You have been the face of Jaeger-LeCoultre for a few years now. When you look back, how did it start and what is special in this collaboration?
I was a huge fan of their Amvox range and Jaeger-LeCoultre approached me about working with them so it was very organic and a very good match because I genuinely love their watches.
As international actor, you must be exposed to a wide range of luxury products and watches. What makes Jaeger-LeCoultre watches different?
I realised how beautiful and exquisitely made they were. They are really like works of art. I have visited the Jaeger-LeCoultre factory in the Vallée de Joux and saw for myself how much work goes into making their amazing watches. It was refreshing to see that the process is still done by hand.
How did your first contact with fine watchmaking come about? Do you own a personal collection?
I do have a collection of watches. I have always loved watches and owned a few but I only got serious when I discovered the quality of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches. It started with a love of the Amvox range and grew from there. My first serious watch was a vintage 1930’s watch bought for me by my then girlfriend (she later became my wife).
Your discrete yet charismatic elegance is often highlighted. How does it affect your taste in terms of watches?
I love to wear a watch that is beautifully made and very elegant but also understated. That is why I am such a fan of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
What does ‘elegance’ mean for you?
Elegance to me is to simply be classy but understated.
Can you tell us more about your daily relationship with luxury, and watches in particular?
I am fortunate enough to own a few Jaeger-LeCoultre watches and will often wear an Amvox during the day and then in the evening my current favourite is the Gyrotourbillon.
You already have a rich career, with more than 20 years of experience. Can you share with us the special moment where you knew you wanted to be an actor?
I did a school play aged thirteen and knew I wanted to act. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do and luckily it worked out for me. It was never about the glamour, it was to do with truthful storytelling and eventually I fell in love with the craft of acting.
What is the biggest challenge of being an actor today? The biggest reward?
The only challenge for me is the amount of travelling and being away from home so much. The reward? I consider myself extremely lucky and privileged to be in this business.
You started your career on television and nowadays it seems to be becoming more and more attractive to talented film actors and directors. Can you tell us about your project The Knick by Steven Soderbergh?
I did a lot of TV when I was younger but in the last few years have been doing movies. I wasn’t really thinking about going back to TV but I was sent a fantastic script set in 1900 New York and based around the world of medicine – with Steven Soderbergh directing. It’s due to air on Cinemax in the autumn.
Did immersing yourself into the dark universe of New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital during the early 20th century require a special preparation?
I love to prepare properly for a role and like to have plenty of time before shooting begins. The most enjoyable aspect of the job is the fact that every new project is a discovery of new things.
Generally speaking, what are the main differences between acting in a single movie, and shooting an entire TV series season, of 10 episodes for instance?
Generally speaking TV is much faster than film. On The Knick we would often shoot up to 12 pages of dialogue a day. It’s hard work but does give you the opportunity to really develop a character over time.
What is your best motto that you could share with us?
Always treat others how you would want to be treated.
How important is timing for an acting career? Do you remember a special moment that really changed your life?
Making movies is all about the timing: Timing of your lines, your energy and concentration. Because there is so much waiting around it’s all about being ready to deliver in the few moments you are actually in front of the camera. I think the special moment for me was winning a place at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 19. Three years of quality theatre training which I am still benefitting from.
You often said you could never leave London. What is so special about it?
It’s home. London is an amazing city full of great restaurants and great shopping. A couple of my favorite restaurants are Cigala and Murano.
When not working on a movie, do you have any hobby or occupation you share with your family?
Without question, just being able to spend time with my family.
If you weren’t a talented actor/ comedian, in what field could you have succeeded?
I have no idea. I only wanted to be an actor so I’m very lucky it worked out that way.