FAULT catches up with actor Julian Morris

FAULT caught up with actor Julian Morris – star of 24, Pretty Little Liars and New Girl – to talk legends, London, and his much-anticipated new BBC drama series Man in an Orange Shirt.

Grey suit trousers and jacket – Hugo Boss Hugo Boss / Black jumper – Hugo Boss

A lot of people will recognise you from Pretty Little Liars, and the final season is now on Netflix, so how was it bringing a seven-year-long show to a close?

I came back to resolve the character of Dr Wren Kingston in a way which I felt was fun and satisfying. I’m hoping fans have been satisfied with the ending – it’s packed full of twists – and the team have been planning it for a long time. I had lot of fun with the cast and crew of Pretty Little Liars – they’re a really talented group and I made a lot of friends on the show. I think when it started in 2010, Pretty Little Liars was bold and transgressive, for example featuring young lesbians in the way it did, in the time that it did. Similarly, Man in an Orange Shirt is bold now – looking at oppression by society of gay characters, and their internal struggles too.

Micro check suit jacket and trousers – Aquascutum / Purple basic point collar shirt – John Varvartos

Man in an Orange Shirt is of course the upcoming BBC drama in which you star alongside the legendary Vanessa Redgrave – what can you tell us about the show?

Well firstly, it’s really good! Director Michael Samuels has done a great job, the cinematographer made it beautiful, the writer made it moving. It touches on something which hasn’t been properly explored in mainstream media before. My character seemed like a new challenge for me – he lives in an accepting society but has grown up with a shame, a self-oppression and a trauma that is hard to work through but truthful. All of that is explored against the backdrop of a beautiful love story. Most of my scenes are with Vanessa Redgrave, and she was phenomenal to work with. She is smart, challenging, and intelligent and she really keeps you on your toes. We got on fantastically and had this natural and immediate chemistry, I absolutely adore her. I have also been working with her son-in-law Liam Neeson too!

USA Bowery fit Jeans – John Varatos star / Mandarin Collared shirt – Zadig and Voltaire SS17 / Jacket – Brookes Brothers SS17

It sounds like you’ve been working with some pretty big names and in some amazing shows and films!

You know what, the past year has been one of dream characters and dream casts – for example filming Felt with Liam Neeson and of course Man in an Orange Shirt with Vanessa Redgrave. Some of the characters I’ve been working on have scared me and challenged me, and that’s wonderful. I’m really director-driven in the choices I make and I want to continue to work with people I love, respect and adore. There’s a very long list of amazing directors I would love to work with, but Ang Lee and Yann Demange are definitely up there.

Grey suit trousers and jacket – Hugo Boss Hugo Boss / Black jumper – Hugo Boss

You grew up here in London – what do you love about our city and what do you do when you’re back here?

Yeah, I grew up in North London, so it’s been great spending time back in London filming Man in an Orange Shirt. I live in LA now but I definitely feel like a Londoner, the city draws you in. I just love the people, the city, the history, the culture and importantly the differences. I’m very friend-orientated so I love seeing old friends in London, enjoying good food and good drink. I also love to walk around London – the history and the parks – I think it’s a British thing to appreciate good lawns and parks!

Cream English Riviera knitted texture jumper – Hackett

So you love London, friends, food, lawns – what are your other passions and interests?

I absolutely love music, I thrive on music. I was listening to the new Bonobo album on the way to our interview, and that’s great, but I love such a range of genres – electronic, folk, rock. Someone else I think is really amazing is Erykah Badu – I got to work with her on Hand of God which was an absolute dream, and she was as wonderful as I hoped. There was moment on set when I let her into my trailer and she dressed me in Ethiopian clothes and jewellery and lit some incense – it was brilliantly bizarre! I also love design – in clothing, in architecture – I really appreciate when something’s beautifully made.

White collared shirt – Hugo Boss / Navy Blue suit jacket and trousers – Hugo Boss / Navy pull over – Michael Kors

Any final comments or advice for FAULT readers?

Now is a spectacular time in history – there’s so much change, it’s such an interesting place in time to be. What’s important now is to be engaged, to hold those in power to account, to vote – even if you’re uninspired by the choices, be sceptical, challenge fake news, and seek out good journalism even if it means paying for it.

Man In An Orange Shirt – starring Julian Morris, Vanessa Redgrave and David Gyasi – airs on BBC 2 this summer.

Words Angus Wyatt

Photography Stephanie YT

Styling Indigo Goss

Grooming Lillie Russo

Stylist’s Assistant Chloe Stewart

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