Words by Mr Benjamin Seidler
I catch Mr David Gyasi at the tail end of his photoshoot. He is just about to step into a cab to begin a journey to Cardiff for a purpose he's not allowed to disclose. "It feels strange to be so secretive," he says, "but I had the same situation with Batman, which I'm only now allowed to say I'm in. I'm in The Dark Knight Rises, but I can't say what part I'm playing. Still, it's exciting."
Mr Gyasi credits his new-found upward trajectory to the recent decision to focus on his career. "About two years ago," he explains, "my wife and I got into a position where I could concentrate solely on acting. We decided that I'd only take scripts that really sing to me."
Now age 32, in the past 10 years he has gone from bit parts in soap operas to a role in the upcoming epic feature film Cloud Atlas. The highly anticipated film version of Mr David Mitchell's Booker Prize-shortlisted novel sees Mr Gyasi star alongside Mr Tom Hanks, Mr Hugh Grant and Ms Halle Berry. In it, he plays characters from three different centuries, creating a movie that is "mad, but beautiful. I saw some clips and it's amazing how they've interwoven scenes from six different eras". Essentially, the movie is about the lives of souls travelling through time in different bodies.
Mr Gyasi depicting Victor in the BBC drama White Heat, March 2012
Cloud Atlas looks set to be a complex and powerful drama, and in that regard not unlike Mr Gyasi's other project, about racially charged 1960s London, the BBC series White Heat. "Some of [that subject matter] shocked me, particularly when you think that we're only 50 years on. My character Victor is a law student from Kingston, Jamaica, in London on a scholarship. He comes to the UK full of optimism, and that's quite quickly shaken as he finds the UK is not a country welcoming him with open arms. He quickly has to adjust to survive."
The fact that Mr Gyasi could pull off all the different styles of waistcoats in the images above is a testament to both his skills as an actor and the true versatility of this natty piece, which was revived by many designers this season. It is part of a classic tailoring trend that has gained real traction, just like Mr Gyasi's career.
"Traditional, tailored, and a sense of enjoyment and occasion" is how Mr Gyasi describes his off-duty style, which revolves around tailoring. Describing his native English style, he says, "We'll wear brogues in the country. I always think Kanye West said it best in that Estelle song: 'Dressed smart like a London bloke. Before he speaks his suit bespoke'. It's nice that in America they look at us like that. And I think it's true."