Tell us about your part in the big BBC historical drama The White Queen.
I play Edward IV at age 22. He’s a savvy politician but he’s impulsive. He marries a beautiful girl even though she’s a commoner, ignoring the political consequences. The more I played him the more I loved him.
Has being the son of Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack been a help or hindrance in your career?
Being the son of famous actors can open a door, but if you don’t know how to walk through, it will slam twice as hard in your face. I work hard and try not to profit from the family name.
What advice did your parents give you?
After I got a place at drama school [Guildhall School of Music & Drama] my mum said to me, ‘There’ll be unemployment, disappointment, jealousy, self-doubt. But, if you’re at peace with that, we’re behind you.’
Was it fun growing up around actors?
At times, yes, but when you put a bunch of actors in a room it can be exhausting and intimidating. As a child you can’t compete because your voice isn’t loud enough.
Ever have a plan B?
As a little boy I fancied being a fighter pilot – until I realised it would mean killing people. I also wanted to be a teacher but I have quite severe dyslexia, so that would have been a nightmare.
Has the dyslexia affected you as an actor?
In some ways it helps because I have acted all my life to cover it up. If I need to read at an audition I’ll say, ‘I’m dyslexic; give me 15 minutes to process it.’
Any secret talents?
Being able to balance anything on my nose, and I’m a great free diver despite the fact that I smoke too much.
Does that explain why you’re currently single?
Dream dinner guest?
I’m obsessed with the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, so I’d invite [its writer and star] Larry David. I want to be just like him when I’m older – able to say what everyone else is thinking but doesn’t dare say. I’d have Gandhi, too, but God knows if he’d get on with Larry.
I desperately want a dog. It’s difficult because I’m on the road so much.
But one day, definitely.
Facebook, Twitter, pedestrians walking too slowly – I could go on. I’m already turning into Larry David.
Are you at home in Los Angeles?
I don’t think LA is conducive to a healthy soul. It’s all money and going to the gym and never smoking. It makes me want to light up a fag just thinking about it.