Jack Fox is part of one of Britain’s most famous dynasties, the skulk of performers – Emilia, Freddie, Edward, Laurence are all in the family business – who have graced the stage and screen separately for decades. But last month marked a particularly special moment for the enviably talented group as the two generations came together to see Fox make his West End debut by the side of his father James in poignant family drama Dear Lupin.
Earning public and critical acclaim for bringing the moving and sometimes hilarious correspondence of real-life father/son Roger and Charlie Mortimer alive on stage in the two-hander, Fox described working with his esteemed father as the “best professional moment of my life” when we challenged him to our revealing Q&A.
Read on to discover just why his parents are his greatest inspiration – and it’s not just for treading the board expertise either, the more grounded spag bol plays its part too – the pressures of playing a real-life person and the addiction he needs professional help to conquer…
What drew you to Dear Lupin?
When I read the play I thought it had the potential to be a marvellous piece of theatre, the prodigal son with a twist. It moved me greatly and it made me laugh and cry.
How would you describe your character?
I think he is someone who has a strong self-destructive side, but he is someone who loves his father very dearly. He is someone who lives life for the moment, often without regard for the consequences, but he is likeable, and charming.
How do you get on with the real Lupin, Charlie Mortimer?
I adore him, and his partner Tim. They are simply some of the most charming, loyal and wonderful people you could hope to meet. It’s a funny thing playing someone who not only you have met, but like so much, there was a deep obligation to get him right.
What is your favourite moment in the show?
Easy one, my father playing an auctioneer at Sotheby’s.
How have you found working with your father?
It has been the best professional moment of my life, constantly illuminating and inspiring, and has improved me as an actor in my mind without a shadow of a doubt.
Did you feel destined to go into performing as a career?
It took me a while to work out what I wanted to do. I tried my hand at a few jobs; I worked at Harrods and for my brother as a landscape gardener, but after university, when I had a degree and options, I still wanted to act, so I thought even with other options if this is what I want to do, then it must be truly something I want to do.
What is the finest performance you have seen?
Kevin Spacey in Clarence Darrow at The Old Vic. I was there for the last night, it was knockout…
If you could create a fantasy production to star in, who would you cast, who would direct and what would it be?
I would love to work with Benedict Cumberbatch and having worked with [director] Pip Franks on Dear Lupin, it would be great to work with him again. As for the production, I’m open to suggestions.
What do you do when you’re not performing or rehearsing?
I love to go to the cinema, and I mean love. I see anything and everything, I should probably seek professional help.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Being on the beach in Skiathos with my whole family. It’s a magical place and with family around you, it’s the best.
Who or what has inspired you?
My father and mother are big inspirations, but I am very close to my entire family. They support me, and always have. My brother and sister are my best friends, I am incredibly fortunate.
Do you have any regrets?
I’m sure I do, but I would never dwell on them if I can help it.
Do you have any theatrical superstitions?
Yes indeed, I have to have a shower before every performance, like I’m putting a character on. That sounds odd, but it’s true.
Have you made any sacrifices for the sake of your career?
Yes of course, everyone makes sacrifices for their career, acting is no different. It’s hard but if you want to succeed you have to.
What will always, without fail, bring a smile to your face?
My nieces and nephews, they are the coolest little people in the world.
What would you choose as a last meal?
My mother’s spaghetti bolognese.
What book, film or album would you recommend to a friend?
Book: Anything by Malcolm Gladwell.
Film: Before Sunrise.
Album: Any Queen album.
Do you have any advice for young actors?
Stick with it. Harrison Ford once said “The only thing that separates me from my peers who didn’t make it was I never gave up.”
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
Dear Lupin plays at the Apollo Theatre until 19 September. You can book tickets through us here.