to work from, you have to get in front of people and connect with people and show that you can be valuable in some way to them. You have to get your foot in the door to get that first opportunity. In London, that can sometimes be hard. At the very beginning the biggest challenge was the catch 22 of not being able to get an agent without work, but not being able to get work without an agent. You’ve just got to go for it, be resilient and not take no for an answer. Having confidence in yourself is key.
You recently worked with three time Emmy nominated, BAFTA winning director Martin Percy on a confidential project, could you tell us about it? We won’t tell anyone…
Haha. I want to talk to anyone who will listen about the project, but I’ve been signed into secrecy. They want to keep it all under wraps for the moment, which I understand, given the nature of what they’re trying to achieve. Martin has been awesome to work with. To work with someone of his calibre and experience, and what he has achieved has been fantastic I’ve learnt a lot from him in the period we’ve worked together. He has an ability to have complete faith in his vision, which is inspiring to be around, and also energising creatively for me as an actor. I’m looking forward to seeing what it all looks like.
What drives you as an actor, and whose work inspires you?
I am driven to explore characters, and to work on material that I find challenging. For me, it always starts with the writing. It’s the benchmark and the rest of the stuff moulds around that. When you read material that you connect with, it’s an awesome feeling. I’m inspired by lots of different actors. There are too many to mention. I’m a huge fan of Ed Norton, Christian Bale, Ben Mendelsohn, Kevin Spacey, of course DiCaprio. Mattias Schoenaerts is a Belgian actor who I think is brilliant. They all have such ability to be completely believable in everything they do. I love watching actors where you forget who it is you’re watching. You buy into the character they are playing entirely. You never step out of that world.
What is it about being an actor that you enjoy the most?
I love exploring the character. Creating the person, doing the research. I love how you start with something, and then days later its completely deeper and more convoluted than before. It evolves. I like getting lost in the ideas of how things will play off against each other. I love the collaborative aspect of it. When you’re bringing this energy and desire to achieve something authentic, and someone else is coming back at you in a scene and taking you to a different place to what you were expecting. That’s exhilarating. I’m fascinated by people, and getting to play different individuals, walk in their shoes and feel their motivations and what drives them is really, really interesting to me. I love doing a scene and thinking with the other actor; Yeah. That felt really good. That felt real.
Define yourself in three words.
Ambitious, positive, creative.
We have just been informed of your possible career move to Los Angeles. Wouldn’t you miss London?
I recently went to Los Angeles for the first time, and just I just fell in love with the place. The energy out there is different, I love the edge there and how the city is so eclectic. I love the positive mentality people have, and how outdoorsy everything is. Don’t get me wrong, I love London. It is an unbelievable city. I have lifelong friends here, and it has everything you could want. I had some contact with a couple of agencies whilst I was visiting LA, and it got me thinking about it seriously for the first time. Moving is going be a big thing to do, but at the same time such an exciting challenge for me professionally. I feel in life you have to take risks, and embrace not knowing what the outcome of things might be. That’s the fun of it.