It’s safe to say that Josh O’Connor is currently one of the most talked about actors in Hollywood. Taking home the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his performance as Prince Charles in The Crown earlier this year, at 30 years of age he’s got one seriously impressive resume (via Golden Globe Awards). And after starring in Peaky Blinders, The Durrells, Only You, God’s Own Country, Emma, and more, he appears to be going from strength to strength with what we can only presume will be an even bigger and better future (via IMDb). While you may know a lot about him already (like the fact that he’s from Cheltenham in England and went to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to study acting), there’s probably a lot you don’t know about him. Below, find everything else you need about this year’s one to watch.
Growing up, Josh O'Connor was more interested in becoming an artist than an actor
If you take a look at Josh O’Connor’s Instagram, you’ll see that the star has a bit of a knack for art, with a whole lot of photography and drawings on his profile. And it seems that becoming an artist was actually his childhood dream. “For years I wanted to be an artist, and when I was growing up, lots of my family were artists, so I was kind of surrounded by that world,” he told InStyle. “Then acting came along, and I loved it immediately,” he continued, “Also, I just realized that what’s great about drawing, or painting, or ceramics is that you can sort of do it anyway — you don’t have to be a qualified artist … so I just carried on with acting.” Evidently, whether he’s acting or drawing, he’s obviously very creative.
Studying drama helped Josh manage his dyslexia
Like many actors, Josh O’Connor first exposure to the world of acting was through drama at school. But the actor admits that he wasn’t serious about acting as a career when he chose to study it at subject. “Drama at my school — you chose drama because you didn’t want to do too many serious subjects,” he told The Independent. “But that all changed when gearing up for GCSEs,” he continued, “This drama teacher came in who had an unbelievable wealth of knowledge about theatre. All of a sudden we were going on school trips, seeing these amazing plays by the likes of Samuel Beckett. My whole world went from ‘This is really fun’ to ‘This is fascinating to me.'”
He loved it so much that it helped his dyslexia. “Suddenly dyslexic Josh could read Romeo and Juliet and, while not necessarily understanding every word, I could visualise the theatrical magic. I became obsessed.”
Josh O'Connor had no interest in the royal family growing up
Despite his award-winning role as Prince Charles in The Crown, O’Connor admits he was never really a fan of the royal family growing up. “I’m a republican,” he told The Guardian in 2020. “Although, I should add, not in any kind of fist-waving, campaigning way. I was always mostly uninterested in them. They existed. They were there. And I wasn’t overly bothered. In some ways I respect them for the way they’ve balanced things. Because they exist, and we can forget about them if we want to, and maybe that’s a tactical thing. Like, maybe the Queen knows, if she made a bit more out of it all, then maybe we’d start abolishing them.”
In fact, the actor was so disinterested in them that initially he had no interested in playing the role of Prince Charles. “I think a bit of me felt that, beyond Prince Charles being a very rich and posh man, what’s the get-in? Where’s the juice to him? Where’s the stuff?” he revealed to The Guardian.
He used to be embarrassed by his ears but now thinks they helped him land role of Prince Charles
While his portrayal of Prince Charles was second-to-none, Josh O’Connor is a strong believer that it wasn’t just his acting skills that helped him land the role — his ears, as they are similar to those of the Prince of Wales, helped him land the role, too. Speaking to ES Magazine (via Female First), the actor admitted when he first saw The Crown, “I did think immediately, who’s going to play [young] Charles? I don’t know anyone my age who’s got these. They’re not huge, but they stick out.”
But it’s not something he’s always been confident about, admitting to the Press Association (via The Independent) he has considered pinning them back. “When I was at school I was embarrassed by them and I wanted to pin them back and now it’s like, ‘Thank god I didn’t,'” he confessed.
Josh O'Connor makes a scrapbook for every character he plays
To prepare for any role, including his role as Prince Charles, Josh O’Connor like to make a scrapbook for the character. “I get quite experimental,” O’Connor admitted to Esquire. “It’s purely for me, no one ever sees [the scrapbooks]. I bought some aftershave, the oakiest one I could find, the most Charles-y one I could imagine, and sprayed that in the book. Maybe it’s kind of over the top and maybe it doesn’t help me at all but I do it for fun, so who cares?” He even ordered a school uniform he presumed Charles would have worn at school! “I went on the website and ordered the most public school shorts I could find,” he added. “Crispy white shorts,” he revealed, explaining, “I got those and I soaked them in mud and left them in a sports bag for a week and cut out the material and stuck that in.” Talk about preparation!
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