Meet John Hopkins, the voice of Marius Titus in Ryse

Editor's note: spoilers ahead! If you haven't played the game, read at your own risk.

Ryse: Son of Rome was a really interesting experience for me since I found myself completely immersed in it, and absolutely loving or hating certain characters, in record time. Their personalities were reinforced by the fantastic acting, which was in turn supported by the incredible realism in facial expressions.

Voice acting can either make or break a character, and it's mainly because of the voice acting that we bond with the protagonist, who is a crucial piece in making us, the players, part of the game world. That's what happened with Marius, who I empathized with right from the start.

John Hopkins

Mainly driven by revenge and grief, Marius is a character of great courage and determination whose tragic and unfair fate had me in tears. I expected anything but that kind of ending. Reaching that corridor on my first playthrough, I really thought that I would make it in one piece, because I had been pretty much invincible so far. Once I realized I wasn't healing from the executions anymore, all hell broke loose. I went from an excited "I am so killing you!" to "Why am I not healing?", ending with a panic moment along the lines of "I'm... dying? I'm dying!! OMG they're killing him!" - I was shocked. Angry, really. And I was crying. And no matter how many times I've beaten the game, I still can't cross the corridor without getting all teary-eyed.

Marius began his tale by stating that his name is of no import; his story however, is. I'd like to think that so is that of the man who gave him his voice and likeness. I decided to look up the voice behind the character after the Academy Of Interactive Arts And Sciences nominated Marius for a DICE Award in Outstanding Character Performance. I didn't understand why the character had been nominated but not the actor, and I figured recognition was definitely in order.

It wasn't an easy task, since I had no idea where to begin, but research pointed me in the right direction. It certainly took quite some time to get around busy schedules, time zones, even some technical difficulties (not to mention my natural tendency to be awkward and screw things up), but I managed to have a very pleasant Skype chat with John Hopkins.

D: When did you find out that you actually wanted to act for a living?

J: I remember being a weak, sickly kid... I had asthma and quite bad eyesight so I was never good at sports, and I grew up in kind of a sporty outdoors environment world where all that stuff was valued, so I always felt a little bit on the outside. I buried myself in books and reading, and I became really obsessed with words. And I remember very clearly at the age of about 12 or 13 reading The Caretaker, a play by Harold Pinter, and I was just blown away by the power of words and by the violence of words, and how language can almost physically do something. I got obsessed with it. And then I got into Shakespeare, and I remember seeing Henry V, the Kenneth Branagh film, which had a lot of impact with a lot of people my age, but I never really considered it. Being an actor was like being an astronaut or a lion tamer, it wasn't something the people I knew actually did.

So I went to university, and I read English literature, and then I started doing plays. It took a certain amount of gumption to get over my natural shyness back then. And once I started doing plays it was like a light switched on and I just got obsessed with performing in drama groups at university. And I had no idea whether it would work but I thought, you know, it's far worse to not try than to try and fail. So I auditioned for all the drama schools in London, and I got into RADA, and against all odds found myself there, from 1997 to 2000. I've been acting - touch wood - pretty constantly, for 13 and a half years. So it's been good. As a kid, I never dreamed that such things were possible. And I still pinch myself now and again that I get paid to do something that I'd almost certainly be doing for free otherwise, I'd almost certainly be in an amateur dramatics group and doing this for free in the evenings. So I feel very lucky.

D: And how did the opportunity to work in Ryse come along?

J: They were looking for British actors, I think because they have that kind of classic period historical feel, that kind of accent... Kate Saxon, who's a theatre director and also directs some television and videogame capture, she did the casting so she called in lots of British theatre actors that she knew who specifically had been in the kind of classical theatre and who had that gravitas that the company wanted for this kind of period game. It was the craziest... it was the weirdest audition, I've never done anything like it before. I had a little plastic sword and a little plastic helmet, and I had to do the scene towards the end of the game, it's in a sort of courtyard with a huge statue and a water pool, and there's a young centurion saying "Rome is lost" and I had to shout "Rome is not lost! We will fight, we will win..."

D: Yeah, there was a lot of shouting going on in there...

J: A lot of shouting, there was a bunch of shouting. I'll talk about the shouting later, it nearly broke me! We did that scene once in the audition, this other actor reading and me, and then they threw me this massive curve ball. Without any warning, they said "You know, we didn't want to tell you this in advance because we thought you maybe wouldn't even show up for the meeting, but they want to see your range as an actor so they'd like you to play the same scene in a completely different way." And I said, "What do you mean?" And they said... "Well, play it like you're in love with the centurion and you're trying to seduce him." (laughs)

D: (laughs) That must have been a little weird.

J: Yeah! And I had absolutely zero warning of that at all, and so we did the same thing again with him kinda coming in and me going: "Oh, hello... how are you?" (laughs) and just sort of being really flustered and slightly repressed, but madly and quite sexually in love with him. So we did that and that was the end of it. I walked out thinking, "well that was humiliating...", but I got the job straight away. And when I finally met them they said it was the second bit that nailed it for me. They found it so funny they were rolling around on the floor, because if you watch them side by side, I'm doing exactly the same when I'm really giving it this (harsh voice) and then... (soft voice) "...How are you?". They were overjoyed by that. Click for sound clip

It was the longest experience, it lasted a year and a half, or two years... Because it was a new console and for what it was gonna be, and the Kinect, which changed the nature of the game. They made this thing called a vertical slice, which is almost kinda like an in-house trailer just for their own company or all the various different production companies. So we shot a few different scenes and we played around a little bit, and then I heard nothing for about 6 months. And then we got on there... myself and like Tim who plays Vitalion and Natalie who is Summer, and all those guys, Jamie and Gerald, we filmed it all in about 4 weeks in Ealing Studios, and at the Imaginarium, which is Andy Serkis' company. It was really exciting, it's a weird way of working. You know, you're just in a grey leotard in a grey room, you might have seen the making of trailer...

D: Yes. I guess you just have to imagine everything, because there's nothing really there...

J: You do! Nothing's really there and the game is still being written, it's not like a finished script. Everything's changing and what will link the game in play which will link one piece of cinematics to the next piece of cinematics could completely change, so you genuinely don't know. There's a moment in the original trailer when I'm saying "The brave man tastes death only once, cowards a thousand times over", and there's like this enormous ship next to me that just explodes on my left... Click for sound clip

D: Yeah, that was... Actually, I think that's part of what they showed at E3 that made me go "Yeah, I want to play that!"

J: Yeah, yeah, exactly! It's amazing! And this ship just explodes and I don't even blink! I look so powerful because it doesn't even bother me. It's because I didn't know that was gonna happen, no one told me when we were making that scene, that there was going to be a ship exploding... (laughs) Yeah, I hadn't got a clue. But it was a really intense, really fast experience. It's a lovely way of working as an actor, because normally if you're filming something, it takes hours, it takes days, it takes weeks, because they simply have to physically keep moving the camera from one place to another to cover the scene from every angle. But here you're in a room with 300 cameras on the wall, and instantly, the moment you do a five minute scene, you've finished it. You shot it from every angle, you covered every actor, you've done their close-ups, their wides, so it becomes a much more immediate experience. Hopefully some of that comes across in the game in terms of how it sort of emotionally resonates and how we seem to be really in the moment, because we only did most of those takes once or twice, whereas normally on a film you'd do it fifteen, twenty times.

D: So... Going back to the screaming... how did that go? Scream more now, scream a little less... no, no, not that much screaming... How did you...

J: That was done sort of live as it were, in the context of a day of filming. And it was a weird moment, because Marius starts off as a beta male, a guy who's learning and who's basically been told what to do by Tim's character, Vitalion. He starts off a bit like a snivelling boy whose family has been killed and I preferred playing him by the end of the game. There's just this singularity about him, and there's a minimalism about him, he says less and he asks fewer questions and his drive is far more linear and far more certain. And then he becomes a bit more Clint Eastwood, he's a bit more fun to play.

But a lot of the screaming really ruined me, the sort of in-game command stuff, you know, go left, go right, attack the tower, you know, pilums... That was even like 6 months after we've done the live action filming, and by then I was working on Stratford-upon-Avon 6 days a week in the Royal Shakespeare Company. I'd travel down during the day or the night before and do a day of screaming, sometimes on Sunday, my one day off, then go back and have to do 6 days of Shakespeare. I lost my voice. The level of intensity of those things you want to create, you have to really sell to the audience that these people are screaming for their lives, that they're giving orders that are a matter of their extinction or their success in that instant, and I hope that comes across.

I don't really know the game that well, you know it far better than I do. I've only played it once, which was a strange dislocating experience, and normally as an actor you know the film better than the audience. But with this, so much of it was put together from stunt people and acrobats who are doing amazing moves, and then my head is superimposed on their body. There are huge parts of the drama that I haven't seen, and you're far more familiar with it, so you can probably tell me more than I can tell you.

D: What was the most difficult scene for you to do?

J: The most difficult scene... It's all quite demanding because you're working so fast and you're working in such isolation that you couldn't really genuinely be asked even more than you would on a normal film's shoot to go from one emotion to another in the space of about 5 minutes. I found the scene where I come home, having been in Britain and then coming back to Rome. Rome's messed up and I go back to my family home where I saw my family die, and Summer appears. I don't think I did that very well. I've watched a certain amount of the cinematics, and if I had my turn again, I'd play that differently.

I think getting emotion across in these games, which is ultimately what I think they're all aiming for, to be as cinematically realistic as possible. I still find that quite difficult on occasions. And depending on how well your face is rendered... there are moments where it feels really cinematically real and there are moments where something is slightly off, someone's eyes or... oh god, in that scene in particular, the way that the breasts on Summer move... Click for sound clip

D: Oh my god... (laughs)

J: Slightly... kinda... (laughs) I think they were designed by like a 15 year old boy or something...

D: I don't know who has ever seen a boob move like that, but... weird!

J: No... No, I think that different jobs are farmed out to different animators, and I think that probably wasn't his or her forte, as it were... so, yeah...

D: Obviously, gravity does not apply.

J: No (laughs). So those... my own emotions and those... those physics are the reasons why I found the scene a little bit difficult. But it's amazing, it's an amazing way to work.

D: Do you play videogames or have you ever? If so what are some of your favorites?

J: I used to play games a great deal, I was properly addicted. Probably about 8 or 9 years ago I quit. In fact, the house I was living in at the time was broken into... they stole the PlayStation, they stole the Xbox, and it was like getting out of prison! (chuckle) It's amazing, you know, if you are an actor and you're self-employed, and you don't have an automatic structure to your day every day, it's really easy to lose yourself to those things because they are thrillingly, breathtakingly addictive, and I could get quite hooked for days at a time. So when they stole the PlayStation and the Xbox I made a conscious choice not to buy any more and lovely as my time was playing those games now I think I'm a slightly more productive individual. If I could say no, if I could say "I'll just play for one hour" then that would be fine, but I'm one of those 5 hour, 6 hours guys.

D: Yeah... I know what you mean, I think I play way too many games sometimes. Did you play Ryse all the way to the end?

J: No. I got as far as the fight with Boudica. Literally, there was one day that was a press launch release day, where we all went back to the Imaginarium and basically most of the press were mostly interested in talking to the tech guys rather than the actors, which makes perfect sense. So myself and Tim went upstairs and we just played it all the way through. And, as you know, it's not a massively long game, so I got as far as to killing Boudica... so yeah, I played it pretty well, it's pretty good.

My favorite games... I wasn't a hack and slash kind of guy. I was all about stealth, I think, this is going back a little bit, but the original Metal Gear Solid and then the original Splinter Cell games were thrillingly good, I adore those. All of the GTAs from GTA III onwards were pretty special. I played a little run on a friend's system of GTA V, it's as good as ever. I think Vice City holds a very special place, just because of the 80's thing, the music, the satire, the visuals were amazing, the Miami thing... it's really really pure gorgeous to look at. That was mainly my favorite. And also, I never played the sequels, but ICO was absolutely one of my top games. The Last Guardian seems to have a similar... you know, you're working alongside another character with quite good AI, but The Last Guardian seems to be stuck in development hell. Have you seen the trailer for The Last Guardian? It looks amazing!

D: Possibly, I don't remember, but what passes through here everyday is ridiculous as far as press releases and trailers and everything...

J: Yeah, The Last Guardian has been the kind of lost game, they've been promising it for the last year and a half but...

D: Well, apparently Ryse took 7 years, so...

J: Yeah! Exactly, exactly, and who knows, I have no idea if there will be a sequel, or if there is a sequel whether I get to be in it... I doubt I'll get to be in it..

D: Yeah... about that ending...

J: Yeah! I was... Even when we were filming it, because I remember filming it, and it was just me and the guy playing Nero and a bunch of crash mats and I just had to run at him, you know, like, properly, body check him into these crash mats and hopefully not hurt him, you know... But my main feeling was, couldn't I just kill him and then just walk away? I've killed all these people down this corridor and I could just push him off the top or I could kill him, or you know, I could get his sword and kill him with it, like the prediction says... do I have to die in the process?

D: It was so unfair!

J: I know! It's sort of perhaps artistically satisfying, a kind of Thelma and Louise jump off a cliff moment, but (chuckles) even as I was doing it, was like... aw, there goes the sequel! Click for sound clip

D: Well... yeah I was just not happy. I was actually shocked, because I didn't expect that, and it made me really really sad, I started crying and everything and then...

J: That's good that you got that response.

D: And... yeah, no... yeah. (laughs) Anyway! There's a first time for everything, right? And then there's this little bit at the end, the two gods, they just look at each other, and I'm like... really? That's how you're ending it? So annoying! So frustrating!

J: Well, I think... if I recall, I think that at some time or other there was some plan that maybe there would be other stories involving Summer and Winter, you know, fighting down the ages, and at that point you open up the chance to have it in different environments, anywhere where there is some kind of martial situation, but where Summer and Winter would be constantly fighting over humanity's fate. One going for anarchy, the other going for order. So there may be sequels, I doubt I'd be in them.

D: That's actually one of the little back stories in the comic books, the two of them fighting over other situations...

J: Oh, ok, ok. I haven't seen any of the comic stuff or anything really, I don't know, I don't know, anything about that.

D: You unlock those throughout the game, so I don't know if they are anywhere online to actually be read, but it's pretty cool, little side stories. That's why I hope a sequel, if they do it, be actually a prequel and be Vitalion's story... that would be a good one!

J: Tim is phenomenal in the game, I think Vitalion is a great character. Really early on when we were filming, I'm like "I'm not the lead, you're the lead! You're the guy... you got all the answers, you know everything! (laughs) You're the guy who got all the heroic speeches and all the answers, and I'm spending a lot of time crying over my family!" It gets better, you know, so... Marius steps up.

D: Oh yeah, there was some pretty good character development there, about half way or so.

J: Yeah, I think after he has to protect York by himself and then he smashed into the water and nearly drowns. That's a good seesaw moment in the script but... what was I gonna say? Yeah! Similarly, I had no idea, I sort of found out by accident on Linked In, because I'm friends with Peter Gornstein who's the cinematic director, that I'd been nominated for an award, I had no idea, it was a total mystery to me.

What I found kind of amusing, I was just reading a book about the old days of Hollywood and how in the old days of Hollywood the last thing they wanted to to was credit the actors, because if they did, they began to have power. So if you wanted to write a fan letter to an actor 100 years ago you'd just write to RKO Studios or whatever, and you'd send a letter saying "to the guy with the moustache" or "to the girl with the blonde curls"... So even when I was nominated for an award, my name wasn't anywhere on it, which is just... (laughs)

D: I know! That's.. that's not fair.

J: It's like, "Marius in Ryse"... It was me, I was there!

D: Yeah, what about the person behind the character? There wouldn't be a character without the voice... well, not just the voice because in this case it's different.

J: Exactly. I guess you could say it's such a team creating it, including frankly the stunt guys who did a lot of the violence and it makes it look like... but yeah, I wouldn't mind my name being mentioned, but never mind. Speaking of that though, the stunt guys did all of the physical fighting. In the cinematic stuff, they used to strap us in - god we hated it - they'd strap us into these 20 kg weight vests, just to give you the body language of someone who's carrying that much metal armor. So that was never a fun day, when someone would come towards you with one of those...

D: That was a good thing though, because it was noticeable.

J: M-hm, yeah! Absolutely. The swords and the shields were pretty light, because they were made of wood with reference dots on them, but yeah, the body physicality should definitely work. I think it's a fascinating development, you know, I think it does threaten conventional narrative cinema in terms of a mixture of involvement plus artistry for the players. I think these are amazing times to be living in.

D: Yeah, games have definitely come a long way.

J: Do you think you'll always play? Do you think there might come a point where you'll put it behind you?

D: Ummm... (long pause) I honestly don't know.

Editor's note: That long awkward pause was due to a life flashing before my eyes kind of moment that I was unable to put into words at the time, because it would have taken forever to explain. In short, I'm sure that there will always be a game that catches my interest. So yes, even if not forever, I'm sure I will still be playing games for a long time!

D: What about you, would you be willing to work on more games or no?

J: Um... I don't know, yeah, I think so. I was surprised at how long it took, because from the original vertical slice through to the live action, and then through to several days or weeks of audio stuff, it was spread out over two years. But the actual experience of being in what we call the volume, making the scenes was really thrilling and really exciting. So yeah, I definitely would, Pete is a properly good director, and I really enjoyed the experience. Yeah. The answer is yes, Didi. (chuckles)

John as Elyot Chase in Private Lives

D: (laughs) So what are you working on right now? Still the play?

J: No, nothing. Private Lives finished Saturday night, so it's just finished and at the moment I have a clean slate. I have a few options in the far future, I was signed up for 10 months to quite a big job, but the money has just fallen through, I found out about a week ago, so... this is the actor's life. I did think I had my whole year planned out and then suddenly I, I found out... (chuckles)

D: ...that not so much.

J: What I thought was going to be a six week holiday has turned into unemployment.

D: Sounds a lot like interpreting and translating. I can relate.

J: Yeah! Self-employment and almost day by day, week by week, right?

John as Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra

D: Totally. So... what would you say your greatest accomplishment has been so far?

J: Ooh, gosh! I don't know... (laughs) the kinda working class, blue-collar part of me wants to say um, paying the bills, literally... Seriously, paying the rent and now paying the mortgage just on whatever craft or talent I have. That's a big achievement. Professionally, I was very proud to play Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra, opposite Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter at the Royal Shakespeare Company a few years ago. I felt that I managed to take a role that's quite well-known as being cold and emotionless, and I repositioned it and tried to redefine it as a character of neurosis and anxiety, and put a lot of myself into it, my own childhood, in a weird way... about being a bit clever but not having much physical currency. I put that into the relationship I had with Patrick and it really worked. I was lucky enough to be very well reviewed and very well received for that. So I'm really proud of that.

I was just on a film with Michael Winterbottom, a very good British director, about the Amanda Knox murder trial in Italy. I play a journalist in there, Kate Beckinsale's in it and a German actor called Daniel Brühl,and a lot of it was improvised, and a lot of it was kind of created on the spot, and I feel proud of that as well, I think. I don't know if it's good or not, but I felt that I stood by the work I did. It's a funny thing, being an actor, because... I've read this the other day, it seems really accurate, if you're an artist, you hopefully have good taste. You can look at the work that other people are doing, and you can assess hopefully quite clearly what you like and what you don't like. But for a long time, you also can look at your own work and realize it doesn't come up to scratch, because your taste is in advance of your ability. So you spend your first few years - or I did, at least - knowing what I thought was good, and knowing what I was doing wasn't, and kinda hating it. So hopefully the period that I'm in now, where my abilities are beginning to at least catch up with my taste is quite a good one. I'm quite happy with it.

D: You early mentioned something about shyness... did you ever experienced stage fright, then?

J: Yeah, sort of. Never mind just stage fright, even "going into the room holding auditions at university for the drama society play" fright... I had that kind of fright, you know. Or even "signing my name on the notice board stating I'd like to be considered for a part" fright. Yeah, I was very, very nervous indeed. And I still am in some ways. The great thing about being on stage, and I think this is true of a lot of actors, about the so-called being on set or whatever is the way of hiding, because you're pretending to be someone else. And all the shame and embarrassment and awkwardness go away and you put on a cloak, and hopefully you get to be someone else. You get to hide behind that, and you can almost be behind the mask looking out - a bit like Damocles - and you're someone else. I think quite a lot of actors actually are quite shy or uncomfortable in their own skin and use acting as an escape, and as a release.

D: Yeah... I can relate... For me it was university and presentations, I could not... there was this entire class dedicated to debate, and I'd just be standing there staring at my feet, like... "Uhhh... there's all these people staring... I don't want to do this..." and then the person next to me goes "It's ok, just imagine them in their underwear!" And that just made everything worse! (laughs) I had to leave the room for a while and then come back again, still stared at my feet, and it just... ugh. Yeah, it doesn't work, and I still don't know how to deal with it, so it's still a problem every now and again.

J: I do know these feelings, really, genuinely... I do. When I was between the first and second year at uni, a friend of mine at the time asked me to go travelling with him, and I've never been on a plane or left England... This was in 1994, there was no wireless or internet or anything nowhere, so we were really on our own. We flew to India and we travelled on buses and trains for three months, India and Pakistan, China, Tibet, Nepal and back to India, in a big circle, and I saw a lot of joy, a lot of happiness and... a few dead bodies on the way... And I became very ill and I came close to quite a few bad things happening, and I came back with a really clear sense that life wasn't a rehearsal. Not just in the sense that you only do it once, but also in the sense that it could end at any moment. And that was what got me into finally trying to act at university and beginning this whole process, the reality that there are worse things than failing, than the fear of failure or being looked at... Never trying is worse than never standing out. But it takes nerves, I know that.

D: What is the weirdest thing... or the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage then?

J: Early on in my career I was playing the Dauphin, a young and arrogant prince in a Shakespeare play, King John. I was given this huge flag with a 15 foot long pole and a huge banner, and I had to sort of whirl it over my head while delivering a speech, and then hurl it in the air and catch it. Without telling me, the stage management and the crew changed the material of the pole, and they made it much heavier because the weight of the flag was beginning to bend the pole. So I whirled it around as I had done every night, hurled it in the air, and the physics of it were completely different, and it just flew wildly away from me and into the audience, and this titanium pole crashed down onto some people in the audience. I had to basically ask for my flag back, like a school boy with a football, and then apologize. I'd never felt less like an arrogant prince, ever! (chuckles) It was pretty bad.

D: Just the opposite, I guess!

J: Yeah, exactly. That was a pretty awkward moment, but you know... You move on, you move on from all of it.

Marius Titus

D: So have your fans responded to your role as Marius at all?

J: A little. There's this thing called the John Hopkins Appreciation Group, it seems to have been set up out of a TV show called Midsomer Murders I was in 9 years ago, and they continue to follow me. They're not based in the U.K. at all they're based in Europe but they're really lovely. They come and see the shows, they send me gifts, and they're very sweet. Quite often I find out what's going on in my career or what people have been writing by going to their website, because they find reviews of things, so they've got some reviews that people have written about the game and about the voice acting, which is very nice. But I don't think they necessarily play it themselves, I'm not sure that they're Xbox players because... it's not an obvious Venn diagram, between my theatre work and...

D: Yeah, that's kind of what I had in my head, like a little diagram there. One circle of, you know, theatre-goers, one circle of... I don't know, TV watchers... and then the gamers, like a tiny little bit in between!

J: They probably don't even touch... but you know, I try and do something for everybody!

D: Yeah, maybe it's time to build an official fan site, then.

J: Yes. But then you've got to maintain it, and then you've got to try and control what comes out of it, I don't know, all those things... I'm really happy that they're doing it. I don't know, I don't feel grand enough to have my own fan site. And I quite like the anonymity of acting, that not many people know that much about your own private life. I think the more the people know about who you are as a real person the harder it is for them to believe in you in whatever you are trying to be that day for them.

D: What would you say would be your dream performance?

J: Oooh... dream performance... I don't know, dream performance is tricky. I've always wanted to play Coriolanus, which is a great part, another Roman general. And I've always wanted to work at the Globe, on the South Bank, which I've never worked at. I loved Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon with the Royal Shakespeare Company, but I've never worked at Shakespeare's Globe, which is an original reconstruction of the Globe and one of the most beautiful, resonant, evocative almost, vibrating buildings, made entirely of wood in the open air. I'd like to stand there one time and do some shows with it. It could happen.

D: You never know! Has there ever been like, a role that you really, really wanted but kinda got away?

J: Oh, forever! How long have you got? Yeah, there always is, but you have to compartmentalize, it's a strange job because you've got to be very emotionally available and open, and your nerves have got to be close to your skin, so you can present emotional truth. But at the same time, you've got to have calluses all over your body so you can deal with rejection. Auditions and acting in a job are two totally different things. I mean, when I go for an audition or an interview, my job is just to do a really good audition. My job is not to get the job, because if I attempt to get the job, a) I'll be disappointed 50, 60, 70% of the time, and b) I'll be thinking about what do I do to get the job. You'd be second guessing and you'd trip yourself up. So when I'm given the audition and the script in the meeting, my job ends when I walk out of the room and I put the script in the bin, and if I have no regrets, and if I did the best I could, then, then I won, I got that job. That was successful. That's the philosophy that is currently standing me in good stead.

D: One very quick last question?

J: Okay.

D: Name one thing you and Marius have in common.

J: (laughs) Uhh... Um... I don't know... he... wow, one thing him and I have in common... I love my family. I love my parents, and I am very lucky that I have them both. Yeah, that's it. I'll go with that.

Many thanks to John for taking time out of his busy schedule to sit and chat, and answer all these questions. It was a pleasure and I really appreciate it. A special thank you to David Simmonds as well for putting us in touch. If you'd like to read more about John and his acting, visit his profile page at Curtis Brown.