Glass talks to the emerging UK actor – Douglas Booth

This Charming Man – Glass talks to Douglas Booth, an emerging UK actor who combines his profession with a passion for human rights

DOUGLAS Booth is a thoroughly modern British gent. Born in Greenwich, south-east London, and raised in Kent, the 25-year-old Booth had an idealistic upbringing only slightly marred by the struggles he faced due to his severe dyslexia, which prompted his interest in performing. He joined the National Youth Theatre when he was 14, and it was through losing himself in his passion for drama that Booth began to find himself. His prodigious talent was recognised early on, and he joined one of the oldest literary and talent agencies in Europe, Curtis Brown, at the age of 15.

Acting roles (such as the young Boy George in 2010’s Worried About The Boy, and Pip in the BBC adaptation of Great Expectations) then gave the opportunity for his talent to develop and shine. He found recognition in the fashion world as well and has modelled for Burberry, among others. Booth’s star was well on the rise: bigger film roles swiftly followed, with his appearance in Carlo Carlei’s 2013 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; then Harry in 2014’s The Riot Club and in Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah, alongside Emma Watson.

Doug 1Douglas Booth. Photographer: Hew Hood

Recently Booth played Dan Leno in The Limehouse Golem (2016), directed by Juan Carlos Medina, which also starred Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke. And this October, Booth will be seen in the world’s first fully painted feature film Loving Vincent, which is about the last few months of the life of Van Gogh, alongside Eleanor Tomlinson, Helen McCrory, Aidan Turner, Saoirse Ronan and Chris O’Dowd.

As well as his commitment to acting, Booth has passions outside his profession; he is an ardent supporter of refugee rights and is also a feminist.

 

Doug 2Douglas Booth. Photographer: Hew Hood

You were born and raised in London. How did that shape your early life?
I grew up in London but at the age of eight moved to the country and then returned to London at around the age of 18. I went to drama school every Saturday at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama so spent every single weekend in London nevertheless. For the most part I feel like I grew up there. I absolutely love it really – It feels like my home. And how it shaped me? I don’t know, I think it’s such a wonderfully diverse city brimming with culture and I’m sure that influenced my career path.

At school, where did some of your interests lie and subsequently grow?
As I’m severely dyslexic, I always knew it wasn’t going to be an academic life for me. I had a very creative heart, as it were. I first wanted to be a jazz musician because I used to love Louis Armstrong when I listened to him with my grandparents. I took up the trumpet and learnt it to grade seven by practising every day. The trouble was, my school only taught classical. At the age of 13, there I was really wanting to be a jazz musician and there was everybody else, picking up guitars and doing their wannabe rockstar thing. I auditioned for a school play, I got it and I kind of just fell in love with it from there. I found myself, and indeed a way to express myself, that way. It’s a fantastic way to discover yourself by looking through other characters.

Doug 5Douglas Booth. Photographer: Hew Hood

When you first began getting involved in the dramatic arts, what areas of this field did you most enjoy?
I think being creative along with a group of like-minded young individuals. At the National Youth Theatre you spend two weeks devising a piece and you find out a lot about each other and about yourself. One of the greatest things was to learn new skills along the way, meet interesting new people and make friends all over the world. I’ve made connections with people all over the world have introduced me to a fascinating creative community and I’m always eager to travel non-stop for that very reason.

You are a familiar face in the fashion world, having cut your teeth modelling in a series of Burberry ads photographed by Mario Testino nearly a decade ago. What did fashion represent to you then?
It didn’t really represent anything to me off the top of my head. I had always liked clothes and shown interest in what I was wearing. Although even then I was a kid who didn’t really know much about what was going on, and Burberry came about after a couple of acting jobs.

I thought it sounded like a terrific opportunity, starring alongside Emma Watson in the campaign. People were really paying attention to who was in those campaigns at that point. Christopher Bailey was shaking up British fashion and it felt good to be at the forefront. I spent two days on set with Mario Testino, who I adore to this day. It was kind of a unique experience, working with someone who is at the very top of their craft and it was so exciting for that reason. Plus, the pictures were everywhere.

You are known as a champion of British style, appearing on best dressed lists celebrating this. How does it feel to be given this kind of accolade?
I’ve always supported British menswear and will go on to do so to the end. I’ve been fortunate enough to learn how to dress the best from the best from a young age so any accolades can be credited to some of my mentors more than they are to me I …

For the rest of the interview please see the recent issue of Glass, entitled Patience, available at newsagents and here

Doug 4Douglas Booth. Photographer: Hew Hood

by Livia Feltham

First published in Glass Issue 30, Patience

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Photographer: Hew Hood

Stylist: Fabio Immediato

Fashion Credits

Image one:

Knit, shirt, trousers Louis Vuitton, socks Pantherella, shoes Christian Louboutin, Ring Douglas’ own

Image two:

All clothing Alexander McQueen

Image three: 

Jacket, shirt, trousers Paul Smith , socks Pantherella, Ring Douglas’ own

Image four:

All clothing Calvin Klein