Belfast Telegraph

O'Connell: Jolie made me feel equal

Jack O'Connell has heaped praise on Hollywood star Angelina Jolie for treating him as an equal on the set of new film Unbroken.

Angelina directed the 24-year-old former Skins star in her film about Louis Zamperini, a Second World War hero and athlete who ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Jack told Esquire magazine: "She had compassion. She supported me throughout. If I'm watching her treat everyone as an equal, that made me feel exactly like that, too. I spent time with her in the rehearsal period. She set up meetings with my mum and some of my family. So, by the time we go to the set, it felt like I had a bit of a friend. But it was a massive leap for me, a much more expensive realm of the industry."

Despite being down to earth, Jack also admitted he gets offended at being referred to as just a working class lad made good.

He revealed: "I'm always referred to as a normal Derby lad, et cetera. I could almost find those terms offensive. I can consider myself a normal Derby lad, but there's a tendency for that to appear like it's an over-importance. I don't think my example has been any harder than those who have done this path before me."

Jack worked with Sir Michael Caine on crime thriller Harry Brown in 2009 and said the veteran actor has taught him some important life lessons.

He said: "Before working with the likes of Michael Caine, I was quite naive. I had a sports mentality. I was quite competitive, which I don't like in this field. I don't think it's a contest; you can't contest acting. But when I was a kid, I had this undertone of aggression, this need to be funny or to be heard. Whereas now, I don't feel so panicked that I'm chasing my tail any more. It's paying off and [I'm] being regarded as, at least, an actor."

Check out the full Jack O'Connell shoot and interview in the Esquire January issue - on sale now and online at www.esquire.co.uk/culture/film-tv/7426/jack-oconnell-interview/.

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