Belfast Telegraph

Jim Sturgess: 'The minute you relax is the minute it all goes wrong'

Jim Sturgess stands by his passion for independent cinema, but the new BBC wartime drama Close To The Enemy was a lure he couldn’t resist, says Keeley Bolger

By Keeley Bolger

Jim Sturgess isn't the type to rest on his laurels. Experience has taught him that if he wants other people to feel as passionate about independent cinema as he does, he has to bang the drum the loudest - and social media is the perfect platform.

"I like having control over letting people know what I'm doing," says the 38-year-old, explaining his fondness for posting on Instagram.

"You can actually reach an audience and you can cut out the middle man, who usually f***s it up."

Due to shoestring budgets, the marketing of independent cinema is practically non-existent, he notes.

"You're really struggling to get your film seen," adds the actor.

It doesn't hurt that he has the backing of Anne Hathaway, his co-star in 2011's One Day. The Oscar-winning actress recently gave a significant plug for his band Tragic Toys', new demo, which will raise money for a friend living with severe MS.

As a teenager in Surrey and member of the National Youth Music Theatre, Sturgess has played in bands since he was 15, and even set off to Manchester to study media and performance at Salford University.

While there he fell in with the local arts scene, met an agent while performing poetry and refocused his efforts on acting.

Following his breakthrough role in Beatles musical Across The Universe in 2007, he's since appeared in 2008 drama The Other Boleyn Girl and 2012's Cloud Atlas - but nerves are always present on the first day of a shoot.

"You always feel like you can't do it," admits Sturges.

"You always feel like someone has made a terrible mistake; why have they cast you in this part?

"In Feed The Beast (a TV series co-starring David Schwimmer), I was playing some kid from the Bronx. You're like, 'I'm from London. Why have you cast me to play this big character from the Bronx?'"

Not that this uncertainty is entirely a bad thing, mind.

"You need that energy. There would be something wrong if you didn't have that adrenaline. You kind of need it to get you through," says Sturgess. "The minute you relax is the minute it all goes wrong."

For the first time in his career, he's set to appear on the small screen, as the lead in BBC Two's Close To The Enemy.

"I've not done a television show before. I've come from the world of films, so it was a bit out of the box for me. I thought it would be really interesting doing a TV drama, and not have to struggle through the pain of independent film-making," he confesses.

Written by Stephen Poliakoff, the seven-part series is set in a bomb-damaged London hotel in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Sturgess plays Captain Callum Ferguson, whose last task for the army is to recruit captured German scientist Dieter (August Diehl) to work for the British RAF on developing the jet engine. Although enemies at first, the two men find common ground, though it isn't long before tension mounts.

"It's a brilliant title for all the little dynamics going on with all the characters," explains Sturgess, who also appears alongside Phoebe Fox, Alfred Molina, Angela Bassett and Lindsay Duncan in the series.

"It's this idea that these two brilliant men are having to put the past behind them to focus on the future.

"It's this moral tightrope Callum walks between - what these people really did during that time, how much they should be made accountable for, and how important is it that we actually extract information and be prepared and more advanced as a country, and ready for the Cold War."

Close To The Enemy begins on BBC2 tomorrow at 9pm

Jim Sturgess stands by his passion for independent cinema, but the new BBC wartime drama Close To The Enemy was a lure he couldn't resist, says Keeley Bolger

Belfast Telegraph


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