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Sam Claflin is sipping on a peanut butter and banana smoothie in a hotel room on a Monday morning in December when he tells me to get out.

‘How can you not like peanut butter? I didn’t think that was possible,’ he exclaims as he grins at me. It’s not exactly the way I thought my short time with the British actor would go, beginning with a joke threat to kick me out of the room and then my explanation of the whys and wherefores of peanut butter hatred.

But that’s how it goes with Sam, the 31-year-old who has starred in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and romantic comedies but who can make you feel like you’ve been pals with him for years.

Dressed down and relaxed, Sam is with me to talk about his new film Journey’s End, based on the 1928 dramatic play by English playwright R. C. Sherriff.

Set in the trenches of World War I, the story gives a short glimpse into the experiences of the officers of a British Army infantry company, playing out in the officers’ dugout over four days in the run-up to the real-life events of Operation Michael.

It’s an experience not many of us would be able to connect with these days, where war no longer always means hand to hand combat and trenches but instead drone warfare and secret missions – and one that the cast, including Paul Bettany, Asa Butterfield, and Tom Sturridge, tried to understand by talking to ex-servicemen who are today battling PTSD.

‘We don’t talk about war, the papers don’t talk [about war], it’s weird – there is a full-on fight going on and people are dying but no one talks about it,’ says Sam. ‘Or we do for five minutes but then go back to Kim Kardashian’s baby, its a weird disconnect.’

The ex-servicemen, says Sam, ‘came in and talked us through the challenges of having the disorder – and the way they described it is that it is us who live in the bubble and they live in the real world’.

‘For servicemen now, they are expected to fit back in the bubble but they have seen best friends dying…,’ he adds.

Sam attended a performing arts school as a child – and, dear Sam Claflin fans, get ready to see him singing his heart out on the big screen some day soon.

‘I would love to do a musical, that’s the dream – specifically an animated musical so I don’t have to do the dancing, but I do love it and I miss it so much,’ he reveals.

Sam originally auditioned for musical theatre school as opposed to acting and gamely tells the story of how he was so bad at dancing that he was told by ‘such an arsehole’ that maybe he should try acting classes.

‘And he told me that if you look at the West End most of the lead actors will be a name and will have gone to acting school and will be in TV and film’ – here Sam mocks the words TV and film, as if they are only for certain people – ‘and I was like “oh right that’s my way in – if I just become famous, then I don’t have to do all the training and dancing!”‘ he laughs.

He first saw Journey’s End on the stage as a teenager – ‘it was an amazing piece of theatre’ – and was keen to be involved in the film from the beginning.

‘I think it depicts the relationships of men in a way that not many films, or plays or TV does,’ he suggests.

‘It’s just an intimate relationship piece and that is rarely seen in all honesty.. where it’s strictly men and quite sensitive. Very rarely do you see men sensitive on screen, and that’s what really attracted me to it.’

He admits he cried when he first read the script – ‘if I laugh out loud or cry that’s when I know I have to be a part of it, and this one was on those’ – but that playing Captain Stanhope was a ‘dream to portray’.

‘You only have to watch or read or know the play to know that Stanhope is a very complex and challenging role, almost a dream to portray,’ he admits.

‘I knew he was worlds away from who I am, seemingly angry and fearful but at the same time strong and stoic and in control while out of control – very complex – and that’s the part as an actor you dream of.’

Considering his early start at acting school though, Sam has never professionally performed on the stage although it’s something he is eager to add to his CV.

‘It’s heartbreaking,’ he says, ‘I was very close to doing a play next year but it just, timing wise… I’ve been trying to figure it out so it’s the right time but it’s never worked out, and it has to be the perfect thing to do it, I don’t want to do something for the sake of being on stage.

‘I want to do something that is meaningful.’ [Source]

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February 18, 2018: BAFTA

Current Projects
Journey's End
Sam as Captain Stanhope
News    Photos    IMDb
RC Sherriff's Journey's End is the seminal British play about WW1. Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, it is the story of a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, variously awaiting their fate
Adrift
Sam as Richard Sharp
News    Photos    IMDb
A young woman sails into the eye of a hurricane to save the man she loves.
Red Shoes & the 7 Dwarfs
Sam as Merlin (voice)
News    Photos    IMDb
Princes who have been turned into Dwarfs seek the red shoes of a lady in order to break the spell, although it will not be easy. A parody with a twist.
The Nightingale
Sam as Hawkins
News    Photos    IMDb
1825 Tasmania. A young convict woman seeking revenge for the murder of her family, takes an Aboriginal male outcast with her through the interior and gets much more than she bargained for.
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