(LEFT) Jacket NEIL BARRETT, T-shirt JUST CAVALLI, trousers LOUIS VUITTON
(MIDDLE) Jumper LOUIS VUITTON
(RIGHT) Jacket NEIL BARRETT, T-shirt JUST CAVALLI
Jacket NEIL BARRETT, T-shirt JUST CAVALLI, trousers LOUIS VUITTON
(MIDDLE) Jumper LOUIS VUITTON
Jacket NEIL BARRETT, T-shirt JUST CAVALLI
When I sit down to talk to Patrick Gibson, I have no idea what to expect. His marvellous yet moody turn as bad-ass bully Steve Winchell in Brit Marling’s mysteriously surreal drama, The OA, was so convincing that I don’t know whether he’s about to throat-punch me or shake my hand. Thankfully, it’s the latter.
The OA burst onto our screens unexpectedly at the end of 2016. With a mysterious, other-worldly plot, a set of strong and endearing characters and one of the most intense season finale’s we’ve ever seen (don’t pretend you didn’t have a meltdown over it!), it’s understandable why it’s one of the most talked about Netflix shows of the yesteryear – and the best news is, it’s set to return for a second season.
One of the show’s stand-out performances was Patrick Gibson’s portrayal of bully-come-good Steve Winchell, a tortured teen who assists OA/Prairie on her quest to reach the other side (no spoilers here!) Born in Ireland (how good was his American accent?!), Paddy recently received the accolade for Rising Star at the 2017 IFTA Film & Drama Awards. He’s just wrapped filming alongside Emma Roberts for Sam Boyd’s In A Relationship and is appearing in Guerrilla on Sky Atlantic, which also stars Idris Elba and Freida Pinto and explores the 70s black rights movement. With an ever-increasing list of projects attached to him, it’s clear to see that Paddy Gibson is at the forefront of a new generation of actors ready to break the big time – and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
Ahead of his inevitable stratospheric rise, we caught up with Paddy to talk masculinity, surreal experiences and being naked on screen.
The OA was such a huge success, how do you think you have has changed since that?
It’s funny, I guess I wouldn’t have been sitting here before, doing this. I really haven’t had too much time to stop and take stock because it came out in December and since then I went off and was working in LA so it’s been pretty hectic since it came out! It’s definitely changed in the sense that I’m much busier than I was before, but yeah, it’s good.
What do you think it was about the show that made it such a success?
I think it’s very different and I guess it was the right time to put something out there that people hadn’t seen or weren’t expecting. Then to drop it without any publicity! I don’t know if anyone was expecting it to [be such a success], because it was kind of unpredictable. I don’t think we were expecting it to make the splash that it did, obviously they were hoping for it but, I think just because it was so original, and it doesn’t spoon-feed the audience, it leaves a lot to be figured out.
There are some scenes where you appear naked. I was just wondering how you felt being so exposed on camera?
I mean it wasn’t too bad I didn’t think, I mean, it’s always strange, because when you’re filming you’re made to do things that push you out of your comfort zone. [You’re] made to sort of go places mentally in your head that can be uncomfortable or can be challenging, so I guess to me it was like a new challenge. What was interesting was like, obviously when there’s a camera there you’re going to be more self-conscious, more self-aware, and to me it was important to block that side out and move and behave in the way that you would if you’re on your own or how Steve would when he’s on his own.
What can you tell us about the second series of The OA?
I don’t know anything, genuinely, we know nothing! The whole thing has been so secretive and so crazy. I can totally get why! We’re kind of taken on the journey, when we were shooting the first season, as much as the audience were.
The OA has a very surreal plot-line, tell us about the most surreal experience you’ve ever had.
My whole life is lately feeling a little like that! I think something that was really strange, and this is gonna make me sound like such a freak I’ve never thought about this or anything, but when I went to New York last year in February the whole getting there was really hectic. I didn’t think about where I was going and then I remember getting to my apartment and sitting down on the sofa and then suddenly realising how big the space around me was. It sounds so mental but I was like on my own and kind of for whatever reason, comprehended the size of the city around me, and all the stuff that was going on around me and it was kind of surreal. I felt very alone, but in a nice way.
I saw that you tweeted about wishing that you’d seen Grayson Perry’s All Man when you were at school, can you tell me a bit about what you were like when you were younger?
I mean, going to like an all boys school and stuff, and I guess it’s similar to what my character Steve had in the OA, it was like, just the hyper-masculine expectations of young people sometimes and seeing that [All Man], it was kind of a realisation I had. It was so articulated in that show that masculinity can be about being sensitive and open and emotional rather that covering up how you feel. And [in] Ireland, young men find it difficult to talk about their emotions, and their problems and stuff, so I thought that the show was incredible.
Tell me a bit about what you get up to when you’re not working.
Because the last couple of years have been a bit crazy. I mean the last holiday I had I went surfing. When I’m on holiday I like to surf, I love surfing! I also play quite a lot of music when I’m on my own, but that’s like, something I kind of keep hidden, in a dark corner, where nobody ever sees!
So, you’ve got a hidden musical talent?
Well there is no talent there that’s the thing. No but I love to produce kind of jazz, hip-hop, lo-fi kind of [stuff]. I don’t even know why I mentioned it because now people are gonna be like “what?” but yeah that’s something I do on the side.
You’re currently starring in Guerrilla as Connor. Tell us what attracted you to this role.
It was so well written and I knew John Ridley was doing it and I’m a huge fan of his work and I knew about some of the people that were attached. I think more than anything it was the story, as well as the character of Connor being so well drawn, and he’s such a conflicted kid. It was also that this story for some reason hasn’t really been told like this or expressed like this before and I really wanted to be a part of that.
Did you do a lot of research for the role?
There was quite a lot because I play somebody from Northern Ireland, from Derry, and he was involved in the IRA and things like that, so I definitely learnt a lot about that! I sort of had a slight knowledge about the Notting Hill Carnival Riots and Darcus Howe so I definitely learnt a lot about that period.
You’ve also got a few feature films coming up, tell me a little about In A Relationship.
So I shot that in January/February in LA, and that was totally different to anything I’d done before, with Emma Roberts and Drew Hemingway, about two couples at opposite ends of their relationship, so ones just starting out and that’s my guy, and the other couple are like mid-twenties, and have been in a relationship for five years and it’s kind of like what do we do now, and it’s just a really fresh look at being in a relationship in the modern day.
All clothing DIOR
All clothing DIOR
Tell us what Emma Roberts was like to work with.
She’s amazing! She’s really cool! We still stay in touch and honestly I was blown away, not that I wasn’t expecting her to be or anything, but just like there’s a reason people like that are so successful. She’s amazing and brings so much of her own kind of truth to it and her own experiences of relationships. I was kind of the youngest guy in it, I’m twenty-one, and I was playing a twenty-five year old, but luckily I got the part of the guy who didn’t know what was going on so I was more than capable of doing that. It was a lot of fun and we all got to know each other really well because a lot of it was improvised and we all had to to look like we knew each other for years, to look like we were friends.
That’s interesting that it was improvised. Do you enjoy that method of acting more?
The script was amazing already so it’s always good to have that basis to work on, I mean, I was improvising in an American accent which is kind of different, it definitely poses some new challenges! I think you kind of inevitably end up bringing more of yourself into it and adding that sort of personal side to it.
You have got the The Darkest Mind tell me a little bit about this project.
The Darkest Mind is based on a trilogy of books by Alexandra Bracken. I just got back from Atlanta. We started filming there. In the books, the majority of the worlds children die, 99% die mysteriously and suddenly, and the ones that are left exhibit these strange and dangerous powers and at the centre of it as well it’s a story about love and connection and loss.
Who would be your dream directors to work with with?
This is always such a tough one because it’s like always ever changing. I’m a massive Denis Villeneuve fan. I remember when I saw Prisoners way back and Enemy and then Arrival, I love Ben Wheatley’s films. If Paddy Considine ever made a film again, Tyrannosaur blew me away!
Tell me what else you’ve got lined up for this year.
I head back soon to continue shooting Darkest Minds, and then White Princess is coming out this month, and then there’s Their Finest, which I’ve got a really small part in which I shot ages ago, that’s coming out at like the end of this month [April]. I haven’t really had time to do too many meetings and stuff, I’m just getting back into that now. November onwards is taken up with like a top secret thing and the next year, I’d love to do like a theatre play or something!
What are you hoping to achieve in the long term?
That’s a tough one. I think just like, more than anything, always just do work that I know that I’m doing for the right reasons. I haven’t got that goal that everyone talks about you should have, which maybe isn’t a good thing. Just continue to make sure that I’m only doing work that genuinely stands out to me and that I connect with because doing something for any other reason would not be staying true to myself.
(LEFT) Shirt LOUIS VUITTON
(RIGHT) Jacket DIOR
Shirt LOUIS VUITTON
Charlotte Yeomans using Bumble and Bumble and Kiehls