You may know the name Jack Whitehall, as he is known for his starring role as Ben Sinclair in ITV’s Emmerdale. Or maybe you know him from his work in stage and screen in the UK and internationally. Or perhaps you’ve seen him in movies such as Paddington or Darkest Hour, in which he played Winston Churchill. Or, for those who love rock music, you may know him from his work with The Damned United, Jack Whitehall & The Whitehall Choir, or The Damned Who’s Laughing Now? (In which case, congratulations – you know more than one major celebrity!)
Whitehall has always been known for being a classically-trained singer, which has influenced both his on-screen and off-screen work. We rated his singing voice as one of the best in the history of Emmerdale, and it was also the reason behind his departure from the show in 2014.
Whitehall’s versatility and range are also on full display in the upcoming crime thriller Darkest Hour, in which he plays the part of a prime minister who is undergoing treatment for cancer. In this film, directed by Joe O’Brien, Whitehall shows off his acting chops in a brilliant display as he portrays several different characters. We spoke to Whitehall about the film, and what it’s like to play a multi-character role – and a scary one at that!
‘Darkest Hour’ Is An Upcoming British Crime Thriller That’s Set In The Prime Minister’s Office
The story of Darkest Hour is set in the prime minister’s office in London, and concerns itself with the assassination of an SIS (MI6) agent and the ensuing manhunt for the perpetrators.
This film marks the British acting debut of Academy Award-nominated actor Robert Pattinson, who you may know for his parts in the Twilight films. For those who have yet to see them, Darkest Hour is a prime example of why the British public should be so excited about the upcoming Twilight films – not only is Pattinson playing a character based on a real-life personality, but he also gets to show off some amazingly-realistic acting chops!
Pattinson’s character, Nicholas Booth, is one of the prime suspects in the SIS agent’s murder, and his every move is being watched by the British intelligence community as they try to figure out who is responsible. The film opens with the SIS agent, Willard (Michael Gambon), meeting with Booth (Pattinson) and his assistant, Anna (Bella Heathcote), to discuss the next step in the investigation – which is the surveillance of Booth and Anna. When Booth discovers that Willard is bugging his car, he becomes enraged and they almost come to blows. But then Willard draws his gun – which is when the real action begins.
Pattinson is superb in the role of Booth, and proves that he can not only act, but convincingly play a multi-dimensional character. The Twilight films have certainly proven to be a box office smash, and this upcoming film will no doubt succeed in creating a buzz at the box office. Even more exciting is the news that Twilight star Kristen Stewart will make a cameo appearance in the film. While we can’t reveal too much about her role yet, we know that she will have something to do with the investigation into Willard’s murder. Her character, Nikki, will be working with SIS and MI6 in the pursuit of identifying the killer. Exciting!
In addition to his phenomenal career in film, theatre, and music, Whitehall is also an accomplished dancer. Some of his most memorable dance performances include Black Swan (with Carrie Anne Moss), Les Misérables (with Russell Crowe), and A Streetcar Named Desire (with Kristin Scott-Thomas).
A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the great classics of the noir genre, and is considered to be Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece. In the play, the object of desire is never clearly defined, which means that you, the audience, are never really sure what is going on. In the film adaptation, however, we know exactly what is motivating Stanley (Scott-Thomas) and Blanche (Moss), and that is desire. The two are fundamentally at odds with one another, and their dance represents the battle between good and evil – although in the darkness of the dance floor, the line is often blurred – as Blanche and Stanley dance around each other, neither one willing to give ground.
In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Whitehall revealed that he would like to try his hand at directing next, saying: “I’d really like to do a period drama. I’d like to do a period piece on the American Revolution, for example. Or the Civil War.”
Whitehall is clearly a man of many passions, and we can’t wait to see what his next project is. For now, we’ll have to be content with playing on his many talents in Darkest Hour.