FOR­TUNE FAVOURS THE BOLD

West­world and Black Mir­ror’s Jimmi Simp­son shows you that in 2018, adding some pat­tern and per­son­al­ity to your wardrobe is the best way to get peo­ple talk­ing.

Esquire (Malaysia) - - STYLE - WORDS BY EMILY POENISCH EDITED BY TEO VAN DEN BROEKE

Early on in the first sea­son of HBO’S sci-fi-western hy­brid West­world, Wil­liam, the wide-eyed, wary guest of the an­droid theme park, was es­tab­lished as one of the show’s piv­otal char­ac­ters. By ques­tion­ing ev­ery­thing about a mind-bend­ing world in which peo­ple pay to in­dulge their dark­est im­pulses, the char­ac­ter, played by Jimmi Simp­son, be­came our proxy. But don’t as­sume that means Simp­son will spill the beans on what to ex­pect when the show re­turns this spring: he pleads near-to­tal ig­no­rance about the plot, only al­low­ing that it’ll be epic. “Ev­ery­thing I hear, I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’”

But first he stars in Fe­bru­ary’s US TV series Un­solved, based on the mur­ders of Tu­pac Shakur and the No­to­ri­ous BIG. Simp­son plays Rus­sell Poole, an LAPD de­tec­tive who went to his grave believ­ing that po­lice cor­rup­tion played a role in the killings. (An un­re­lated film, Labyrinth, in­spired by the same story, star­ring Johnny Depp as Poole, will be re­leased later this year.) Simp­son found the role among his most chal­leng­ing. De­spite be­ing “used to mak­ing peo­ple laugh, creep­ing them out, in­tim­i­dat­ing them,” as he de­scribes it, he was caught off-guard play­ing Poole, whose sin­gu­lar fo­cus on the case bor­dered on ob­ses­sion. “I left ev­ery day of work feel­ing like a piece of shit — I was sure this would be the big fail­ure of mine.” Now, he says, “it’s some of my proud­est work.”

Which is say­ing some­thing for the 42-year-old ac­tor: Simp­son’s ré­sumé goes back nearly 20 years and in­cludes dozens of cred­its. His most mem­o­rable

work to date came in the wake of two life-al­ter­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in 2012. The first was his di­vorce (from New Zealand ac­tress Melanie Lynskey). The se­cond was a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent (a hit-an­drun that left him con­vuls­ing on an LA dual-car­riage­way). Be­fore then, he says, “I had found this rhythm of get­ting parts, and I was grate­ful for them, but I kind of let it de­fine me. Like, I’ll be the goof­ball who says some­thing crass, and then I can to­tally pay my rent. I lost my abil­ity to see it” — act­ing — “as hav­ing value. And then my life turned around.” Ever since, he’s tried to take roles “where I’m wrestling with hu­man­ity”.

And with the oc­ca­sional non-hu­mans, too: he stars in the Star Trek–in­spired Black Mir­ror sea­son four opener “USS Cal­lis­ter”, which cre­ator Char­lie Brooker told him is one of his all-time favourites. Later in the year, Simp­son will co-star along­side An­drew Garfield in Un­der the Sil­ver Lake, helmed by It Fol­lows di­rec­tor David Robert Mitchell. As his good for­tune con­tin­ues, Simp­son, who grew up in north­ern New Jer­sey and cut his teeth in the­atre, re­mains hum­ble.

“I con­duct my­self as if I am a space­man in Hol­ly­wood,” he says. “I don’t want to do any­thing fancy. I don’t want peo­ple to send me free clothes. I just want to be grate­ful for this craft they let me do.”

DI­A­MOND DOG Green wool jacket; green wool trousers, both by Canali. Red/green/black pat­terned wool vest, by Marni. Blue cot­ton shirt, by Pal Zi­leri. Pink/pur­ple polka dot cot­ton tie, by Belvest. Brown leather shoes, by Bruno Magli.

THE NEW MON­KEY SUIT Grey cot­ton jacket; grey cot­ton trousers; black leather belt, all by AMI Alexan­dre Mat­tiussi. Grey cash­mere mon­key-print sweater; mul­ti­coloured cot­ton shirt, both by Prada.

Green silk bird-print shirt, by Dolce & Gab­bana. Grey pin­stripe wool suit; black/red/ white striped wool vest; white cot­ton shirt, all by Dior Homme. Green suede shoes, by John Lobb. Black cot­ton socks by Pan­therella. BE­LIEVE THE STRIPE SILK SCENE

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