The British musician and actor discusses his latest lead roles – in dark thriller Cordelia and the Bowie biopic Stardust
He’s an actor equipped with “weapons grade animal magnetism” (according to the Observer’s critic Mark Kermode). Over the past decade or so, he has steadily built an enviable CV across film, TV and theatre, flitting seamlessly from edgy contemporary thrillers to classy period adaptations. He’s also a singer and band leader, who has topped off a role in a forthcoming David Bowie biopic by writing and performing a new “Bowie” song. Is there anything Johnny Flynn can’t do?
Chat shows, he says, without missing a beat. “I’m very shy and I get quite overwhelmed. I’ve turned things down in the past on the premise that when the film comes out I’ll have to go on one and I can’t do it! I’ve got over that a little bit, but I’ve been very wary of that type of notoriety.”
His latest film, Cordelia, is a stylish exercise in chamber noir, directed by Adrian Shergold, which puts Flynn’s charisma to use in subverting the comforting stereotypes of boy and girl next door. The eponymous Cordelia (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is suffering from a bad case of post-traumatic stress disorder, and initially Frank seems just the friend she needs. But for all his friendly, easy-going veneer, he speaks with a slightly lingering intimacy that sends shivers up the back of your neck.