Jack Fox is currently starring alongside his father, James Fox, in Dear Lupin at the Apollo Theatre. The play transferred to the West End earlier this month following a UK tour.
Written by Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer, Dear Lupin, Letters to a Wayward Son has been adapted for the stage by Michael Simkins. The piece sees journalist and author Roger Mortimer’s brilliantly hilarious, often touching and always generous letters to his unruly son Charlie vividly brought to life.
Having previously appeared in The Picture of Dorian Gray at Riverside Studios, Dear Lupin marks Jack’s West End debut. His television credits include Our Zoo, Mr Selfridge, Dracula, Privates, Fresh Meat, Lewis and Henry VIII: Mind of a Tyrant, whilst Jack’s film work includes London Underground, The Messenger, Blood Moon, Kids in Love and Theeb.
I recently spoke to Jack about why he was so moved the first time he read the play, what it was like to step into the rehearsal room with his father and how he feels after performing such an emotionally draining role each night…
Dear Lupin is an almighty play! What made you want to take it on?
Well my Dad was approached to do it before I was, he was given an offer from the producer. I went to see my agent about another project and, being the clever man that he is, as I was walking out the door he said, “You should have a read of this” and I read it on the train. I cried and laughed, it must have looked like I was having a nervous breakdown [laughs]. It just blew me away because of how funny and well written it was, and also the relationship is such a wonderful thing.
I think so, the father finds his son very amusing. Their relationship is so focused.
James Fox and Jack in Dear Lupin
How did you find the rehearsal process? What was the dynamic like at first working with your father?
It was an amazing process! We were quite quick to take off our personal hats and put on our acting hats because I think you have to take your individuality out of it and do what is best for the play. It was an incredible process, I think you always learn so much from people who are more experienced than you and my father is certainly that!
After taking the show on the road, how did you feel when you found out it was coming into the West End?
It was such an amazing thing, working with Nimax and working with the Apollo is so great. The Apollo is a top notch theatre. It was such a beautiful opportunity and to be able to do it with your old man is probably the best experience you are ever going to have! Maybe it’s all downhill from here [laughs].
And all your family came down for your opening, how was that night for you?
I just tried to stay in the moment of the play. The moment you focus on anyone who’s out there you sort of lose track of the piece itself. With Dear Lupin you need to be fully involved because there’s a lot to do in it. It’s two hours on stage and, as you know, the stage moves around a lot so I just tried to stay as focused as I could.
It is so full on – how do you feel after the show?
Exhausted! It’s also emotionally draining. It’s an amazing feeling because, so far, we’ve always had such a great reception – it’s been great to have that. Because of the nature of the play, it’s going to evoke emotion. I think people can see their own family relationships in the play. The show is different every night, sometimes Charlie as a character feels more reckless and sometimes he feels more, sort of, aware of what’s happening – he is regurgitating what’s happened. Sometimes it really gets me in the moment.
Having previously done mostly screen work, what has it been like to venture into the theatre world?
It’s a daunting thing and I think I’m forever learning. The audience are the best teachers of all, they let you know what works and what doesn’t work. Our director Philip Franks has been wonderful and Michael Simkins (who adapted Dear Lupin for the stage) has helped me a lot. The producers have been very warm and lovely, if I’m honest it has been a great atmosphere to work in.
Interviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Please visit www.dearlupinonstage.com for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit 1: David Hogan
Photo Credit 2-3: Manuel Harlan