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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Maynard

FINN BENNETT


Exclusive online interview with Irish-English True Detective actor Finn Bennett. Photographed by Elliot Jones and styled by Katie Dulieu. Fashion from Alexander McQueen, Nanushka, Bianca Saunders, Grenson, GH Bass, Jo Wood, Dinosaur Designs,
Coat by Bianca Saunders. Jumper by The English Difference. Shoes by GH Bass. Rings by Jo Wood and Dinosaur Designs


Early in the morning at a north London studio, Finn Bennett is about to shoot our editorial. He says he's not a massive fan of shoots, self-effacingly, but still, he has a relaxed demeanour. At 24, there's a poise that one would expect more from an older actor. Then the wit, sharp and dry. It's easy to see how he breaks the first line of defence in his auditions: calm, amiable and assured. He must put those around him quickly at ease, and that's a skill in itself. 


Words by Leigh Maynard.


Finn Bennett was photographed by Elliot Jones. Styled by Katie Dulieu.

Finn appears courtesy of Public Eye.



His father a writer, Finn was the second of his family to branch into the world of film and theatre, he is no stranger to artistic fields,  "There are other creatives in my family. My dad's a writer, and my mum was a journalist, so I'm the first person to do this particular line of work."


Finn admits that his childhood aspirations were never particularly conventional. There were no desires to be a footballer or astronaut. However, he did contemplate the heady heights of the circus and the depths of the sea with thoughts of a career in marine biology, but by the age of ten, he had found his calling with a chance opportunity to give his sister some sibling support."When my sister and I were younger, she was going through a difficult time. It wasn't so much that she was in a bad way; she was just unhappy, and on a friend's recommendation, my parents sent us both to a stage school on Saturday, which was an hour of music, an hour of dancing and an hour of drama and the hour of drama became my favourite hour of the week."That passion for his craft was quickly evident to others when Finn had the chance to perform at a prestigious venue in London. "It was a chain of stage schools, and they selected a few kids from around the country to go and represent their local branch at Her Majesty's theatre. My dad came and picked me up, and I said I wanted to be an actor."



Shirt by Goldsmith Vintage. Trousers by Bianca Saunders. Rings by Dinosaur Designs



Admittedly, the fledgeling actor's early attempts posed challenges, and Finn admits it took perseverance. "I wasn't very good when I started, but I stuck with it, and there was a lot of help and patience from other people, and now we are here!" Since then, Finn has honed that talent in film, television, and the theatre in various productions, but he admits he feels a natural inclination towards the screen. "I like rules about the screen, and I enjoy working in a tight environment. That's not to say I wouldn't ever want to do theatre again. I did that production at the Royal Court and was in the company of Leslie Sharp and Tom Mothersdale. I greatly respect both of them. It was such a wonderful experience. I watched those two perform every night. It's a different lifestyle. You roll into work half an hour before the call, you get ready, and then you go down to the bar, and people say, you did such a great job, so that's more gratifying because there are more spaces to play and experience. But I like something about the rules of film. I love a set. I love how many people it takes to make a movie or a TV show, and you become this big troupe, and that's exciting."


When asked what he feels are his strengths as an actor, Finn says he loves observing and picking up on mannerisms, and a quick impression of his Northern Irish dad demonstrates his acute talent for accents. "Maybe it's because I don't always feel comfortable as myself, and with acting, you get to be somebody else for a whole day.", he says. His latest character is his favourite, Peter Prior, a rookie Alaskan officer in the latest series of the lauded True Detective, a chance to play not only a new type of character but also to work with one of the film's most accomplished and respected actors, Jodie Foster. "That role was a real pleasure because I have always been cast as not necessarily a villain but someone with bad intentions, so playing a good guy was a nice change. There were so many elements to that that I loved, and it was a life so far outside of my own. Peter is a rookie cop whose character Jodie Foster is raising to be, in some respects, her replacement. He's a very sweet-natured young man who grew up in Alaska, and he's got a kid with his wife, played wonderfully by Anna Lambe. This case is a massive deal for him because I think he's more used to petty theft and scraping caribou off the road, ha-ha!"


Full look by Alexander McQueen. Rings by Jo Wood


Finn prepared for the part with the help of a dialect and accent coach and took time to converse with the locals to get a feel for his role as an Alaskan officer. "I would speak to this guy called Peej. Peej is not from Alaska but a young man who moved up from down south somewhere. He met his wife, an indigenous woman, and they now have a baby together. I asked him the big questions like what life is like for you. We would speak once a week for an hour, and then I just wanted to know what he would do for his day, what he had for breakfast, what was the first animal he hunted, and how he fit into the community. And then, on set, we had weapons training with a very hardened cop who had worked on many TV shows." 


And though Finn spent seven months filming the show, not in Alaska but in Iceland's stunning terrain, one of his favourite aspects was working alongside Jodie Foster. "It was amazing, but It's kind of terrifying when you get a part, and you hear you are going to work with this twice Academy award-winning actor, and she's just been nominated for another Oscar; I wonder if she'll just give me one!" (Laughs) "There's this kind of mystique you build up in your head that they are going to be really scary, and then you meet this incredibly warm and kind person, and she's very patient and intelligent. I learnt many things from working with her, but the big thing was not taking myself too seriously. I asked her what I should be doing for prep, and she said, go and have fun, go dancing. I think she meant how many opportunities will you get to work in Iceland when you are 24; it's all paid for, and you get access to all these amazing things. So, I learned not to take myself too seriously but to take the job seriously."



Coat by Bianca Saunders. Jumper by The English Difference. Shoes by GH Bass. Rings by Jo Wood and Dinosaur Designs


Having worked on historical productions and dramas like Kiri, Finn explains he would live to try something entirely different for his next role. "There are two things I want to do: horror and voice acting. I love set, don't get me wrong, I love working with a big crew, but there's something about rolling into a studio in my pyjamas and doing some voice acting that would be great. I love animation. You look through the credits of an animation like Madagascar or something, and there's a crazy list of high-profile people, but I've got a way to go before someone gives me a shot at that, but those are the two avenues I'd like to explore. 


His latest part is with Kiera Knightly and Ben Wishaw in an espionage thriller for Netflix, and though it's not the largest part, he says, it's the calibre of the cast that counts. Ultimately, Finn says he will be happy to continue working. And so far, he seems to be on a high-calibre trajectory himself, "I just want to be happy, to be honest, I just want to work and working makes me happy; this is something I love doing, and as long as I can keep doing it I'll be happy, and especially if I am in my pyjamas and rolling into a studio to do a funny voice for half an hour!"


True Detective is out now on HBO and Sky Atlantic.



Exclusive online interview with Irish-English True Detective actor Finn Bennett. Photographed by Elliot Jones and styled by Katie Dulieu. Fashion from Alexander McQueen, Nanushka, Bianca Saunders, Grenson, GH Bass, Jo Wood, Dinosaur Designs
Full look by Alexander McQueen. Shoes by Grenson. Rings by Jo Wood

Top by Onitsuka Tiger. Trousers by Nanushka. Ring by Dinosaur Designs


Exclusive online interview with Irish-English True Detective actor Finn Bennett. Photographed by Elliot Jones and styled by Katie Dulieu. Fashion from Alexander McQueen, Nanushka, Bianca Saunders, Grenson, GH Bass, Jo Wood, Dinosaur Designs
Top by Onitsuka Tiger. Trousers by Nanushka. Ring by Dinosaur Designs. Shoes, Stylist's own

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