With the release of Dune: Part Two right around the corner, the cast has been on a press tour the world over. There's no denying that they're taking the fashion seriously too. From red carpet premieres to photocalls, Timothée Chalamet and Austin Butler—portraying Paul Atreides and newly introduced Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, respectively—have been showcasing a diverse array of looks. Each outfit chosen had been statements in their own right, and are deserving of as much hype as the movie itself.

CinemaCon 2023

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At CinemaCon 2023, Chalamet was decked out in a grungy look as he wore an edgy leather vest by Helmut Lang over a white T-shirt and skinny leather motorcycle trousers with built-in knee pads. To finish off the biker aesthetic, a pair of pointed black leather boots was the footwear of choice.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

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At the casts’ appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Chalamet's edgy outfit consisted of a sleeveless black sweatshirt with grommet detailing by Junya Watanabe x Stüssy, leather trousers from Alexander McQueen and black boots. However, he switched things up with a cozy knit from Hermès during the taping.

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Butler arrived in a black unbuttoned shirt, wearing a matching black pinstriped suit over, and boots. He also had on a thin silver chain necklace, proving that it's what one needs to complete any suit look.

Mexico City photocall

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Chalamet wore a sleeveless calf hair top from Hermès' yet-to-be-released Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection, matched with trousers and chunky leather boots. Butler, on the other hand, opted for something a little more relaxed with a simple white T-shirt under a grey unbuttoned three-piece by Givenchy.

Mexico City premiere

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The duo kept it smart in Mexico City. Chalamet wore a custom Prada suit and a black poplin v-neck shirt with what is decidedly his more experimental look thus far. The blazer was tucked in and accessorised with a double tour Prada belt.

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Butler rocked a striking pinstripe suit from Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2024 ready-to-wear collection with cutting shoulders. Completing the look, he opted for a gold-buckled belt—not too excessive but also not too modest.

Paris photocall

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In Paris, the Dune lead stayed rather safe with a black turtleneck and sleek leather pants (notably a recurring trend with the actor) from Bottega Veneta's Spring/Summer 2023 collection. Cartier jewellery and a pair of Oliver Peoples sunglasses completed the easy look.

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Butler exuded effortless style in a monochromatic Fear of God ensemble, featuring loose-fit clothing with relaxed shoulders—a departure from his usual tailored suits. He completed the look with understated David Yurman jewellery.

Paris premiere

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Chalamet wore a custom shiny metal breastplate from Givenchy with a graphic turtleneck. He had also worn a black wool jacket featuring a notch lapel with matching wool trousers. Cartier accessories such as a platinum Cintrée timepieces from the Rééditions collection and a sizeable silver ring.

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Butler dressed smart in yet another Louis Vuitton ensemble, which consisted of a sharply tailored black jacket over a crisp white dress shirt, and a striking pair of flared pants reminiscent of the '70s. He kept it easy with a pair of black dress shoes, and a ring for a little hint of jewellery.

London photocall

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Chalamet's fish scale wool sweater was from Bottega Veneta’s women’s collection, reiterating that clothing has no gender. And if his legs looked longer than usual, that's all thanks to the chocolate brown leather pants matched with a set of Ripley Boots by Bottega Veneta as well.

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Butler was wearing a custom three-piece double-breasted suit by Louis Vuitton in an offbeat shade of grey. The unusually wide-lapel blazer and waistcoat, once again, blends a sense of timelessness with a contemporary twist that Butler tends to favour.

London premiere

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Chalamet reunited with designer Haider Ackermann, donning on metallic trousers that were difficult to not miss, and paired with an oversized black shirt. For accessories, he wore a custom Cartier necklace featuring invert-set diamonds in orange, yellow, brown, and white hues, designed to mimic the desert landscape in Dune.

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Butler's penchant for tailoring saw him taking on a black Sabato de Sarno for Gucci overcoat paired with a white vest. It's perhaps simple in execution but sleek and dramatic all the same.

Seoul photocall and press conference

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Chalamet was seen sporting powdery blue overalls from South Korean designer Juun.J's Spring/Summer 2024 collection, in a deliberate move to twin with fellow lead Zendaya. He finished off the look with simple silver necklaces and a pair of Chelsea boots in the same exact shade, sticking true to the runway look.

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Butler was also dressed in blue, opting for a Valentino suit with a silk shirt of a lighter shade. But instead of keeping to the monochromatic tones of the clothes, the footwear of choice was a black pair of dress shoes. A silver necklace completed the entire look.

Seoul premiere

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For Seoul's premiere, Chalamet chose a sleek white suit paired with black leather boots, both courtesy of Gucci. Continuing his partnership with Cartier, he wore a single Cartier diamond necklace for a touch of elegance—just one of his many moments with the luxury brand throughout the press tour.

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Butler kept it classic with a black pinstriped double-breasted suit layered over a white dress shirt, matching the entire ensemble with a black tie and black dress shoes.

Dune: Part Two will show in cinemas on 29 February 2024.

Jacket, DANIEL FLETCHER. Cardigan, LOEWE. Jumper, LA GRANNI. Trousers, VOAAOV. Necklace, CARTIER. Shoes, GRENSON

Archie Madekwe doesn’t get enough sleep. A self-professed night owl, he will get up at dawn if work dictates. Like today, for this interview. “Also,” Madekwe adds, “if I do wake up late, I’d feel gross [for wasting the day]. I often don’t but I’m working on getting better at it.”

We caught up with him at his London home, in his bedroom, possibly. He’s attired in a long-sleeved sweater and light blue denim jeans. A five o’clock shadow does little to weather his boyish looks.

His parents named him “Archie” after Archie Bell & The Drells. “My mom and dad are big Motown fans,” Madekwe says. “My mom got really set on that name. If not ‘Archie’, it would have been ‘Art’, and I’m glad that wasn’t the case.

“‘Archie’ is more subtle.”

Jacket and trousers, Y PROJECT. Shoes, GRENSON

Subtlety seems to be the theme of Archie Madekwe’s acting career. His roles, at least the ones that matter, seem to be carefully curated. He may not be a household name but he’s slowly becoming a familiar face on the screens, big and small.

In the early days, his UK agents, Olivia Woodward and Alex Sedgley, worked with Madekwe to be deliberate about the roles he took on. “Our aim was to make sure I’d be considered for the everyman part.

“I’ve been really lucky in that a lot of those initial jobs I took fell under that last category,” Madekwe says. “They could have easily cast a white actor for [Edward Albee’s play, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?], I was in Les Misérables, which could have had an all-white cast.”

It was The Secret Life of Bees that informed him that it was possible for a person of colour to grace the screen. More specifically, Sophie Okonedo. “[She] was so unbelievable in it,” Madekwe had said in a conversation with fellow thespian Josh O’Connor, “I remember looking her up, seeing that she was from London and that she was mixed race—she was a North Star for me. In my mind, she was the validation that I could do it, that there were people like me doing it.”

Years later, Madekwe would join the cast of Albee’s The Goat. Okonedo was in it as well and she played his mom. He told her about how inspirational she was in his formative years. “Sophie remains a really good friend and we actually just worked together again so I remind her about that a lot,” Madekwe says with a smile on his face. “It’s important to remind people of the impact they’ve had on you. Especially in this industry, where it is so easy to feel dismissed. And that happens to some of the biggest actors I’ve worked with.”

Jacket, shirt, jeans and shoes, GIVENCHY. Bracelet, CARTIER

His West End tenure was also where Madekwe cut his teeth. It was an education that years at the BRIT School or The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art could not impart. What drama schools taught him was confidence, especially when auditioning in a room full of strangers. But does that assurance spill over into other aspects of his life? “It’s not a one-size-fits-all,” he says, “but I do try to apply it to most situations. It’s definitely something that I had to learn throughout my career and try to appear confident even in situations where I don’t feel it. You kinda need to trick yourself into feeling that courage.”

He still finds it hard to watch himself in films. By the time we spoke, he’d only recently watched the finished version of Saltburn at a premiere. “I think there was maybe 2,000 in attendance and it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to put myself through,” Madekwe says, cringing at the memory. “You become so attuned to the audience’s reaction. ‘Why didn’t they laugh at that? Was that bit not funny? Well, I thought it was funny.’ You become hypercritical and now you’re contesting with your own thoughts as opposed to just watching it with the audience.”

Madekwe is jealous of any actor who can watch something of theirs without feeling judgmental. “Must be a lovely feeling.” He did, however, come close to that. He was privy to an early cut of Saltburn and he lost himself, carried away by the story. “At least for a little bit. There were still a couple of clips of myself that I couldn’t get past, but it was the closest I’d come to feeling like an outsider watching my own work.”


Coat and trousers, LOUIS VUITTON

Madekwe and Ari Aster became friends during the making of Midsommar. In this horror-in-the-daylight film, Madewke plays Simon, one of the unwitting victims of a Scandinavian folk ritual. Madewke subsequently made an appearance in Aster’s follow-up, Beau is Afraid.

“[Ari and I] became really good friends after Midsommar and we’d been talking about working together again in some capacity. I was filming in Canada and Ari was shooting Beau. I’d asked to meet so we could discuss a potential project. That’s when Ari said, ‘Dude, we should just get you into one of these scenes’.”

That scene is something of a chef’s kiss, an Aster egg (sorry, not sorry). Context is needed: In Midsommar, Madekwe’s Simon was frantically screaming for an elderly couple not to leap off a cliff but in Beau is Afraid, Madekwe’s character (the credit lists him simply as “Laughing Man”) is encouraging a man to jump to his death. Other than having fun on the set with Aster and his producers Tyler Campellone and Lars Knudsen, Madekwe even got to watch Joaquin Phoenix act. “Even if it was for a short moment. I mean, it was so cool.”

Shirt and trousers, GUCCI. T-shirt, RAEY. Ring and bracelet, CHOPARD. Shoes, TOGA

Social media is a love-hate affair for him. On one hand, it’s a way to connect with his friends and family; it’s an exposure to other cultures, fashion and art. On the other, he doesn’t like the hold it has on him.

“I hate that I’m not in control of when and how I use it. It’s like muscle memory. I’ve deleted the app before and I’ve found myself tapping my finger on the space where the app used to be.”

Madekwe wishes he had spent less time on it but confesses to enjoying a “weird validation” when people send messages and like his posts. These little interactions become a serotonin boost. “I wish I didn’t rely on that so much. I’m trying to strike a healthy balance with it.”

Being memed is another thing that Madekwe is trying to get used to. The recent one was a Tik-Tok clip of his character, Farleigh Smart, singing Pet Shop Boys’ “Rent” during a karaoke session. It was only six seconds long but it took social media by storm; with fans wanting to see Madekwe sing a cover of it (there won’t be one, Madekwe has confirmed in a separate interview).

“It’s the character Farleigh singing it, so it feels strange when people ask me to sing it again, because I can’t see a context in which recording that would make sense,” Madekwe explains. “I’m still working out my feelings with going viral. There’s something really fun about it and I love that film can have a life of its own, but the exposure is on another level on social media. I’ve really felt that. You feel more eyes on you or people coming over asking for pictures. That’s something that comes with the job, I suppose. No one really teaches you on how to deal with that. It’s something that you had to learn very quickly on your own.”

But Madekwe does have some pipes on him. He loves singing and will be doing so in his next project. “I’m not Ben Platt or an actor that can carry a Broadway show… but singing is something that I’ve always enjoyed.”

Art is another endeavour that Madekwe enjoys as well. Other than the ceramics classes he is taking, Madekwe showcases artists and their work on his Instagram account.

“I have an immense appreciation for art. I love the stories that jump out at me; I love the craft. Over the years, I’ve grown to love it more and I’m excited for it to occupy a larger part of my time.”

He’ll be curating an art show in Atlanta, a project that he’s excited about. As acting can be an all-encompassing force, it sometimes leads Madekwe to neglect and forget about the things that inspire him. “At the end of the day, all those things will feed into the work to make you a better actor, let alone human being.”

There is one particular artwork that left a mark on the actor: Arthur Jafa’s “Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death”. Created in 2016, the seven-minute video essay depicts scenes of the Black Experience. From the elation of Obama singing “Amazing Grace” to the low of police brutality; it’s a kaleidoscope of emotions felt as Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam” plays.

“After I first saw it, I went back, maybe 20 more times,” Madekwe says. “I’d constantly bring friends and force them to watch. It’s one of the most impactful pieces of art I’ve ever seen.”

To hammer the point home, he takes out a slim black hardback book that a friend gifted him recently. He opens to the front cover and points to the inscription on it: it’s addressed to Madekwe and signed by Arthur Jafa.


Sweater, LOEWE

Madekwe's 1.95cm height has become an identifying trait for the actor in articles and interviews. “[My height] has always been an anxiety for me,” Madekwe says. “When I was younger, somebody warned me that my height would get in the way of my acting career and I thought, ‘How the hell can I control how tall I grow?’” His disquietude ballooned until he was consumed with Googling ways to stunt his growth, including but not limited to height reduction surgery.

There have been one or two instances in his life where a casting director explained a lead actor didn’t want to be captured with someone as tall as him. “But overall, I’ve never found a lack of work because of my height.”

However, a lack of work did occur during the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) strike. When the SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) couldn’t agree on labour, IP rights and compensation, actors working on American productions were asked to refrain from working on or promoting any finished films or TV shows.

“With every kind of fibre of my being, I was in support of the strike,” Madekwe says. “And yet… personally and selfishly, [Gran Turismo] was supposed to be one of the most exciting moments of my career and I was unable to talk about the project at all.”

It was frustrating as this was his first leading role. “If I’m honest, the worst part of it was not being able to laude the crew and cast that worked so hard on the film,” Madekwe says. “But, in the end, it’s a small sacrifice to pay when you’re working towards fair compensation.”


In 2023, Perri Nemiroff, a senior producer for the online entertainment site, Collider, remarked that Madekwe was having the best year with Gran Turismo and Saltburn. And she’s right. To lead a major studio film and be part of an exceptional ensemble, all within the span of a year, that is no small feat.

He’s in the zone now; a flow state. With a slate of projects in development, a new film in the pipeline and exciting forays into fashion and art, it seems that the actor has “miles to go before [he sleeps again]”.

He stands at the threshold, between the past and what-will-happen; a place of possibilities.

Photography: Charlie Gray
Fashion Direction: Asri Jasman
Art Direction: Joan Tai
Styling: Adele Cany
Grooming: Maya Man at STELLA CREATIVE ARTISTS using CURLSMITH and 111SKIN
Styling Assistant: Zoe Glanville

Coat, shirt, trousers and boots, CELINE HOMME

ESQUIRE: I watched you in the original musical Let Me Fly. I was surprised. I had thought it would be a science fiction drama after reading the synopsis about a time-travelling female lead, who dreams of becoming a NASA scientist, and a male lead, who wanted to be a fashion designer. Other than that, I didn’t go in with a lot of expectations since I’m not a sci-fi fan. But 40 minutes in, I found myself sobbing.

PARK BO-GUM: (laughs) Thank you so much. I still remember the first time I watched this musical. I personally know Shin Jaebum, who was playing the same Namwon role as I am this season. We were classmates majoring in musical theatre at school. When this musical was playing for the first time last year, he invited me to come see the show. I did, and I was surprised because the production was great. I too wondered if it was a story about space, or about the fashion-designer-wannabe male lead. But it was actually a story about time and love. “It was our journey through time together. Even if I were to be reborn, I will not go back and will choose this path again.” Everything including this line, the numbers, each prop, and stage elements were perfect. On the day I watched it, everyone in the audience cried so much that their masks were wet from tears. I remember leaving the theatre with such happiness and emotions that exceeded whatever I expected before I went in.

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ESQ: There were many people in the audience crying loudly on the day I watched it as well. I didn’t want to make a sound, so I clenched my fists like Zo Insung (in the drama Something Happened in Bali). They weren’t tears that emphasised sadness though. They were tears of intense happiness. I enjoyed the show.

PBG: That’s so true. You can hear Namwon’s voice as he sincerely expressed his love to Jungbun despite not remembering anything. This might be a spoiler, but the moment the word “cupcake” is mentioned, the audience realises Sunhee’s true identity.

ESQ: The audience actually knew it before that. But it didn’t matter, we just enjoyed it.

PBG: I’m glad. It makes me so happy to hear that.

ESQ: I’m also surprised that Let Me Fly is playing in such a small theatre with only 300 seats. It’s not every day that we get to see one of Korea’s top drama actors dancing and singing like that. I’m curious about what made you decide to accept this role.

PBG: Productions like this usually cast multiple actors for a role so that they can take turns. As I mentioned earlier, when Shin Jaebum invited me to watch the show last year, Oh Euishik and Kim Jihyun were also playing Namwon. When I met them backstage, they half-jokingly said, “Bo-gum, let’s do this show together next time and bring it to a bigger theatre!” I think that played a big part in my decision to accept the role. I told them at the time that I’d be waiting for the call. I heard that the producers had no intention of casting me, but Jaebum persuaded them to just try reaching out to me. My seniors and batchmates were cheering me on, so I had no reason to turn down the role.

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ESQ: Your timing was great. I heard that original Korean musicals and theatre productions were badly hit during, and even after, the Covid shutdowns. At a time like this, staging Let Me Fly and having a superstar like Park Bo-gum in the lead role can bring life back to Daehakro.

PBG: That it’s an original Korean production was the main reason I took the role. I wanted to share the emotions I felt when I watched the show last year. If my being cast can help promote this production to not only Korean fans, but international fans as well, I’d be so thankful.

ESQ: When I watched the show, there were many fans who seemed like they were from North America or Southeast Asia. What’s interesting was that when I went to buy a programme at the merchandise booth, there was a foreigner in front of me who said “Give me one of everything you have.” They must have really liked the show since they wanted to buy everything.

PBG: Really? I had no idea. That makes me so happy!

ESQ: The show I watched had Lee Hyunghoon playing the older Namwon, Hong Jihee as Jungbun, and Bang Jinhee as Sunhee, and the chemistry between them on stage was just remarkable. I can’t imagine that it’s easy achieving the right chemistry, especially when all four characters are played by three different actors. Kudos to them. They made it look and feel so believable.

PBG: That is why I can confidently say that no matter which actors you watch, they all bring their own charm to each of the shows, and they are all great. I also feel a different excitement when I’m on stage with different actors. You are showering me with so much praise that I think I’ll do really well for tonight’s performance.

ESQ: You’re going to perform tonight after this interview?

PBG: Yes. It’s going to be with Kim Dobin, Choi Soojin and Na Hana tonight.

Blouson, cropped top, trousers, belt and Besace Triomphe bag, CELINE HOMME

ESQ: When will Let Me Fly be staged in a large theatre?

PBG: Large theatre... I don’t think it’s time for that yet. The small theatre right now is great. It feels intimate. Expanding to a mid-sized theatre might work, but a large theatre... At the end of the day, that decision is not mine to make. It depends on the production company.

ESQ: That is true. There’s a charm to small theatres because we can see the stage from a closer proximity, and it does feel more intimate.

PBG: That’s right. That is also what I like about this production. I can see and feel the immediate reaction from the audience. Of course, I can’t see their faces or expressions from the stage, but I can feel how engaged the audience is. It truly feels like we’re communicating with the audience because I can feel it when they burst into tears. This is my debut on a theatrical stage, so it’s my first time experiencing this sort of energy.

I mentioned earlier that Jaebum was my classmate from the musical theatre department in college, but I was usually just working behind the scenes as the director or music director.

ESQ: That’s amazing! I was just thinking to myself that you must have had lots of practice since you majored in musical theatre in college. As I look again at your characters Choi Taek in Reply 1988 and Lee Yeong in Love in the Moonlight... those don’t seem like they could dance, and yet you just brought them into action. You were great. You were also great at aegyo (acting cute) with your “bbuing”.

PBG: Not at all! I was getting lots of help from the people around me for the dancing and the singing, so all I really had to do was follow their directions and suggestions. Actually, the aegyo scene came about because we were trying to figure out how to make the characters for young Namwon and older Namwon be more cohesive. Each of the cast members has different charms. So, when you watched Lee Hyunghoon’s older Namwon that day, I had to add more to my acting to match his bubblier version of the character.

ESQ: I didn’t know you had to think of that as well.

PBG: That’s what makes it fun. (laughs) I spoke with and practised a lot with the other actors playing the younger Namwon.

Suit, shirt and necklace, CELINE HOMME
Suit, shirt, belt and boots, CELINE HOMME

ESQ: What was the process like for you during practice? It must not have been easy planning your schedule.

PBG: This is the first musical production that I’m involved in, and one that I love as well. As I practised every day, my desire to put on the best performance grew. After filming for my drama, I would always head straight to the studio to practise late into the night with our choreographer. All the other actors in this show helped me a lot. They stayed late so that we could clean up specific scenes. But the interesting thing is that my footsteps felt light on the way to the studio, and I enjoyed it so much. I was the youngest in this production, so I was just a student to everyone else. Everyone there was my teacher. Especially Shin Jaebum and Na Hana, who taught me the best way to project my voice. I didn’t know how loud I should be, or what’s the best method to deliver my lines since it was my first time on stage. Ah! Especially in the scene with the mirrored choreography, where older Namwon and younger Namwon faced each other and danced as though looking into a mirror. We put in a lot of effort for that scene because all three of us felt that we needed to be as perfect as possible.

ESQ: I remember the scene because it seemed like a mime show. It was perfect!

PBG: Although we should also pay attention to the other scenes, we focused a lot on that particular scene, even right down to the timing of our eyes blinking. We paid so much attention to our breaths, our steps and each movement of our fingers while practising.

Suit, shirt, necklace and boots, CELINE HOMME

ESQ: You’ve mentioned in interviews that you had dreamt of being a singer when you were younger. As I watched you in this show, I didn’t think you meant that as being an idol singer.

PBG: That’s right. I wanted to be a singer-songwriter. I played piano as a kid, so I wanted to comfort others and spread joy through the songs I wrote. Back when I used to audition for entertainment companies, there were not many male contestants who sang while playing the keyboard.

ESQ: You’re right. There weren’t many who could play the keyboard. You were good enough to play one of Lee Seungcheol’s songs on the keyboard for a TV show. This musical plays from September to December, and by the time this interview is published, you would have played this character over 10 times. Is there anything that has changed for you since the first time?

PBG: I also thought that things might become routine as time went by, but every time I perform with a different actor, I experience a new chemistry between us, and I feel new emotions each time. That is why I think this is such a great production. Despite playing the same show, the same character with the same lines, and everything is repeated, it always feels new with every show. Even when I think, “The emotions won’t get to me today,” I end up getting absorbed into the performance and sometimes get overwhelmed by emotions. That’s what makes this so very interesting for me. I’m experiencing things I don’t feel when I do movies or dramas.

ESQ: From the sounds of it, it’s almost as though you’re a first-time jazz improvisation musician.

PBG: That’s exactly what it feels like. Jazz musicians might be looking at a music sheet with the same chords, but they create music by communicating with one another through their emotions. Taking turns to act with different actors fits into that definition of jamming, and there’s a unique joy to it. There’s a term for the delight that musicians feel when they click together during a session, but I suddenly can’t remember it. For example, when someone improvises on stage and I immediately pick up on it and make the scene work, I feel so happy because I knew I was focused on the scene.

ESQ: The image of musicians performing on stage at a jazz club for the first time comes to mind.

PBG: (laughs) You can say that.

ESQ: But why have you been hiding your singing talents all this while?

PBG: I don’t sing well at all. Oh dear, please don’t say that. It’s just that I enjoy it, and the other musical actors are teaching me a lot, so I’m improving slowly.

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ESQ: What’s the drama you’re currently filming?

PBG: I’m filming a Netflix drama called You’ve Done Well. The screenplay was written by Lim Sangchun (who also wrote Fight for My Way and When the Camelia Blooms), and directed by Kim Wonseok who also directed Misaeng, Signal, and My Mister.

ESQ: There’s no information available online for this drama yet. Can you tell us more about the character you’re playing?

PBG: All I can tell you is that the character is strong as steel and unwavering like an old tree.

ESQ: I’ve always seen you as a youthful star, which is a charm that’s emphasised in the dramas Boyfriend, Love in the Moonlight, and Record of Youth. But through this musical, it feels like you’ve expanded your range.

PBG: I could say that taking this role was a conscious decision to expand my career and roles. I do want to try new genres and characters that I’ve never done before.

ESQ: You’re also waiting for the release of your upcoming movie Wonderland, right? I’ve been telling people for three years now that I’m looking forward to it.

PBG: Wonderland is a thought-provoking movie. It’ll make you think about what is considered precious in value. I actually haven’t seen how they’re piecing the movie together, and we haven’t even done the preview for it yet. I’m also waiting for it to be released. It’ll be a fun watch. I felt it when we were filming.

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ESQ: I personally want to see you play a serious character that doesn’t smile at all.

PBG: Ah! I know what you mean. Like my character in the movie Seo Bok right?

ESQ: Maybe something a little colder and more terrifying than that.

PBG: As I’ve mentioned earlier, I want to expand the types of characters I play through works that I want to recommend to others. While the characters are important, being able to confidently tell people “This is a really good story,” is more important to me. I want to build my career with projects that I’d even want to recommend to my future kids. I want to be an actor who people have faith in and can say, “Park Bo-gum’s work is great.”

ESQ: Wow! There aren’t many actors with such a filmography. Even if they had acted well, there will be times when the story itself isn’t all that great.

PBG: It’s just something I’m hoping for.

ESQ: I’m curious about Park Bo-gum as a person. You’ve always played characters who are polite, kind and considerate. Even people who’ve worked with you said the same about you. But what is your biggest desire in the depths of your heart?

PBG: Eating.

ESQ: Really? That’s great! I was worried you’d say something like “My desire for acting.”

PBG: I adore good food. There are so many different cuisines in the world that I want to try, and I really enjoy having a good hearty meal. When filming schedules are gruelling, I often don’t have time to eat proper meals. When that happens, I get late night cravings once I get home. I know I shouldn’t eat late at night but I really can’t help it sometimes.

ESQ: Oh, I’m always craving for carbs after 10pm. Like chapaghetti (black bean paste instant noodles).

PBG: Exactly. I should resist those temptations, but there’s so much I want to eat in this world. People who work out can relate: I just crave proteins. It doesn’t matter if it’s pork or beef, I crave different proteins every day. My manager also works out, so we binge on proteins together. I recently had nurungji (scorched rice) ginseng chicken, and I loved it.

ESQ: Nurungji ginseng chicken is the perfect food. It’s interesting that you have this simple side to you as well.

PBG: I’m lucky to be able to enjoy so much delicious food lately, but that’s the first thing that came to mind. There are times when my face puffs up after eating something the night before filming. As an actor, I always regret when that happens.

ESQ: You don’t drink, right?

PBG: I don’t usually drink, but I do enjoy a couple of drinks with friends occasionally. I have never tried soju though.

ESQ: What? Not even once?

PBG: Unbelievable, but it’s true. I’ve never had soju before. I’ve tried sweeter alcohols, but never soju. People who can drink a few bottles of it at a time amaze me.

Suit and shirt, CELINE HOMME
Coat, jacket, shirt, trousers and boots, CELINE HOMME

ESQ: Besides work, how do you usually spend your time? Do you devote it on a hobby, maybe?

PBG: Lately, it’s singing practice.

ESQ: But singing is part of your work. Doesn’t count.

PBG: That’s true, but I’ve honestly never thought of doing musicals, movies, dramas or business travels as work.

ESQ: Oh, stop being so impossibly perfect. (laughs)

PBG: I realised very early on that if I think of it as work, at some point, it becomes something I have to do and I’d start getting stressed about it. Being able to do what I love is happiness in itself and is a huge blessing to me. Even after getting on board this musical, I enjoyed the songs so much that I thought to myself, “Wow, I really should sing these amazing songs well,” and that stopped me from feeling like practice is work.

ESQ: Looking at you while you talk about this, I can feel your sincere happiness and joy. As a fellow professional, I’m envious.

PBG: Really? Even for music, I only listen to numbers from Let Me Fly these days.

ESQ: How was the photoshoot with Celine?

PBG: I’m excited to be able to show a side of me that I’ve never shown before through this shoot with Celine and Esquire. It was fun. To me, fashion photo shoots are like playing a character. My hairstyle, make-up, outfits, and even my expressions and poses come together to create a new character. I really enjoyed it. The pieces from the Winter season this time look great too.

ESQ: Is there an outfit that stood out to you?

PBG: I loved all the coats, especially the ones with Celine’s signature patterns.

Photography: Mok Jungwook
Styling: Kim E Joo
Fashion Editor: Yun Woonghee
Features Editor: Park Sehoi
Hair: Ji Kyoungmi
Make-up: Lee Young
Production: Jang Homin
Assistant: Song Chaeyeon
Art Design: Kim Daesup
Translation: Astrid Ja’afarino

Jacket, sweater and sunglasses, TOD’S

When it comes to profiling an actor like Keita Machida—to talk about how he got here, there’s no better place to start than, well, at the beginning.

In 1990, the Machidas welcomed baby Keita into the world. Little Keita grew up in a household filled with three generations of Machidas. As the only son, he was doted on (he has two sisters).

“I lived my early life running around in the woods,” Machida said. “I grew up with kendo (which is the Japanese martial art of swordfighting), baseball, swimming and many other sports.”

Jacket and sweater, TOD’S

He was a precocious child, a bundle of energy that needed an outlet, and he found release in sports. Motion would be a constant theme in his life. How his body—a machine of blood, bone and flesh—could engage in the science of movement.

After passing the Dai 3kai Gekidan Exile audition, Machida became one of its members. That same year, he kickstarted his acting career on the stage in Rokudenashi Blues.

It was a rather circuitous journey to becoming an actor. “I think I was ultimately led down the acting path. If there wasn’t an opportunity, I would have forged a career on my own.”

When he’s not acting, Machida plays sandlot baseball and trains at the gym. He has also recently taken up golf. “I haven’t played video games for a while but before that, I used to play a lot of the Final Fantasy series and Ghost of Tsushima.”

Jacket, sweater, trousers and belt, TOD’S

Like many others, acting jobs slowed to a stop for Machida during the pandemic. With the country’s borders closed and being stuck indoors, Machida could return to the familiar source of comfort: watching TV programmes and films. “I watched movies and dramas incessantly,” Machida said. “It reminded me of the importance and happiness of the industry that I am in—creating works that people can consume and be entertained by. As a public figure, it’s important to feel gratitude for this and I want to perform as soon as it is possible.”

A youth spent glued to the screen (both big and small) seeded a desire to become an actor. Again, this might be how Machida is fascinated about what his body can do in the face of limitations. In this case, allowing himself to inhabit a character unlike his own.

From dramas to manga adaptations, in his 13-odd years of acting, Machida has amassed a massive portfolio. Regardless of the genre, he is attracted to multi-dimensional roles. To him, each role possesses its own unique difficulty.

One of the bigger productions that he has been involved in was Netflix’s Alice in Borderland. When asked about other manga adaptations that he wants to be part of, Machida said, “I know it’s difficult, both in terms of my age and the greatness of the original work, but I always wanted to play Mitsui from Slam Dunk. I’m always captivated by the charm of the character.

Overshirt, sweater, trousers, belt and shoes, TOD’S

“In adapting an original work, I try to reflect the image of the original work as much as possible,” Machida said. In playing Karube in Alice in Borderland, Machida tapped on his character’s penchant for patterned shirts and chain necklaces. “Fashion is a very important tool of expression because it can be effective in bringing out a character’s inner self and personality.”

So what does it say about Machida’s own place in the fashion scene?

You can’t box Machida into a particular taste. It’s ever-evolving as he constantly gets fresh exposure to many different styles. He relies on his stylist Ishikawa Eiji for sartorial counsel.

“I’m always indebted to Ishikawa as he teaches me about the world of fashion.”

It’s paying off. Last year, Machida was appointed as a Friend of the Italian fashion house Tod’s. He didn’t think that Tod’s would approach him for the campaign. “I’ve always been interested in the brand but it inhabits a glamorous world in which I never thought I could be included.” But since his appointment, he likened it to an expedition to the museum: “I’m completely intrigued by it all.”

Jacket, shirt, sweater and trousers, TOD’S

If there is a fashion accessory that he’s excited about it would be his Tod’s shoes. “I feel it’s important to have a good pair of shoes. The beautiful quality and comfort are wonderful,” Machida said, excitement hanging over every syllable. “Tod’s shoes give me confidence and are the key to any outfit.”

It’s a perfect summary. In the end, wherever you are, as long as you’re comfortable, that is a good place to be.

Photography: Chee Wei
Creative Direction and Styling: Izwan Abdullah
Hair and Makeup: Kohey
On-set Stylist: Eiji Ishikawa at TableRockStudio

Jacket, shirt and trousers, DIOR MEN

To healthily live every day

Like many other actors when they debuted, Jung Hae-In played the lead character's brother or friend. It was not till 2018 when he paired with Son Ye-Jin in the romance drama, Something In The Rain, his role as a "warm boy" caught the public's attention and he was conferred the title of "National Cougler", that Jung's career reached its turning point.

During this interview, Jung's leading role in D.P. season 2 was about to be aired, his part as a soldier is a stark departure from his previous "warm boy" roles in romance dramas, which can be said to be another breakthrough for Jung's career.

During D.P.'s first season, it had already triggered social discussion in its native country as the drama explores the South Korean military's hierarchical practice and the associated bullying. Jung's role of a private assigned to a team, tracking down military deserters, endured various experiences in the process. Likewise after the series aired, not only did it ignite many heated discussions, it also evoked memories of people's own experiences during their military service. The drama received critical acclaim and went on to win "The Best Drama" at South Korea's Baeksang Arts Awards, so naturally all eyes are on the new season's plot. "The characters in the second season are explored more in-depth than the first season, delving into the characters' inner contradictions and battles. The second season will also add new characters to enrich the plot," shares Jung.

Jacket, vest, trousers, brooch and shoes, DIOR MEN

He will be promoted in the new season, and the series will continue to explore why the dark side of the military is deliberately ignored, and why bullying and discrimination are daily military occurrences that are not taken seriously.

Coincidentally, D.P. season 2's airing marks Jung's 10th anniversary since his debut. Jung's childhood dream was to become a bioengineer. That is until after his college entrance examinations, and he was on the way to the movie theatre, when he was discovered by a talent scout. Thereafter the idea of becoming an actor began to germinate, and he subsequently enrolled himself in acting courses. 

His parents were initially opposed to the switch, but Jung managed to win their approval and support through his persistence and enthusiasm for acting. "Since then, I have enjoyed acting very much. Different works and roles have also allowed me to accumulate rich performing experience, and I believe my acting skills will change and evolve with age. My goal in life is to be able to continue to act, but I will not say that I have achieved my goal yet. I'm continuously moving toward my dream. My dream is actually quite simple: to be healthy and to live every day and with a grateful heart," says Jung.

Jacket, shirt, hat, DIOR MEN

Unburdening

Having been in the industry for a decade, it's logical to sort out and summarise Jung's performance over the years. "If I had to choose my proudest work, it would be difficult. Put it this way, I would think D.P. brought me a breakthrough in my acting career, because the character and plot are completely different from all my previous work.

"The thing is, I have never deliberately counted how long I have been in the industry. Whether it is five or 10 years, it's just a number. The most important thing is that I hope I will not regret my past performances if I were to watch them in the future. In the past 10 years, I have acted in more than 20 dramas and movies, and I have enjoyed satisfaction from these works, regardless of how tough the process was, or the challenges I faced. I still find it very interesting.

"Of course, I will want to take a vacation and have a good rest. If my body sends a signal, I will definitely take a vacation to recharge and clean the slate of my previous roles, so I can absorb new subject matters and perspectives. I think this kind of treatment is applicable to everyone, energy can only be added if there is an offloading."

Jacket, shirt, trousers and shoes, DIOR MEN

Apart from acting, Jung also likes to sing. He fell in love with South Korean singer Lee Moon Se's song when it was included in the original soundtrack of the drama he acted in.

"I fell in love with his song when I heard it, I listened to it on repeat. I generally pay attention to lyrics when I listen to songs as well as the emotions carried in them. Recently, I've taken a liking to sports too and I really enjoy playing golf. Contrary to how it appears, golf is not an easy sport, and I'm attracted to overcoming unique challenges," shares Jung.

Barbeque expert

Jung has always been stereotyped as a "warm boy" or a "National Cougler" in his career thus far. The truth is that his persona also falls in line with the "warm boy". When he is not working, he enjoys dinner with his friends. He particularly enjoys barbequing and would volunteer to grill food for others to enjoy, so much so that he is fondly hailed "barbeque expert".

"I like to help others barbeque meat because I'm confident of my skills, and I feel that I'm very good at controlling the heat and taste. But I'm not a master chef and I usually cook simple dishes like stew or fried rice at home," says Jung.

Sweater, shirt, skirt, Dior Oblique Saddle Boxy bag, DIOR MEN

Looking forward to the future, Jung doesn't have too many thoughts, he just hopes to do his best for every role. "If I hadn't become an actor, I think I would still work hard to equip myself to become an actor eventually. To be honest, if I'm not an actor, I can't think of what else I would like to do. Every time I watch the work of my seniors, it reinvigorates and motivates me. I respect the two seniors, Han Suk-Kyu and Lee Byung-Hun, and I appreciate that they can perfectly present different images and characters in each role. If I had to choose my favourite movie, I would say it's About Time, the portrayal of people and time in it is quite beautiful," says Jung.

There's a spark in Jung's eyes whenever he talks about acting. With his hard work and determination, becoming the next best actor could just be around the corner.

Jacket, vest, trousers, necklace and shoes, DIOR MEN

Photography: Choi Moon Hyuk
Art Direction: Paddy Chan
Styling: Yoon Seul Ki
Photography Assistants: Kim Dong June, Seo Hye Yoon, and Jeon Sung Woo
Makeup: Soon Yeol
Hair: Sung Chan

Top, GIVENCHY. Octo Originale, 41mm white gold case with diamond on white gold strap with diamond, BVLGARI

Ayden Sng appears in the oblong box. It is a Friday evening and he has carved out a rare pocket of free time to do this interview.

Through the middling-resolution of the screen, he appears fresh-faced, beaming; even as he is in the throes of filming the Channel 8 series All That Glitters (née Road to Riches).

The Mandarin drama series begins with a murder before it flashes back to the past, where we follow the journey of three friends and the events that led to the tragedy. Starring Desmond Tan, Jeremy Chan and Sng, it was shot in Alor Setar, Malaysia; Hat Yai, Thailand; and Singapore.

Sng plays one of the three friends, but his character offers the bonus of being the series' antagonist; a role that he states that he “had been waiting for a long time.”

“Well, not necessarily waiting to play the ‘villain’,” Sng specifies, “but the thing about bad guys is that they usually aren’t one-dimensional. That’s the sort of role with depth that I have been wanting to play.”

The key is not to think of them as villains. Sng cites the Joker (played by Joaquin Phoenix) as someone you would empathise with and root for. “In some sense, I felt a lot of the self-rationalising, self-justification that the character goes through.” Sng wants to bring an authenticity to his character. There’s a backstory to his role, where his ambition is primarily driven by self-preservation; when all is said and done, Sng hopes to deliver something relatable to the audience, regardless of his character’s alignments.

High Jewelry Serpenti necklace in yellow gold set with onyx, brilliant tourmaline, fancy cabochon beryls and diamonds, BVLGARI

And if the audience were to perceive him differently when they see him on screen, Sng takes it as a win. “If you act sufficiently well that people think that’s you in real life, it’s a testament to your performance.”

There’s another reason for Sng’s willingness to take on this role, and it parallels the same motivation of his character: self-preservation. And by that, Sng is looking to prolong his career as an actor by not being typecast.

In any industry, a role is ascribed to you because you have traits that fit into the stereotype. Cast your eye at the median boy band and you’ll notice the typecasts: the wild one; the bad boy; the leader. These are formulaic functionary, easy pop-culture digestible, accessible and charming.

“It’s the same for actors,” Sng says. “When you begin, right off the bat, they’ll try to figure out what your general vibe is. Then they will label you regardless of whether it is your identity or not. Even for the show I’m doing now, the executive producers met with a lot of resistance when they announced their intention to cast me because the character is someone uneducated, uncouth; who sells satay at the hawker centre.”

Ayden is too educated, he’s too polished for this role. Ayden Sng can play someone who works in a nine-to-five white-collar job. Ayden Sng can play one of the bros or the boy next door. The good son; the good son-in-law. That’s the box he is put in. Except it’s a comfortable casket. It limits his potential to see how far he can stretch his acting wings. For All That Glitters, his role is a complete departure from the ones he’d done before. This is a part that requires him to be—in his own words—“beng”. 

“To be in that persona took a lot out of me than with previous roles,” Sng explains. “And because this is a melodrama, there are tons of emotional and violent scenes so the difficulty index for this is probably 10 out of 10.

But despite the stress, it is a much-needed invigoration. It’s this venture into uncharted territory that he rediscovers his love for acting.

If only more people were to see him that way.

Top, shorts and sandals, LORO PIANA. High Jewelry Serpenti earrings in yellow and white gold with diamonds, Octo Roma, 41mm gold case on alligator strap, BVLGARI

“My interest and commitment to this craft is sometimes eclipsed by the fact that I work with a lot of brands.” By that merit, he can be viewed as a male huāpíng (Mandarin for “vase” but it’s also slang for a “pretty but useless person”). It’s a frustrating perception but Sng understands it is not an easy thing to dispel. “It’s not something that I can demand. It’ll take time and a body of good work to justify that.

That’s usually the first impression people will have of Sng when they encounter his Instagram account. It’s understandable. His feed is filled with images of him posing with brands; film and TV announcements; some behind-the-scene stills. But Sng is proud of his interest in fashion and grooming; it opens him to a lot of brand collaborations. “This allows me to continue acting. Good roles after good roles that will hopefully lead to good performances and eventually people will see me as a good actor.”

Sng wants more opportunities to branch outside of Singapore. He wants to add a regional or even a global stage to his oeuvre. He had a chance to do so with a film called Seven Days, which is about a ghost possessing her grown-up younger brother’s body for seven days to resolve any regrets before moving on.

His first feature opened doors to other film projects that Sng is in discussion with. “As an actor, that’s something you look forward to,” Sng says. “Not because you want that regional recognition but with that level of production, you’re exposed to a whole set of different experiences.”

Last year, Sng filmed Hungry Soul in Batam. Co-produced by CJ Entertainment (the company behind Parasite), Sng saw how the production operates, which was vastly different from his experiences in Mediacorp. “It’s not necessary about who is better. It’s about being exposed to how things are done in different countries. I feel that a Taiwanese production focuses a lot more on improvisation. Whereas in Singapore, things are less fluid but that also means you do get a lot more quality control.

Citing an example of his experience shooting in Taiwan, Sng claims that each take is different but in some of those takes, Sng saw something brilliant that’s birthed from improvisation. It’s different and that’s the sort of variety that you’d want to have as an actor.

For the immediate future, Sng wants to work on more films (“Because film acting is different from TV,”) and also to take part in co-productions overseas.

It’s a promising prospect, one that Sng is optimistic about. It would be a platform where he can manifest himself into the kind of actor that he wants to be.

Top, trousers and shoes, LOUIS VUITTON. Octo Finissimo, 40mm titanium case on rubber strap, BVLGARI
Top, trousers and shoes, LOUIS VUITTON. Octo Finissimo, 40mm titanium case on rubber strap, BVLGARI

This sort of mentality shapes his identity: he eschews the blown chances, the what-could-have-beens and instead is hyperfocused on looking forward. The industry that he’s in sometimes feels like a game that he has to play, always having to prove himself according to their terms. Not many actors get to chisel out their own niche (look at Yeo Yann Yann and Anjana Vasan).

But Sng is pragmatic. This is a long game, one that you need to play well at. You can either hate the game or continue to build yourself and be certain of your identity.

“Being in this industry forces you to mature quickly. Because if you don’t, you might lose yourself.”

As he grows into himself,Sng finds that he doesn’t need to explain himself to people the way he did before. When the pandemic happened and lock-down was in effect, it didn’t impact Sng all that much, other than not being able to work for several months. His lifestyle remained the same—Sng was pretty happy about staying indoors.

“I don’t like spending time outside of my home much, but it’s not that I’m antisocial,” Sng explains. “I still talk to people online, via Zoom or whatever. You don’t have to go to a social setting to have meaningful conversations. I got to experience those types of things at home, and with my pets, and I felt content.”

People who hear this tell him that he sounds old.

“I don’t think of it as any form of judgment, to be honest. I’m ok being known for that. In the last interview that I did, I used this term called ‘the joy of missing out’. That’s one way that I live my life. If you don’t ask me out, great. I’m happy to focus on the things that I truly want in my life.”

This, according to Sng, is like creating his own joy machine. To seek out happiness in your loved ones or pets; even in the hobbies you engage in. Sng collects colognes and perfumes so whenever he has visitors, he’ll introduce them to his home-based fragrance bar. “I’ll ask them to try something that they have never had before. Are you into daytime scents, fresh scents? Are you into floral and citrusy stuff? Why not opt for amber or oud?"

Top and trousers, LOEWE. Octo Finissimo, 43mm gold case on gold strap, BVLGARI

Another source of joy comes from his cats. Growing up, his family had a German Shepherd. “But that wasn’t the most pleasant experience for me,” Sng says. “The reason I’m drawn to cats is, perhaps, my personality is a bit like theirs. I’m a huge homebody. I love to stay indoors. The thought of walking a dog outside doesn’t sit well with an introvert and a germaphobe. “Cats are really clean. They groom themselves all the time.

He’d wanted to own a cat since he was studying at Duke University (“But I didn’t want to deal with the process of bringing it back to Singapore.”) One of his best friends from university, who was also his neighbour had a cat that he would volunteer to look after. When he returned to Singapore, he planned to get a cat once he got his own place.

With that checked off, he now has three Bengals, and quite possibly more in the months to come. A pair of Maine Coons are expected to arrive at his doorstep this year.

“I don’t mind being branded that crazy cat uncle. Having cats give me a sense of fulfilment and it doesn’t matter what others think; at the end of the day, I’m obligated to myself and nobody else.”

Photography: Joel Low
Fashion Direction: Asri Jasman
Art Direction: Joan Tai
Styling: Wilson Lim
Make-Up: Peter Khor using ESTÉE LAUDER
Hair: Christvian Goh using REVLON PROFESSIONAL
Photography Assistant: Eddie Teo
Location: Bulgari Resort Bali

Shirt, NANUSHKA. Trousers and shoes, ERDEM. Socks, FALKE.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

In the acting world, Corey Mylchreest is considered to be in the throes of infancy. He is a relative unknown as far as actors go, but his portrayal as King George III on Queen Charlotte has got him newfound fans and acclaim. 

The spin-off from Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte follows the titular queen in two phases of her life. The elder Queen Charlotte is still played by Golda Rosheuvel from the original series, with the younger queen portrayed by India Amarteifio. Cast opposite her is Mylchreest, as the young King George III. The series focuses on their marriage and the effects of King George III's ailment. 

Still reeling off from junkets and interviews, Mylchreest has to contend with one more: ours. Thus, a day before his photo shoot with Esquire Singapore, we meet over a Zoom video call for his turn on the hot seat. Mylchreest's hair has grown out, which softens the angles of his mien. He's relaxed, his posture slants, favouring his right, as he sits in what appears to be the nondescript room beneath the attic. 

I congratulate Mylchreest on the success of Queen Charlotte and his performance in it and ask, not certain if the question puts him in a spot, because Queen Charlotte is a Bridgerton spin-off, how he feels about the hype around the sex in the series overshadowing the drama, the complex human nature and acting

"In the eyes of the beholder, that's where the story lies," Mylchreest says. "But that is the point of all storytelling—it is for the audience, not for us. It doesn't really matter what I think; whatever the audience chose to focus on, that is success for the show."

Jacket, CANALI. Santos de Cartier 39.8mm steel case on steel strap, Clash de Cartier white gold ring and Juste un Clou white gold ring, CARTIER.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

While there were challenges in filming Queen Charlotte's intimate scenes, Mylchreest sees more difficulty in accurately portraying George's mental affliction without bordering on caricature. 

"That was something that I was really worried about. We wouldn't be diagnosing King George and that brought a heightened importance to what I think is the antidote to caricature: specificity and detail." 

For his role, Mylchreest dives deep into the sea of research. He spoke to a specialist about the script; on whether he was going in the right direction to highlight the moments where George transitioned from confusion to lucidity. 

"There was a doctor's report," Mylchreest adds. "A sort of daily report that was sent to Charlotte. They were delivered later in his life but it was still useful to read. It was so factual, so black-and-white. It'd describe the days when George would talk non-stop for 12 hours and would start to foam at the mouth because he has been speaking for so long. Then, there was an entry that said, though his mind was still ravaged, George seemed physically at peace. 

"It's very clinical, without emotions, these documents, but the pain of that moment seemed to scream out. By then I'd done a lot of research and it was then that my empathy peaked. I just wanted to hug him. He didn't have an easy life by any means."

Jumpsuit and beaded scarf, SIMONE ROCHA.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

Like Mylcreest's research into KingGeorge III, I've embarked on my own into Corey Mylcreest. 

Search results on him reveal myriad interviews of him doing press for Queen Charlotte. There is only one social media platform that he's on—Instagram—and on his feed, his first post is dated 7 April 2022. The casting of Queen Charlotte was announced the day before, 6 April 2022. For a Gen Z, you'd think that he would be more active on social media. 

"I have a private account," Mylchreest says, "but the last time I was on it was maybe four months ago, and before that, I wasn't on it for about three or four years. I think I jumped off it in 2019 because I find Instagram, or social media in general, a hotbed for procrastination. I don't think it's necessarily the healthiest place for people's mental health."

But Mylchreest sees benefits in getting on social media. It's a fantastic vehicle for getting the word of Queen Charlotte and any other projects he's part of out there. "If I was going to be on it, I'd want to make it limited in some way. Not only to protect my own privacy and the people around me that I love, but also to protect my own work ethic." 

Is that part of the reason for privacy? That if the public were to know more about your personal life it would affect how you'd portray other lives on screen. 

"That's a really good question," Mylchreest says. He thinks about this for a while. "I think that there's an inherent usefulness in the mystery of someone. Especially when you use your appearance like an instrument. Sometimes the less someone knows of you, the more powerful your character portrayal can be."

Jacket, shirt and trousers, LOUIS VUITTON.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

He highlights an example: people who have known him all his life, would watch a film that he is on, and then in the slivers of the act points out, That's Corey! I saw a glimpse of him. "For people who aren't initiated into my private life, I think those kinds of moments can pull you out of the story. To tell a story requires the audience to suspend disbelief. A forensic knowledge of the actor can break that." 

But this is what he is willing to reveal about his life: he can't remember when it started but, as that old saw with any origin story of many actors, Mylchreest has always been interested in acting since young. "I remember doing plays at school and it was the most fun I'd have in that week. I gladly stayed on even when it was time to go home." 

There's a quote from a composer that his mom used to tell Mylchreest: the thing that you should do in your life is the thing that makes the hours feel like seconds. 

Time's steady beat quickens as Mylchreest enrolled into Guildhall [School of Music and Drama]. Each Saturday, he would spent five hours learning advanced lessons like Stanislavski's acting techniques; discovering that there was method behind what you see on stage. It soon dawned on Mylchreest that drama school was a possibility. That there will be no half-measures in pursuing an acting career. "I didn't even try to go to the university. I knew this was going to be something that I wanted to do and I did for four years of training at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts)."

Shirt and trousers, NANUSHKA. Grain de Café necklace and brooch in yellow gold and diamonds, CARTIER.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

While incredibly supportive, his father professed concerns and suggested that he get a vocational degree as a backup. "That came from a place of love and concern," Mylchreest is quick to add. "I understand where he was coming from. Maybe if I were to have children, I'd do what my dad did." 

His mother, on the other hand, championed his decision. She grew up in a working-class environment in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and escaped on a full music scholarship. "She understood what it was like to have such love for the creative and the need and hunger to dive into it." 

"I think that there's an inherent usefulness in the mystery of someone. Especially when you use your appearance like an instrument. Sometimes the less someone knows of you, the more powerful your character portrayal can be."

Corey Mylchreest on keeping a private life

Mylchreest graduated from RADA in spring 2020: not the best time for launching an entertainment career when the world was ground to a halt. All things considered, the young actor was lucky; he already had an agent before the lockdown. The Sandman would pass his way. Mylchreest never read the comic series the show is based on but he met with casting director Lucinda Seisen and auditioned for the lead, Dream. After a few callbacks, Mylchreest was about to go in for a chemistry test when the decision came down the line that "he was too young". They had him read for other parts.

"And then, about four months later, I got an email offering me the role of Adonis," Mylcreest says. "I think it was a pity hire because they knew that I had auditioned many times and didn't get anything."

It was a role so small that if the character wasn't in it, it wouldn't have any ramifications on the story. But there are no small roles, Mylcreest reminds me. Only small actors. Mylcreest came up with a whole backstory for Adonis—why he was there that evening, why he needed to be admitted to see the Magus. 

His appearance as Adonis lasted less than 30 seconds. He had two lines—"Oh, the Magus insists, does he?" and "Can we still come back tomorrow?"—which he captioned on his Instagram: "'Best two lines delivered on screen'—my mum". 

Jokes aside, this foray into a multi-million dollar production would prove useful. In the past, Mylchreest acted on intimate sets of short films. For The Sandman, he is awed by the hugeness of it all. The scene was filmed at Joyce Grove, a Jacobethan-style mansion that Mylchreest pointed out was where Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, spent most of his childhood at. 

"There was a rumour at the time that Harry Styles was going to buy the place, which everyone seemed excited by, but I just remember being completely racked with nerves." He was a speck in the grand scheme of things; surrounded by 60-70 extras, all dressed in 1920s ball gowns and three-piece suits. Restored cars from the era criss-cross in the background. Massive lights bathed the expanse of the set; cranes with attached expensive cameras swept and swivelled. A hubbub of different departments; cogs in the film machine, setting up for the shoot. 

"But to be honest, by the time the camera started rolling, I was so nervous that all the backstory just flew out my head." Sheepishness creeps into the edges of his face. "I was just glad that I knew the lines. I was told to, at a certain point, turn and deliver my line but I could never quite see where the camera was and we had to do it a few times. I felt really bad for the director and everyone because we had to reset everything." 

Regardless, this experience prepared him for his first day at Queen Charlotte. "I was incredibly nervous when I started filming Queen Charlotte but I'd have been even more so if I hadn't filmed The Sandman.

But his roles in The Sandman and Queen Charlotte are vastly different and the necessity for preparation and research into the latter warranted more attention.

Shirt, shorts, cardigan and loafers, PRADA. Socks, FALKE.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

On the set of Queen Charlotte, before shooting commenced each day, Mylchreest would run through scenes and ideas with India Amarteifio to make sure that they are on the same page. They would run the scene in the hotel they stayed at or over the phone or Zoom but what's important to Mylchreest is the preparation needed for a shoot.

"I say this with acknowledgement that I am just starting my career, so I know very little in comparison to others who have been acting far longer. On Queen Charlotte, I found it useful to know the scene inside and out. I would record the lines of the other person and run through a slew of questions for the scene." 

This allows Mylchreest to figure out the "points of concentration". The process could determine his character's intention; where he might go to and come from; what the relationship with the other player is like. "What this [preparedness] allowed me was once to earn my own trust in the moments that matter. Once I got onto set I have this whole host of possibilities in front of me that I could then let go of because I've done them a million times. I don't have to worry about lines or where it sits in the story. 

"There is only the way forward."

Shirt, NANUSHKA. Santos de Cartier 39.8mm steel case on steel strap and Clash de Cartier white gold ring, CARTIER.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

Mylchreest tasked himself to read Andre Roberts' bio on King George III and accessed 20,000 of the king's personal writings. There was another avenue of exploration into King George III that Mylchreest could venture into and that is the portrayal of the king by other actors before him.

The depictions of King George III are many and mostly unkind. He's been played by Jonathan Groff in the musical Hamilton; Nigel Hawthorne in The Madness of King George; Tom Hollander in the mini-series John Adams... the list, albeit short, goes on. 

"I wasn't sure whether [watching another actor's portrayal] will be a good idea because sometimes you can start overthinking your own performance. I saw some clips of Lin Manuel's Hamilton and The Madness of King George and both of those depictions feel like they exist in completely different worlds to the George that we see in Queen Charlotte. If anything, it gave me confidence because I knew that I was going in a different direction with him. There would be almost no comparison." 

Queen Charlotte delves more into the king's hobbies of gardening and science, with a focus on astronomy. He's known as Farmer George; the king has an assemblage of scientific equipment and wax lyrical about the constellated wilderness. 

A crown too heavy for his head; his head full of stars, the mind of King George III belies more than just "madness".

Still, his mental health is a lightning rod which provides conflict to Queen Charlotte's narrative. There are swaths of text about King George III's manic episodes—he would often repeat himself; his vocabulary became more florid and complex; he shook hands with a tree because he believed it to be the King of Prussia—these and other instances baffled doctors of the time. Ranging from bipolar disorder to porphyria, there wasn't a conclusive diagnosis of the nature of the king's malady. 

Jacket and shorts, CANALI. Socks, FALKE. Sandals, CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

In Queen Charlotte, the character experiences bouts of lunacy and the show is careful not to define it. Near the end of episode three, taken by mania, George removes his clothing in the silence of his garden. A smattering of stars lights the night sky. Arms raised and eyes bright with awe, George calls out to Venus, "I knew you would come." We do not see what George saw that evening but his frenzy is evident. 

In another interview, Mylcreest mentioned that before his scene, he'd listened to the theme song from Succession to get into the role of King George III. Given his familiarity with the HBO drama, how did he find the finale? 

"I haven't watched it. I started watching [the series] about a year and a half, two years ago... which is already very late, I know. It was the final episode of season one where [Jeremy Strong's] character (Kendall Roy) had this look of resignation where he realised that he has to return to be under his father's wing. There was an immense sense of claustrophobia; this feeling of being trapped and then this track came on. 

"I paused the scene, screenshotted it and taped that image on my character book." Mylcreest picked a notebook off-screen of the Zoom call and brings it into frame. He points to an affixed image of a crestfallen Kendell Roy. "I saw that and I thought that's George or, at least, that's an element of George." 

And because Mylcreest's process was to listen to his playlist on repeat when he does his research, he's unable to watch any more episodes of Succession. "It's very important for me that the song didn't remind me of anything else if I was preparing for a scene. I needed to subconsciously make that song be just for that." So, he stepped away from further updating himself on the Roys' shenanigans until recently, after Queen Charlotte wrapped, Mylcreest resumed catching up on Succession. He's halfway through season two if you must know, so no, he doesn't have a take on the finale but he sums up the series in a word: "phenomenal". 

Suit and neck scarf, AMI PARIS. Santos de Cartier 39.8mm steel case on steel strap, CARTIER.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

In any project that Mylchreest takes on, the result is a collaborative effort. "It takes a village to raise a child and every piece of art is a collective baby. If I feel invalidated for my work, then that's not a great feeling but I don't feel that way at all. I understand that the actors are the face of the show but there are hundreds, if not, thousands of people who work on it—remove a few of them and the entire thing falls apart." 

He recounts a piece of advice that his acting teacher imparted: "When you're in a scene, be selfish to be generous". It is an old game of improv, the basic tenets of creation between two parties, where, via generous contribution and its genial acceptances, a scene blossoms. 

This give-and-take makes for a stronger scene. To paraphrase a certain quartet of musical scousers—"the love you take is equal to the love you make." 

And these exchanges in Queen Charlotte are what gave the series its chewy centre—relationship dynamics worthy of viewers' investments; rapports that even spill over into the cast's personal lives after production has ended. 

"I'm so proud of everyone's work in Queen Charlotte and, truly I mean, this from the bottom of my heart, I have friends for life."

Suit, neck scarf and sneakers, AMI PARIS.
Photo by Zoe McConnell

It's not every day that you see this level of graciousness. If there was ever a show of congeniality, it was usually virtue signalling. But in interviews and in behind-the-scenes videos, Mylcreest is a mensch. He is effusive about his co-stars and what they bring to the table, he's self-deprecating. 

Needless to say, the landscape of Mylcreest's auditioning process has completely changed for him. Queen Charlotte has opened up doors that would have been very firmly shut to him. Mylcreest knows how indebted he is to the show. 

As to what is next for Mylcreest? At the time of the interview, he empathically says that he doesn't know. He is, as he calls it, "in a state of unknown" at the moment. 

"There are some things in the pipeline that I'm waiting to hear updates on," Mylcreest says. "I'm meeting people for something incredibly exciting." Then he adds this bit that catches me off-guard. "And even if the project moves on without me, the world will have some brilliant pieces of art coming their way." 

This period of unknowability is a terrifying prospect but while others see only the damning absence; Mylcreest sees a space of possibilities, as countless as the stars above.

Photographer: Zoe McConnell 
Agency: JOON
Photo Assistant: Carissa Harrod
Digi tech: Nick Graham
Stylist: Thea Lewis-Yates
Styling assistant: Jamie Fernandez
Groomer: Stefan Bertin c/o The Wall Group using 111 SKIN
Producer & Casting Director: Even Yu @ APEX Communications
Production Manager: Guoran Yu @ APEX Communications
Production Coordinator (UK): Kate Zhu
Post: Frisian
Location: Lordship Park
Watch: Cartier

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