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Fresh off the back of a star turn in Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet, we catch up with British superstar Joe Alwyn about getting into an evil mindset, playing the long-game in his career, and his upcoming role in Steven Knight’s A Christmas Carol.

words by Francesco Loy Bell

It’s an unnerving experience, having to ask an actor to fill you in on the ending of the film you’re supposed to be interviewing them about, but it’s a testament to Joe Alwyn’s charm and down-to-earth manner that he duly obliges, happily relaying the final ten minutes of Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet with an infectious enthusiasm only someone with genuine passion for a project could muster. I had been most of the way through Lemmons’ bold new offering, centred around American historical icon and slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, when the fire alarm sounded, resulting in a hoard of shell-shocked journalists being quickly ushered out of the building, only to be told that we would not be able to watch the last 25 minutes of the film. Fast-forward 24 hours, and I can’t help but pause to reflect on the surreality of sitting across from the films horrifying antagonist as he casually explains his fate to me over coffee. More on that later, however.

Despite being the only actor in his immediate family, it’s fair to say Alwyn inherited some of the requisite DNA to pursue a career in film, his father, a documentary-maker and his mother, a therapist. Alwyn sees both as formative, instilling him with the “curiosity for looking into people’s lives, observing, and listening to stories” that had possessed him from an early age. “I always liked going to the cinema,” he explains, “sitting in big dark rooms, watching stories. It was kind of a way to disappear.” Though he cannot pinpoint the exact ‘light bulb’ moment in which he decided to become a professional actor, he does attribute seeing Ben Whishaw as Hamlet at the Old Vic when he was 12 or 13 as foundational, and “one of those moments that stick with you, where I thought: ‘I would really like to do that’.” That feeling soon blossomed, Alwyn taking numerous shows to the Edinburgh Fringe while at school and university, shows he can now jokingly admit “should not have been seen by anyone!”

Drama school naturally beckoned, the then-graduate enrolling himself into The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, an experience he looks back on fondly, his eyes lighting up as he recalls some of the more eccentric aspects of his time there. “A lot of rolling around on the floor, a lot of tight black clothing. And lots of trees, I was a brilliant tree,” he laughs, before informing me, in sudden deadpan: “you’re also looking at a llama.”

Alwyn probably wouldn’t have expected such a swift re-entry into the dynamic absurdity of drama school so soon after leaving, but then he probably wouldn’t have expected to be working with director Yorgos Lanthimos only a couple of years later either. Having shot his first job — Ang Lee’s reverse-engineered war film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk — just after he graduated in 2015, Alwyn was sent the script of a then still in development The Favourite soon afterwards. “It felt like a special script. I mean, at that point, I hadn’t read that many scripts. I still was” — he catches himself, as his eyes widen in momentary wonder — “well, I still am new to this. But yeah, it was just… such a good script. I knew of Yorgos; I knew of his films. And those two things kind of narrowed together: this twisted take on a genre that can be quite conventional and stuffy, and his very unique, singular mind. It was exciting.”

A skype session with Lanthimos soon followed (“we talked about everything probably apart from The Favourite” Alwyn laughs), and the rest is history, the actor landing the role of Samuel Masham, a young baron in the court of Olivia Colman’s Queen Ann. Though his turn in the film is punctuated by exaggerated physicality — the court dancing scene with Rachel Weisz a particularly memorable example — Alwyn tells me that it was only when he got on set that Lanthimos’ true, bonkers vision began to come to life.

“I didn’t know that it was going to become one of those moments,” he says of the dance scene and others like it. “Because in the script it just said ‘they dance’, or, ‘he chases her’.” He can’t help but smile when speaking about Lanthimos: “He is hilarious. And confusing. He doesn’t really say anything to you about conventional direction; there was no discussion of period, or etiquette, or character, or history — which I think we’d expected to a degree, just because of the nature of the film. We had two weeks of ridiculous exercises and rehearsals, where I’d be playing Olivia’s part, and Olivia would be playing Nick [Hoult]’s part, and you’d sing the lines, and you’re chasing each other, and… you don’t know what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it. And Yorgos doesn’t say anything. And then he’d get on set, and just kind of say ‘Mmm… louder, faster, quieter’.”

The profound respect Alwyn holds for Lanthimos is tangible — he responds “Yorgos again” in a flash when I ask him who he’d love to work with — and he largely credits the director’s vision for the success the film has since garnered. “He made it weird and wacky and bawdy and irreverent, and it’s just not what you’re used to seeing,” he gushes. One particular on-set tale gives some insight into the energetic nature of Lanthimos’ sets, Alwyn recollecting a close-shave experience during a flirtatious forest scene with Emma Stone which resulted in the actress being taken to hospital. “The woods scene; the rugby tackling scene. We — or I — got maybe a little too carried away in the rugby aspect of it, and Emma took a fall… which was completely my fault. She knocked herself on the root of a tree and hurt her head; the paramedics came, she had to go to hospital, and we had to stop filming for the day.” The sheer panic still momentary lingers on Alwyn’s face as he recounts the story: “She’d just won an Oscar […] I was cowering in the corner thinking I’d just killed Emma Stone.”

Alwyn’s latest project, Harriet, is a stark departure from The Favourite, the actor trading in Masham’s comic fluidity for the chilling rigidity of Gideon Brodess, the vengeful and sickeningly violent son of Harriet’s owner. As aforementioned, it is difficult to reconcile the man sitting opposite me sipping his coffee with the evil he portrays on screen, and I’m curious as to Alwyn’s process for getting into such a poisonous mindset. “It’s tricky, because what he stands for is abhorrent, and obviously unrelatable,” he explains. “What him and his family did, and the idea of slavery, is repulsive. But I suppose with those kinds of characters you try to find some kind of humanity within them — which suits the time they were living in — to hold onto. And in Gideon’s case, it’s probably some kind of deep, repressed, buried feelings of love. Maybe love for Harriet? I don’t think he necessarily has a language for it, or even understands what it is. But he’s deeply tangled and confused inside. And you try and connect with those sides of him. But, in terms of who they are and what they stand for… it’s hard to find a way in. It’s near impossible.”

Alwyn gives a brutal performance in the film, deftly showcasing Gideon’s skin-crawling internal struggle between racist disgust, and Lima Syndrome-style  lust of Harriet, and his antagonistic villainy is the perfect foil to fellow Brit Cynthia Erivo’s stunning performance as the eponymous emancipator, Alwyn extolling her “formidable” work ethic and on-screen generosity as hugely motivational in his preparation. The story of Harriet Tubman, though well known, is perhaps not as staple a piece of knowledge in the American psyche as her actions demand, and Alwyn hopes that the film will help to give her the wider historical credit she deserves, both in the States and beyond. “Growing up in the UK,” he explains, “I didn’t know who she was, really. I’d seen her name; I’d seen the older iconic images of her. But I didn’t know her story. You hope that films like this will make it more accessible, and bring people in to learn about her and the story of what she did, what she achieved.”

As the politics of division take hold around the world, there has been an intensified focus on the debate surrounding story-telling, and the potential impact or consequence a story can have in the current climate; Todd Phillips’ Joker, for example, has faced significant criticism for potentially giving encouragement to white terrorism and racism. In this vein, the telling of stories like Tubman’s seems more necessary than ever, and this is not lost on Alwyn. “If you go on Twitter and read down on the news, there’s endless stories of division and racism, bigotry, families being torn apart at the borders. Without putting too much on it, if there was someone who represents a fight in the face of that, Harriet Tubman seems to shine pretty strong. And you’d hope that someone like her would become a part of a global curriculum at school.” Alwyn is hopeful that giving figures like Tubman their due historical credit — at least in terms of film — will universalise her all-too-recent struggle, and help unite people in the face of societal partition.

Alwyn’s next project will see him return to London, albeit a dark, Dickensian version of the city, as he takes on the role of Bob Cratchit — Ebenezer Scrooge’s much-abused clerk — in Steven Knight’s upcoming rendition of A Christmas Carol. Though he cannot give too much away, he promises the miniseries will be much darker and truer to Dickens’ sordid portrayal of London than previous versions. “It’s very much more in that kind of gritty, darker, slightly twisted world,” he explains. “It’s not as sanitised, perhaps, as most other versions are […] it really goes into Scrooge’s own pain and why he is the way he is in quite an unpleasant way. And definitely in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”

Alwyn speaks with a soft, magnetic enthusiasm that almost makes me forget that this is indeed an interview, and I am disappointed to look down at my dictaphone and discover that our allotted time slot is drawing to a close. Characteristically, however, he laughs off any time constraint, and I am afforded some final questions. At 28 years old, the actor is arguably slightly older than some of the other industry ‘up-and-comers’ one might bracket him alongside, and I ask whether he thinks the hyper-visibility of fame elicited by social media is in part to blame for an increasing tendency to link the validity of success with being in your early 20s. Alwyn, despite having an instagram page and being in a relationship with one of the biggest musicians in the world, is notably more private than many others in his position, and he quotes a piece of advice given to him by Ang Lee on set of Billy Lynn in his response.

“It’s not a sprint,” he decides, after some deliberation. “Everyone has different ways of going. I’m still at an early stage in my career. I left Central in 2015, the first film I was in came out at the end of 2016. It doesn’t feel too long ago. I don’t think there is any right way to do it, but […] I do think it’s an interesting point about social media and the idea of instant visibility, an instant attainment… it’s a dangerous thing to play into. And something that would be dangerous to get hooked on because I don’t think it’s real. You know, social media is [a facade]. And if you buy into that being a reality — or that’s what you go after — it’s not healthy.”

I am struck by how refreshing Alwyn’s attitude to fame is, though by the end of our conversation, I am hardly surprised. This is someone for whom the work is clearly a far superior motivational factor than fame or recognition, and this passion for his craft is evident in every project he touches. Ang Lee was right, it is a marathon rather than a sprint, but Joe Alwyn certainly seems ahead of the curve as he enters what promises to be a vastly exciting new chapter in his career. I, for one, can’t wait to see what he does next.

Joe Alwyn concedeu uma nova entrevista onde fala sobre Harriet Tubman, sua admiração por Joaquin Phoenix e mais, confira:

“Eu apenas pensei que era uma história incrível sobre uma mulher incrível da qual eu não conhecia nada”, diz ele quando nos encontramos no hotel Rosewood, em Londres. ‘Ela é extremamente importante. Obviamente, há toda a saga de 20 dólares – ela deveria estar presente, mas Trump atrasou isso”

Em maio, o presidente dos EUA vetou que sua imagem fosse usada até que ele deixasse a Casa Branca. Alwyn acrescenta: “Fiquei chocado por ninguém ter feito um filme sobre ela antes”.

Abençoado com traços delicados, olhos azuis e cabelos loiros, Alwyn é um material clássico de protagonista (ele já foi modelo da Prada), então como foi interpretar uma pessoa tão vil.

“Achei difícil, com um personagem como Gideon”, ele admite. ‘Conectar-se com alguém assim é praticamente impossível. A ideia de escravidão é obviamente repulsiva, então onde você encontra uma maneira de entrar?

Pessoalmente, Alwyn é discretamente confiante, embora cauteloso quando se trata de perguntas sobre seu relacionamento.

Como você vê a crescente fama?

“Eu realmente não me sinto diferente, então tento não pensar nisso”, diz ele.

Você encontrou uma maneira de lidar com isso?

Eu apenas ignoro – Ele responde sem rodeios

É mesmo possível?

Cada vez mais, sim. Só por não se entregar demais. Ser privado sobre o que você quer que seja privado e ser público sobre o que você quer que seja público … apenas mantendo as coisas para si mesmo.

Um olhar determinado o invade.

“Algumas pessoas podem ceder [à fama] se quiserem e outras não”, diz ele. “E acho que escolho não fazê-lo.”

Mas isso é fácil quando você está namorando alguém muito famoso?

“Não … quero dizer … apenas mantenho a vida privada em particular” “Tomei uma decisão clara de ser privado sobre o que é privado e o que não é para outras pessoas”.

Talvez Alwyn ainda esteja atordoado. Mesmo antes de se formar na escola de teatro, ele ganhou o papel principal no longa de Ang Lee, Billy Lynn Long Halftime Walk (2016). Ele nunca esteve na América até fazer um teste em Nova York. Ele conseguiu o papel e teve que permanecer, inesperadamente.

O produtor correu comigo até a GAP e me comprou um monte de meias e cuecas, ele sorri.

Antes disso, a vida no Tufnell Park, no norte de Londres, era maravilhosa.

“Passei tanto tempo correndo em Hampstead Heath”, diz ele. Seu pai fazia documentários na África. “Nos dias em que ele podia trazer coisas pra casa, na bagagem de mão, ele trazia lanças, arcos e flechas, enrolados em tapetes!”

O que está por vir? Bob Cratchit no mais recente ‘Uma canção de natal’ da BBC, uma participação especial em ‘The Souvenir Part II’ e ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover’, com Felicity Jones. Só não espere encontrar muita coisa sobre isso nas redes sociais dele.

‘Eu tenho Instagram, mas acho que não sou muito bom nisso ‘, ele ri.

Se Joe ALWYN pudesse escolher trabalhar com qualquer ator , seria Joaquin Phoenix. ‘Eu acho que ele é incrível em tudo. Definitivamente ficaria intimidado, mas adoraria trabalhar com ele’. Alwyn recentemente viu o desempenho de Phoenix no Coringa.

“Eu gostei”, diz ele. “Eu li muito sobre e li várias resenhas e a controvérsia a respeito, foi muito difícil de assistir com isso passando pela minha cabeça. Eu estava monitorando enquanto assistia.”

não foi a única performance de Phoenix que ele viu recentemente, tendo assistido ‘You Were Never Really Here’ para uma segunda visualização.

Fonte | Tradução e Adaptação – Joe Alwyn Online

Joe attended the 2019 BFI London Film Festival on October 11 in support of his upcoming film Harriet. Joe was joined by Cynthia Erivo, as well as Clarke Peters and director Kasi Lemmons. You can see photos from the premiere in our gallery, linked below and an interview with Joe as well. Harriet is in theatres November 22 in the UK and November 1 in North America.


Joe attended Toronto International Film Festival to promote his latest film, Harriet. On September 9, Joe, his cast mates, and director Kasi Lemmons did several bits of press for the film, including interviews and photoshoots. Then, on September 10 Harriet had its world premiere, followed by an after party. You can see photos from all the festivities in our gallery, linked below. Additionally, you can find videos from the two days at TIFF, including a Q&A where Joe spoke about his character, Gideon, for the first time (timestamp: 14:38). Overall the film has received generally favourable reviews, with star Cynthia Erivo expected to be an awards contender.


The first official trailer for Joe’s upcoming film, Harriet, has been released. Watch it below! The film will be in theatres on November 1st, 2019 in the USA.


You can see screenshots of Joe in the trailer in our gallery, linked below:



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It's very divisive. The BBC and Telegraph loved it. So did Indiewire and Variety as you say. Others didn't. And some thought it wasn't good but enjoyed it anyway. A few people have also said it seems unfinished and needs editing, which doesn't surprise me given it was rushed to Cannes. Presumably Claire will keep working on it before its commercial release.

the reviews/reactions so far are somehow both worse and better than I imagined they’d be lol. and definitely divisive which is always interesting. Yeah did see a few comments about the editing, which can still be adjusted so that may help things. But regardless, seems it was an amazing experience… [more]

deboradenecke on ig posted a few stories and you can see joe's reaction to the standing ovation

apparently the standing ovation lasted 6 minutes

Joe Alwyn Margaret Qualley And Claire Denis At

Joe Alwyn, Margaret Qualley, and Claire Denis at Cannes Film Festival for Stars at Noon premiere on May 25, 2022

not good? I’m scared to search lol

lol so far some of the twitter reactions aren’t that great, the variety and indiewire reviews are pretty good

I thought this was set in the 80s? why is the waiter wearing a mask?

so they’ve set it in the present it seems…

Joe is Gorgeous!!! I’m loving this tux combo.

Will reviews be out after the premiere tonight?

yeah, they’re starting to come out now

Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival

Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival


Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival

Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, and Claire Denis at the Stars at Noon premiere

Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, and Claire Denis at the Stars at Noon premiere


Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, and Claire Denis at the Stars at Noon premiere.

Margaret Qualley And Joe Alwyn At The Stars At

Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn at the ‘Stars at Noon’ premiere at Cannes Film Festival, May 25 2022


Joe Alwyn Online is a non-profit fansite, made by a fan for fans of Joe. We are in no way affiliated with Joe Alwyn nor any of his family, friends and representative. We do not claim ownership of any photos in the gallery, all images are being used under Fair Copyright Law 107 and belong to their rightful owners. All other content and graphics are copyrighted to joealwyn.online unless otherwise stated. If you would like any media removed please contact us before taking legal action.

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