We Meet Bill Milner – star of ‘ANTHROPOID’ and ‘iBOY’

For someone so young, you’ve got a pretty extensive portfolio of roles. Was it difficult juggling education, the normal difficulties of growing up and an acting career? I was barely well equipped enough to handle just being a teenager.

When I started off I had my parents and my agent around me and we all treated it very much like a hobby. It was something that was really fun and I was very privileged to be able to do once or twice per year. I also had an amazing school who made sure I was able to do School and my acting at the same time. It wasn’t until I went to college when I was 16 that it became a lot tougher to juggle. It was around that time I decided I wanted to take acting a lot more seriously and pursue an acting career.


2016 seems to be your year with Anthropoid and iBoy being major features. Has this been your best year yet as an actor?

Probably yes. It has been tough since I decided to take it more seriously and you can’t take it all for granted. I remember last year – 2015 – was a lot tougher and I had to work a lot harder and wait for things to come to me. You learn to be a lot more patient; I learnt more about my acting and my career in 2015 when I was doing very little. You have to learn to deal with the downtime and when stuff doesn’t go your way, but then sometimes it will go your way like 2016 where it is all working out quite well.


Top – Nudie Jeans


I can imagine. I know from working as a photographer that the downtime can start to plant seeds of doubt too.

I think I’ve finally learnt not to doubt myself in those quiet times and that really pays off. It’s been a good year this year and I’m really glad to have work coming out that people can actually see me in. I feel like people will have forgotten who I am even though it hasn’t really been that long. There just haven’t been any big releases for a while so I’m looking forward to people seeing Anthropoid and then soon iBoy.


I want to talk about iBoy actually. I’m really excited about this. I knew of the novel and I’d heard great things about it but now I’ve seen the trailer I’m chomping at the bit to watch it. Could you tell us a bit about your character and what iBoy is about?

iBoy is based on the book of the same name and it follows a young guy called Tom who lives in an estate in Central London and after intervening in a brutal attack, things go wrong and there’s an accident where parts of a smart phone get lodged in his brain. From this he has the power to control computers. On first glass, it seems like one of those average young teen superhero movies, but where iBoy differs from the others is it is a lot more of a psychological film; it’s about how someone so young deals with all this power and the guilt from the attack as well as trying to get revenge without damaging lives. I think it’s a really interesting spin and we had an amazing cast and location, the DoP made it look stunning and the Director is great; it all came together really well. It has been a long time getting this film going. It has been here and there for 5 or 6 years and I think it’s serendipitous that it came together with these people as it’s the best it could have been.

Jumper – Several



It seems a rather fitting time for this film to release as augmented reality is becoming less of a sci-fi theme and more of an emerging technology.

I’m not sure what it would have been like a few years ago but I know that when the Director and I were talking about the story and the character’s powers and where it could possibly go, it often felt quite real. We would be talking about the script and then we’d fall silent for about 10 minutes while our minds run off with the ideas. That’s what I hope happens to people when they see it. It’s an everyday normal boy but something extraordinary has happened to him yet it feels quite real.


Is it difficult playing a role where so much of the scene will be added in post production? How do you make it look so genuine?

Yeah, this is the first time I’ve acted alongside any green screen style scenes, not that we had green screen, a lot of it was just painted in after. When I did X-Men there were a lot of effects but they were mostly practical effects that were happening there and then. Whereas with this, there was a lot of augmented things that were added after and I can’t wait to see what it all looks like. But yeah, it was a new experience acting to a blank wall and having the Director say “Ok Bill, now you see a text come up and now a video has started playing” and so on. You have to have a lot of trust in the guys but I think it’ll look awesome.


So you haven’t seen it yet? When do you get to?

I really don’t know. I’m still waiting to find out. I got a Tweet from Adam the Director the other day and it just said something like “coming soon”! But we’re all very eager to see it. 


Jumper – DKNY Pure / Roll neck- Brooks Brothers / Jeans – Hawksmill Denim Co


Blimey, that’s cryptic! You star alongside one of the queens of the internet, Maisie Williams. It would be remiss of me to not ask, how was it working closely with her? You’ve worked with her before haven’t you?

Yeah, well, sort of. We both did a 2 part Drama for the BBC a couple of years ago called The Secret of Crickley Hall but we didn’t do any scenes together. So I only saw her briefly on set a few times. However, through a lot of different mutual friends I’ve known her a little while and we both have a few friends who have been on Game of Thrones too.


It must be nice working alongside someone you know then.

Yeah it was – we had a lot of fun. Not just with Maisie, but all the other boys in the cast. It was such a nice environment because we’re all around a similar age so we’d all go out for drinks particularly as we were working in Central London instead of being housed up in the middle of nowhere.


Ok, next up is Anthropoid. It has been getting enormous amounts of hype and this film is right up my street as I love war films, particularly ones based on true events. Apart from X-Men, is Anthropoid the biggest film you’ve worked on?

Cast-wise it probably is. Jamie [Dornan] and Cillian [Murphy] are incredible and they deserve a lot of the attention they get because they are great to work with and brilliant actors. It’s really exciting to see that people can’t wait to see the film. A lot of the films I done before, people would stumble across them as hidden gems. That’s lovely too but it’s really nice to hear – even your friends and family – all looking forward to seeing the film as it’s got a bit of excitement behind it.


Jumper- Theory / Roll neck- Brooks Brothers / Jeans – Nudie Jeans / Shoes – Dr Martens


Well, the initial reviews I have read have been very positive. Also, I agree about Cillian and Jamie, they are brilliant actors and I am a big fan of Peaky Blinders in particular. Does it ever feel a bit surreal working with people like that or are you used to it now?

I think I was very fortunate starting so young because I think when I was 11-12 and meeting a great like Michael Caine I think I probably didn’t feel it as much. If I had met him for the first time today having not done any acting I think I would have been all over the place. I think when I was a kid I was a bit naive and blasé about it all but I have learnt how to handle it now which is a good thing or I’d have probably embarrassed myself.


Does being an actor change how you watch TV and film?

Slightly, yes. Well, often because you see your friends there and you say “ah there’s Maisie”! Sometimes you do judge how someone has approached a scene and even learn a lot from it. I guess in any job if you see or watch someone doing something well you’ll probably take that and use it yourself. My brother-in-law is a Director and it’s probably nothing compared to how he watches TV. Or DoPs actually! I remember when we were on the set of iBoy, playback came on and I watched it on the screen and the DoP said “you were just watching yourself through that whole shot weren’t you?” and I said “you were just watching the camera work through that whole shot weren’t you?” That’s the thing; you do just focus on your own job!


That’s also what makes it so special: you have people who are all very good at their individual roles and you all combine to make something amazing.

Yeah, they absolutely love what they do too and that comes across on screen. You see Eben the DoP watching each shot so intensely to make sure that nothing is missed. That fills everyone with such confidence though.


Jacket – Hawksmill Denim Co / Top – Several


I’ve asked this question to a number of actors and the responses are always very interesting. What would be a type of role you would love to be cast in next?

I will answer this, but I always think that regardless of the style of character, it always comes down to great writing. If you’ve got a great writer you can do anything. A genre I’m interested in is a biopic. I would quite like to get in to the history of a particular person and really find out about their story and trying to portray someone who did actually exist. Often, the person is hugely respected so I’d love the challenge of that. I’d also love to do a huge scale Sci-Fi like Star Trek or Star Wars kind of level. I’ve done X-Men and while it’s based in some sort of reality I’d love to see how they create these huge worlds in films like Star Trek or Star Wars.


What is your Fault?

I’m neurotic. Although I think that’s a good thing too. I often over-think things and lay awake at night thinking about minor things that can be dealt with in the morning!


ANTHROPOID is released in cinemas Friday 9th September in the UK. Find Bill on Twitter and Instagram.

Words Robert Baggs

Photography Stephanie YT

Styling Felicity Gray

Grooming Lillie Russo