IN CONVERSATION WITH DANNY GRIFFIN
British actor Danny Griffin is one of Hollywood’s most promising young artists. He recently starred in Netflix’s ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’, which concluded its second and final season last September. Next, Danny will star in the comedy ‘Drugstore June’.
Danny, you recently concluded your role in Netflix’s ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’, where you played Sky, one of the most skilled specialists and the star of his class. How has the experience of starring on this project for you? What will you miss most about it now that it ended after 2 seasons?
It’s sad that it had to end the way it did. I feel really bad for the audience, cause they didn’t get a conclusion with the characters that they’ve been watching for almost four years. And I think we would’ve all loved to have seen and met Bloom’s family and parents. The thing that I enjoyed most playing my character and the thing that I’m going to miss the most is probably just coming back to something that I know and that I’m familiar with.
There’s something about when you play something for the first time. It’s very new and fresh and sometimes you get a bit lost, you don’t know what to do or you don’t know how to play your character. And the difference between that and playing a character for a second season and coming back to a reprisal role and play it again is the fact that it’s familiar to you and you don’t have to worry about all the small things and the foundation of your character. You can just play him and build on him, like building a house almost, and just building more and more layers to him, which I think was really enjoyable to come back to when I came to season two. And it was like, well how can I improve on what I did last time. That was a very nice feeling. So I’m gonna miss that a lot.
The series revolved around magical powers. If you could have any magical power, which one would you want to have the most?
I mean, there’s like so many that everyone wishes they could do. There’s a movie I saw recently where someone could teleport from point A to point B and I thought that was just one of the coolest things. I think in many interview I’ve said about teleporting and that’d be a really cool power to have. But I think, in my opinion, it’s because it is just a very cool power to have. So I’d probably say teleporting would be my power. It’d be nice to just jump from one place to another without all the traveling involved and all the plane journeys.
One of your first movie roles was in Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Gentlemen’, where you worked on a project with Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant and Charlie Hunnam. How was working with such successful men in the industry so early in your acting career?
Well the sad thing is, and the truth behind it is that I didn’t actually work with Matthew. I didn’t really work with Colin either. I really had no scenes with either either of them. And Hugh Grant I had one scene with, however it was very brief and very short. The scene I was doing with him, I was dead and I had to look rigid and frozen. So the guy thought it’d be a good idea to get a four by two plank of wood and put it under my back to give me my rigid form. I was sort of taped in this kind of tarp and I was laying down cause I couldn’t get out of it. I was wrapped in this tarp like I was a birthday present for someone. As I couldn’t get out of it, I had to stay in it for about an hour. So whenever we’d call cut, we would just put me to the side of the set and I’d just be laid down with the pillow on the floor. Hugh came up to me right as we finished our last take and I was getting out of this tarp and he said “I thought you were very good. You were slightly wooden for my taste”, obviously playing off the fact that I have a bit of wood at my backside, which was I guess the funny joke. And that was the only thing we really spoke.
But to work with people like that or to work in a movie with those people is an absolute pleasure. And it’s pretty rare. You get someone with very little experience that just goes and jumps on the set with those kind of actors. I was very excited when I heard the news and the more people got brought on, the more it was like “Oh my God, this movie seems huge”. It’s exciting. And actually what’s funny, I recently watched it again. It was on Netflix and me my girlfriend watched it. We thought it was really fun to re-watch. I forget sometimes I was in the film cause it’s for about 10 seconds. But it was a pleasure to be a part of.
As an actor, what are your career goals you want to achieve?
There’s many things, but I I’m really simple. I just wanna work for as long as I can, hopefully choosing the jobs that I’d like to work on. I would just like to work for as long as I can, till my body gives up I suppose. I think when you love what you do, you don’t really have an opinion on when you want it to end. It’s not like a nine till five where you go in, you do your job and then you go home and reset the day. It’s more like I hope this can last forever sort of thing.
This industry can be hard for any actor. What are some of your personal biggest challenges that you’ve encountered?
In my honest opinion, it would probably be the ups and downs. I think a lot of actors think that it’s sometimes plain sailing. It’s not. It can get really tough not working for a long period of time. And it can get tough even when you’re working for a long period of time, cause you think you’re constantly busy and it’s weighing you down. You need a break. And I think there’s moments that you should reflect on the fact that you are working and you are enjoying your career. I think those are moments you should cherish, because sometimes that can always be taken away and you cannot work for X amount of time. And especially actors, they have to have almost like a schedule when they’re not working. They need to keep busy and keep being entertained and still slightly involved in their craft.
I just did an indie film, independent film, and it was just so nice to back on a movie set again. And a completely different one, not the one I’m familiar with. It’s almost more exciting because it’s fresh and new and I really enjoyed feeling that way. I don’t take it for granted.
The industry has diversified quite a lot in the last few years. What are the things that you see are still missing?
I think diversity’s great. The more the merrier. If you’re good at what you do and you are the right person for the part, that’s where it should end. It doesn’t matter your color or your race. If you could act really well and you can play the part, then it shouldn’t matter. I love diversity in films. It should be encouraged.
You made your stage debut at 17 in the highly acclaimed production of ‘The Railway Children’ at London’s Kings Cross Theatre, from where you then switched focus to film and TV. Why did you decide to switch focus to film and TV? Have you always wanted to be an actor?
I wouldn’t say I’ve always known that I wanted to be an actor. I certainly wanted to try. I think ‘The Railway Children’ was a lovely thing for me, cause it was a lovely starting point where I got to work with some really good people, some adults in the industry. And I was about 17 when I did that. I had some really good adults around me, who were very experienced veterans at the job and have been doing it since the seventies and eighties, before social media, before fame and all this kind of stuff. They just did it cause they loved it. And so I had some really good people around me to push me and guide me in the right direction. I never take ‘The Railway Children’ for granted. That was a really good job. And I loved it.
The reason I switched was because theater was very much about being very expressive and hitting the back of the stage and speaking to the person at the back of the room. And much as I love that and I learned so much from it, I just felt like I wanted to be almost more in a better take on real life. Obviously in real life no one goes around shouting and trying to play it to the back of the room. Everyone talks in a quite calm, collective voice. And I think I was intrigued by what cinema and film could do. I did one short film after ‘The Railway Children’ and I just fell in love with every aspect of cinema. Whether it be the camera or focus pulling or the sound. I loved it all. I loved how it was like a giant clock with all these little cogs that were turning. Everyone was a little cog in this giant organism. It was really fascinating and I enjoyed it more. And so that’s why I wanted to make the switch, cause I thought this is where I think my efforts were best.
I hate to be that person to say it, but you are only on this planet for X amount of time and I think you should choose things that you want to do, otherwise you are not necessarily wasting time cause I feel like you can’t waste time cause you can always learn something new or discover something about yourself, but I feel like you try and do something that makes you happy at least. And that’s why I made the change, cause I found more happiness in cinema and film, which I grew up watching, than I did in theater.
Danny, you’re not just an actor. You’ve been modeling as well. What’s your view on the modeling and fashion world?
I don’t really have a view on modeling anymore because I don’t actually do it. I haven’t modeled in about five years. It was a small blip in my career. The truth of the matter is I needed a paycheck so I could afford rent. I literally just used to do modeling cause I had a person I was working with at my agency and they suggested that I tried my hand in it, so I just gave it a go. And it’s probably one of the hardest industries alongside acting because it is so brutal. You are treated like cattle in the beginning. I find all models very resilient to keep going, keep pursuing what they love in the creative art form. But it really wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it. I love the camera situation, but it wasn’t for me.
The whole world of fashion is constantly evolving and changing and I love fashion. I love clothes and I love certain designers that I’ve followed over the years. I’ve really enjoyed watching their career’s change and I think their clothes are reflecting it. It’s interesting. It’s not something I learned too much about, to be honest, but I’ve sort of admired from a distance.
As we don’t know so much about you yet, can you share with us what are your biggest passions in life, besides acting of course?
Writing and directing. I’m writing something right now, which I think is gonna be great. It’s a short film and hopefully I can push it into a feature film maybe in 2024. But the goal for this year is to get my short film out there. I wouldn’t say I’m a good writer, but I have all these ideas I want to get onto paper. I’ve been wanting to do it for a while. It’s just taking the time to actually sit down and do it. I’ve got ADHD so I can’t sit still for five seconds. I have to really sit down and tell myself I’m gonna write today to actually do some writing.
My other passion that I love, alongside writing, is directing. I’m sort of directing in my head as I’m writing all these scenes. Some writers write with just dialogue or some writers write with characters in mind as well, but I write in the sense of I write just shots and sort of go from there. It’s a weird process. I’m still very new to it and I’m still discovering how to do it.
We’ll next be seeing you in ‘Drugstore June’. Is this a project that you can share something about already?
It’s been announced. It’s a comedy and I’m insanely excited to share that with you. And I think it comes out this year for sure. It was an absolute pleasure to film, the cast was super wonderful. It was a very lovely atmosphere on set. And every day was like a little workshop in acting and improvisation. It was just so much fun to do. All the co-stars that I worked with were just brilliant. They all come from different backgrounds and a lot of them are comedians, some are writers and I just had a field day with them. So that was an incredible experience and I really look forward sharing that with you this year.
interview by JANA LETONJA
styling ODILE ITURRASPE
groomer KRISTEN SHAW
producer ROCIO VALENZUELA
assistant producer BRIT STINE
editor TIMI LETONJA
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN