The Triangle of Sadness actor opens up on his previous and upcoming roles.

ALL CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES Dior Fall 2023 Men’s Collection

ALL CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES Dior Fall 2023 Men’s Collection

On a Wednesday afternoon in Clapton, I find Harris Dickinson tucked away in the nook of a coffee shop, hunched over a script that he examines with meticulous care. To me, this comes as no surprise. Granted we’ve only met once before, a few days prior in the infamous power rooms of Battersea Power Station for his Wonderland cover shoot. But that shoot was something he approached with the same vigour. “I think this shoot was about reclaiming the image of myself and that’s something that is difficult to say because it sounds egotistical, but it’s more about how you’re represented and I’ve done a lot of shoots where I don’t feel represented the way I want to be,” the 26-year-old actor says of the flamboyant hairstyles and all around eccentricity of the images that fill these very pages, and his effort to be involved in the creative process behind them. “I have ideas and I’m a performer at the end of the day, so if I can use that then why not make something that’s a little more interesting rather than generic.”

Dickinson is clearly not one to fall victim to convention, and his most recent on-screen turn in the Oscar-nominated Triangle of Sadness, is all the more proof of this. “I mean, from the get-go it was clear how satirical the movie was and comedic as well as smart. I think Ruben Östlund [the director] is this super smart individual that wanted to make a point on a lot of different things and have people that come out of watching the movie be like, ‘What was the message?’ And then realise that there isn’t a message, it’s just entrenched in so many themes so you can pick your subject and pick where you want to start. I was excited to get into it with him and the audition for this was mad because he reads everything with you as you practise.”

This excitement surrounding the world that Östlund was dreaming up was justified. Whether it be the gut-wrenching scenes of projectile vomit or subtle socio-economic commentaries that riddle every dialogue exchange, the movie is as much of a humorous societal reflection as it is a gritty piece of entertainment. “There are so many different themes in there,” Dickinson imparts. “There’s not just one message. With most films people say, ‘What do you think people are going to take away from this?’ And with this one, it’s like, ‘I don’t fucking know!’ People ask me questions like that a lot and I always say, ‘I don’t know as it’s all about perspective, just enjoy it and tell me what you think of it.’ There’s so much to say about gender roles. There’s so much to say about elitism, the class system and economic structures. There’s so much to unpack in it. And, the ending is whatever you want it to mean,” he says with a slight grin swept across his face. The apex mentioned sees Dickinson’s character, Carl, racing through a vegetation-filled island to stop a rock-wielding Abigail (Dolly De Leon) – a staff member of a luxury boat-turned-leader of a group of survivors from the wreckage of said boat – from murdering his vapid ex-girlfriend, Yaya (the late Charlbi Dean Kriek). I jest that this ambiguous sprint scene could have been Carl’s attempt at outrunning a vicious island animal. Dickinson assures me that, while Triangle of Sadness’ end sequence has a multitude of possible meanings, my conclusion is most certainly not the correct one. While content in maintaining the mystique surrounding the movie’s ending, Dickinson was surprisingly certain about one plot line in particular, however. “I think Carl really loved Abigail in the end,” the actor divulges when we discuss the shock twist that sees his character embroiled in an unsuspected romance. “She offered a more meaningful relationship, if you think about it. There was something between them that he hadn’t found in Yaya.”

ALL CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES Dior Fall 2023 Men’s Collection

ALL CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES Dior Fall 2023 Men’s Collection

Content in the knowledge that at least one of the film’s great enigma’s had been satisfyingly wrapped up for me, our attention quickly turned to the project’s reception. And, as if kismet, the week we sit down to chat is the same in which Triangle of Sadness received its nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture. “I was just really proud of everyone [when I found out about the nomination,] Ruben especially,” reflects Dickinson. “I sent Ruben a picture of myself just screaming. I have so much pride in being involved in something like this.” Riotous scenes of projectile vomit aside, Dickinson’s stellar performance clearly left its mark. But his displays on the silver screen have not always been as left of field. Exhibit one: his role as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’s charming Prince Phillip. “I had to do that movie because when was I ever going to get an opportunity to be a prince in a Disney film again?” The actor exclaims. “It was so wild for me to get that call. It was like, ‘Fucking hell, that’s so far away from who I am that I’ve got to do it,’ but I don’t think I’m actually interested in roles like that.” A dashing prince may not be exactly who the Highams Park native envisions himself to be playing, but that is not to say that his time spent on the grand sets of a Disney production was not instructive to his growth. “It was crazy going to work every day and then just being with people [such as Angelina Jolie.] It was wild; I was still young and I was still coming to terms with who I was and how to operate in those situations.”

His trepidation amongst Hollywood’s elite was arguably justified at the time. Prior to his Disney stint, Dickinson was only just adjusting to the critical acclaim his debut performance in Eliza Hittman’s indie marvel Beach Rats was receiving. “I was 19 and I was working in a hotel at the time I got the role. I was doing table service and room service. I did a self-tape, got the role from that and then I went to New York to film. I had never even been to New York. It was a lot, man. But then at the time, it was just a small indie film. I was really happy about going and doing it but I didn’t have any inkling or expectation of what it would go on to be.” With the 2017 Sundance Film Festival rendering Beach Rats a cinematic triumph amongst critics and viewers alike, Dickinson soon found himself atop a pedestal – one he assures me he knows not everyone is lucky enough to climb. “It’s hard to get the door open in our world of fashion, film and music. It’s a very closed industry if you’re not a nepo baby,” he adds.

Due to a gruelling dedication to auditions amidst jobs in hotels and as a litter-picker, Dickinson did manage to pry open the metaphorical door. And he credits London’s vast cultural landscape for this success. “I grew up in Highams Park which is on the edge of East London and the start of Essex. So it was weird; I had the best of both worlds. I could dip into London in 15 minutes, but equally, I had Epping Forest on my doorstep…I think that having the opportunity to be close to London and go to the theatre and see films and music and art inspired me. Having all of that on your doorstep definitely helps. London is a breeding ground of culture and so even if you’re not in the world of it, it still seems reachable. It is something you can feel in its pulse.”

Now a significant fragment of the throbbing beat of London’s cultural heart, Dickinson has a year of releases ahead of him. From Sean Durkin’s anticipated brawl-filled biopic, The Iron Claw, featuring the likes of Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White, to his casual note of, “I have a series with Emma Corrin that I did coming out this year, too,” it is clear that the once-daunting faces of Hollywood have now found their place as Dickinson’s co-workers and colleagues. But, what does he hope his year holds when he is not in front of the camera? “Stability,” he simply declares. “I want to keep prioritising experiences with my family and friends over work. Balance, stability and growth is what I want.”

As we depart the quaint coffee shop to continue on with our separate days, I leave with one particular musing. While Dickinson may be proficient in taking on personas far from his own, he has never lost sight of himself – and he’s not afraid to prove it.

ALL CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES Dior Fall 2023 Men’s Collection

ALL CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES Dior Fall 2023 Men’s Collection
James PDF
Ben Schofield
Erica Rana
Editorial Director
Huw Gwyther
Erica Rana
Deputy Editor
Ella West
Maya Man using Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Serum and Dior Forever Foundation
Jody Taylor at Leftside Creative using Babyliss Pro UK
Art Directors
Livia Vourlakidou, Aparna Aji, Harry Fitzgerald
Production Director
Ben Crank
Isabella Coleman
Production Intern
Frankie Baumer
Hair Assistant
Lauraine Bailey
Photography Assistant
Trudi Treble
Fashion Assistant
Kit Swann
Special Thanks
Battersea Power Station