The UK has always produced some of the finest acting talent that the world has even seen. Joe Macaulay Fitzsimmons is definitely an actor to watch out for. Roles in Good Cop and Peaky Blinders have highlighted the skill and deftness with which Joe approaches his roles. I had the opportunity to interview him, and here’s what we discussed:
- Could you tell me a bit about yourself and what inspired you to get into acting?
“I’m from Liverpool, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an actor. I think I was ten the first time I acted in anything, I played a soldier and really liked it. I kept acting into my teenage years, right up until I left school. After school, I went to university and sort of stopped acting for a time, I played a lot of sport and did a lot of other stuff. Then I watched Goodfellas, and it reignited my passion for acting. For the next three months, I was constantly watching movies, Scorsese, the Godfather, Paul Newman that sort of thing, I was hooked. I was a tad worried, because I thought I’d missed the boat. I hadn’t gone to any acting school like RADA in London, and hadn’t really had too much acting work after school. I heard that the BBC were looking for actors for a show they had called Good Cop, so I auditioned for one of the roles. I think it was Michael Day who was the one doing the casting, I didn’t quite know who he was, so wasn’t nervous, and did my part, waited then a few days later got asked to come down for another shot. Next thing I knew I had a part in Good Cop.”
- What has it been like acting in shows like Good Cop, Ripper Street and Peaky Blinders?
“Good Cop was the first thing I’d ever worked on, it was my first show as an actor, and it was a real learning experience. Stephen Graham was one of the main people on the show, and I spent a lot of time watching him. By watching him I learned how to modulate my speech so that I didn’t deliver a line too loudly, or too softly. And how to make sure that my delivery wasn’t too dramatic. On Ripper Street, I learned a lot just by watching the other actors, I learned that the best moments are often the moments you don’t really plan for. I learned that you can’t overthink things, sometimes you’ve got to go with the flow. I also had it reinforced to me that you’ve got to know your lines, you can’t go in flat, as there’s not always time for retakes. It was the same on Peaky Blinders.”
- How do you decide what roles to do?
“Goodfellas was what reignited my passion for acting, and I guess it’s really sort of influenced by character choices. Henry Hill, the main character in Goodfellas was a really flawed character, he had a dark and light side, he wasn’t just a one dimensional character and I think that’s what really attracted me to the movie. So, I think in answer to your question, I like characters who are multi-dimensional who have a bit of a dark side as well as a bit of a good side. Characters that can be seen as a contradiction.”
- What plans have you got for the future?
“A movie I’m featured in alongside Ellie Kendrick from Game of Thrones and Rupert Graves called Native is coming out soon. It’s about aliens looking for a new planet to inhabit and call home. I’ve also just signed to Zero Gravity Management in America, so I’ll be heading over there later this year, to meet with them and to also start auditioning for roles.”