With Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons and noted Irish actress Sinéad Cusack for parents, it’s no surprise that Max Irons, 27, is an actor. He plays King Edward IV in the miniseries The White Queen, now airing on Starz. It’s based on Philippa Gregory’s historical novel series The Cousins’ War.
“Initially my parents were anxious because it’s such an unpredictable profession,” Irons says, “but when they saw I was serious they said, ‘The key is to keep working, keep learning. Don’t pay attention to the superficial side of the business. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype. Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Irons credits his parents for “cutting me off financially when I was 18, although at the time, it was annoying.” Sometimes he just scraped by with non-acting jobs. His worst? “Bartending,” he says. “In England, when you get tips, it’s at the owner’s discretion whether or not you receive them. Ours would rather keep them herself. I was earning 5 pounds (about $7.50) an hour.”
He listened. “I don’t want to move to L.A. because it can be an unhealthy environment for an actor,” he says. “I’m staying in London and keeping my friends close. I don’t read reviews, and I don’t go to parties all the time. I pay attention to the work.”