10 Minutes With…. Actor James Sutton
Multi award-winning actor of Hollyoaks
We’re proud to introduce actor and friend of Watson & Wolfe, James Sutton, who kindly joined us for a chat and photo shoot during pre-show rehearsals of his play Caroline’s Kitchen at the Royal Theatre in Bath. James has been acting since the age of 8 but caught the public eye in his multi award-winning and nominated role as Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks, where his character famously came out as gay after an affair with his best friend. James’s star is currently on the ascendant in terms of both his work as an actor and producer and he has also set up Broken Leg Workshops to offer help and advice to aspiring young actors, in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. A staunch Liverpool FC supporter, James tells us about his current play, his concerns about the planet, talking to himself and how Tom Hardy would make a good “him”!
Tell us about Caroline’s Kitchen – what is it about and which part do you play?
Caroline’s Kitchen is a dark comedy set in the kitchen of a celebrity TV chef, with the perfect life, the perfect family, the perfect lifestyle, and how her life falls apart over the space of one day. I play Graeme, the handyman, who’s having a rather torrid affair with Caroline.
Isn’t one of the characters Vegan?
Leo played excellently by Tom England, is a vegan in the play. All the characters are quite distinct, their morals and their views constantly clashing with one another. Leo is a young modern lad, concerned about the state of the planet.
Where is the play showing?
We’ve been touring all around the country having already visited Derby, Liverpool, Tunbridge Wells, Bath and there are still dates available in Worthing and Colchester before we head to New York for a month to take part in their Brits On Broadway season.
“I’ve always been concerned with de-forestation and the extinction of
wildlife but now with climate change happening at an alarming rate, it seems we
really are making a mess of this beautiful planet.”
Was it always your dream to become an actor?
It was! I’ve been very lucky. I fell in love with acting when I was 8 years old and my parents always encouraged me to pursue it. I’m incredibly lucky to do a job I enjoy.
What was your very first acting experience?
My first acting experience was when I was 8, I did a Youth Theatre version of Bugsy Malone at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. I loved it.
We understand you are concerned about the environment – When did this first become an important issue for you?
I don’t know how anyone can’t be concerned about the environment. When you reach a certain age and start thinking about raising a family, it puts things into perspective. I’ve always been concerned with de-forestation and the extinction of wildlife but now with climate change happening at an alarming rate, it seems we really are making a mess of this beautiful planet.
How do you reflect this concern in your daily lifestyle (e.g not wearing leather, meat consumption, recycling, conscious purchases etc)
I think we can all do better. All of us can make positive changes in our lives. My wife and I try very hard to not buy pre-packaged food, we always cook from fresh, and are very conscious of recycling everything we can. I’ve never been particularly into wearing leather, and I certainly wouldn’t wear fur or animal skin and I am utterly against any form of animal testing, so I am quite choosy when buying any toiletries. It doesn’t take much to start making a difference, choosing to walk instead of driving a car or eating less meat.
“Learning lines is the most tiresome, boring, awful part of the job and I loathe it.
That being said, I can learn lines fairly quickly. I have to read them aloud to
myself either pacing round my kitchen or in the park.”
Can you describe a typical day in the life of James Sutton?
I don’t think I’ve ever had a typical day in my life! When I’m at home, I’m either writing, learning lines, cooking or catching up with friends and family. My work schedule can often be quite chaotic and unpredictable, so we try and keep our home life as relaxing as possible.
Can you tell us about any other projects you have in the pipeline?
I’m shooting a movie over the summer, a little indie film set in Oxford, so I’m very much looking forward to that. I’m also producing a film next year and hoping to get a series off the ground that my friend Greg and I have been working on for a while. Variety is the spice of life.
Which actor – living or dead – would you most like to meet?
I’d love to have met some of the old actors, Warren Beatty, James Stewart, Marlon Brando of course, people of that calibre. They had a real mystique surrounding them, proper old movie stars. I would love to hang out with those guys.
How do you memorise your lines?
Learning lines is the most tiresome, boring, awful part of the job and I loathe it. That said, I can learn lines fairly quickly. I read them aloud to myself, either pacing round my kitchen or in the park. My wife is also excellent at running lines with me, she does voices for all the characters, which always makes me smile.
Favourite movie scene..?
There’s a famous scene in ‘Any Given Sunday’ where an American Football coach has to drag his team back from the brink with a quite incredible speech (it’s on YouTube if you haven’t seen it). Al Pacino does some brilliant work in it. It’s great for getting the blood pumping.
Who would play James Sutton in a film of your life?
Tom Hardy would probably do a pretty good job I reckon.
Tell us a secret about James Sutton….
Haha, I don’t have any secrets. My life is an open book…!
If you are quick, there is still time to book tickets for Caroline’s Kitchen before it heads to New York at the end of April.
In association with Chalk Star Films
Lighting: Boyd Skinner
Location: Theatre Royal Bath