Wonderland.

DANNY GRIFFIN

The actor makes it clear that he’s not fussed about fame as he discusses his starring role in Netflix’s Fate: The Winx Saga.

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Black And White White Vest

Vest by CALVIN KLEIN, trousers by EMPORIO ARMANI and necklace by CHARLI COHEN

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Black And White White Vest
Vest by CALVIN KLEIN, trousers by EMPORIO ARMANI and necklace by CHARLI COHEN

Taken from the Spring 21 issue. Order your copy now.

Danny Griffin is convinced he knows why he keeps losing at Monopoly.

“I swear my grandfather is cheating!” He beams down the obligatory Zoom link. It’s a bold accusation to make publicly, especially considering the 23-year-old imminent heartthrob is currently locked down and isolating with his grandparents in London.

“I always go for the red properties because growing up, when I lived in Cornwall, I used to visit London and Trafalgar Square was my favourite place to visit. I think they leave people vulnerable when someone goes onto Mayfair,” he divulges willingly. No sooner does Griffin give away his Monopoly tactics, he provides the proof his grandfather can use to defend himself: that Griffin just isn’t very good at Monopoly.

“No, I’ve been really lucky to stay here,” he acknowledges, still smiling about Monopoly-gate. He’s wearing a white tee and earphones dangle around his neck like a fine gold chain as he sits confidently in front of a bookshelf full of his grandma’s Freud literature. Even though we’re on Zoom, he exudes presence aplenty.

“My grandparents are over 70 so I have been really strict about staying in. We have Hampstead Heath up the road for walks, which is really fortunate so we’ve been fine. We have been getting on, really,” says Griffin warmly, as we discuss the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. For many his age, the idea of being stuck inside playing board games with grandparents would suck. Add the fact he’s on the cusp of something potentially life-changing and it makes his maturity all the more distinctive.

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Chequered Black And White Suit
Danny Griffin Spring 2021 White Shirt

(LEFT) Jacket, trousers and shoes by LOUIS VUITTON and sunglasses by GENTLE MONSTER (RIGHT) Top by DIOR

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Chequered Black And White Suit
Jacket, trousers and shoes by LOUIS VUITTON and sunglasses by GENTLE MONSTER Top by DIOR
Danny Griffin Spring 2021 White Shirt

Indeed, Griffin has been busy adding new skills to his repertoire. “I downloaded MasterClass, got onto Gordon Ramsay’s cooking classes and learnt to cook, which has brought me a lot of fun!” And we can attest to being impressed by the sound of his specialty dish— seared sesame seed tuna served with yuzu sauce.

But board games and raw fish aside, you are about to hear a lot more about Danny Griffin. Millions will likely fall for Griffin’s English charm as he makes his big break in the new fairy school drama Fate: The Winx Saga — the latest bingeable offering to help humanity overcome lockdown syndrome.

Based on Nickelodeon’s Winx Club, the show is set in the magical Otherworld and is something of a tween fairy tale for Gen Zers who grew up salivating over Harry Potter and co’s wizardry. It centres around five girls — each very different in their powers and past — starting life at the ancient school for fairies, Alfea, and Griffin’s character Sky quickly establishes himself as a love interest for two of the girls, Bloom Abigail Cowen) and Stella (Hannah van der West-huysen).

“It starts off with Bloom coming in from the normal world and entering Alfea, and you see how the girls go through the trials and tribulations of being in a new school and making new friends and fitting in,” says Griffin with the same cheeky glint in his eye you notice in the first scene of the show.

“What’s great about the show is it’s not all about one character. In each episode you get to know someone a whole lot more, so you get to care for the characters because they have all got stories and they all have demons inside that they are wrestling with,” says Griffin, confident the show will strike a cord with a
lot of audiences on a variety of emotional levels.

“Each character has a huge, monumental arch. They change dramatically, and that’s what was fun about Sky — watching him evolve over the six episodes, seeing him start at one point and finish on another,” he adds, eager not to throw in any spoilers.

Griffin was on set for three months in Ireland and it’s clear everyone bonded really well from the off. “We all just had fun, everyone was so genuine and so down-to-earth, nice people to talk to — there was no ego in the room,” he says of his fellow cast members, calling out his bromance with classmate Freddie Thorp (who plays Riven) and the mentoring he gained from Robert James-Collier, who plays teacher Silva.

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Black And White Black Suit
Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Fishnet Vest And Suspenders

(LEFT) Jacket, shirt and trousers by DUNHILL and boots by SAINT LAURENT (RIGHT) All clothing and accessories by MAISON MARGIELA

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Black And White Black Suit
Jacket, shirt and trousers by DUNHILL and boots by SAINT LAURENT All clothing and accessories by MAISON MARGIELA
Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Fishnet Vest And Suspenders

Looking back, Griffin is really grateful for his own upbringing in Cornwall. His father lived in London (hence the visits to staples on the Monopoly board), but at home his mum would encourage him to go “play in the woods and knock yourself out, plant trees and enjoy yourself, get outdoors.” For about 10 years of his life, they had a TV with four channels so his hobbies were all outdoors — rock climbing and horse riding. He also went to eight schools and credits that for his innate self confidence as well as an initiative to get on with stuff.

“I grew up quite quickly and got the independence to be like ‘I can do this,’” he says resolutely, showing wisdom beyond his 23 years. His first taste for acting was a school play in front of 60 parents — “big numbers,” he jokes. “It was Oliver and I played Bill Sikes. That was really good, a great highlight of my career,” he adds, the memory still fresh enough in his mind. There’s no doubt it triggered something in him, and by aged 16 he decided to move to London to study acting: “I was done with the sleepiness of Cornwall and wanted to get on with my life.”

The best bit of acting advice Griffin has ever received came from Peter F. Gardiner (Coronation Street, Waterloo Road) when he was doing a theatre show at the age of 18. “He said to me, ‘Acting is a marathon, it’s not a race and you’re not the hare. You are the tortoise in this. If you’re the hare you are gonna be done by 24’. I remember him telling me to not go down the easy path, to make sure I get the right jobs and just keep being me and not get cocky or full of myself.” They are words Griffin has held on to with a tight grasp.

“I am never in this for the short run. I don’t want to be famous, I want to be gradually climbing this ladder,” he adds. It’s certainly made him be cautious in his work choices, and combined with the experience gained from stunt work he did with horses, it affirmed his desire to pursue a career in acting. “Working behind the camera as a stuntman on horses, I did absolutely everything and it gave me a huge sense of appreciation and deeper understanding for the effort and hard work that goes into a whole movie set, not just from the actors,” he says.

When it comes to his big break being Fate: The Winx Saga, it’s no surprise it should be in this realm as Griffin is a self-proclaimed major nerd when it comes to fantasy.

“I love sci-fi and I love all that aspect. I didn’t read comics but I was obsessed with superheroes growing up, I wanted to be Nightcrawler in X-Men so that I could be in one place and then zip to another. Lord of the Rings was also my jam, hence why I was in the woods making fires… So to be on the set where that’s all around you was really fun.”

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Black And Red Sunglasses
Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Pink Suit

(LEFT) Jacket by LOUIS VUITTON and sunglasses by GENTLE MONSTER (RIGHT) All clothing by
GUCCI

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Black And Red Sunglasses
Jacket by LOUIS VUITTON and sunglasses by GENTLE MONSTER All clothing by
Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Pink Suit
GUCCI

Though Fate is by far Griffin’s biggest project to date, you may recall that he also featured in Guy Ritchie’s R-rated blockbuster hit The Gentlemen in 2019 as Aslan, the son of a wealthy Russian oligarch.

“That was incredible. I was just happy to be on that set; I didn’t care if I was Extra Number 1 with my three lines, one of which we can count as screaming,” Griffin says, poking fun at himself. “It was just a pleasure to be on set with that cast.”

In it, he shares a scene with Charlie Hunnam where Aslan gets a bit too cocky for Hunnam’s character’s liking and after a scuffle ends up being thrown off a balcony, falling six storeys to a premature death — hence the screaming line. Like all dead bodies in Guy Ritchie movies, their method of disposal is a necessary plot line and Aslan reappears, frozen, in Hunnam’s chest freezer. Cue Griffin’s second scene-stealing moment in the film, as a dead corpse.

“I’m wrapped up in a tarp, all duct taped up, lying on some 4×2 [timber] and being carried around,” reminisces Griffin in good humour. “But once you are in the tarp you are stuck in tarp, so when we cut and they put me aside, they went ‘Danny, do you want to come out?’ It took ages to get me in, so I was like ‘Nah, I’ll just stay put.’” So for two hours, Griffin lay motionless on set in a tarp looking dead. The decision paid off though, as it afforded him a chance for praise from British acting royalty, none other than Hugh Grant.

“So I’m still just lying there on the floor when Hugh walks over and goes: ‘I thought you were very good, a little bit wooden for my taste though’, and then buggers off laughing,” Griffin recalls, smiling. “That’s all I get from the master that is Hugh Grant.”

After what’s been two years of being busy and not busy at all, the nicest thing about speaking to Griffin is how polite, well-mannered and respectful he is. For someone whose world is likely about to explode, he’s remarkably down to earth and open — his Cornish roots serve him well.

When it comes to idols, he admits to being inspired by Heath Ledger’s approach to acting, with ambitions of one day directing. “Not that I knew him at all, but I know he always had a camera in his hand he loved being in front [of ] or behind, just making stuff and being inventive,” he says of the late Australian actor.

And as far as what the future might hold, Griffin’s quick to remain measured and level-headed. “For me, it is quite simple. I love what I do and I want to get better at it as time goes on,” he says. “Every job I do, I meet new people who have more advice to give and I learn something new. I do this because I love it, and these is nothing else in it.”

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Nude Vest

Vest by AMI, trousers by DUNHILL, boots by SAINT LAURENT, bracelet by CARTIER and Danny’s own necklace

Danny Griffin Spring 2021 Nude Vest
Vest by AMI, trousers by DUNHILL, boots by SAINT LAURENT, bracelet by CARTIER and Danny’s own necklace
Photography
Adam Whitehead
Fashion
Tony Cook
Words
Mike Christensen
Hair
Nicola Harrowell at Premier using Aveda
Makeup
Adam de Cruz using ADC Beauty
Photography Assistant
Henry Huntingford
Location
Stockwell Studio
Catering
Kate The Cook
Retouching
Art Post
DANNY GRIFFIN
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