IN CONVERSATION WITH LUKE BRANDON FIELD
Interview by Jana Letonja
English actor Luke Brandon Field is the new baddie in DC’s ‘The Flash’, which premiered this June. He is also starring in ‘Interview with the Vampire’ and will star in ‘Glasshouse’. In June Luke also launched his EP with bandmate and legend Camilla Grey in their band ‘Rogues’.
Luke, you’re a multi-talented artist. As well as acting, you’re also a musician. Can you tell us where your passion for all these artistic disciplines comes from?
I’ve always been lucky to have had such wonderful, varied influences throughout my life from so many different places. My love for music started as my parents were such music lovers in the 70s that I grew up exclusively on a diet of Bowie and Bolan and then progressed into pub, punk and new wave rock. In my teenage years, I found the balance when my era had started to be very much influenced by the types of music that my dad was listening to with the advent of the indie rock revolution of the 2000s with The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, The libertines Razorlight, The Hives, etc. I found myself in a school band during the era where it was all about cool haircuts, a cool name, drain pipe jeans and Converse. I always enjoyed writing music and performing with my friends, but it just never seemed to be my focus. Similar to acting, of course you need a lot of dedication and hard work to write, record and put your music out there and I just didn’t have that patience for it as I decided to go to college and major in film and drama.
When it came to acting, I was heavily influenced by a few factors. One of my dad‘s very close friends, who was a godfather to me, was Patrick McGoohan, who was well known for being the prisoner and the bad guy in ‘Braveheart’, one of my favorite films of all time. He would quote Shakespeare to me as a child when we spent time together and I would find it hilarious. Those experiences with Patrick at a young age influenced me as I too began to read plays and explore and enjoy using my voice to mimic different accents in order to find humor with my peers and family. Because I listen to music so much, I feel like my ear progressed in such a way that it helped me with my acting career due to my keenness for listening to people’s accents, tones and timbre. The other major influence upon me being an actor was going to UCLA film school and being exposed to a plethora of the cinema world and performances ranging from silent Danish Cinema by Carl Dryer to Italian neo-realism of the 50s to the British new wave of the 60s to Hollywood blockbusters. Having a good command of film language and knowledge certainly helps when talking to a filmmaker, and discussing the specifics of a script you are working on.
When did you start your acting career and did you already know that you wanted to become an actor as a child?
Acting with something I was always very interested in from a young age, but was always too scared to give it a proper go. When I was in secondary/high school, I was cast in several plays and had a great time. But one side of my family was not comfortable with the idea of me being an actor as a full-time professional. I lied and told them I was at math class sometimes, but they found out when I came home with makeup on my collar. It was either I told them I was in a New York Dolls Tribute act on the side or come clean with the truth. Today, luckily they are very supportive of my profession.
When I was in high school we did have a couple of studios and casting directors come to the school and I came very close to getting a role in a very big movie. Upon taking a gap year, I decided to investigate further and see if I had the discipline and natural instincts to become an actor by enrolling in Drama School. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in life. I graduated from college in 2011 in film theory and drama and shortly afterward booked my first movie role as the lead in the indie film ‘Where The Road Meets The Sun’. I figured things would be easy from then on, but little did I know the trials and tribulations of an actual actor’s life. I’m so glad to have experienced it though, as I think if I would’ve become very successful at such a young age, I don’t think I would have handled it as well and would really lack the emotional maturity that people I know have used so well to navigate certain elements and trappings of life.
After booking a few roles after graduating from University, there was a bad recession in England, which took a lot of production away, so I decided to apply for a visa and move to Los Angeles and give it a proper go. I’ve never regretted that decision and despite sacrificing the only life I ever knew in London, I made myself a whole new world in Los Angeles, which I’m eternally grateful for.
Can you tell us about your experience as an actor in the film ‘Glasshouse’, which takes place during the First World War?
The first time I read the script I immediately thought “Wow, what an amazing story and I feel rather scared to do this as an actor”. It really was a mammoth challenge. We didn’t have a lot of time to shoot this movie, but there’s such depth to the script, the characters are very well-written and the true story is so poignant and sad. I was scared because I really wanted to do it justice. I met with the director Josh Rappaport a week after reading the script and we immediately got on and we had very similar ideas. I did quite a bit of research into the true story of Britain’s first deserter in World War I and the aftermath of what happened, and it immediately made me feel like I had to be part of this. The last time I felt like that was when I first read ‘Jojo Rabbit’. ‘Glasshouse’ is a very special movie, I think there are some very special performances from some really highly talented actors and I look forward to it being shown on the big screen later this year.
Was this your first role in a film with such a historical context? What was the most difficult aspect of playing this character?
This was my first movie set in World War I, but I’ve had experience doing war films after being in ‘Jojo Rabbit’. Coming into ‘Glasshouse’, I’d already had experience in researching for a historic role having done that in ‘Jojo Rabbit’, but this was slightly different, playing a real person at a slightly different time. And in order to really understand the plight of these characters, one must understand the socio-political history of the era. So after some stringent planning of research, I identified a program of books, docs, limited pathe footage, a trip to the Imperial War Museum with my cast mates along a heavy schedule of World War I films, including ‘Paths of Glory’, the ultimately helpful ‘King And Country’ with Dirk Bogarde, which helped with my own characterization, physicality and voice of my character Sydney Oakes, and many modern interpretations, like ‘1917’ and of course ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’.
You’ve just finished filming the second season of ‘Interview with the Vampire’. What can you tease about the upcoming season?
Just know I’ve never had a happier time on set. When I think of ‘Interview with the Vampire’, an immediate smile beams on my face as it’s so far the best and most challenging experience in my career. It’s an amazing show, filled with incredibly talented and supportive writers, directors and producers. I’m so happy to work with this cast. We all feel we have such a great bond and chemistry and I think it is mixed with such amazing writing the fans will have so much to look forward to in season 2.
You’ve got the role of the villain in ‘The Flash’. Can you tell us about this character and explain how you prepared for the role?
My role is as Alberto Falcone, the maligned son of known Gotham Mobster Carmine Falcone and later known as the Holiday Killer. I was overjoyed when I learned I’d be playing this amazingly cool Gotham villain in ‘The Flash’. First thing I set out to do was to read everything about Alberto, especially Loeb and Sale’s Batman graphic novel ‘The Long Halloween’, a continuation of ‘Batman: Year One’ to really understand who I was playing and then to understand the reasoning for him in ‘The Flash’ and his personal objectives during the battle with Batman at the start of the film. Again, it made me scared and nervous to be in a movie of this size, but one thing I’ve found in this career is being nervous about a role is a great thing as it really feels a challenge that needs to be overcome and enjoyed. We did a lot of stunts for the film, something I had no experience in, but can now take that new found confidence into new projects.
You have a career in both the UK and the US. How do you manage to balance your life between these two countries? Do you feel that there are differences between the American and British film industries?
I am lucky to enjoy life in both London and Los Angeles. I have close family and such great friends in both. Nevertheless, when I am away for work, I don’t miss either city. Instead, I miss people, especially my family. Since Covid, the world has become so much smaller and the major differences that once occurred between the American and British film and TV industries are obsolete as now the world is so joined together. Movies and TV shows get released at the same time and productions take place all over the world. I very much enjoy my life in LA, but the pre-requisite of being there to get a job is not as true as once was. You can be anywhere in the world and get that call saying you have a job for a big movie or television show. I like the spontaneity of the industry, but I know it can be difficult and hard. For me, every new job is a new experience and adventure.
You have acted in TV series as well as films. What are the main differences between acting in films and acting for television?
I think the biggest difference when it comes to acting for film and television is that in television you have so much more time to figure out and work on your character, especially over a period of 6, 8 or 10 episodes, or having 12345+ seasons. The character really begins to feel a part of you and I’d love to find exquisite and specific details about characters over a period of time. I certainly continue to find wonderful things about Daniel Malloy in the ‘Interview with the Vampire’ from reading Anne Rice’s books and independent study of him as a person during the 70s. I have always had a thirst for knowledge, especially in music and film history, and delving into a character deeper feeds this constant hunger I have to stimulate me.
Nevertheless, when you are on a movie, sometimes it can be for a very short time, a 14-day shoot or 20-day shoot, and it does indeed take time to get into your stride. Granted, a movie when you have a longer time to prepare and shoot, there is that great sense of discovery whilst doing so. Also, it is important to say that when on the television show, you have a longer time to gain a bond and a camaraderie with your cast mates. In a film, it’s like having a family for a very short period of time and then dispersing very quickly. I am looking forward to one day returning back to a reoccurring series family.
Recently, also your new EP with Camilla Grey and your band Rogues was released. How did you start this band and what’s it like collaborating with Camilla?
We met in Los Angeles at a bar. I was there with my roommate at the time, who knew who Camilla was from her band, and had a massive crush on her. She was too afraid to talk to her, so I took it upon myself to wingman her and to go up to Camila to introduce ourselves. We became instant friends. She’s one of the most talented people I know and you with some friendships you can just be who you are without any filter or performance. I immediately recognized that with Camilla. We have an amazing basis of honesty, vulnerability and trust that we have shared for half a decade.
What were your main inspirations for this EP and how do you manage to combine your musical career and your acting career?
I was going through a particularly bad breakup with my ex-girlfriend and I came over to Camila‘s house. After talking for 30 minutes, she asked me to put on some headphones and listen to the track she’d been working on. She thought it was good for me to maybe vocalize my sadness by scratching vocals on the track to help alleviate some sadness out of me. That was how we wrote the song ‘Told You to Run’ and we just continued on in that fashion. I don’t know how well I would’ve been able to process the pain I was feeling at the time if it wasn’t for writing some of these tracks. I felt safe with Camila, we got along, she felt like an older sister I never had. And knowing her musical tastes, we both immediately had a musical bond for British 80s Indie, Post Punk, Goth and Synth Pop ranging from Siouxsie & The Banshees, Human League, Japan, Depeche Mode, New Order/Joy Division, early Duran Duran and The Fall. Songs began to write themselves while we had jokes in the studio and maybe a bottle of whiskey to help.
Luke, what’s next? Any exciting news to share with us about music or acting?
‘Glasshouse’ will be out at the end of the year, ‘Interview with the Vampire’ second season of course and a project I’m very excited about, which very much ticks my boxes for both my love for music and film.
DISCLAIMER: THIS INTERVIEW WAS DONE BEFORE THE SAG-AFTRA STRIKE!