The Young British Actors To Watch In 2019

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The Young British Actors To Watch In 2019

Words by Ms Jessica Punter | Photography by Mr David Urbanke | Styling by Mr David St John James

1 May 2019

For scriptwriters, producers, directors, audiences and, of course, the actors, digital streaming has ushered in the golden age of television. No scheduling restraints, budgets to match Hollywood, and a host of major new studios willing to experiment – there has never been a greater canvas for storytelling.

As always, the latest crop of British acting talent is to the fore in this particular medium. Particularly when it comes to playing mavericks: characters that are charmingly ruffled, somewhat off-kilter, unable to be anything but unashamedly themselves. Here, MR PORTER presents a quartet of young gentlemen who have been doing just that in various buzz-worthy serials, as they reflect on “pinch-me” moments on Disney sets, blazing a trail for inclusivity on screen and the life-changing moments that brought them here. And, yes, as we do also like to offer up a take-home from these things, we’ve worked with hairstylist Mr Tyler Johnston to demonstrate the sort of seemingly unstyled, decidedly unfussy hairstyles that seem to be sweeping the nation (if not the globe) this summer. Scroll down to pick up a few tips on how to act natural yourself.

Mr Edward Bluemel

Playing a vampire never did anyone’s career any harm, and as Marcus Whitmore in Sky One’s A Discovery Of Witches, Mr Edward Bluemel doesn’t disprove this theory, though it’s not the only way he’s been getting noticed. From acclaimed short film House Finch, he’s also scored parts in the hilarious mock-frat romp Sex Education and the much anticipated second season of Killing Eve. With an eye for fashion, he gravitates towards a buttery soft Loewe jacket and a pair of wide-leg cords by Dries Van Noten on the MR PORTER rail. This huskily voiced, enviably haired, 26-year-old from Somerset, is on a roll, but – please – don’t call him Ed.


How did you get into acting?

I was 11 years old, and there was a school play, and I could speak louder than everyone. At that age, talent is irrelevant – drama teachers just want somebody who’s going to stand there and shout so all the parents can hear. I got the main part and thought, “This is cool, this is fun.” And after we did this play, all these parents and teachers were like, “Wow, that was so good,” and I got my first “heroin injection” of approval. I thought: I can get used to this.


What can we expect from series two of Killing Eve?

It’s more of the same brilliant, clever scriptwriting and awesome complex characters, but the intensity has just been turned up. You see Eve lose the plot and Villanelle start to show her vulnerability and weakness, which is really interesting. As for my character, Hugo Chambers, what attracted me to the part is he’s a really fun, annoying addition to the cast. He’s a privileged, posh, white boy who’s walked into this job at MI6; he’s a spanner in the works. It’s fun to play the spanner.


We’ve noticed you like to ask your Instagram followers “who wore it better?” Do you consider yourself a competitive dresser?

I like to dress to impress. I like items of clothing that get an equal number of compliments and winces. I went through a big phase of insisting on dressing a bit like a cowboy, which everyone I knew hated. I definitely love to peacock with my clothes.


The cut: ask for curtains – short, graduated layers with longer lengths on the top.

To style: squeeze freshly washed hair with a towel or wet down dry hair with a water spray. Then, working with the natural parting, texture and movement, blow-dry using fingers instead of a brush, taking the hair off the face. Finish with a conditioning aid such as Pankhurst London Leave-In Styling Conditioner for texture.

Mr Nikesh Patel

Growing up in Wembley, north London, Mr Nikesh Patel thought he’d become a journalist. But as a “bookish child” who loved fantasy, he found himself more passionate about learning lines than revising for exams while studying English Literature at the University of Warwick. With upcoming parts in Doctor Who, Disney’s Artemis Fowl and a lead role in Ms Mindy Kaling’s TV adaptation of Four Weddings And A Funeral, it seems a good thing that he rewrote his career plan.


Who were your screen idols growing up?

I didn’t really grow up thinking, “I’d like to be like him,” for quite a while. Just in terms of representation, it wasn’t until Raza Jaffrey was on Spooks that I was like, “Oh.” I can joke about it now, but when I declared my aspirations of becoming an actor, for my family, the two poles of what you could achieve were Bollywood or EastEnders. You have to find your own way a little bit.


How did you handle working with Mr Kenneth Branagh on Artemis Fowl?

It was amazing. He’s an icon. I auditioned and got a call back. And they explain that the final stage will be a screen test. Foaly, my character, is a centaur, and Ken’s idea is to shoot it practically. I ask, “How do I practically emulate being half horse?” They say, “You’re going to be on stilts.” I get on set and my only thought is, “Don’t fall over. Don’t stack it on a Disney film and take Kenneth Branagh out.”


What can we expect from Four Weddings And A Funeral?

I think it’s true to the spirit of the original. I think the best way I could describe it is that we have a bigger canvas. It’s a new group of characters, and it’s a celebration of London. It looks like the city that I live in. What Mindy Kaling has done is incredible because it’s taken an American woman of Indian descent to tell the story in this way.


How important is fashion to you?

When I was filming Indian Summers in Malaysia, we had a local tailor who started making costumes for the show. When you realise the work and artistry that’s involved, it was really eye-opening to me on how Western tailoring is influenced by the East or subcontinent. I think it’s grown in importance: if something has a bit of a story behind it, or even just details like the lining or if the cut is a certain way, I’m more into that now.


The cut: ask for a French crop – short, blended lengths with a tidy, graduated outline and slightly longer layers through the top.

To style: wash hair and finger-dry for a natural texture. Apply Patricks M2 Matte Finish Medium Hold Pomade by working a little bit of product into the hands and into the hair, for a slightly broken texture.

Mr Chance Perdomo

When Mr Chance Perdomo was two, he decided he wanted to be the first black president of the US, or an actor. Born in Los Angeles then raised in Southampton, the 22-year-old’s second ambition is on track, having recently picked up a Bafta nomination for his portrayal of Jerome Rogers in Killed By My Debt. He’s also lining up a second season as pansexual warlock Ambrose Spellman in Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, while amassing a cool 807k Instagram followers with his unabashed passion for memes.


Tell us about your Bafta nomination?

I was in bed, it was 8.40am, my agents called me, and they say, “Sorry to wake you, Chance, but you’ve just been nominated for a Bafta.” And I was like, “What? Tell me any time of the day!” And then I called my dad and I was holding back tears, and I called my mum, who was in North Carolina. It was 4.00am her time. I could hear her waking up and just going, “What? Oh, my God!” And we just had a little cry together. It’s Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Grant and then Chance in the middle. Yeah, it’s mind-blowing.


Biggest life lesson?

Shout out to my mum, who taught me stability and certainty tend to breed complacency. I quite like the exhilaration of hustling the next. I don’t tend to dwell on the great, life’s good, rest on your laurels. While you’re resting, someone else is working. Make no mistake, you’re only as good as your work ethic.


Most cherished possession?

There’s a watch that my father gave me after I finished Bugsy Malone. He came from America to see the show and he gave it to me as congratulations. I think it’s broken, but sometimes I wear it for the sentimental aspect. If I’m nervous or I feel like need it, I’ll just keep it in my pocket.


What’s your red-carpet style?

Donald Glover is always a reference, right? What’s the point of playing it safe? You have to be able to mess up. Failing isn’t really a bad thing, it is just a part of the process of success. For example, we went to the Captain Marvel premiere and I wore Mr Turk – a look that I did on a photoshoot once. There were floral patterns everywhere and a turtleneck. It’s all about pushing boundaries.


The cut: ask for a soft flattop with short sides – use clippers to achieve a shorter outline, then freehand scissor-cut the top lengths for a more structured shape.

To style: after shampooing, leave to dry naturally. Use a couple of drops of Sisley - Paris Precious Hair Care Oil and work through the hair to condition and give a low sheen.

Mr Freddie Wise

Mr Freddie Wise, 26, can hardly believe his luck. Raised in Hampshire, at drama school he earned the nickname “Freddie Fredmayne” and got a call back from an agent after a “gladiatorial” final monologue. With his studying days barely behind him, he’s landed a role in Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil and as the new romantic lead, Geoffrey Charles, in popular period drama Poldark. Style-wise, he favours Japanese labels, cites Messrs Alain Delon and Paul Newman as inspirations and on our shoot, brings an oversized Raf Simons suit jacket beautifully to life.


Can you describe your experience on Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil?

It was one of those things where I went into the audition, said the lines and came out thinking it was a complete waste of time. Then a week later, found out that I’d got it and that was just the most incredible experience. It was my first ever job, the sets feel like skyscrapers and you have over a hundred crew members just waiting for you to not screw up. So, I definitely told myself that I was going to enjoy it and after the initial nerves I had two weeks of night shoots. It was some of the best times I’ve ever had.


Tell us about Poldark?

This is the first series that Debbie Horsfield, the writer, is not basing on any of the books by Winston Graham. This is a completely original work from her. So, I think it’s almost got a real political thriller vibe to it, it’s very streamlined and the stakes are very high. I think it will be different to what people have come to expect from Poldark. I’m just really proud of the work.


Favourite item of clothing?

I went to Paris with my girlfriend and went into this vintage store and got an artist’s overshirt and it’s something I wear the whole time. It’s a bit, Alain Delon? Even though I don’t look anything like him, in my head I feel like that.


Do you like dressing up for shoots?

Oh, it appeals to all my vanities. When I was little I wasn’t a big performer but I just loved dressing up. I was always in little Spider-Man or Superman outfits. Sometimes you wear a suit, like today, and it immediately informs the photoshoot and I think that’s when clothes are just pieces of artwork, aren’t they?


The cut: ask for longer layers to give body and movement. Break up top lengths with natural golden highlights.

To style: apply a volumising or texturising spray like Oribe Dry Texturizing spray to damp hair. Use a hairdryer to blow out from roots to the ends to create volume, following the natural parting. Finish with a mattifying wax to give the shape more hold and a fine, flexible hair spray such as Oribe Superfine Hair Spray.

Hair by Mr Tyler Johnston