Life af­ter love

Schon! - - Contents - Words / Katie Shuff Photography / Paul Whit­field Fash­ion Edi­tor / Kay Korsh Groom­ing / Sheri­dan Ward us­ing Kiehl’s & Clar­ins Men Styling As­sis­tant / Char­lie Mil­ton

Coat & shirt / Kenzo

With his four­teen years of act­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, en­com­pass­ing a va­ri­ety of roles from revered pop stars to cult fan­tasy he­roes and lovesick boys, one would be for­given for for­get­ting that Thomas Brodie-Sang­ster is only twenty four years old.

From a young age, Brodie-Sang­ster set him­self apart from his con­tem­po­raries. “All the other chil­dren at au­di­tions would read the script in the ex­act same tone,” he re­calls. “I would think, ‘That doesn’t sound right, how can I do it so that it sounds dif­fer­ent?’” This de­sire to bring a char­ac­ter to life was sparked whilst watch­ing his fa­ther on stage: “It was so much fun watch­ing my dad get­ting such a pos­i­tive re­sponse from the au­di­ence. I thought, I have to do that.” From the start, Brodie-Sang­ster en­joyed the re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing in front of a cam­era. His first job, at the ten­der age of 10, as the lead in Sta­tion Jim, a small in­de­pen­dent film for the BBC, con­firmed his ma­tu­rity be­yond his years. “I was fas­ci­nated with the pas­sion­ate peo­ple on set. Ev­ery­one had come to­gether for one thing. I felt I had to do my job prop­erly.”

De­spite miss­ing out on the op­por­tu­nity to play Ron Weasley in the Harry Pot­ter fran­chise, Brodie-Sang­ster was pro­pelled into the lime­light at just thir­teen years old, play­ing Liam Nee­son’s scene-steal­ing son, Sam Emer­son, in the heart­warm­ing film, Love Ac­tu­ally. Roles in Nanny McPhee and Nowhere Boy fol­lowed, firmly ce­ment­ing Brodie-Sang­ster as a house­hold name. Yet, he still re­mains un­easy about his recog­ni­tion. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when some­one com­pli­ments you in the street be­cause they’ve found a con­nec­tion with your work,” he pon­ders, “but it soon starts to get a lit­tle weird.” Per­haps he is re­fer­ring to the gath­er­ing of girls who have con­gre­gated out­side his ho­tel win­dow, although he modestly in­sists that they are here for fel­low ac­tor, Dy­lan O’Brien. Brodie-Sang­ster’s dis­missal of celebrity only serves to em­pha­sise his de­sire to play the most in­trigu­ing of char­ac­ters. “For me, act­ing is about por­tray­ing life in its en­tirety. Be­ing dif­fer­ent is not some­thing we should shy away from.” It is this level of ma­tu­rity, along with his ver­sa­til­ity, which has con­trib­uted to his suc­cess.

Hav­ing re­cently flexed his act­ing mus­cles on Game of Thrones, as Jo­jen Reed, Brodie-Sang­ster won the hearts of the se­ries’ most zeal­ous fans. Poised with the right mind set, he ex­plains, “I went into GOT know­ing that I was never go­ing to please ev­ery­one. A char­ac­ter from a book is very per­sonal to you, so as an ac­tor, you just have to un­der­stand your char­ac­ter in or­der to make them as true as pos­si­ble.” It is that men­tal­ity which proved in­valu­able when film­ing his lat­est cin­e­matic ven­ture, The Maze Run­ner, also based on a best­selling book. Un­like many teen movies, this adventure film about a band of boys trapped in a fan­tasy filled maze has no hint of ro­mance, a re­fresh­ing con­cept that Brodie-Sang­ster felt com­pelled to be a part of, play­ing the coura­geous Newt. “I liked that the story was about a group of boys who gen­uinely care for one an­other and how that was not con­sid­ered a weak­ness.”

In a far cry from the days play­ing the beloved Sam Emer­son, Brodie-Sang­ster is set to ap­pear as Rafe Sadler in BBC Two’s hotly an­tic­i­pated adap­tion of Wolf Hall, Hi­lary Man­tel’s crit­i­cally ac­claimed novel fol­low­ing the court life of Thomas Cromwell. Rel­ish­ing the chal­lenge of work­ing with nat­u­ral can­dle­light and hand held cam­eras, Brodie-Sang­ster thrived, act­ing along­side Mark Ry­lance and Damien Lewis. De­spite garner­ing such a var­ied and ma­ture ré­sumé, his boy­ish good looks of­ten mean that he is cast as char­ac­ters a lot younger than him­self. Far from feel­ing ag­grieved, he em­braces it. “I’m used to it now, and it ul­ti­mately makes things eas­ier. I’ve been a six­teen-yearold so it makes it eas­ier to play one.”

This young, but ex­pe­ri­enced, ac­tor re­mains in­fec­tiously en­thu­si­as­tic about his trade and, in par­tic­u­lar, the parts he has played. “Ev­ery role is spe­cial to me as they all rep­re­sent a part of me as I was grow­ing up,” he ex­plains. “When I think of my­self at 19, I think of my­self play­ing Paul McCart­ney.” With many more roles to come, Thomas Brodie-Sang­ster un­doubt­edly has plenty more mem­o­ries to make.

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