In Conversation with Freddie Thorp
We caught up with Freddie Thorp to talk about his new movie Overdrive and the dilemma of the protagonist criminals in cinema. Full editorial in Dear Boy Issue 02 BAD.
Hi Freddie, thanks for being part of Dear Boy. How are you?
FREDDIE THORP: I’m very well thank you. Just had a lovely shoot so thank you for having me. Right now, I am shooting two different TV shows. One is for Netflix called Safe, which is a murder mystery. It’s based on one of Harlan Coben’s, a novelist from the US in the crime genre. He’s created this in collaboration with Danny Brocklehurst, who’s a screenwriter, and it’s an 8 part series for Netflix.
Oh wow, that must be exciting! What role do you play in it?
FT: I play a bad boy. [laughs] Michael C. Hall, who was in Dexter and an actor I respect, I play his daughter’s boyfriend who’s a slightly bad influence. But there’s a genuine love between them. I can’t tell you much more about the narrative. [laughs] But he’s a well meaning bad boy.
It must be amazing to work with Michael C. Hall. Tell us, how did you get started in your acting career?
FT: Well, I suppose I’ve always been acting. Whether it’s a nativity play in school when I was two years old, or through school plays. I did a lot of theatre. I think the first time I considered acting as a profession, was when I was doing a school play. The director, who used to be part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, had a lot of connections in the industry. He didn’t tell me but he invited a couple of agents to come watch me in the play.
FT: Well they didn’t tell me, thank god! [laughs] I would have freaked out and fucked my performance. But yeah, they approached me after and wanted to sign me. That was the first time I really considered it as a profession.
How old were you when that happened?
FT: I was sixteen. From then on, that became my sole focus and after school, I left to New York and trained in Lee Strasberg. Since then the ball’s been rolling and it’s something I love. It’s something I’m very passionate about and very happy to commit my life to.
That’s amazing. At such a young age, it’s such a feat to have so much going on.
FT: No, but sometimes you forget it man! Because you get so caught up in the day to day that you lose perspective. When I do take a step back and think about it, I’m in a good position but that can change just like that. Something I’ve learnt is that you don’t wait for the job, ever. I’m lucky to be in work now but you don’t wait for the job. You just gotta live your life, you gotta be healthy and happy and that usually manifests in work coming to you. You attract that energy.
It’s true that positivity breeds positivity and certainly a good perspective to have in a career such as acting! Who are some actors that were your mentors or that you’ve looked up to?
FT: Simon Dormandy, who was the director who invited those agents, he used to work for the RSC. He was probably my first mentor at school and he is incredible. I just remember he had such a presence. He really inspired me and kinda took me under his wings. I respect that in terms of mentors.
Actors I look up to – Mark Rylance. He’s absolutely my idol. I saw him in a play Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth and that blew my mind. I was lucky enough to see that play but he’s one of the most poised and beautiful actors. He doesn’t have to do anything and your eyes are still absolutely focused on him. I’ve had influences from all over, I love Benicio Del Toro cause he’s cool as fuck. We could go on forever but these are my top few.
Some actors just have that sparkle. Speaking of amazing actors, how do you normally prepare for a role?
FT: The first thing I look at is how much the character and I have in common, and how much we differ. The characteristics that are similar I usually feel will present themselves during the performance. Where I differ, that’s my homework. That’s where I’ve got to work at how I can access that. That can be through physicality, something I use a lot, and often also using personal experience. I play a car thief in this film Overdrive and I’ve never stolen a car, but I might have stolen a chocolate bar or two, y'know? [laughs] So you use what you’ve done in your life and relate to it and you can often access that and it translates in the performance.
Your latest lm is Overdrive. Can you tell us more about it?
FT: Yeah! It’s a fun movie, I don’t think it’s trying to be anything else. It’s an action packed movie...
It’s a rom com!
FT: [laughs] Almost! No, in short, it’s about two brothers – me and my brother Scott Eastwood in the lm. We’re half brothers and we planned a grand heist to steal a fleet of cars from French gangsters and succeed. We get caught between two different gang- ster and there’s a lot of beautiful cars, it’s set in Marseille which is a beautiful part in the south of France. It’s a world of elegant automobiles. It’s a fun movie, it’s not trying to be anything else.
Can you tell us more about your character Garrett? What is his personality?
FT: Yeah see that’s the thing! Specially after what I just said about having similarities with my character. Garrett shares a lot of characteristics with me – he’s innately cheeky, he often will step his foot in it without knowing. He has a naivety that is very endearing which – especially against Scott’s character, who’s very stoic and serious – works really well in conjunction because mine’s silly, but also knows what he’s doing. What he’s most driven by is his love of cars and when it comes to planning a heist, he knows what he’s doing.
It seems like you relate quite a bit to Garrett! He’s a criminal in Overdrive, does it automatically make him a bad person in your opinion?
FT: Not entirely bad. It depends on how you look at these things. I mean obviously this is fiction, right? Car thievery in fiction is not always about the act of stealing. First things first, we’re stealing from gangsters and they’re a lot worse people than we are! [laughs] But also, he’s a sweetheart and the protagonist and they’re not in anyway antagonistic. They’re absolutely the heroes of the piece and you’re rooting for them. By no means would I say Garrett is a bad person. He steals cars, but it’s usually from pretty bad people. Two wrongs don’t make a right but he’s still nice and it makes good watching. [laughs]
It’s the lesser of two evils right? Did you face any challenges while playing Garrett?
FT: I think the challenges were more to do with technicalities. I’ve never done a lm of that scale so it was kinda baptism by re. It was also about learning how to translate a performance on a project of that budget and scale, and try and not to seem too theatrical and make it work for camera. It was just about learning on the job and learning as I go along. I think that was my biggest challenge.
Garrett and your character in Safe are both bad boys as you said. Do you remember a time when you did something bad?
FT: I mean I’m not a kleptomaniac, but I did nick a chocolate bar once. I’ll give you that one but let’s leave it at there. [laughs]
What about a guilty pleasure?
FT: Great British Bake Off!
We love it here at Dear Boy! Who’s your favourite this season?
FT: Yup, I’m watching this season and I love Sophie. That’s my guilty pleasure cause actually I have a real aversion to reality TV. I think it’s a pile of shit and it’s ruining the world but GBBO – it’s great.
Do you not like reality TV?
FT: Not at all! I actually never have watched any reality TV apart from the GBBO and I am quite vocal about my dismay about it because it’s just a shame.
What if one day you’re asked to be on some- thing like Celebrity Big Brother?
FT: I would tell them to go fuck themselves. [laughs]
Tell us something that people don’t know about you.
FT: I sing a bit but I’m very shy about it so no one really knows. I was in choir when I was younger, which wasn’t very cool. [laughs] It’s not very “Bad Boy Hollywood”. I sang as a soprano, before my voice broke. That was when I was really young. I did Christmas carols and the sorts. Even now just when I sing along in my car, my friends would say good stuff. But yeah, I’m gonna explore that but I won’t be comfortable singing in front of people. [laughs]
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
FT: I’m filming these two TV shows up until about December. I’m looking forward to going out to my Dad in Thailand for a month there, so that’ll be a really nice holiday. Then I gotta go to LA for February.
What am I looking forward to? Hopefully another job as well! But if not, have some fun! [laughs] I’m not really one who plans ahead. Part of my thing right now is taking it day by day because it can really fuck with you, especially when you’re self employed and acting or an artist. You’ve got to just take it day by day because you never know what’s around the corner. If you get your- self too wrapped up in the future, you’ll end up in a downward spiral because you’ll have a tad too much expectations. I’m looking forward to good things hopefully!
One last question – on a scale from 1 to Riri, how bad are you?
FT: Is she bad? She’s the bad girl? Man I’m fucking 10 points past Riri. [laughs]
See Freddie's full editorial in Dear Boy Issue 02 BAD.
Photographer JUN H
Styling VINCENT LOH
Grooming JOLANDA COETZER at LHA REPRESENTS
Styling Assistant JARIEL ANN TAN