Posted on October 6th, 2013 by admin

Actor Luke Treadaway talks to Patrick Smith about the success of The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time, winning an Olivier Award, his latest film The Rise – and the time he had to kiss his twin brother.


 Anyone who saw him in the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will know that Luke Treadaway is a prodigious talent. As Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old maths genius with Asperger’s Syndrome, he gave an astonishing performance: raw, funny and at times almost unbearably moving.

The play was adapted for stage by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel and won a record seven Olivier Awards earlier this year – including one for Treadaway as Best Actor – before transferring to the West End, where it’s now been seen by more than 150,000 people. The Curious Incident… wasn’t the first successful National Theatre production to star Treadaway, however: in 2007, he played 16-year-old Albert in the original War Horse, a play that has since stormed the West End and Broadway, and spawned a Hollywood movie directed by Steven Spielberg.

Now 29, the voluble, affable Devon actor, who’s appeared in films such as 2011’s entertaining, genre-mashing Attack the Block and 2010’s blockbuster remake of Clash of the Titans, is about to start work on a movie project his agent has forbid him from talking about. Here Treadaway discusses his stage career, winning an Olivier Award, kissing his actor twin brother, Harry, and his latest film, The Rise, in which writer/director Rowan Athale transports a familiar heist-gone-wrong tale to England’s industrial north.

“There’s definitely a strength to it not being set in London. It has that northern soul vibe to it – a kind of warmth to it which maybe is generated by those guys together, and the banter they share. They’re not cockney geezers who are trying to rob hundreds of thousands of pounds; it’s four young lads from an estate outside Leeds. And there’s that small-town mentality. They’re trying to get £60,000 to go and invest in a business – it’s a really small amount. I think it’s quite different in that they’re not trying to steal the Crown Jewels or something.”

Your first break was with War Horse. How did it come about?

“It’s an interesting story. I’d just come out of drama school and was auditioning for a play at the National [Theatre] and I got down to the last two. I didn’t get it and was obviously gutted but then, about two weeks later, the casting director at the National called me and said, ‘You know, sorry that play didn’t work out but would you be interested in doing this workshop instead?’ It was a three-week workshop for a new play that they were devising called War Horse. So I got the book and read it and realised that, ‘Bloody hell, this is amazing’. Albert is an amazing part for a young Devon lad, but, you know, I didn’t think I ‘d get it. Then every day in the workshop, I kept being given this part to read, and, eventually, in the last week, I got asked to do it. It was amazing being there at the early stages, when the puppets hadn’t arrived from South Africa – it was people’s hands on the backs of people’s shoulders as a horse, you know. We would be stroking people’s heads. Some of the early videos from that workshop would make us all laugh now quite a lot.”

Did you have a feeling at the time that it would be this successful?

“Well, I’d never seen anything a show that had life-size horse puppets in it so I knew it was going to be different. And, yes, certainly it was the most joyous, brilliant, incredible experience ever devising something on that scale. But I suppose you never stop and think at that stage, ‘Yes, well, we could be having a hit on our hands’ – there’s just no time for that and you’re not in that mindset. You’re just thinking, ‘What are my lines?’ Even when we’d finished after four months, it was just a one man play at the National and it was only, you know, five years later that two million people around the world have seen it and suddenly it’s this worldwide thing. So, it’s very satisfying and I’m very proud to have been some small part of it.”

What preparations did you make for playing the role of Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?

“Well, I read lots of books and watched lots of documentaries. I went to five different schools that cater specifically for kids with autism, and I hung out for a day at these schools and spoke with staff and spoke to pupils. Five minutes in a lesson was more useful than 10 hours of documentary watching. It was incredible trying to get some sort of understanding first-hand of what it’s like to live with autism.”

How often did you have to wax your chest during Curious Incident?

“I chose the shaving method and I had to do that every other day. The longer it gets the longer I know I’ve left the play for. It’s like a sort of visual metaphor.”


 Are you missing playing Christopher?

“Yes and no. It’s a very incredible experience to have every day. I mean, on a biological level, doing it releases tons of adrenalin and endorphins so your body becomes aware that you’re no longer getting that rush. At the same time I must say it’s quite nice to be able to see friends and family and every day know that I’ve got that huge journey at the end of each day to do.”

Did you find yourself acting like Christopher after the curtain had gone down?

“Well, on a practical level, I’d find myself still moving through crowds in a very precise manner and, because I’d warmed up for an hour and done about two and a half hour shows, I’d be pretty switched on. I’d find that I would still talk in a pedantic, articulate way for, like, two hours after. But, no, I haven’t had trouble eating brown food and, no, I don’t suddenly dislike the colour yellow.”

And that Olivier award…

“Yeah, I was genuinely very shocked and completely unprepared for that to have happened. But it was a beautiful surprise and was just very excited the whole evening that The Curious Incident was getting so much attention. It was a fun night for us all sat there.”

In your career you’ve played quite a few teenagers. Do you find it strange?

“No, I love that I still get ID’d. It’s not a bad thing; it’s cool. Albert and Christopher don’t necessarily seem like what you think of when you think of a teenage part. They’re not from young love story. If I was stuck playing those kind of parts, I think it would annoy me. I’m lucky to have had the genes to have allowed me to play younger parts at my age. I mean, I’m 29 now and to be able to play a 15-year-old is something few people my age would be able to do.”

What’s the most awkward thing to happen to you while you’re on stage?

“Well, my brother and I did a play in 2009 at the Royal called Over There. It was a sort of metaphor for East and West Berlin, so we were twins that had been separated by the Berlin Wall. In the last scene, having been covered in ketchup and chocolate sauce and all sorts of weird food condiments – it was a very European style production I have to say – I ended up taking my pants off, putting on a pair of red high heels and blonde wig, and walking down from the top of the stage down to the front of it and snogging my brother as the lights went out. I suppose it was probably liberating and awkward when you’ve got your cousins in the second row…

You both look very similar. How did you try to create your own identity?

“I think we’ve always been quite different but at the same time always been into the same things so, even though we were both into rugby, we were still different types of rugby players. Even though we were into music, we were still our own person doing it and the same goes for acting now. We had different haircuts and we never dressed the same.”

Which directors would you most like to work with?

“So many. If we narrow it down to some British directors, then: Shane Meadows, Danny Boyle, Ken Loach.”

What now? I’m presuming that you’ve got quite a few offers coming in after The Curious Incident…
“I’ve a film that I’m doing that starts in about a month’s time, but sadly, I don’t think I’m able to bloody tell you, I’m sorry. It’s one of those things that hasn’t been announced yet and so I’m not allowed to.”


Posted on September 18th, 2013 by admin

The Olivier Award-winning star of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is heading to Los Angeles to prepare for secret new project.


Luke Treadaway is the National Theatre’s million-dollar man. Now 28, in the last six years he has taken the lead in two of the most successful shows in the theatre’s history. In 2007, he was Albert in the original production of War Horse, a show that has since transferred to the West End and Broadway, been seen by over four million people worldwide and inspired a Hollywood movie.

Last year, he was cast as Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a production which also blazed into the West End, where it has already been seen by 150,000 people, and earlier this year won a record seven Olivier Awards – including one for him as Best Actor.

“It’s a hell of a souvenir for the last 14 months,” he says coolly of the trophy. “By the time it got to me on the night, we’d won five out of five, so I was completely prepared for mine to be the first one not to win. I was shocked. Then I went backstage and had my picture taken with [Best Actress] Helen Mirren. So, yeah. Fun night.”

It all began with a failed audition. In 2007, fresh out of Lamda, Treadaway tried out for a new play, The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder, at the National. He got down to the last two to play the teenage son, but lost out (to Adam Gillen). A couple of weeks later, the theatre’s casting director called to ask if he might be interested in doing a workshop for a few weeks instead. “I remember my agent saying, ‘It’s called War Horse’ and I wrote it down and went out to buy the book. I read it and thought, ‘Wow. Oh my god, Albert’s going to be an amazing part for someone. Can’t believe I’m from Devon, too, but I won’t get it. Never mind…'”

By the end of three weeks in a rehearsal room in south London – “It was before the puppets had even arrived from South Africa, so people were walking around whinnying, using an arm and a shoulder for a horse’s head. It was a beautiful thing” – the part of Albert was his. And a fruitful partnership with the director, Marianne Elliott, had begun. Straight after the workshop, Elliott cast him in bit parts in Saint Joan. By night, he stood around behind Anne-Marie Duff, getting used to being on stage at the National. By day, he and Elliott wrestled with War Horse. When it came to The Curious Incident, Treadaway was first in line for the workshop – and once again won the lead. “I’ve never done a play with Marianne having auditioned for it. I think I’m pretty rubbish at auditions, really. I should just workshop everywhere.”

The pair will reunite for the theatre’s 50th anniversary gala in November. He can’t say too much about it except that it will feature “scenes from big National shows over the years.” After that, he is keen to work with his mentor on a third mega-hit. “She can have me whenever she wants me, put it that way. Whenever we see each other we always boringly talk about what we’re going to do next. There will be something, I’m sure.” Having played two teenagers, might it be time to stop waxing his chest and start playing… “Older than 15? Well, exactly. I played 14 in War Horse, 15 in Curious. I’m looking for a 16-year-old part next. How different would that be – playing an actual mid-20s man in something?”

For now, Treadaway is taking a well-earned rest from the theatre. He finished his West End run in The Curious Incident at the end of August, and after an all-night wrap party, hopped on a 5am plane to Spain. Today, fresh from holiday, he looks relaxed, dressed in a vest and jeans, grey Reebok hi-tops and a gap-year necklace in the shape of a fish. He is on a break – but it is the nicest kind of actor’s break. (He’s known the not-so-nice kind, too. “There have been hard times and great times and times in between,” he says. “The odd six months out of work. Horrible.”)

Hollywood has, unsurprisingly, come calling – and in the next few weeks he will head to LA to prepare for a big job his agent forbids him to talk about. Until then he is enjoying playing guitar in the Highgate flat he shares with his actor twin, Harry, actress girlfriend, Ruta Gedmintas, and musician friend Johnny. “I’d been thinking that when I finish this play, I must sit down and bloody play some guitar again. I love it, I really do. You have the time to decompress and realise that it’s not all about acting. Because it’s not.”

When he was in The Curious Incident, he would struggle to shake off his intense alter-ego, talking in the teen’s oh-so-deliberate manner for hours after a show. “When I’m in a job, I don’t very successfully get away from it. I’m always ticking away. But when I’m not working, I have a similar commitment to seeing my friends and enjoying myself.” Today, he is lightly hungover, craving a cigarette and given to lyrical outbursts, particularly about the part he has just left behind. “Will Christopher ever really leave me? I don’t know. I think he’ll always be a part of me or I will always be a part of him. Or something. I don’t feel I’ve said goodbye to him forever. He’s still there.”

That said, he admits that it is a relief not to be going on stage tonight. Playing the autistic teenager, he spent a “very sweaty” two-and-a-half hours, five nights a week scrabbling on the floor, flinging himself into the air and running up walls. It took its toll – in the form of RSI in his arm and housemaid’s knee. There is a new Christopher now and the entire cast has been replaced. “I think it was time. We all knew it and felt it. It’s 14 months since we started at the Cottesloe and by the amount of elbow supports, painkillers and physio that everyone was having, it was clear that we’d all pretty much gone as far as we could go with it. For now, anyway.” Which suggests a Broadway run could be on the cards.

In the meantime, he has other things to keep him busy. He is the star of The Rise, an offbeat British heist with Timothy Spall and Vanessa Kirby, which is released this weekend and is unusual for being set in Leeds, not London. “There are so many set in London, all ‘fackin’ cockneys’. It feels fresh,” says Treadaway, drawing a veil over his own foray into the genre, the forgettable Get Lucky. Before that, his biggest film was the excellent Attack the Block. While he would love to work with Danny Boyle (he’d be an ideal heir to Ewan McGregor), theatre is his first love. “It’s when I grow and learn most. You don’t get time for that on a film set.” He wasn’t keen on Spielberg’s War Horse, for example. “I’m not a very fair person to judge it, I don’t think. First, I come from Devon and in my head I’d set it in my village. So they basically got it wrong. It didn’t look like any Devon I knew.”

The Devon Treadaway knows is, specifically, Sandford, where he was raised by his architect father and primary-school teacher mother. He has an older brother, Sam, who works in Bristol as a multimedia artist, and the aforementioned twin, Harry, another British rising star with roles in Control and Fish Tank to his name. Luke made his stage debut aged 3, playing a daffodil to his father’s Big Bad Wolf in a local am-dram Little Red Riding Hood. From then on it was “non-stop” playacting with his ready-made co-star, Harry. “There was never a time you couldn’t put a play on, because there was always someone to do it with,” he says. “I’d give Harry the odd cameo.”

Growing up, the twins worked to carve out separate characters, never going into school with new shoes or a new haircut on the same day, never wearing the same clothes. “I think that’s a bit strange to do that to twins. They’ve enough of an uphill struggle to make their own identity. It’s weird.” But they also loved all of the same things. They both played on the same rugby team. They both played in the same band, Lizardsun. Aged 16 they both joined the National Youth Theatre, where they both instantly befriended Matt Smith, aka Doctor Who. “He was leaning out of the window and was the first person we met when we arrived. We’ve been best mates ever since.” Aged 18, they both enrolled at Lamda.

“We weren’t going to draw straws or toss a coin to decide who couldn’t go. That would be stupid.” And aged 19, they landed their first professional job, a film called Brothers of the Head, in which they played conjoined twins, and spent 15 hours a day stitched into a wetsuit together. They have worked together since, in Mark Ravenhill’s Over There, a play about East and West Germany, which climaxed with Luke, wearing nothing but high heels and a smear of ketchup, kissing Harry.

It must get a little heated in their flat – four performers, all scrapping for jobs. “We’re all ambitious and and work with good people and do good scripts, so it’s competitive in that sense. There’s a healthy desire to get good jobs. But I don’t hide Harry’s script to stop him going in for an audition, or lock him in the bathroom so he can’t go for a meeting.” Would he do another job with his twin now? “They do come our way. I don’t regret doing it. If it had ended up that no-one wanted to cast us on our own and we’d just ended up playing twins, then it would have been a really bad decision. But we’ve both done our own thing. It’s worked out.”

Source: The Independent


Posted on March 13th, 2013 by admin

Luke Treadaway is getting five star reviews for his performance in the adaptation of Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. As Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old with Asperger syndrome, he is said to be superb.


Comedian Matt Lucas tweeted to him: “…the best play I’ve ever seen. Career-defining performance from Luke Treadaway.” It looks like the 28-year-old has finally shrugged off the shadow of his more famous twin, Harry.

The Treadaway boys were brought up in the “really rural, tiny village” of Sandford in Devon. It was there, playing around in the garden with Harry, the younger by 20 minutes, that first got Luke interested in acting.

Both went on to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and were members of the National Youth Theatre. Their first big break came in 2005, when they played conjoined twins in cult film Brothers of Head, whose intense relationship ended in a scene where they kissed.

Up until now, Harry was arguably better known, with roles in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank and Anton Corbijn’s Control, as well as the slightly less well received Cockneys versus Zombies.

Meanwhile, Luke worked hard in the theatre, appearing as Albert in the original production of War Horse and in Saint Joan alongside Anne-Marie Duff. Both have disproved Harry’s throwaway comment in 2006 that they “might self-destruct by the time we’re 27”. Harry recently said he and Luke are “supportive” of each other, and are no more competitive than other siblings.

He said: “Most people don’t live their lives constantly thinking what their brothers and sisters are doing. If Luke had gone off to become a marine biologist I’d still be here, doing this.”

They’ve gone for the same jobs but Luke says: “There’s no bitterness if one of us gets a job and one of us doesn’t.”

As children they spent a lot of time making up games and when they were 14 they formed a band, Lizardsun, with their older brother, Sam, who is now a multimedia artist. Their father is an architect, their mother a retired primary school teacher who now educates Afghan refugees. Luke’s first role was as a daffodil in the village pantomime, where their father played the big bad wolf.

During their time at the National Youth Theatre they met and became friends with the actors Felicity Jones and Matt Smith. Through them, they met writer Polly Stenham, and Harry had a relationship with her, once saying she is “the most beautiful person in the world”.

Luke has previously been linked to Ruta Gedmintas, his co-star in the film You Instead. They are both friends with the Camden-based band, Tribes, who have been on tour with Azealia Banks. Luke regularly tweets support for them. Keith Fulton, who co-directed the Treadaways in Brothers, said: “One of the great things about the Treadaways is that you throw them a challenge and they come back at you with something brilliant.”

Source: The Standard