ESQ&A: Douglas Booth

The British rising star on his style picks, playing the trumpet, and smoking with Johnny Depp  

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Douglas Booth is wasting no time.

In his 22 years, the London-born actor has gone from starring in BBC dramas (Great Expectations) to Hollywood blockbusters (Noah).

This year, Booth continues his Hollywood trajectory, starting with new film Jupiter Ascending in which he stars alongside Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum.

We sat down with the actor to talk working with the Wachowskis (The Matrix trilogy), his style item of choice and having a crafty smoke with Johnny Depp.

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What’s your favourite memory from the Jupiter Ascending set?
I can’t pin it down to a single moment. It was just the mischievousness of the Wachowskis and the sheer pleasure they got from doing their work. You’d hear their giggling and know they were enjoying their vision being created. That was satisfying.

If you could pick a filmmaker and actor to work with, which would you choose?
Paul Thomas Anderson and Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice). Keeping my fingers crossed that happens one day.

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What’s your favourite restaurant and what’s your order?
There’s two places: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London – it does amazing French food; the mashed potato there is the best, and in LA, a place called Matsuhisa. I have the Yellow tail Jalapeno.

What item should every man have in his wardrobe?
A black pair of jeans. You can wear them with anything. A plain white t-shirt too. Simple and casual. 

What’s your desert island book, film and album?
I’d want a practical 'How To…’ type book. Film(s) would be The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'd bring an album personal to me; my best friend Johnzo West is a musician so his album, The Cause and The Cure.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I can play the trumpet. Before I became an actor, I wanted to be the next Louis Armstrong. I started young and got to grade seven. When I turned 13, everyone started whipping out guitars, looking cool and joining rock bands so I stopped playing.  

When was the last time you were starstruck?
After the Met Ball [the annual fundraising gala at New York's Metropolitan] last year, I was in the toilets with Eddie Redmayne and Domhnall Gleeson – everyone smokes in there because they can’t be bothered to walk outside – and then suddenly Johnny Depp walked in. I was like, “Get me the hell out of here.”

What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
I was filming Noah in New York and one of my best friends was there. Hurricane Sandy was about to hit so it felt like we were living on a different planet. We went marauding and got lost in this huge city. That was good fun. The best nights I’ve ever had are probably Glastonbury though; there's no rules there.

What would you save from a burning building?
Beyond my family and dogs, it’d be these photo albums my mum made for my 21st birthday which chronicle my whole life. My parent’s and grandparent's lives – right from when photographs were invented. It’s a photographic memory of my whole heritage. They’d be quite heavy though.

Jupiter Ascending is out now. Booth will next be seen in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is out later this year.

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MORE ESQ&A:

Paul Bettany
Idris Elba
Oscar Isaac
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