Loving Vincent's Douglas Booth On The First Painted Film - And On Being More Than A Pretty Face


Douglas Booth is preposterously handsome. Offensively so, to quote Emma Watson. But with every film he takes on, it has become increasingly hard for the acting industry to typecast him as merely a beautiful man, because he's increasingly amassing the respect of critics and of his colleagues. 

After winning plaudits for his portrayal of Boy George in in BBC Two's Worried About The Boy in 2010, Booth went on to cement his reputation as a rising star in BBC One's adaptation of Great Expectations, and then Darren Aronofsky's Noah

His latest role is in groundbreaking film Loving Vincent, a film which took years to make because each frame was painted by one of 115 artists working to render it the ultimate homage to van Gogh's work. Here, Douglas talks about the challenges of making it - and of owning a phone containing mega famous people's numbers...


Loving Vincent is the world's first painted feature, Were you nervous about that when you first read the script?

"I was excited - I think that was part of the reason I was interested in the project. They'd sent me a two of three minute clip and it was just so beautiful and remarkable abd I just threw myself head first in."

What was most challenging about shooting it as an actor?

"I only attached myself to it about three or four weeks before I started shooting and I was away and I'm in nearly every scene and I had to learn all of the lines in about three weeks and then shoot it in three or four weeks - when normally we'd shoot a normal movie over a couple of months. So we shot it at a very high speed so that was the challenge. You know they painted it for two years so from conception to the end of the film was seven years."

Were all the sets built as they look in the film?

"They built the red cafe, they built Eleanor Tomlinson's cafe as well. They wanted the paitnings to be like his paintings - even if the waitress came along nd put down a tray that would suddenly be a still like of van Gogh's so they were very specific about all those details."

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And what about watching it back? How do you feel about seeing yourself painted in his style?

"Completely bizarre to see, but also a great pleasure. It's amazing to have a peformance which I suppose is a collaboration between you and another artist - which is mostly their work and 10% me and 90% them."

So obviously van Gogh is famous for having cut his ear off, what is the most famous thing you've done in the name of acting?

"I shaved my eyebrows off for a job."

Did they grow back?! I mean they look like they have but...

"Oh yes they definitely grew back but yeh I remember I went in and they were screentesting the boys to play Boy George and the hair designer was there and they were like 'would you be comfortable shaving your eyebrows off?' and he told me later - he's become a friend of mine - that if they said 'I'm not sure I'd do that' then he would've told the director that he didn't think they should play George."

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You're part of this new wave of the famous actors along with Matt Smith, Lily James and Nicholas Hoult - very curious to know if you all have a WhatsApp group to gossip on?

"A couple of those people on that list I'm on a couple of WhatsApp groups with."

Who would be the most famous person on there?

"My cousin once, I gave my old phone that I still had my contacts in and she came back to me after 5 minutes and said 'you need to take this phone away from me and delete all the contacts.' "

So do you have all the names in faithfully like 'Lily James'?

"She got very excited about Channing Tatum."

Your job involves loads of travel - tell us one good thing and one terrible thing about being on the go all the time.

"I got back two days ago from filming a movie in the Amalfi Coast, so that was one of the good things. One of the other things is being away from home a lot and missing my friends and family."

Emma Watson once called you offensively handsome and you've admitted that the fixation with your looks is a bit tricky. Where do you stand on that now and do you feel like as you move along the passage of doing more and more films that you're being taken more seriously as an actor as it were?

"Yeh - I think that people are mentioning it less and I think the more work you do the more people have to talk about other than simply what's in front of them, which is what you look at."

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

"Hopefully with a nice home, and nice family, and doing work that I enjoy. I did my first play this year and I'd love to do more theatre alongside film work and do some more tv. To have a versatile career and be happy!"


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