When I first met Jack I was struck that he looks like a Huston (he’s the nephew of Anjelica Huston and grandson of John Huston). He’s a very very good actor, which doesn’t always guarantee success. There are lots of good actors around who just haven’t had the breaks, or they lack the other elements that are necessary for in this business for success, which are presence and energy, great energy.
It’s almost more important in front of a camera than it is on the stage. When you’re working in television or on a film set, you have to be like a pressure cooker, with the lid firmly screwed down, and then you release the valve in increments as you go along. He’s got that in abundance.
I only have a couple of scenes with him in The Great Fire — but we talked to each other in our little corral of trailers, and he’s eminently likeable, but there’s this energy, and I just think it’s there inherently. Sometimes, I don’t know, I’m getting old now — but there are days when you just don’t have any, and you have to do something about that, whether you run around the block or do press-ups or something. Jack seems to kind of have it there, you know — plenty of it. He also photographs like a dream so he’s got everything going for him, the bastard.
I’ve yet to meet anyone who comes from that kind of heritage, whether it’s the Fox family or the Redgrave family, who abuses that privilege. I don’t think I know anyone like that who would say, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or ‘My aunt’s name is…’They just don’t do it. It can kind of help you get through the door, but if you haven’t got what it takes, you’ll soon find yourself out the door. It might help someone hiring you but it wouldn’t stop anyone firing you.
He’s got this quite beautiful face actually, and I think he’s a cinema-tographer’s dream. He’s got these big, dark, very expressive eyes and because of his American ancestry and all of the other elements that have fed into his technique, for want of a better word — because I’m not sure it is technique, I think it’s just stuff he’s absorbed — he knows the importance of doing very very little. I remember watching him — he’s got this face that’s so malleable, but it’s still, absolutely still. You don’t see cheek muscles clenching or lip muscles quivering — just these eyes, big dark eyes. It’s very impressive.
Jack Huston and Charles Dance appear in The Great Fire, to be broadcast on ITV this autumn.