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‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ Breakout Daryl McCormack Talks ‘Twister’ Remake and Next Phase of His Career



Minari Director Lee Isaac Chung’s remake of the 1996 disaster epic Twister is now shooting, and one of the film’s stars — Good luck to you, Leo Grande breakout Daryl McCormack — took a break from acting duties to pop over to Cannes, where he too accepted a Trophée Chopard prize from the jeweler and chatted with THR.

Have you been to Cannes before this trip?

I’ve been here once before, just last month I was here to be on the jury for [Cannes International TV Series Festival called Canneseries]. I watched a bunch of shows, which was amazing. It was my first experience in Cannes and this is my first time at the film festival.

You’re a veteran at this point…

At this point, yes. [Laughs] Even though it was my first time on the Cannes red carpet last night, I was saying hello to some people that I had met last month and people were like, “How do you know anyone here?” But we go way back. [Laughs] That’s the hope, that I will build a relationship with the festival because it really is the pinnacle of cinema, and I just hope to be able to bring some work here one day.

I was seated inside the theater last night when you walked the red carpet before the premiere of The Zone of Interest. What was that experience like, to walk the carpet with your new Chopard family?

It’s an iconic carpet. To be here for the first time — not just as a visitor or watching movies but to be celebrated in the way Chopard is celebrating rising talent — felt particularly special. Getting to do it alongside [Natalie Portman] and [Naomi Ackie] It was amazing, and hopefully a warm up for when I come here again [with a film].

Daryl McCormack Chopard

Daryl McCormack poses inside the Chopard lounge on the Hotel Martinez rooftop in May 2023, wearing jewelry by Chopard.

Courtesy of Chopard/Greg Williams

After the premiere was the Trophée Chopard ceremony, which featured a tribute and your sizzle reel. What was that experience like, as a performer, to see all of your work cut together like that?

Yeah, you don’t always get an experience like that because you’re just going and going but to have a moment where you can sit and watch your journey thus far was amazing. Especially doing it in a room with people who you really look up to, like, I was sitting at a table with Ruben Östlund, Brie Larson and Natalie Portman. I’m inspired by all of these people so for them to be sitting and watching your work and celebrating with you was pretty special.

How are you watching yourself on screen? Does it inform your process or are you critical of yourself?

I’m a little critical. I tend to stray away from watching myself. If I do a film, I’ll watch it once or twice and that’s it, then at some point, I put it to bed and move on to let other people judge it, you know? It’s hard not to be critical of yourself when you’re watching your own work, but I can appreciate the moments too. If there’s something that’s captured that I’m really happy with, I can appreciate that.

I would also imagine that seeing your work cut together like that can be inspiring but also motivating to see where you want to go next…?

I’ve worked quite a bit the last while, and over the last year, I’ve really started to be kind of selective about what I want to do. Moving forward, people are really going to start to be able to see my taste. Up until maybe Leo Grande, I was just trying to get the work that gets seen and, thankfully, with that role, it started to open doors that have helped shape my career. The exciting part for me stars now, you know? It starts with picking work and projects that I want to do to show the rest of the industry the kind of actor that I am and the kind of work that I want to do. I’m excited. I’m working with Lee Isaac Chung at the moment.

Naomie Ackie Natalie Portman Daryl McCormack

Naomi Ackie, Natalie Portman and Daryl McCormack during the Trophée Chopard ceremony in Cannes.

Courtesy of Chopard

On Twisters — has it started shooting?

Yeah, I’m shooting that with him at the moment, and then I’m going on to do a film with Jan Komasa who did Corpus Christi back in 2019. That, to me, is exciting because these are filmmakers that have had critical success and who have a real sense of vision for the films that they make.

You mentioned people will be able to see your taste moving forward. How would you describe that?

Filmmaker-driven and genre agnostic as well. There’s not a particular genre that I want to fall into, other than being led by the script and the story. I like films that really blend genres and are also kind of a blur of different things. I always find it interesting when there’s a film that’s hard to pitch. That, to me, is a good sign of an interesting story when you can’t really put it into a box. I hope to continue to work with great filmmakers and also move more into drama-tragedy territory. I kind of like heavier topics which isn’t fully on my body of work right now but definitely is a taste that I have.

What’s a good example of that?

Well, I’m actually about to do a play next year with Brian Cox in the West End. It’s called Long Day’s Journey into Night. It’s a family drama about a young brother who’s struggling with an illness and how that kind of sweeps through the family. I play an older brother who clearly has an alcohol problem and is crippled by shame from his upbringing. It’s a tragedy in terms of witnessing how this family is falling apart. I’m excited about that, because while there’s some comedy in it, there’s a lot of pain and it strikes the soul to some degree.

I have a film coming out at Tribeca in June called The Lesson with Richard E. Grant, from screenwriter Alex MacKeith and director Alice Troughton. It will then be released in theaters in early July. I play this audacious young and hungry writer who has a borderline sociopathic thing going on. He spends some time with a legendary writer and he makes his way into the inner layers of his family and begins to break down the walls and uncover secrets and truths. It’s a great thriller.

You’ve worked with some real legendary talents, like Richard E. Grant and Emma Thompson. What have you picked up from working with them or observing the way they move about on set?

What I’ve realized is that the best actors like Richard and Emma, ​​they don’t have an ego but they take the work seriously. So, it’s not like they are taking themselves that seriously but they take the work seriously. They invite a lot of joy into the process. They’re able to laugh at themselves and enjoy the process. I find that really exciting because it’s quite easy as an up-and-coming actor to see these stars and think of them as not quite human. But when you see them in their process, it makes it accessible to understand that we can just really play and have fun. Keeping the play alive is crucial.

How has the breakout success of Good luck to you, Leo Grande changed your life and career?

Your career? I, I think for me, it’s given me such a platform to see my work. I think prior to that I was doing in different projects, but not really in the forefront in any capacity. Yeah. And then you take a film like that, you have just two people in one room and you have nowhere to hide. So I think for the first time, maybe I had a full, people had full access to me as an actor…

Literally and figuratively…

Right — emotionally, mentally, physically. They had access to everything. They had it all. [Laughs] Thankfully, it became a platform and I’m so proud of the work that we did. That’s how it started, you know? And now it has opened so many doors.

Daryl McCormack and Emma Thompson in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

Daryl McCormack and Emma Thompson in Good luck to you, Leo Grande.

Courtesy of Nick Wall

Speaking of, let’s go back to the Lee Isaac Chung. I grew up watching Twister in Iowa where tornadoes were common. When did you discover that film?

I knew about the original but I was 3 years old when I came out. At some point I watched it and was absolutely terrified, you know what I mean? When I heard that they were doing a remake, I thought, oh my God, that’s a lot of pressure on this because the first one did so well, but I think Lee Isaac Chung is such an interesting choice because he’s a really sensitive director. I don’t see how he can make a film like this and not make it feel intimate, so that’s what I’m excited about.

I want to ask a couple of style questions because I’m distracted by this Chopard watch you’re wearing…

Right? I feel very Cannes right now. I’m so lucky to have an amazing stylist called Ben Schofield in London. He just knows my taste and we kind of collab quite well. We discuss things and it’s just always about comfort for me, and shape and style. Then, too, I am a watch guy. Now, do I have a Chopard budget? Maybe not just yet, but I’m very grateful to be their model for the weekend.

What about other jewelry? I see you have your ears pierced

Yes. I had a lovely Chopard stud last night, which was this gold diamond that was really beautiful. I’ll have an earring every once in a while or maybe a simple hoop.

Where do you go from here?

Back to the US, the middle of the US, to shoot Twisters. After I wrap that, then I think I’m in Europe for Jan’s film, The Anniversary. We start shooting that in mid or late July. After August, it’s a bit open and then I do the West End play early next year. I hope to continue to work on some great films and continue doing projects that I’m excited about and working with great people. The chance to be working with great filmmakers who also want to work with me, that’s been my dream.

Daryl McCormack Chopard - Publicity - EMBED 2023

Courtesy of Chopard/Virgile Guinard

This story first appeared in the June 7 issue of The News84Media magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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