‘I wouldn’t normally party in this. Usually I’d wear jeans, some old leather boots, maybe a nice shirt and a big cosy jacket to walk home in.’ The Game Of Thrones, Maze Runner and Love Actually star, now all grown-up at the ripe old age of 25, has recently been lending his voiceover skills to ITV’s Thunderbirds, where he could happily rock up in those old boots. They also come in handy for his hobby – restoring motorcycles and vintage cars. ‘I’ve got two bikes and a 1974 Citroën GS.’ Does he drive around the British countryside much? ‘I’m always just pootling around London. My father’s from Scotland. I would like to do a road trip up there and go around the coast. I really haven’t explored Britain enough.’
‘I hate having my picture taken,’ says Edward Holcroft, which is surprising given he looks like he’s having a right old hoot in front of the lens. ‘I pull faces to distract from how uncomfortable I’m feeling.’ The London Spy star and ex-squeeze of Cressida Bonas arrives late to the party as he’s on stage in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, but he still looks dapper, head to toe in Dunhill. Playing in front of a sold-out audience every night is nothing compared to being photographed by us, and when he’s done the relief is palpable – he grabs his mate and Kingsman co-star Taron Egerton, and they head off into the night, clearly in the mood for high jinks. Will they be hungover tomorrow? He becomes Kingsman-esque. ‘If I told you, I’d have to kill you.’
Tucking into a large slice of pizza backstage at our shoot, willowy Zawe looks incredible in her party dress. ‘It’s like a Minnie Mouse tribute but fashion-y’. What’s it been like for the actress, writer and director to go from starring in Fresh Meat for five years to rehearsing for the play The Maids, with Laura Carmichael and Orange Is The New Black actress Uzo Aduba? ‘It’s like training for a marathon after you’ve just had Christmas and you’ve been eating Quality Street and sitting on your arse. My fitness and general capabilities are very low.’ The 31-year-old Londoner is planning to spend some time in LA later this year – will she be going hiking? ‘Absolutely not. I’ll tell them about my non-hiking tendencies and they can tell me about their crystals and their chakras. I think that will be a good trade-off.’ The play has given her the inspiration to watch more box sets, though. ‘I’m set to watch Making A Murderer because there are so many themes that cross over with our play, but I have to lie about watching box sets. I feel like I’m in social Siberia at dinner parties.’
‘I knew I should have checked the label. I have no idea who I’m wearing,’ Suki’s younger sister says of her sexy jumpsuit, mortified. ‘It’s comfortable. I don’t need to worry about things popping out!’ Immy has bagged campaigns for Burberry, Superga and Tommy Hilfiger and now the 22-year-old has her first big-screen role alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams in Tom Ford’s next film Nocturnal Animals. What did she miss about home when she was shooting? ‘There are no pubs in LA. Only juice shops.’ Back on home turf, when she’s not having a pint you’ll find her with her dogs, Billie (as in Holiday) and Marvin (as in Gaye) and, of course, hanging out with big sis Suki. ‘Sometimes we’ll rehearse together. As sisters we’re pretty honest. So she’ll be like, that sucks. And I’ll be like, that was f**king awful!’
‘The weirdest thing I’ve ever auditioned for was an advert for Boursin cheese,’ laughs Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael. ‘I was asked to hang up washing in a “non-sexual manner”, which is odd because I’ve never thought of hanging out washing as an erotic activity. I didn’t get it so clearly gave too much of a raunchy performance.’ Since then, she’s not stopped working and arrived at the party straight after rehearsals for The Maids. ‘What I’ve experienced about working with British actors is that everyone wants to work hard but also have a giggle,’ she explains. ‘You get to have fun on the job, which is great.’ We couldn’t agree more.
Will Tudor & Emily Berrington
Emily: ‘My heart lies in a little village.’ The 27-year-old, whose blue eyes are just as piercing as the green contacts she wears as synth Niska in Humans, is referring to her love of an Oxfordshire village called Woodstock. ‘My favourite place in the country. It’s like it’s been preserved in time.’ Although a career in politics beckoned (‘I used to work for the Labour Party and I would have liked to have been an MP. There’s always time!’), her acting career is flying, with Humans series two on the cards (‘we’re all keeping our fingers crossed they’ve written us into it!’), as well as the film version of Stephen Fry’s Hippopotamus. For our party, she’s pleased with her shoes. ‘I’ve got some lovely Louboutins going on. They’re not too pointy. I can’t deal with pointy.’
Will: ‘They always say acting is a shy person’s revenge, and Britishness is quintessentially shy.’ Will, 28, who has an incredibly polite, gentle air about him, is musing on why he thinks British actors are having a global moment. ‘The thing I like about the successful British actors is their subtlety and sensitivity to the material.’ The Humans and Game Of Thrones actor is wearing a three-piece suit – might it be a bit hot for dancing in later? ‘I will be dancing, though I must admit this has been tailored quite a lot to my strange physique!’
Stacy Martin, the face of Miu Miu’s first fragrance, star of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac and the girl on the cusp of becoming a very big deal (this year alone she has four films set for release) is talking us through the print on her dress (Miu Miu, obvs). ‘There are illustrated cats on the tunic, while if you look closely, you’ll see naked ladies on the collar, which I’m really enjoying.’ Having grown up in Paris, she’s bilingual but speaks without a trace of a French accent. ‘I can put one on if you like,’ she deadpans, adopting a perfect French lilt. It means she can act in both British and French films. ‘ I’m able to read a lot of scripts because I can work in England, America and France. It’s very freeing.’ Get used to this face: it’s going to be everywhere.
‘I am a sock man in a big way. I think these are my snazziest pair.’ War And Peace’s Jack Lowden is referring to the bottom part of his outfit. ‘I can’t wait for the wonders of patterned socks to be opened up,’ he adds with that irresistible cheeky smile. The 25-year-old actor has played many real-life characters; he’s just finished portraying the politician Tony Benn in A United Kingdom (‘it was really cool making speeches in the House of Commons’), as well as shooting Denial with Rachel Weisz and Andrew Scott about holocaust denier David Irving. But playing the athlete Eric Liddell in the stage play of Chariots Of Fire had an added bonus; it got him into getting up and going for a run in the mornings, though not on a treadmill. ‘What a waste of time!’
‘I saw this jazzy blue and black stripe and I said to the costume department, you need to get me some of that fabric.’ War And Peace star Tom is explaining the origins of the waistcoat he is wearing tonight. ‘For once I can tell an interesting story! This fabric was on one of the extras in Musketeers as a giant pair of pantaloons. On the last day, this gigantic pair of trousers was left in my trailer. And I found a tailor called The Earl of Bedlam, and I picked out the red buttons and the blue lining at the back. It was only finished about a week ago.’ He’s heading back to the theatre for the play Reasons To Be Happy; does he carry characters around with him? ‘I never mean to and I sometimes only realise it in retrospect. Sometimes you look back at things you did at the time and go, “Oh, that was more to do with the world of the play than me.”’
Even though he’s one of the nominees for the EE Rising Star Award 2016 and being hailed as the next big thing by showbiz bibles Variety
and The Hollywood Reporter, Welsh actor Taron Egerton is still taken aback by the wall-to-wall celebs at our party. ‘There are so many people
here I admire, which is always a bit nerve wracking,’ he admits (Zawe Ashton; he’s talking about you.) His humbleness extends to being nominated at this year’s Baftas. ‘I mean, how the f**k did that happen?’ he exclaims. Still, he can’t get too carried away tonight. ‘I’m training for Kingsman 2 at the moment
so I can’t get drunk because I’ve got to train in the morning. I’ve got to work out; get fit. There’s another topless scene so I need to be all buff again.’ Just one of the reasons to look forward to the next instalment, then.
She’s famous for playing a weirdly hot domestic robot (or ‘synth’) in Humans – Channel 4’s highest-rating drama in 20 years – but tonight, Gemma Chan is fresh from treading the boards in a 50th anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. ‘ I’ve loved it but it’s the final week and I’m knackered,’ she says, looking anything but (up close, she’s pretty flawless). After the play has wrapped, she’s off on her first holiday in two years with boyfriend Jack Whitehall – ‘We’re going to Mexico and I plan on having plenty of lie-ins’ – before the second series of Humans starts shooting. For the role, the actors playing synths had to learn to strip back all human expression – Chan somehow manages to come across as creepy and warm, which is mesmerising and compellingly spooky all at once. Is coming over all ‘synth-like’ her new party trick? ‘Oh god no,’ she laughs. ‘Although people do try and “turn me off” by touching under the chin [where the synths’ on/off button is in the show].’ We’re way too cool to do something like that. Aren’t we?
‘Look!’ exclaims Maisie Williams. ‘It’s Taron! It’s so exciting being here. I keep seeing people I know, which is lovely.’ She has come up to London from Bristol – ‘I love the countryside and being with my family’ – while also flitting around the world promoting the new series of Game Of Thrones. She films the hit show for six months of every year, which gives her time for other projects. ‘You just have to hope it’s the half of the year when people want to cast you in films,’ she jokes. With three films already in production, this talented teenager is unlikely to ever find herself scrabbling for work.
‘I’m a dripping, sweaty mess. They’re basically trying to stop me melting on camera.’ Thankfully, the former Harry Potter star is talking about the perils of filming Channel 4’s Indian Summers in Malaysia, not posing sans air-con at tonight’s party. He’s looking very dapper, but it’s his collection of rings that’s the real eye-catcher. ‘My dad said my gold intake is “reaching an unacceptable level.” You haven’t even see the chains I’ve got underneath!’ His next role sees him play a computer scientist in Now You See Me 2, so did he pick up any illusion tricks? ‘There was a team of expert magicians, but I was so concerned with trying to remember my lines I didn’t want to take in any information.’
Millie Brady makes a very glamorous couch potato as she reclines post-shoot on what must be the squashiest sofa ever. The 22-year-old model-turned-actress just jetted in from LA for the UK premiere of her first big-screen role in Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, starring alongside Douglas Booth, Lily James and Matt Smith. So what does she do when she gets some downtime? ‘I’m a serious film rinser. I’ll just watch something again and again until I’m like, OK, it’s too much!’ Last was Anchorman 2: ‘I cried with laughter. I watched it when I was jet-lagged and you know when you’re so overtired you just find everything hilarious.’ Will Ferrell is even her cure for a serious hangover. ‘Literally anything he is in and a full English breakfast sorts me out.’
‘I’m such a homebird. I still live in Liverpool. I miss it when I’m away.’ With her charming Liverpudilan lilt and dark locks, you’d be forgiven for not recognising the actress who played blonde mistress Kate Parks in the hit BBC series Doctor Foster. She’s obviously great at auditions, having bagged the lead in another BBC drama Thirteen. So what’s her secret? ‘Enjoy it and think of it as another opportunity to do some acting rather than stressing about wanting the job.’ Not usually one for a fancy frock like the number she’s wearing at our party, she does think this one is amazing. ‘I usually like a blazer and trousers but then I saw this and I was like, DEFINITELY!’
She only graduated from RADA a year ago, but this 22-year-old Bristolian hasn’t had the usual postgrad joblessness worries that come with an acting degree. Having made her on-screen debut in detective drama Endeavour, next she stars in Julian Fellowes’ Doctor Thorne. ‘We filmed parts of it in a castle. Tom Hollander, Harry Richardson and I slept there for three nights. We scared each other so much!’ We’ll see her colder side in US fantasy series Emerald City later this year. ‘It’s like a dark Wizard Of Oz.’ Her getting ready tune of choice? ‘Anything by Justin Bieber. And I’m not sorry!’
When the delicately pretty Scottish actress arrives at our party shoot, she looks much the same when she comes out of hair and make-up as when she went in. ‘I’ve just finished a play called The Dazzle where I spent three months having 15 minutes to do my own hair and make-up,’ she explains. ‘So when I rocked up tonight with my own make-up on I thought yeah, whatevs’. With another play – Richard III with Ralph Fiennes – lined up for later this year, does she know what she would be doing if she weren’t acting? ‘Apparently there’s a thing where you style food to be photographed. A food stylist!’
‘I always have great fun at the InStyle annual EE party, which I why I love going,’ shouts Luke Newbury over Rafferty Law’s DJ set. ‘You can rock up on your own and then bump into all of your mates, which is brilliant.’ Decked out head to toe in Paul Smith – ‘For my A-level film making I would replicate Paul Smith commercials; it’s such a cool brand’ – the Mrs Biggs actor has just completed his first lead role in a film called Dusty And Me – ‘Kind of like a coming of age Seabiscuit meets Billy Elliot,” he explains. His dream co-star would be Stacy Martin. ‘She’s like my ultimate crush and I totally geeked out when I saw her. You don’t think she’ll be weirded out when she reads this, do you?’
The Iron Lady and Testament Of Youth actress is explaining how she relaxes in-between jobs. ‘I go raving,’ she says matter-of-factly. ‘ I just came back from Butlins in Bognor Regis for a festival called Bugged Out. You’re dancing in your bikini at the pool party. This is my third year running; it’s just so much fun.’ She’s just wrapped filming The Huntsman Winter’s War opposite Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, in which she plays a dwarf alongside Sheridan Smith and Rob Brydon. ‘We had to go to dwarf school. Yep, it’s an actual thing,’ she laughs. ‘It was one of those jobs where you think, “I cannot believe I’m getting paid to have so much fun.’” When she’s not working – or raving – she’s hanging out with her dog, a miniature dachshund called Ronnie Barker. ‘If I wasn’t an actress, I’d be a dog trainer .’ The acting world’s gain is the dog-schooling world’s loss.
Photographs By Tung Walsh
Interviews and additional words by Niki Browes, Hannah Rochell and Chloe Mac Donnell
Styling By Josh Newis-Smith