Wednesday 22 November 2017

'I'm bringing the mother to IFTAs. I don't think there's anyone in town she hasn't told!' - The OA star Patrick Gibson

Patrick Gibson in Guerilla
Patrick Gibson in Guerilla
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Following his breakthrough performance in Netflix hit The OA, Irish actor Patrick Gibson is poised to dominate the big and small screen Stateside and beyond.

The 21-year-old Dubliner impressed as bully Steve Winchall and the performance marks the beginning of a very exciting time for the young star.

He recently bagged roles in period drama series The White Princess and Showtime’s Guerilla, directed by 12 Years a Slave producer John Ridley and starring Idris Elba and Freida Pinto.

This year he’ll see his Hollywood big screen debut in Sam Boyd’s Indie romcom In a Relationship which also stars Emma Roberts and Dree Hemingway.

Patrick Gibson in The OA. Pic: Netflix
Patrick Gibson in The OA. Pic: Netflix

A second series of The OA has also just been commissioned and Patrick has just started filming Fox’s new Young Adult series The Darkest Minds in Atlanta.

As he chats to he has just landed in London (where he lives) from Atlanta and is on his way to pick up a suit for tomorrow night’s IFTAs – he has unsurprisingly been nominated for the Rising Star award.

The OA. Pic: Netflix
The OA. Pic: Netflix

The other nominees include fellow The Factory [now Bow Street] graduates Seána Kerslake (A Date for Mad Mary) and Barry Keoghan (LOVE/HATE, Dunkirk) as well as The Young Offenders writer and director Peter Foott.

“It was a bit of a surprise.  I was not expecting it at all,” he says of his nomination.  “I’m in incredibly good company.  I feel slightly out of my depth!”

Based in London and working mostly in the US of late (The OA was filmed in New York), he’s looking forward to being home and catching up with former cast mates on Irish productions.

Irish viewers may remember him from The Tudors and in 2012 he appeared in Lenny Abrahamson’s What Richard Did, which launched the career of fellow Dubliner and Factory star Jack Reynor, with whom he’s hoping to ‘grab a pint’ while he’s back.

Patrick Gibson in Guerilla
Patrick Gibson in Guerilla

“It’s lovely to meet Lenny and all those guys when I’m home,” he says. “I’m at a table with James Nesbit which is great because I worked with him on the film Gold when I was about 15.”

It’s clear the young actor takes his craft seriously.  The OA co-creator and star Brit Marling has revealed that there was a worldwide search to cast the role of Steve Winchell but Patrick’s prep went above and beyond.

“He had this notebook in his lap labelled ‘Steve Winchell,’” she said. “He opened it and showed me page after page of watercolour drawings he’d done, playlists for the kinds of music he would listen to as Steve.

“It was the kind of notebook that I would have made to prepare for a part I had gotten already—he had made it just to come audition. The depth of work that he had done on that character was stunning.”

He explains, “From the second I first saw the script it became 100 per cent my main focus and yeah, I kind of would have done anything to make sure I gave myself the best shot.”

A year later he’s enjoying the success of the show, although he insists he had no expectations for it despite it coming on the back of that other big Netflix hit, Stranger Things.

“I remember Zal [Batmanglij, producer] saying when we started not to have any expectations for it and not be thinking about what happens when it comes out, to really just try to stay in the moment and focus on what’s happening in the here and now,” he says.

“He said we don’t know what will happen in the future and to enjoy the experience and get as much out of it as we possibly could.  I didn’t really have any expectations. 

“It was all very secretive too, even to us.  We didn’t know when it was coming out until everyone else did.”

Although Netflix has not yet announced which cast members will return for the second season, Patrick hopes to be back.  Steve proved hugely popular with the audience.

“I think some people really connected with the show on quite a personal level,” he says.  “A lot of people just say it really kind of moved them and touched them in different ways and that’s really nice to hear.”

While he is often recognised when he’s out and about, he says ‘it’s all positive’ and laughs, “If people came up and told me they hate me that would be fair enough. I’d take that!  But it’s all positive.”

He adds, “It’s not like I’m Tom Cruise and I can’t walk down the street but it’s really nice when people do recognise you.”

With so many more high profile projects in the offing that’s likely to happen much more frequently.

“I think it’s just really nice to be working and kind of not get too caught up in any of that stuff, keep my head down and do what I initially set out to do, just work,” he says.

“The other stuff is a bit bizarre. I try to just keep focussed on the job at hand.” 

Both The White Princess and Guerilla debut on April 16 in the US and it’s testament to the young actor’s dedication that he shot both series at the same time while also completing work on The OA.

“I was doing a Northern Irish accent for Guerilla and then I was doing this RP English thing for White Princess and then an American accent voiceover for The OA so it was a crazy, crazy time!” he laughs.

Despite landing roles left, right and centre in the US, however, has no intention of moving to the States just yet.

“It was never really a conscious thing to sort of make that big move to the States,” he says.  “I’m just trying to find projects that really interest me and feel real for me. 

“I think at the moment I’ll definitely stay here [in London].  It feels like the world is getting a lot smaller since I started out. I just came from Atlanta today and it’s pretty doable. 

“I like being close to home so I don’t think I’m quite ready to make the move permanently.  I’m in London for work and things like that and I come back to Dublin once or twice every month, really just to get home and see family and my old school mates.”

As for the lucky lady he’ll escort up the IFTAs red carpet? 

“I'm bringing the mother! I don't think there's anyone in town she hasn't told!'

Season one of The OA is available on Netflix.

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