Iwan Rheon shot to fame as Simon Bellamy in the hit TV series Misfits – a show about a group of young offenders doing community service, each of whom gains a superhuman power in a freak thunderstorm. Wonderland talks Game of Thrones, music and life to the Olivier Award winning actor.
Which actor, living or dead, do you most admire?
Probably Richard Burton – I admire how he started off in the theatre and was hugely respected as a stage actor, he had ups and downs in his career but has such power on screen – and I would imagine off screen as well. People become so animated when they talk about his performances – I think he’s got to be the one for me.
When were you bitten by the performing bug?
Always really. What made me seriously consider being an actor was seeing Mathew Reece’s performance in House of America when I was about 14. It made me think: Wow I’d love to do that.
What’s difficult about your job?
There’s a lot of pressure. If you do a long series like Misfits, you tend to lose track of a lot of friends because of the early starts and late nights. You can’t really complain, but you go into a tunnel in a way so that after you finish filming six months later you have to re-find relationships with your friends: It’s like “hello, I am still alive and sorry I’ve been a bit neglectful.”
Where are you happiest and most relaxed?
I suppose being in a room with people and not having to be in control, sitting back, letting the banter flow and chilling out with nice people who aren’t stressful.
What books are on your bedside table?
I’m not a massive reader because often you find yourself reading scripts all the time. At the moment I’m reading To Have and Not to Have by Ernest Hemmingway. It’s wicked. I was in an airport and I thought why not give Ernest Hemmingway a little go.
What do you like to drink, tea or something stronger?
It depends what I’m doing. I mean obviously tea if you’re sitting around, coffee right now, but a couple of beers if I’m out, whisky: single malt. And my flatmate works for a wine merchant so we drink some fine wines… which is very good.
What’s the best gift you’ve been given recently?
My old friend Lewis, who I live with, gave me a lovely decanter in crystal cut glass. I haven’t used it yet though. I need to buy some whisky to go in it.
Did you enjoy your sudden rise to fame?
That’s an interesting question because I don’t really feel that famous. I think I lead quite a normal life with the occasional something a bit different. I like getting on the train and normal stuff like doing the dishes, because you can so easily lose your mind in this world where everything’s done for you, you get picked up, driven to things, given stuff for free and all that madness.
You tend to play rather off-beat characters. What were you like at school?
Off-beat… no. I was just into skateboarding and playing in bands. I wasn’t a little weirdo or anything. I think I was kind of normal.
Can you tell me about your new release?
This new EP’s called Bang Bang. It’s a little bit different to Changing Times. Changing Times is a lot more produced and polished with more of a band feel where as this time we’re going for stripped down, raw and not 100 per cent produced. I think it’s the best thing I’ve done so far. Now the next step is to make a full-length album but I need to write it first.
What triggered your decision to leave Misfits?
I think I wanted to do something else. At the end of the second series it was different because I wasn’t obliged anymore contractually. I went to the producers and asked “What are you going to do, where is my character going?” I think I already had in my mind that I’d do one more series and leave because although I love it and I’m grateful for the opportunity it’s given me. I’m going to have to do something else: new challenges and all that malarkey.
A lot has happened and although you can’t reveal your character, how has filming Game of Thrones been?
It was brilliant, I really enjoyed. It’s such an epic production. It was really cool to do something different. I really like the show and watched it all in a week when I got offered the part. I was gutted at the end of the second series, I wanted to know what happens but had to wait until we got scripts.
Check out Iwan Rheon’s bandpage here.
Words: Ellie Sigman