IN CONVERSATION WITH LUTHER FORD
Interview by Jana Letonja
Marking his television debut, Luther Ford steps into the regal shoes of Prince Harry in Netflix’s concluding season of the beloved series ‘The Crown,’ which recently concluded its final episode on December 14th. Recognized not only for his acting prowess but also for his passion for directing, Luther envisions further exploration of this facet in his career. Experience his royal aura as Luther in this captivating men’s fashion editorial, skillfully captured by Bartek Szmigulski, exclusively for Numéro Netherlands Digital.
full look THOM BROWNE
Luther, you made your TV and acting debut as none other than Prince Harry in Netflix’s final season of ‘The Crown’. How did you land this role?
It was an open casting call. The casting team, Robert Sterne and Kate Bone, had posted it everywhere and it had gone viral. My brother’s girlfriend sent it to our group chat and said “You should have a go at this”. I don’t know why she thought I could do it. I think she saw a little certain cheekiness in my smile and also I guess the fact that I was ginger. I auditioned on a kind of whim and somehow ended up getting the role. It was very late in the casting for Harry, they hadn’t been able to find someone, so the process was really quick. It was three weeks, so it was a crazy turn around.
What excited you the most about the role of Prince Harry that you actually decided to audition for it?
I suppose at the point of auditioning it seemed like something that would be impossible to get and it wasn’t a situation where this was through an agent and I was a working actor. I was a film student who was excited and interested by this opportunity that I thought was literally impossible. Things like this don’t happen. You don’t apply to things online and then get them. Especially when it’s ‘The Crown’. The further it went on, what was most exciting is the show itself in terms of it being so prestigious and the actors that have been involved in it. It really felt like one of the highest forms of drama. And so that was incredibly exciting to even think that I was possible of being considered. There wasn’t much pressure on me as I felt like I had already succeeded just by being in the room, just by getting a call back. I was like “Wow, they are interacting with me”.
full look SAINT LAURENT
full look DIOR
And how does it feel to portray one of the most recognized and talked about Prince in the world?
It’s very strange. I think you have to do your best to zone that out. There are a lot of other things to contend with, even just acting itself. I had no prior experience, I hadn’t gone to drama school. There were so many elements to it from a lifestyle perspective that were changing around me that maybe that made it easier. Maybe I didn’t get caught up so much in the person I was playing. Everyone involved in the show stress to you that these are characters and that ultimately beyond the research, the work you are doing is about making this character your own, putting your own spin on it. People have an idea of who these people are and I suppose you are trying to bring kind of a new intrigue and hopefully insight to them. But as you say, they are very recognizable, so you can’t just do anything.
What was your favorite moment from the set of ‘The Crown’?
There were so many moments, great hotels, great food. I know those aren’t anything to do with the set, but they were good. I think probably the moments where potentially the pressure was off and you were just experiencing the full scale of ‘The Crown’. For instance, we were filming a sequence that was set in Canada and was actually shot in Canary Wharf, the finance district of London. It’s just amazing the intricate details that every department put into transforming places. I think there were about 300 supporting artists, these vintage cars, actors that were playing Canadian police officers. It was so immersive. We would pull up and get out of the cars, shake hands with these officials, enter these buildings and then you have public who are around watching. Such a surreal simulation. They were fun because you could just experience them.
How has being cast on such a popular show impacted your recognition in the streets and in the industry?
Well, not at all. The episodes with me just came out, so in terms of recognition in the streets, nothing yet, which is nice. I’m definitely not keen to be recognzed. I feel like it would bring a certain paranoia, which I can’t imagine being fun. But I suppose from an industry and social perspective, people knowing that you have worked on ‘The Crown’ is testament to its success. It is very unique in that it feels that everyone is aware of what ‘The Crown’ is. Not that they have necessarily seen it, but people have a real reaction to hearing that I am playing Prince Harry in ‘The Crown’. People really react, which is funny. Definitely a phenomenon culturally.
full look SAINT LAURENT
full look GCDS
sneaker CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN
Acting was not really on your radar, as you’ve completed studies in directing, which you hope to pursue more of in your career. What steered you to even consider auditioning and dipping your toes into acting?
I think it’s the same world. As someone that loves making things and directing, I suppose I also love acting because it’s all storytelling and also it’s a world that I inspired to enter at some point. So even though it was in an acting remit, the idea of someone saying “Do you want to spend time on the set of ‘The Crown’, watch these actors work, interact with directors that you know and respect? ” I mean, I would say yes please, I would like to do that. So I think a whole manner of things, but I guess the point to stress is that from an acting perspective, I didn’t expect to ever get it. So I don’t know why I did it. I think it’s important to try things, as in you should just give it a go. I didn’t know that was a philosophy I had. But now, yes, you have to do it. You never know what’s going to happen.
What intrigues you about directing? What kind of projects would you love to direct?
I think the exciting thing about working behind the camera is all the different people and departments you get to collaborate with. I feel like that’s the most exciting thing. With acting, of course there is so much collaboration, but it’s very much also about you as a person. It’s really exciting to be working with a sound department and production designers and to kind of consider all the elements of a story. But also, it’s always just what I’ve done, from the smallest scale possible of me and my friend filming things, the enjoyment of editing and from the simplest thing of adding music to something and seeing how that changes what we have just filmed, making it sad or scary.
The projects I would love to direct would be things about family dynamics and intimate relationships, things that feel based in reality, but also have style to them. All kinds of things. I would like to direct music videos, a certain type of advert, anything really. The ultimate would be something that would live on Mubi. I love Mubi.
Top, Scarf, Jeans LUDOVIC DE SAINT SERIN Coat JORDAN LUCA
Shoes PIFERI for LUDOVIC DE SAINT SERIN
You are also a very fashionable guy. What does fashion mean to you?
It means something different now as I suppose I have kind of an industry relationship with it in the sense that I never knew that the world of acting and fashion crossed over so much. I guess it doesn’t always, but in the case of this show and the publicity around it, there has been a lot of collaboration with brands and it’s been very exciting. It’s all new and baffling and strange and interesting, it’s many things.
I think on a personal level, I don’t know what fashion means to me. I like being comfortabl. Day to day as a person, I just get the clothes on, that’s a good start. From the perspective of events and more work related, it’s fun dressing up, you are exploring characters.
Which current fashion trends are your favorite?
I don’t know if I have enough knowledge of fashion or trends to answer this question. I was asked what fashion trend I would bring back and I said dungarees. I don’t know if dungarees have gone or if they are in, or if they were ever in. I’d like to wear them, I never have. I have this image of me decorating a house with a big paint roller wearing dungarees. I don’t like vests, there are too many vests at the moment. I’m on the fence.
What can you share with us about your upcoming projects, now that your career is starting to bloom?
I can’t share anything with you as it is all a secret, but I do have a project in the pipeline, which is cool and great. I hope to be making something, a short film, get the ball rolling again. Its exciting I’m also looking forward to Christmas and the New Year ahead.
full look JORDAN LUCA
Boot CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN
Talent: LUTHER FORD @luther3ford
Photographer: BARTEK SZMIGULSKI @smiggi
Stylist: MIKE ADLER @ Monday Artists @stylistmikeadler @mondayartists
Grooming: CHARLIE CULLEN @charlieculleneducation
Styling assistant: JACKLYN O AGU @jae.oa
Grooming assistant: JASON FAIRBANK @jasonfairbank-hair
Editor: TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
Editorial director & interview: JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
Cover design: ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen
Shot at Mill Row Club Studio London @millrowclub