Benedict Clarke has featured in several films and shows but is better known for his role as a young Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. We wanted to know about this experience, so caught up with Benedict to find out more!
How long have you been on StarNow, and what prompted you to join?
I’ve been on StarNow since 2012, as I knew it provided opportunities for people without agents to get some material and get their careers underway.
How has StarNow helped to shape your career?
On my first job through StarNow, I met a hugely talented filmmaker called Nathan Coetzee, who had written a modern adaptation of Lord of the Flies. We spent a weekend filming inside an old Volvo estate on the roof of the multi-storey car park in Lewisham. Potentially claustrophobic, but in reality it was brilliant. Nathan encouraged us to improvise, which meant we were comfortable as a cast and not forcing anything; I learnt a lot about acting for screen from it.
What was your first role as an actor, and how did you land that position?
I was so lucky. A casting associate for Harry Potter came to my school looking for suitably scrawny kids who could audition for young James Potter, young Snape, and young Lily in the last film. She didn’t say who she was at the time, she just asked about our hobbies, and I waxed lyrical about LAMDA, where we’d perform extracts from plays as exam pieces. That led to an audition in a tiny office above a coffee shop on the Portobello Road, and lots of auditions at Leavesden Studios. Eventually I got the role: a ten-year-old Alan Rickman in socks and sandals, with hair extensions glued to my face.
That is an awesome story! Tell us more about this experience.
One amusing anecdote: the Hogwarts sorting hat was essentially a bunch of twigs with some green-screen fabric in-between, later animated by CGI magic. In one take, Maggie Smith plucked the hat off Ellie Darcey-Alden’s head rather too vigorously and crushed it. Rather than apologising, she declared, in a wonderfully imperious tone, “The hat is broken”. Iconic.
What attracted you to begin a career as an actor?
My exuberantly hammy snoring as a Shepherd in a Year 2 Nativity play got a lot of laughs.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
I did a play in Cambridge where I was onstage the entire time. No decompressing backstage or thinking over the next scene in the wings, I had to fill those shoes for an hour and a half, and roll with the punches. I loved it.
When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
What advice would you give your younger self?
Say ‘yes’ more.
Do you have any advice for people looking to make the most of the site?
Keep your photos up-to-date.
What qualities would you say are most important to being successful in your field?
Getting on with everyone. It’s a team sport.
Describe your acting style.
‘What do they want?’, ‘what’s getting in the way?’, ‘why those words in particular?’
If someone was going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
Wow, um, someone lanky and ridiculous.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I once had a run-in with the Slovakian mafia.
Who is your favourite actor and why?
Andrew Scott. Sea Wall was searingly brilliant. And we’re all still getting over Fleabag.
Want to see more of Benedict? Check out his StarNow profile!
About the author
Maddison Baker is StarNow’s Digital Marketing Coordinator. She’s multi-talented and multi-faceted - between answering your questions on social media, writing blogs and reporting, she manages to pack a lot into her day (think lunchtime gym sessions to after-work netball games.) She always knows where the newest, coolest café is, the lyrics to Drake’s latest song, and is particularly interested in writing and people— specifically their stories.