Fresh from his photo shoot with David Bailey, the 26-year-old Scottish actor Jack Lowden is full of respect for the veteran image maker: “He just takes one shot, shouts, ‘I got it!’ stands up, and you’re done,” Lowden says. “He’s proper old-school.” “Old-school” could be used to describe Lowden’s approach to his craft, as well-he cut his teeth treading the boards of the stage, first in his hometown of Oxton, Scotland, and later in productions that toured the world. His work in theater was prolific, punctuated by a critically acclaimed turn for his 2010 portrayal of a soldier during the invasion of Iraq in the drama Black Watch. “I grew up on the stage,” he says proudly, “and there’s no two ways about it; you only get one chance to do your bit.”
The training paid off. In the past few years, Lowden has been cast in a myriad of film roles, first starring opposite Rachel Weisz in the historical drama Denial, then playing legendary British Labour minister of parliament Tony Benn in director Amma Asante’s period piece from earlier this year, A United Kingdom. Next up, he’s playing the brother of a female WWE wrestler in Stephen Merchant’s dramedy Fighting With My Family. “I’m fascinated by sports,” Lowden says, “the buzz of winning and the buzz of losing.” The actor channeled these conflicting emotions into his role in director Christopher Nolan’s upcoming war drama Dunkirk, in which he plays a World War II soldier surrounded and attacked by the German army on the beaches of Dunkirk, France.
Lowden is humble about his mounting success. “It’s great, it really is, but I still feel like I’m learning.” His biggest lesson to date came when playing golf pioneer Tommy Morris in director Jason Connery’s upcoming drama, Tommy’s Honour, alongside veteran Scottish actor Peter Mullan. “The thing about Peter is that he’s confident in his craft now, but he doesn’t see himself as a star,” Lowden says. “He goes to the pub like anyone else.” Lowden may soon have trouble going incognito to his own local pub after his star turn in the wildly anticipated Morrissey biopic, Steven, which is set to premiere later this year. To audition for the role of the legendary Smiths’ frontman, he had to send a tape of himself talking in the character of a young Morrissey, which did the trick because he got a callback a few days later. “It’s about his early life growing up with a strong mother and sisters,” Lowden says. “I could relate to that. There are such strong women in my life that there’s no chance of me getting too big for my boots.”