Benn Northover is a British actor and filmmaker, and will next be seen in the gritty feature film House of Boys, opposite Stephen Fry and Udo Kier, and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. A long time collaborator with legendary filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Northover and has also curated screenings and retrospectives of independent cinema.
What training have you received?
I went to film school and studied directing and filmmaking, and then I studied in New York at the Stella Adler School and the Sondra Lee studio. Sondra Lee is the most incredible teacher any actor could wish for, she really gave me a strong grounding in the craft and discipline of acting.
What kind of roles attract you?
I don’t really have a ‘kind of role’. I do think it’s important to challenge yourself as an actor and ask, ‘How am I different from this character?’ not simply ‘How am I similar?’ You can live a certain way for a while and then get out of it without paying any of the consequences of choosing it as your natural lifestyle. I consider that a great treat.
What’s the best advice that you’ve been given as an actor?
My teacher at Stella Adler, Roni Dengal, really drilled into me the importance of preparation. It’s no different than for a writer, dancer or filmmaker. May it be through personal observation, books, images, music, it’s important to feed your head. That’s one of the gifts of acting; you can feed different influences into the work. It’s a big part of the fun of it for me. I think also one of the best pieces of advice in terms of acting and filmmaking is the words my good friend Jonas Mekas often says at the end of a phone conversation, ‘Keep going!’
Most significant moment in your career so far
There’s been many defining moments, but playing a lead in a film as important as House of Boys, really changed things for me both personally and professionally. working with the director David Yates on Harry Potter. He is amazing, he’s a real actors’ director.
You’ll die happy when…
When I’ve worked with Gus Van Sant, Walter Salles, Martin Scorsese and Alejandro González Iñárritu. But, I’ve always liked the quote from the photographer Dan Eldon, ‘The journey is the destination’
Taken from movieScope magazine, Issue 17 (May/June 2010)