Jack O’Connell is a man with a plate full of movie-based goodness. He’s got highly-acclaimed prison drama Starred Up coming next month, the also-highly-acclaimed Troubles-set thriller ’71 following close behind and Angelina Jolie wartime survival epic Unbroken drifting into cinemas next January, probably while being strafed by a squadron of Japanese Zeros.
One role that you probably won’t catch him in, however, is Reed Richards – AKA Mister Fantastic – in Fantastic Four. O’Connell, heavily rumoured to have tested for the role, busted those rumours right in Empire’s gawping maw when we talked Starred Up with him. “No, that never happened”, he stressed, “it was completely fake, because I remember meeting for it – I just sat there, had a chinwag, and then left, and the next thing I know, my name is attached to it. So I’d like to clarify: I doubt that’s going to go ahead.”
The actor did have exciting news for This Is England’s legions of fans: Pukey Nicholls may make a long-awaited return for This Is England 1990. “I’m not speaking in definite terms but I’ve got a slight inkling,” O’Connell revealed. Schedule clashes meant that Pukey didn’t feature in the first two Channel 4 spin-offs, ’86 and ’88, but could return all growed-up for the third. “I’m led to believe that Pukey still exists, and the storylines that I’ve been discussing, they seem quite... chunky enough, anyway.”
The up-and-comer had warm words for his tutelage under Shane Meadows and Stephen Graham on set in 2006. “Shane gave me my first taste of it, and that put me on set with Stephen Graham. I got to see where he puts himself in order to portray characters such as Combo, and that’s served me well throughout my whole career, so if I can get back on set with them two, I mean I’m there, as soon as they say so.”
Starred Up hits our screens on March 21.