Covering the new issue of Rollacoaster, the actor discusses the upcoming season of Sky’s Riviera, how he approaches his character Nico Eltham, and improvising with Poppy Delevingne on set.
Taken from the Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Rollacoaster. Pre-order your copy now.
Although half of the Eltham twins on Sky original Riviera, Jack Fox is a man like no other. As a member of the Fox family acting dynasty, Jack’s work lives up to the reputation, whether on stage or screen.
Jack sat down with Rollacoaster to discuss the upcoming season of Riviera, how he approaches his character and life after quarantine. Although he didn’t reveal any spoilers, he promised the new season would continue to satisfy the audience’s expectation of surprise.
How have you been adapting to quarantine?
JF: I had a view going into this quarantine period that there would be two types of people that come out of it. The people that are sort of shaken and thrown by it all, or people that can adapt and improve from change. And I did my best to be the latter of those two things. But it was up and down, like life in general, really.
The third season of Riviera will premiere in October, and it is your second season on the series. What was it like coming into a show that had already had such a popular first season and is known for its intense cliff-hangers and surprises?
I remember watching the first series and being really blown away by some of the performances. And even at that time thinking, “Oh, it would be amazing to be in a show like this.” So, when the opportunity came about to be in it, it was really just a beautiful experience. There was a lot of buzz around the show. It was one of Sky’s flagship shows, and they wanted to make it even bigger and stronger and turn it into a franchise. Obviously, Julia Stiles is an unbelievable talent, and working with Dimitri and Roxanne was such an incredible privilege. Everyone wanted it to be even bigger, and more successful and we were all pleased with how it evolved. Was there pressure? Yeah. Was there good pressure or a pressure that I wanted to be a part of to help the series grow? Definitely.
Did you find it easier as an actor to be able to take in the first series from an outside perspective?
It was nice to see their objective filmmaking from a distance and then also to be a part of it as a subject. I just tried to come into it with open arms. It would be tough to say whether it was easier or harder coming from a viewer to a participant in a way because I knew the other side of it. I felt lucky to have the best of both worlds by experiencing the first series from an audience point of view. And I got to be in the second series as a vocation, which was also an incredible experience. I think we got lucky in so much as the directors that we work with – from Paul, to Destiny, to Hans – ensured we were a part of the creative process and were able to integrate into the show so well.
In the show, you have a twin relationship with Poppy Delevingne. How did you develop that type of relationship to make it authentic for viewers?
We had known each other for 10 years, on and off from a photoshoot we did together. We would bump into each other occasionally at various events and parties, so we always had a shorthand with each other. I read with a couple of people and Poppy came in as the third person to read with. The director had said, “The next person that’s coming in is Poppy Delevingne.” And I remember swearing quite profusely going, “Well, I mean, this is gonna work out. I mean we basically look the same.” She’s obviously more stunning in person. But I remember thinking, “Well, what a funny turn of events that 10 years later, we get to read together.” In the scenes that we worked together on with the director, quite a lot of it was improvised. Improvisation can be tricky if there’s no trust or you don’t have that sort of relationship. So, from that moment, I thought, “Well, this could be an interesting partnership.”
You’ve played a lot of period characters before working on Riviera, is that something you’re intentionally drawn to? Are you more comfortable playing roles that are more historical or roles in a more contemporary setting?
I think it’s about a character. It’s about bringing something alive that you think has relevance to tell the story. I think the setting is more interesting in a way only to the costumes, and from the design aspect. As an actor, I think you’re more interested in character. You’re always thinking how do I bring this person from the page? How to make them alive, how to make them real, what makes them tick and to have goals and ambitions and to be able to show them as they are.
Did your approach to a character for a TV series, like Nico Eltham in Riviera, differ from your approach to building a character for a film?
I think it depends. I think when working in films, you can often try and do too much. You can feel like it’s more of a snapshot over a period of time and your screen time will be much smaller. Whereas you can build a character for a television series, you have a more extended period of time on screen with that character. I think my approach is the same, but the storytelling and the scriptwriting and the directing is different. You always want it to be a three-dimensional character who is lovable and understandable from every aspect and I don’t think that changes for me if it’s television or film.
Should the audience of Riviera expect the same amount of twists and turns in the new season?
I think there’s going to be some surprises. The writers know how to create suspense, they’ve shown that time and time again. The show has such a gifted group of directors and people behind the scenes. They know how to keep the audience engaged, and that comes from creating excitement and outrage. I think this season of Riviera continues to do that.
What comes next for you in terms of some goals or ambitions you have?
When we got locked down, I was working on a Clerkenwell and BBC Studio’s production, which is a sort of a real-life doc-comedy. The scripts on that were just a joy to work on and I’ve got a bit more to do on it when we’re allowed to film again. I’ve been really lucky in what I’ve worked on thus far, I’m lucky to have a brilliant team of representatives. And I just take it as it comes, life happens while you’re busy making plans. As it’s been proven by this very hectic time, you can predict little to nothing. But, I think it’s about the journey, and let’s see what happens next.
Sky original Riviera Series 3 is coming to Sky Atlantic and NOW TV today.
Florrie White at Bryant Artists