Photography by Mr John Lindquist | Styling by Mr Toby Grimditch
Words by Mr Alex Godfrey
Everybody loves Mr Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. Well, at least everyone in the East London studio where the 26-year-old actor is currently busy lighting up the room. It's a common impression, since graduating from drama school Mr Stewart-Jarrett has been in demand - becoming one of the stars of E4's Bafta-winning, super-powered delinquent drama Misfits (he's just finishing work on series three); appearing in the BBC adaptation of Mr Martin Amis' Money last year; starring in Mr Danny Boyle's charity theatre event The Children's Monologues alongside the likes of Ms Gemma Arterton and Mr Ben Kingsley; and co-starring with Mr Edward Hogg in the forthcoming feature film The Comedian.
You are clearly interested in style - where has that stemmed from?
Yeah, my cousin got me into it. I'm not as fussy about it now, perhaps because you tend to try more things when you're younger. Back then, I was into themes. I was into the nautical theme before it became hugely fashionable. Stripes, boating shoes, big knits, all that kind of stuff. But in the past few years, I have grown to know what I like, far more than I did when I was 21. At that age, you are still honing your character.
Are there certain styles or pieces you've now settled into?
Yes. I don't really wear patterns like I used to. I guess I'm a bit of a Francophile. I also take a lot of inspiration from movies. If I see a [Jean-Paul] Belmondo movie I might think something's amazing, or Romain Duris from The Beat That My Heart Skipped, where he wore a little leather jacket and those boots and I thought that looked really cool. Things like that influence how I dress.
Your relaxed style has something of the late New York artist Mr Jean-Michel about it. Intentional?
Basquiat epitomised cool. A lot of those kids did, if you think about Patti Smith, how cool she was, they were just broke and had a certain aesthetic, and I think a lot of artists do. They just hitched lots of things together and become cool.
Do you ever get sentimental about clothes?
No. Because I am sentimental, I try to counteract that, so if something gets lost it just gets lost. For example, the stains on these jeans I'm wearing, that was a spilled sandwich. They are really expensive, but you think, "Oh well. It's fine. I was hungry."
What's your take on the clothes you wear in Misfits?
It's not my style, but I think it suits the character. His job as a runner influences how he dresses. I'm not a runner. There's a definite polarisation there. But I really enjoy wearing his stuff, because I'd never buy it.
What are your future plans?
Doing things that are interesting and different is the key. I recently did a film called The Comedian with Ed Hogg, who's absolutely fantastic. He plays a comedian and I play his lover. It was a real experience for me, as the whole film was improvised. We rehearsed for three months, we played around and built up these characters from scratch. We listened to different music, talked about a lot of films. The director said, "This is your space. Bring your day in, bring how you feel in with you." It taught me to improvise, something I'd been scared about.
Had you not improvised much before?
We did it at drama school but it was always on that surface level. This was about eking out something from your soul. You're really mining yourself and the other actor, and trying to build a character without any text. It was lots of things: nerve-racking, exciting, amazing.
Are films something you plan to focus on?
I really hope so. There's something about the seed of a film, and growing that, then letting it go. With film, more than television, unless it's Hollywood, it is as if we are creating a piece and however you, as an audience, perceive it, is how it is. The good ones don't think about a fan base or accessibility. It's a piece of work.
You worked with Mr Danny Boyle on stage recently for The Children's Monologues. Was that just a one-off performance?
Yeah. I hadn't been on stage for two years and I was absolutely petrified. Forget about Danny Boyle, forget about Ben Kingsley in the wings, forget about all of that stuff, I was just nervous about being in front of an audience. I had this opening stance, my hands were on my head, and I was just wobbling back and forth. I thought I was going to be sick. One day we rehearsed with Danny Boyle and he was so encouraging. It was amazing to be around those kind of actors; Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne...
How did you feel about being directed by the infamous Mr Boyle?
When I was asked to do it I really felt it - it was big - and all those films flashed before my eyes. But if you want be good or believable, you essentially have to forget about that. It was made easier by the fact he was very personable and encouraging - a really nice guy. I'm not saying I don't get star struck. But you have to lose it at some point. You can't be scared of doing it, otherwise you won't be able to do anything.