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Theo James from BBCA’s ‘Bedlam’

Back Stage sat down at Comic-Con for a one-on-one interview with Theo James, star of BBC America’s new supernatural series “Bedlam”, which premieres in the US October 8th on BBCA.

(Warning: video and Q&A contains language)

In “Bedlam,” James plays Jed, a disturbed man with a history of mental illness who sees ghosts and visions of the past. In this exclusive video, James gives a mini acting lesson on how to play fear and make it look natural.


Back Stage: When did you decide to become an actor?

Theo James:  I’ve kind of always been inspired to do it from a young age. I’d done it as a kid and at school. Then when I was about 18, I wanted to maybe go to drama school or something but I didn’t think I was quite ready for it.  I wasn’t really experienced enough. I think I might have been a bit of a shit at 18 as well. I wanted a bit more experience. So I went away, did a bit of traveling, and then I went to university, [majoring in philosophy] but carried on the acting in an amateur capacity. Then I went to Bristol Old Vic, which is a drama school in the UK, and did two years there. By that time I thought I was ready to dive in.

Back Stage: What was the most important acting lesson you learned?

James: I think - this is an obvious thing to say - that you’re always, always learning. There’s no point that you’re not learning. Everything I do is completely new and different. At some period you might think, “Hey, I’ve got this down” and the next thing you do you’re like, “Uh, no.” It’s constantly changing and evolving and there’s always stuff you need learn and always people you can learn from. I suppose I’d say even the bad experiences will shape you positively as an actor. If there’s something shit and you don’t enjoy it at the time, it may be really painful but I think in terms of the longevity of your career and how you’re going to develop as an actor, it will be a positive thing. TheoJames

Back Stage: Is there a certain type of acting class you think all actors should take?

James: Class is very personal. You might take a class and think, “This really works for me” but similarly you might go to class because someone else recommended it and you go into it and go, “This is a pile of shit” and it doesn’t work for you. It’s all very personal.

Back Stage: What’s your best overall advice for actors struggling to find success?

James: It happens at different times for different people so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen straight away. If you’re confident in yourself and you really want to do it and you believe that this is the career for you then you should fucking do it. If it takes a bit longer, it doesn’t matter; you’ll reach there eventually. My other piece of advice is don’t take anything for granted. When you are working, be as humble as possible. There are always different things you can be doing and arrogance is never a good character trait.  

-- Jessica Gardner

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