When it comes to acting, there are many individuals who have jumped in with both feet and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. For others, it’s been a case of trying out the art form and seeing what sticks. For still others, it’s been a frustrating process that resulted in them giving up on the idea of becoming an actor. For James Pattinson, all of this may have been music to his ears. The English actor has recently found fame across the pond for his role as Emmett on the HBO series, The Young Pope. The series has been receiving positive reviews and has even been nominated for a number of awards. Naturally, we had to speak with James about his new found fame, what changes he has made in his life since working on the series, and what plans he has for the future. Read on for more.
On Behaving Around the Cast / Crew Of The Young Pope
With regards to The Young Pope, how has your experience been so far?
It’s been incredible. I’ve been on set every day for the last seven weeks and it’s been non-stop. There have been a lot of laughs, a lot of joy, and a lot of learning. I feel very grateful to the entire cast and crew, especially because we’ve got an incredibly difficult role to play. It’s a very emotional comedy-drama and there are a lot of laughs but also a lot of gut-wrenching moments as well. I feel very, very privileged to be a part of something that is absolutely spectacular. It’s hard to put into words.
What has the experience been like working with David Milch (who plays Pope Gregory XII) and Bill Murray (who plays Leo XIII)? Having two such seasoned professionals in the cast must have helped a great deal.
It certainly has. They’re both legends. To work with them has been a real thrill. David is a legend in the business because he’s been around for such a long time. He’s worked with a whole host of greats including John Wayne, Burt Reynolds, and Henry Fonda. I remember when I first read for the role, I was very intimidated because I felt like I was facing two walkers with White Sox jerseys on. (Laughs) But, beyond that, he’s just an amazing man. Quietly funny, kind, and unbelievably generous. I feel very lucky that I got to spend even a few hours with him. To meet him was such an incredible honor. Bill is also an incredible person and an unbelievably talented actor as well. He’s won an Emmy and a Golden Globe and has an incredible reputation for being one of the greatest actors of all time. Working with him was just amazing. He made me feel very comfortable on set. I feel very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to work with such brilliant, creative professionals.
What Has Changed Since You Last Spent Time In Rome?
The main thing that has changed is my mindset. I was 23 when I last sang in Rome but now I’m 25 and it’s been a really long time since then. There’s a lot of things that I miss about being there. It’s a beautiful city and a unique culture. Getting to experience that is something I’ll always cherish. It’s been really good for my mental health to be back in England. It feels like home now. I was away for four months so it’s been nice to be back in my old stomping grounds and get back into the swing of things. There are so many places that I want to visit in Italy again. Siena in particular looks stunning. And I want to do a lot more singing. It’s great to be able to share my voice with the world again. I’ve had a really long break from the stage and it’s great to be able to get back out there. Do some research, learn your lines, and have some fun. That’s what matters.
Do you feel more comfortable fronting an audience or are you happier being able to put on a play for your friends and family?
Oh, I’m definitely happier being on stage. It’s great to be able to engage with an audience. Especially when you’re doing something as difficult as playing a pope. There are so many emotions that you have to convey and make your audience care about what’s going on. Especially when you’re dealing with sensitive issues like love, loss, and family. I feel very fortunate to be able to do that again. It feels good to give something that you care about and love a go. Especially when it’s going so well that you can’t believe it. (Laughs)
What Is Your Mental Scenario For The Next Episode?
The next episode is going to be very emotional for me. Because it’s the last scene that I have on the show and it’s been an incredible experience. It’s the culmination of a lot of my work this year. I’ve been working very hard but I’ve also been very lucky. I feel very grateful to the HBO and Radar Productions for giving me this opportunity. This is also the case for the entire cast and crew. It’s been an incredible year and it all stemmed from a HBO comedy pilot that was shot six years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun! (Laughs)
What Do You Hope Your Audience Thinks About You After Watching The Series?
I hope they think I’m a wise old man. (Laughs) I hope they laugh and I hope they feel sad. I want them to feel all of those things. Because that’s what the story is about. It’s not just about a guy who becomes pope. It’s about this man and his journey. A lot of heartache and a lot of laughs along the way. Just what every good story should be about. What matters is that you’ve given it your all and you’ve made the audience feel something. We had so much fun making this show and we’ve learned a lot. I feel very lucky to be a part of such a prestigious project. It’s a real honor. Hopefully, they’ll appreciate that.
What Are Your Personal Plans For The Future?
I’m just going to continue with my studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It’s a very competitive course and very expensive to do but it’s something that I really want to do. At the moment, I’m just focusing on my acting but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. The college provides you with with with such a rich course material and incredible opportunities. It’s definitely the best option for anyone who wants to do something in the Arts. I’ve decided to take a year off work to focus on my studies. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find work afterwards but, for now, I’m just going to enjoy my time off. Work hard, save some money, and enjoy my studies. That’s my plan for the future. (Laughs)
Do you have any advice for those who are thinking about trying out acting for themselves?
Yes, definitely. Don’t be afraid to try out acting. It’s a great form and there are so many different roles that you can play. It’s an incredible industry and there’s always work. Just don’t give up. I remember when I first started, there were a lot of people who told me that it wasn’t for them. That it wasn’t something that they could do. I felt the same way about singing but, now that I’m in The Young Pope, I feel very, very blessed that I did. It’s opened up so many opportunities for me and made my life much, much better. For those who are thinking about trying it out, don’t be afraid to give it a go.