Joe Gilgun is a familiar face on the British TV circuit and has been for the last 10 years, yet the face behind AMC’s is just beginning to find his footing on American soil.
As goes from strength to strength, here’s everything you need to know about Joe Gilgun before this charming, straight-talking Brit becomes a staple across the globe.
1. Audience’s first fell in love with him in This Is England
Quick witted with a tender heart, Joseph Gilgun starred in Shane Meadows’s 2006 cult masterpiece The Is England as Woody, something of a shit-talking gang leader — in the kindest sense of the term, as you’ll see in the clip below — of his skinhead gang.
The movie was originally set in the early ’80s and, thanks to its success, spawned three additional TV mini-series: This Is England ’86, ’88 and ’90. The entire franchise is overarched with themes of love, friendship and unity as the gang faces battles with racism, sexual assault, poverty and drug abuse — it’s harrowing but man is it worth your time.
2. He became a household name in
Once again taking up the position of the team’s shit-talking funny man, Gilgun joined the group of super-powered delinquents as the loud, happy-go-lucky Rudy Wade. Misfits revolved around a group of young offenders imbued with supernatural gifts following a freak electrical storm. While the show gained critical acclaim and a dedicated following in the UK, unfortunately it didn’t create much of a stir on American soil.
P.S. Yes, his Misfits co-star is Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones, no biggie.
3. In fact, he’s pretty used to playing shit-talking roles. Cassidy is basically him in vampire form — just less blazed.
In a hilarious and (warning) utterly uncensored interview with Esquire earlier this year — which will be quoted a lot in this list, so sensitive souls might want to avert their eyes now — Gilgun explained the similarities and differences between himself and his Preacher alter ego.
“Yeah, it’s me, really. To some degree. Including the dark sides as well. It’s not every day I have to dig deep. There’s days where you do have to dig deep, but as a general rule, it feels pretty natural. Like, I can just put a bit of an accent on and give a “give-a-fuck” attitude just like Cass. I’d love to be able to sit here and go, “No, I’m one of those actors who really finds it.” And it’s not like that. Don’t get me wrong. Unlike Cassidy, I’m not like, social. I like my own time. I don’t go out drinking and doing, like, mad amounts of drugs anymore. Dom [Cooper, who plays Jesse Custer] and Ruth [Negga, who plays Tulip O’Hare] are bigger partiers than I am. I’m straight in bed at like nine o’clock. I fucking love an early night. I’m at that terrible age—I’ve become that bastard. I’ve done it. I still have a bit of rock ‘n’ roll about me in the sense that I’m blazed out of my mind the entire day, but as far as being an actor, I take my job very seriously. I know I’m very lucky to be doing it at all, so the least I can do is arrive on time and be relatively sober. It’s a fucking big deal to me. My other option is a building site or fucking selling drugs, and I don’t want that.”
Which is probably because he used to work as a plasterer before landing a full-time gig on British soap opera, Emmerdale.
4. That said, he has no interest in ‘making vampires cool’
“I have no intention of making vampires cool. Absolutely not. They’re not cool. They’re fucking stupid rancid people who lead a terrible life. So no, I’m not in it to make them cool. Don’t let Cassidy be a window on your future. If that’s your role model, you are fucked. Honestly, I have no intention of making him a cool dude. If people find him cool, then fantastic. I’ll always be very flattered by that, but the way I’m playing him is as a moronic turd. As long as I stick to the turd formula, I’ll be alright.”
Though if that’s the aim, Gilgun’s gonna have to try harder to make Cassidy less lovable because at this rate — to borrow his terminology — all Preacher fans will be fucked.
5. He’s been nominated for 8 TV awards
From 2006 – 2012 Gilgun was nominated for a total of 8 awards including a BAFTA for Best Actor, and scooped up two: A Virgin Media TV Award for Best Newbie and an SFX Award for Breakout Star, both for his portrayal of Rudy Wade in Misfits.
6. His analysis of Tinder is the best thing you’ll read today
“I don’t do social media. I’m fucking useless on it. I can barely use my iPhone. I can’t do Facebook, can’t do Twitter, can’t do Instagram, none of it. I mean, who the fuck wants to sit there doing that shit all day, posting about how you’re feeling, who gives a fuck? Tinder man, what’s that all about? Tinder, where you’re just, like, shopping for a human being. Reading the stats like Mortal Kombat. You’re like, “Oh, he’s got six arms, and he’s only got the two, so I’ll probably go with the six arms.” I don’t want to do that with human beings.”
7. Growing up he was ‘out of his mind’ with ADHD
Speaking to The Guardian back in 2011 in the run-up to the release of This Is England ’88, he opened up about his childhood battles with anxiety and depression. Dyslexic and “out of [his] mind with ADHD,” Gilgun was put down by drama school teachers who told him, “You’ll never get anywhere acting the prat,” — which, thankfully, couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Also, despite there being obvious set-backs, Gilgun’s dyslexia has never been a huge problem in the acting world. In an interview with Manchester Evening News, in 2008 he explained:
“Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t affect scripts. People assume it will be this massive problem, but it never has been. I’ve got an awful memory, and I can’t read or write, but you can read me a script once or twice and I’ve got it.”
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Staff Writer at MP. Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona.