Josh O’Connor doesn’t support the monarchy & he didn’t watch the coronation

Josh O’Connor is arguably best-known for playing a youngish Prince Charles in The Crown Season 3 & 4. I say this every time, but Charles should be grateful that Josh played him – Josh brought a real sadness and pathos to the role, plus Josh is inherently charismatic and even quite dashing. Anyway, I’ve been excited to support Josh in his other endeavors, so I’m all about his role, opposite Zendaya, in the tennis love-triangle/drama Challengers. I’m honestly more excited about Challengers than I am about most of the Oscar-bait films coming out this fall and winter. Josh was profiled in GQ Hype to promote Challengers and he comes across very well. There’s a lot of space given, in this piece, to the fact that Josh owns a van and he drives it all around Europe while he’s working and he’s all about that #VanLife. Some highlights:

He named his van Winnie: She’s a refurbished yellow DHL delivery van. Inside, fairy lights are strung above the dining table, near a neat stack of gardening manuals and cookbooks. In the tiny kitchen, a waxy plant tumbles down past a spice rack, containing the big three of oregano, chili, and cumin. Hung on the walls are two needlepoint canvases of a medieval woman and man, made by O’Connor’s mother. Winnie is both a getaway car and a home away from home for O’Connor; he takes her on camping trips to unplug or, as he did last year, to Italy to live in while filming. “I got the van to get out of London and be away from all of it.”

He studied angry, brash tennis players for Challengers: “It’s really nice to play someone who is just pure outward energy. I remember when I first read it thinking he’s this tough guy, like a Gallagher brother. But then I remember having a breakthrough where I was convinced he needed to smile. Anytime he’s angry, I’d just whack in a little smile.”

His training alongside Zendaya & Mike Faist: They would spend two to three hours playing tennis six days a week, followed by two hours in the gym. “Then extra gym and tennis, then rehearsals,” O’Connor says, still aghast. “If left to my own devices, I’d go to the gym for an hour, then think I could eat whatever I want. I wouldn’t have done anything.”

Living in a nice penthouse in Boston during filming: “I remember Luca saying to me: ‘Actors are like racehorses: You have to keep them in condition if you want them to run as fast as they can.’ I think what he means is nice hotels, nice food…but being in a hotel room isn’t the best condition for me. It was so luxurious and I just felt depressed.”

He’s dyslexic: “It’s frustrating, because everything takes longer and you have to focus on something really hard… [but] You see things in a different way that aren’t necessarily generic.”

He went to school with FKA Twigs. O’Connor tried to use music as a way to impress her. “I really shouldn’t be saying this, but it’s hilarious. I was in a band called Orange Output basically to try and get Twigs to go out with me. I was the lead singer, and one of the lyrics I wrote was ‘I’m addicted to crack, motherf–ker.’ The closest thing I’d had to crack was Coco Pops.” Did she ever respond? “No,” he says. “I don’t think she knows who I am.” (Fact-check: She does. “I’m very flattered that he tried to do that because I was definitely not cool and not particularly popular,” Twigs told GQ, via email.)

He doesn’t support the British royal family or the concept of monarchy. When the real Charles had his coronation in May of this year, O’Connor didn’t tune in. Still, he was asked by the press if he wanted to comment, which made him laugh. “I felt really happy for [Charles] because it must feel like his whole life has led to that moment. I’m sure it’s the icing on the cake to put a really expensive hat on in a nice cathedral.”

Fragile masculinity: “There seems to have been a theme in my work of men that have struggled with masculinity… I think, generally, we’re all still trying to figure out what the f–k is wrong with men.”

[From GQ]

Josh has spoken before, in pretty plain terms, about how he’s a small-r republican and he thinks the whole monarchy thing is ghastly. Which is funny, because again – he was so good as Prince Charles, I’m sure people were more sympathetic towards Charles because of Josh’s portrayal. Anyway, it sounds like he was raised by two hippies in the English country and that’s still part of his identity – the guy who is very happy sleeping in a van and doing his pottery. I’m in love with him, truly.

Cover courtesy of GQ Hype, additional pic courtesy of Backgrid.

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30 Responses to “Josh O’Connor doesn’t support the monarchy & he didn’t watch the coronation”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    I think he really is an artist.
    His portrait of Charles was great because he is a very talented actor.

  2. SAS says:

    Oh wow, love the way he speaks here, he’s incredibly charming and clearly very intelligent. Love that he’s straight up against royals and toxic masculinity and the FKA Twigs tidbit was freaking adorable (could it still happen?! We know she loves an artsy white dude!)

    • Christine says:

      That’s what got me as well. I really want him to talk a lot more!

      I am completely cracking up at the image of him trying to process the amount of working out Zendaya and Mike Faist were doing.

      • XoXo says:

        He was talking about the workout all 3 of them did. He said if it were up to him, he’d have only worked out for 1 hour.

  3. N2NY says:

    My first introduction to Josh’s work was on PBS’s The Durrells of Corfu. Fell in love with his work in that series and have been a fan ever since. He was also great in Emma.

    • JanetDR says:

      Same! It was impossible not to love him.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s all I’ve seen him in & thought he was great (everyone was). The whole van thing reminded me of Matthew McC & his streamline trailer. So he’s a guy who likes to go camping, which is probably considered weirdo behavior to Londoners but a pretty common thing out here in the west of the US.

    • bisynaptic says:

      Yes! People should see him in The Durrells.

      • SamuelWhisker says:

        Not at all, camping is incredibly popular in the UK – probably more so than in America, since much of the land in the UK is public access or at least has public footpaths, and parts of the UK have “right to roam.” My understanding is that Americans are very protective of their land and that you can’t simply rock up and put your tent wherever you like, or go hiking anywhere, as there’s a real risk of being shot if you accidentally “trespass” into someone else’s property.

        No one in London would find that weird at all. We find it weird that Americans

  4. Film Critic says:

    He’s also really good in a great movie coming out soon, I think: Alice Rohrwacher’s “La Chimera” He’s in nearly every scene and Neon is distributing it.

  5. Shawna says:

    And he serves great fashion, on top of all of that! (Check him out on Tom & Lorenzo if you haven’t seen his adventurous choices.) Definitely one of my favorite actors.

  6. Bettyrose says:

    An expensive hat in a nice cathedral. Oh, snap.

    • Roop says:

      I loved that line so much! BURN.

      But maybe he keeps an aloe Vera plant in his van to hand out when he burns people like that.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Colin Firth, Helen Mirren, and now Josh O’Connor. All praised for their portrayals of famous royals, all famously anti-monarchy. They find interest and challenge in the roles – and reach the conclusion the whole royal sh!tshow needs to end.

      • bettyrose says:

        How many brilliant actors have played Henry VIII? It’s definitely not an endorsement of the character.

      • notasugarhere says:

        I admire them for speaking out. Saying the monarchy needs to end even while they find career success in playing/studying the subject.

        Given how ruthlessly Charles has peaceful Not My King protestors removed?

        I’m glad these public figures, like Michael Sheen and Alan Cumming, speak out against the monarchy. Charles cannot send his attack dogs out against them.

      • bettyrose says:

        Yeah, that’s a good point. Helen Mirren did the most sympathetic portrayal of QEII I’d ever seen, at least to that point. Until Helen Mirren’s portrayal, I had always just assumed QEII was directly involved in Diana’s death. That was the first time I got the sense maybe she wasn’t. Claire Foy’s portrayal was also very sympathetic, but she played the Queen’s less problematic years.

      • bisynaptic says:

        @Betty Rose: Claire Foy’s stint covered the time of the Mau Mau rebellion (though it wasn’t really addressed in The Crown). Hundreds of thousands of people were brutalized and even killed, in the Queen’s name. That was definitely NOT the Queen’s less problematic time.

  7. Lorelei says:

    I lol’d because in some alternate universe in which Charles was born into a (much) less wealthy family but had more or less the same interests, I can totally see him as the type to live in a van (smaller carbon footprint!) and that said van would also be filled with gardening manuals and his personally grown herbs. He’d also have a small composter.

    • Christine says:

      I completely agree, Lorelei. He probably would have been a whole lot happier, puttering around with his gardening tools.

  8. Ann says:

    Almost didn’t recognize him in that first photo! So talented!

  9. taris says:

    i’ve liked josh o’connor since the crown, and in literally everything i’ve seen him in since.
    there are some really cute, decent millenial guys out there, actually.. josh, sam cortlett, leo suter, and even tom holland, etc. most don’t get too much press ’cause they’re chilled and focused on their work, but they’re definitely good guys and a breath of fresh air from the other sociopaths out there.

  10. Sha says:

    “ I’m addicted to crack, motherf–ker.’ The closest thing I’d had to crack was Coco Pop”

  11. HillaryIsAlwaysRight says:

    OMG I love this guy.

  12. Stef says:

    He seems so endearing, thoughtful, and down to earth – a true artist.

    He played Charles beautifully and gave him a real genuine, human quality where I actually started to like Charles a little bit (that feeling has passed).

    Looking forward to seeing him in great new roles!

  13. Miau says:

    What a great guy!!!

  14. Sass says:

    He’s incredibly gifted and brilliant and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Everything I’ve seen him in, he’s been able to become the character. You forget he’s acting.

    I didn’t much like the new Emma, but I loved him in it. He was hilarious.

  15. stormyshay says:

    Josh was so good in the role I have trouble separating Charles from the actor’s portrayal. I never sympathized with Charles before watching those seasons. In some ways I can understand how he has become such a jerk. I cannot imagine the pressure and living every second of your life for the institution. With that said, there is no excuse for the way Charles has treated Harry. He really is a petty man.

  16. Ben says:

    Watch him on God’s Own Country. So raw, human and sexy. You’re welcome.