A few weeks ago, Law was on a little walking getaway in Gloucestershire with his father, Jude. The plan was to do a 15-mile trek so as soon as they arrived in the first town, Rafferty was keen to get moving, wary of how far they had to go. His father had other ideas though. Instead of being in a rush, he encouraged his son to look around and take everything in: the doors, the architecture, the plants and trees, the details of the old buildings. “I know if that was me and my mates, we would’ve just tried to get out of that town and get on to the track,” says Law, initially perplexed by his dad’s suggestion. “It was great though, we learned so much and saw some really beautiful things in the first five minutes,” adds Law.
He’s since turned the seminal age of 25 and that day remains large in his mind. “There’s a metaphor in there but it’s kind of the same with being on set. It’s easy to get caught up in what you are doing but when you take everything in around you and really live in that one moment, you take a lot more away from it and you’re also giving a better performance because you’re more relaxed.”
2021 has been a big year for Law, not quite a breakout year but a significant one nonetheless. By his own accord, things maybe weren’t going quite the way he wanted or had planned. As someone who’s always had a lot of energy and suffered from ADHD at school, he’s often found it difficult to concentrate on one thing at a time. Because Law is someone who loves art, music, books, and writing poetry, he admits his Achilles heel has often been that he ends up trying to do everything at once but the experience of filming Twist alongside Sir Michael Caine changed the game.
“In the past, I’ve taken on too much and haven’t been able to give 100% to one thing. But in the last few years, I’ve come to the decision that I know what I want. I’ve got the bug for acting and I’ve learned through this whole process how much I love learning new skillsets. It’s given me the hunger to want to go out and learn more,” he says.
Learn is exactly what he’s doing, currently part of the cast for Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Masters of the Air alongside Austin Butler, Callum Turner and Barry Keoghan. To say it’s hotly anticipated is an understatement, anything Fukunaga touches tends to turn to gold. We catch up with Law to discuss how previous experiences are shaping his future, and where his happy place is now.
Mike Christensen: As a big Spurs fan, were you pro-Mourinho? Rafferty Law: I don’t know if I’m honest. I think I did like Mourinho, but then it just went very toxic and sour quite quickly. I think the big mistake was sacking Pochettino – since then it’s been a bit of a shambles. But it’s been a realisation for me because I used to get really upset and take it too seriously. I still have fun when we lose, you know what I mean?
MC: Why Spurs? RL: I grew up in north London so Arsenal were probably more of a local team but thankfully my dad just brought me up as a Spurs fan. We went together and it was a really nice father and son activity to do from a young age. He’s supported Tottenham for so long that he’s now left it down to me and my little brother to go through the whirlwind of supporting Spurs.
MC: Do you still play football? RL: Yeah, I play for a seven a side team with my mates. Lockdown made us realise how much you missed certain things and playing football was one of them, so as soon as we were able to, we joined a league. I didn’t actually play for a while because I’ve been shooting and it’s quite a physical role and I didn’t want to get injured, but now we’re in the back end of it, I’ve started playing a bit again.
MC: What do you learn from playing a team sport? RL: I think even when I was younger, I’ve always been a team
player and I believe in getting behind each other and supporting and instilling confidence into your teammates. Moving into a world where I work on film sets, I always say to my friends it’s kind of similar to being a part of a team because you have all these cogs that fit together and people with different skill sets and maybe different reasons for being a part of that team. In every aspect of life, we’re stronger together and we’re stronger when we get behind each other and let everyone have a voice and everyone play their part.
MC: Tell us a bit about Masters of the Air. RL: We’ve been shooting for most of the year and it’s been a really great experience for me all around. It started with a boot camp where we went away and really got our heads down – it was an opportunity to get to know each other. Then in my own time, doing research on World War II and the 1940s and how the Americans came over together and lived in England. It’s been really fascinating and I’ve become quite obsessed with the men that we’re telling the story of just because they were so young and it was that real sense of every man must look after the guy on his left and the guy on his right, and you’re only as strong as the people who you’ve got around you. Amazingly, people can accomplish when they get together and really have each other’s backs.
MC: Were your grandparents part of World War II? RL: All my grandparents are adopted actually, so I never really knew about their history. But when I found out I got this role I went for dinner with my grandparents, and my granddad said that he’s got these amazing writings and stuff from our family and we think there was a connection with the American Air Force when they came over. We’re not 100% sure, but I think it felt like at that time it had done the full circle where he told me this story that his mom had told him. There is, I think, some American pilot blood in me, which is exactly the story we’re telling, so that was great.
MC: What’s it been like working with Cary Joji Fukunaga? RL: When I got this, I was really blown away and excited to work with someone of such an artistic level, as Cary is someone I really respected and everything I’ve watched of his and anything he’s written I’ve always felt was gold dust. Obviously, I don’t want to give too much away about the plot or anything that we’ve been doing on set, but working with Cary has been probably the best experience I’ve ever had on a film set just by the level he brings to the detail and the way he sees certain shots and certain things in the script. I think from week one, I just felt like I’d already just learned a lot from working with him and it’s been an amazing experience and I’m excited to see the end product. It’s been an amazing experience and I think it’s going to be a really special thing to be a part of. And I’ve made some great friends out of it.
MC: What’s happening with your band, Outer Stellar Overdrive? RL : We haven’t got too much planned at the moment, I’ve kind of taken some time to really work on this. Obviously, the lockdown was really tough for everyone on different levels and I was really lucky to be with my family and be surrounded by people that really looked after me and I could look after them. But it was an eye-opener to how much I really love working in teams and getting stuff done so I decided to just get my head down, not be out in London too much, and just focus on that. Saying that we wrote and recorded a lot of music last year, which we’re trying to figure out how we want to release it. We’ve got stuff ready to bubble but I’m trying not to rush anything. I’ve always been someone that wants to be doing a hundred things at the same time and going at 100 miles per hour. But I’ve learned this year that it’s really important to just take your time with things and make the most of experiences and take it all in. It’s really easy to always be thinking about the next job or what you’re doing next week – something I’ve done in the past is I’ll be worrying about what’s happening next and then all of a sudden, what I’ve been doing just flies past and you’re like, oh, that’s over now.
MC: Does turning 25 recently feel like quite a big milestone? RL: I’ve always been someone who thinks about the future so turning 25, obviously, I know I’m still young and I’ve got a great few years ahead of me, but I think it’s excited me now that I’ve come to certain decisions and understandings of what I’m good at and what I know benefits me and keeps me ticking, confident and determined. And now, I just want to continue on this path. I don’t want to try and put too much pressure on myself, but I really want to showcase to people what I think I’m capable of and just be able to work with some really great directors, a great cast and push on in my career.