■ The actor, 33, talks about playing global hate figure Ramsay Bolton and his war film Hurricane
What’s Hurricane about?
It tells the story of the 303 Squadron — a Polish squadron — during the Battle of Britain. I play a real-life pilot called Jan Zumbach.
How’s your Polish accent?
I speak a lot of Polish in the film. I didn’t have time to learn it as a language so I just learned the sounds. I knew what I was saying but I couldn’t have a conversation in it. Acting in a language you don’t speak was a challenge but it was important as we didn’t want to have scenes between Polish characters talking in dodgy Polish accents.
Their story isn’t well-known in the UK, is it?
It isn’t known at all, which is shocking, really. The story is as much about what’s happening on the ground as in the air. The RAF didn’t consider the Polish pilots to be suitable to fight for Britain but they turned out to be brilliant. It was all forgotten at the end of the war because the government didn’t want to annoy Stalin — they didn’t honour the Polish pilots after the war even though they’d taken 25 per cent of the enemy planes during the Battle of Britain. It’s a shame. Hopefully people will realise what a great service these guys did. Without them Britain could have fallen to the Luftwaffe. They were courageous and fearless because of the horrors that had happened to their own country. They weren’t afraid of death and were a great asset to the RAF.
We saw you in Marvel superhero series Inhumans recently too. Are you disappointed it was cancelled after eight episodes?
Not that disappointed, to be honest. Obviously it’s a shame but I’m not disappointed. I did the job and I’ve moved on.
Did Game Of Thrones’ Ramsay Bolton have any redeeming features?
He did his own dirty work. He was a pretty good military strategist. He liked dogs. But I don’t think he had many redeeming features, no. I really enjoyed playing him. He was a complicated character and I’d never played a bad guy before, so it was an interesting challenge.
What’s happening with your music career?
There’s no plan — I just do it when I can. It’s something I do for myself. I’ve got enough songs for a new album, I just need to find time to get into a studio. It’ll sound different to the last but until I’m in the studio I don’t know what I’ll do with them. With a first album there are songs you’ve had for a long time but with the second it’s like starting with a clean slate. I’ve got older and have more life experience so what I’m writing about will be different.
Are you doing gigs?
I haven’t for a long time. I don’t want to do it just with a guitar like I used to. I’d want to do it with a band to make it feel more of an occasion, so that requires planning and I never know what I’m doing month to month because of my job. It’s hard to put together and I’m not great at organising things.
Would you want to get any of your bandmates from the forthcoming Mötley Crüe biopic to be in your band?
What? Actors? No, they’re terrible. We finished doing that film, The Dirt, in April. I play Mick Mars and I did the guitar work in the film myself. I enjoyed it. It’s a very different style of music to what I’m used to playing so it was nice to get an amp and make loads of noise and play loud music.
Do you have a new admiration for the work of Mötley Crüe?
I was aware of them but wasn’t a fan because I’m not a massive fan of that genre. You can’t help getting into it when you’re learning the songs and playing them every day. I really enjoyed doing the film, it was a fun project. We filmed it in New Orleans. It was a great cast and a good laugh.
Have you heard from Ian McKellen or Derek Jacobi since you finished doing Vicious?
I heard from Ian not so long ago but I’ve been out of the country working so haven’t had a chance to see them for a while. I’d love to, though. When I worked with them it was good to observe them and the way they conducted themselves, and I tried to learn from that. It was a real privilege to get to work with such masters of acting — and see their humility and dedication to hard work, and how that doesn’t get lost even though they’ve been knighted for their contributions to the arts. Hopefully one day I’ll be as good as them.
What lessons has your career in showbiz taught you?
To work hard, be prepared and treat everyone as you’d want to be treated yourself. It doesn’t matter what job they’re doing, everyone is collaborating to make the work. The moment you think you’re more important than other people because you’re an actor, you’re losing.
Hurricane is available now on VOD