Wednesday, January 21, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Jack O'Connell Dishes On Angelina Jolie's "Big Heart"

By Lottie Lumsden - 21 January 2015
News and entertainment editor

Jack O’Connell is the British actor everyone is talking about right now - and for good reason. Not only has he recently worked with Angelina Jolie, but he is the new face of Prada and earlier this month was nominated for a BAFTA. Not bad for a 24-year-old lad from Derby.

When I meet him just hours after being nominated for the 2015 BAFTA EE Rising Star Award, Jack tells me all about working on Unbroken, the Angelina directed biopic, in which he plays Louis Zamperini, the Olympic track runner-turned- Japanese prisoner of war.

Angelina and Jack at the London premiere of Unbroken
Angelina and Jack at the London premiere of Unbroken
Although he isn’t sure about being called her protégé. ‘I don’t know. I was pretty warped before I met her, wasn’t I?’ Much has been written about Jack’s troubled past. He has admitted to having a criminal record, which he claims caused problems when trying to secure an American visa, but he has never revealed what his ‘run-ins’ with the law entailed.

He adds, ‘Angelina’s definitely given me an insight into how to do it [act], how to do it properly. She’s keen to remind me that if I ever need advice or anything [she’s there], but I’m an adult and I’ve got a pair of bollocks. I can stand on my own two feet and the more I do that, the more proud of me she’s going to be. So I guess in that sense it does motivate me, but I don’t want to cling on to the woman, you know.’

Jack was recently nominated for a BAFTA (Getty)
Jack was recently nominated for a BAFTA (Getty)
He’s clearly very grateful to Angelina, who has described the former Skins actor’s talent as ‘a gift’. He recounts how, before filming for Unbroken started, she visited his family and friends back in Derby. ‘She met a handful of my nearest and dearest, bless her, she didn’t need to do that either. But she took it upon herself. While I was preparing for the shoot, she decided it was a good idea when she was in the country to come and do that.’

Jack admits that on another occasion, she insisted on visiting the family of one of his close friends who had recently died. ‘He was terminally ill,’ he explains. ‘She provided me with a helicopter from down South, where I was preparing for the shoot, so I could go and visit him. After his passing, she insisted on meeting his family and spending time with them in his house. It did them the world of good. That is an insight into Angelina and how big her heart is. She had no agenda – what does she want out of me? She was doing that because that’s the humanitarian in her.’

Jack also speaks about working on Tulip Fever with Cara Delevingne (who he was rumoured to be dating) and Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas. ‘I think they’ll both be decent, man,’ he says. ‘I didn’t work with Cress but I did work with Cara and that particular scene needed her.’ He is referring to an extremely steamy sex scene Cara reportedly has with Glee star Matthew Morrison. ‘She needed to govern that scene and she did. She did it well, too. I think she’ll go far. She’s busy, busy. Apparently.’ Folding his arms, he adds, ‘Brits abroad, man. It’s a good time to be British in America.’

 To read the rest of the interview pick up a copy of this week's Grazia. Jack has been nominated for the 2015 BAFTA EE Rising Star Award. Cast your vote here

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