Chopard meets the rising young British actors

In London's Phoenix Theatre, Gentleman's Journal and Chopard profiles six new acting talents

Millie Brady

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

“I never went to drama school so I’m a bit like a sponge, learning things from everyone,” says Millie. There’s been a lot to soak in. After an early start in children’s theatre (“I used to go into film auditions and do them as if I was talking to kids”), Millie was quickly cast in several critically-acclaimed projects, including Viking drama The Last Kingdom. For all that youthful, sprightly optimism, though, it’s a saga of an altogether darker disposition that might come to define Millie’s early career.

"I never went to drama school so I’m a bit like a sponge, learning things from everyone..."

“I’m most excited about Samaria, a Swedish crime trilogy that comes out later this year. It’s just a cool story, completely dark and full of cliff-hangers.” The project features a daunting smorgasbord of talent, from its writers to its headline stars. That might once have left Millie feeling overawed, but not anymore. “I used to get really intimidated by someone super-successful. But now I think it’s very important to just see people as people.”

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

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Freddie Thorp

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

“I’ve always wanted to play a psychopath,” Freddie says. “There’s something magnetic about a character like that — charming on the surface but with intense malice underneath.” It’s an interesting admission, not least because Freddie couldn’t be further from such a character. “I’m interested in roles about people who are very different to me. I like finding a way in — the gait, the way you move. Often when I’m walking down the street I’ll play with different walks and talks, and then suddenly there’ll be that moment…”

"I’ve always wanted to play a psychopath. There’s something magnetic about a character like that..."

Some parts are more familiar than others. “I’m playing a character very similar to me in an indie film called The Summer of Life and Death,” he says. “It’s a real passion project. But I think it’s important to balance your career both with big budget pieces and stuff that you really love doing.” But to Freddie it seems that everything is a passion project. “I’ve always acted,” he says. “I’m just totally driven on making it my world.”

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

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Aiysha Hart

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

“I’d love to play an evil character. I think it would be fascinating to get into the headspace of someone really evil and try to empathise with them,” Aiysha says. “But I never get cast in evil roles — maybe I need to start being really horrible to work with!”

"I never get cast in evil roles — maybe I need to start being really horrible to work with!"

It’s hard to imagine that happening. In reality, Aiysha is much closer to the character she plays in Colette, a new biopic about the French writer, starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West. “It’s a sort of proto-feminist movie that explores Colette’s life and writing. It’s about female authorship really, which is something I’m really passionate about.”

Colette’s story is particularly pertinent given the current climate in the industry. “What needs to change in the world of acting is more opportunities for every kind of person,” Aiysha says. “We need to see more of our everyday lives on screen and on stage. it’s imperative that people see themselves on those platforms.”

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

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Shazad Latif

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

“Acting’s a bit like sport,” Shazad says. “It’s all about finding that zen moment.” He should know. On the set of The Commuter, a new British thriller released later this year, Shazad was struck down by a particularly virulent case of food poisoning. To make matters worse, it hit at the precise moment he was due to do a pivotal scene with his childhood hero, Liam Neeson. “I was vomiting right up until they said action,” he laughs. “But it all worked out. With an actor like Liam, you learn through osmosis.”

"Acting’s a bit like sport: It’s all about finding that zen moment..."

“I use the cameras as an excuse to relax,” Shazad says. That’s a pretty useful outlook when the stakes are this high. As Lieutenant Ash Tyler in Netflix’s Star Trek: Discovery, Shazad has become a custodian of perhaps the most beloved universe in film and television history. “It means a lot to people. They’re not just watching a show — for them it’s a way of life. But that’s why we do it: to spark emotion.”

Hermione Corfield

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

“In my first class at acting school we ate a lemon for an hour,” Hermione says. “You’re not even allowed to mime it, you just have to imagine it and feel it and taste and smell it.” It seems to have stood her in good stead; later this year, Hermione takes a leading role in Slaughterhouse Rulez, a slasher horror from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Not that she’ll be viewing it.

“In my first class at acting school we ate a lemon for an hour...”

“I really don’t like watching myself. It’s the first 10 minutes that are the worst,” Hermione says. Much more enjoyable is the process of making the film. “Working with Tom Cruise on Mission: Impossible was incredible. He was extremely hard working — straight from the word go we were off and away.”

“I think I’d tell my younger self to enjoy the whole process more. Often you might think: ‘I was so perfect for that, it was mine,’ but in reality it was never yours and it was never going to be yours. I think that’s something important to hold on to.”

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

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George Blagden

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

“I have an old face, apparently,” says George Blagden. “I’ve worked in period dramas for the past five years — my face must just look historic.” George certainly brought an established grandeur to the role of Louis XIV in Versailles, a character so intensely historic that it was racked with limitations. “Playing Louis, you have lots of people around you on set saying, ‘You wouldn’t say that like that, you wouldn’t move like that’. But it can also be fun to throw everything out of the window.”

“I’ve worked in period dramas for the past five years — my face must just look historic...”

There’s been ample opportunity to let loose. At the end of last year, George appeared in the new series of Black Mirror, in an episode that skewered the world of online dating. “So many people from all over the world want to work on Black Mirror because of its amazing cult status. A show like that is so incredibly bold. I think if I was talking to my 24-year-old self now I’d say, ‘Be braver’. This industry is all about being brave, really.”

Ever since 1860, Chopard has been championing new ideas, talents and innovation, and in keeping with its reputation, the house has collaborated with Gentleman’s Journal to profile the six brightest young actors that are set for greatness in 2018, accompanied by their Chopard watches. 

Chopard meets the rising young British actors

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