It’s All Coming Up Noah Jupe
The 16-year-old actor talks his latest blockbuster projects, the film industry, and ‘No Sudden Move’ in this exclusive interview.
Noah Jupe is the white-hot star setting young Hollywood ablaze, igniting the next generation of silver screen sweethearts. At only 16 years old, the British actor—born and raised in Islington—has shared a screen with many of the greats: he’s starred alongside Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Jon Hamm; he’s been a son to John Krasinski and Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place, and to Nicole Kidman in HBO’s, The Undoing.
Whether horror, drama, or, most recently, in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move, heist, Jupe’s charisma and raw talent seeps through the screen, framing the opening pages to cinema’s next great chapter. “I never said to my mom, ‘I want to be an actor,’” says Jupe. “I wanted to be a racing driver as a kid. I used to get really invested in movies like Star Wars and Harry Potter, but with me, it was funnily worrying for my parents as I would get into characters almost too much. I’d stay in them for days at a time.”
The conviction Jupe brings to his characters leaves no room for doubt: Noah Jupe was born to be an actor. “If I had to choose the moment [I realized I wanted to be an actor], it would be after my first job [in Penny Dreadful in 2015]. I loved the experience of being on set… and then it ended. The movie wrapped, and I went home. It was a four-hour drive, and I cried the entire time. I was so upset that I didn’t think I would get another chance to be a part of a family like that on set.”
If his chestnut curls and sweet, made-for-screen disposition didn’t tie his red string of fate to acting already, his professional prowess and thoughtful understanding of character certainly does. To watch Jupe on-screen is to see him transform, become wholly in his element; unmistakably embracing the character and role, and a profound feat of skill. “I love this industry,” he says. “Every role matters in the creation of a film; I love movie-making.”
See below for and extended Q&A with VMAN and Noah Jupe:
VMAN: What are you doing in Malibu?
NOAH JUPE: I just had my first 4th of July last night, which was fun. The fireworks were pretty crazy. I’m just out here seeing some friends, I’m heading back on Wednesday. I’ve been for a couple of weeks now in LA. It’s the first time I’ve been back in few years, actually, since the start of COVID I think. But I’ve been out here quite a lot in my life, so I have a few friends out here, so it’s good to see them again, you know?
VM: Yeah, I bet that’s great. So before we jump into your recent project, I just want to backtrack a little bit and discuss your earlier years. You were born in the UK. What was it like for you growing up in Islington? Did you have a relatively normal childhood prior to pursuing a career in film, or did you always know that’s what you wanted to go into?
NJ: I never said to my mom, I want to be an actor. I wanted to be a racing driver as a kid. I used to get really invested in movies like Star Wars and Harry Potter, as you do as a kid. But with me, it was funnily worrying for my parents, as I would get into characters almost too much. I’d stay in them for days at a time and go to dinner as my character and almost become these characters that I loved in movies. So that’s kinda when they knew that I loved movies for one, but also loved becoming a character and playing around with that.
VM: Is there any formative moment that you can recall where you realized acting and performing is what you wanted to do?
NJ: I think the moment would be…if I had to choose, it would be after my first job. I went on set. I loved the experience of being on set. I loved everything about it. And then it ended, and the movie wrapped and I went home, and it was like a four hour drive to our house from where the set was. And I cried the entire time. I was so upset that I didn’t think I would be doing it anymore. And I didn’t think that I would get another chance to be a part of something, you know, be a part of a family like that on a set. So that’s when I knew that was where I wanted to be in my life, I guess. What I was passionate about.
VM: You’ve dabbled in all genres of movies, from horror to drama to dark comedy, and now heists. Do you prefer any types of roles more than others?
NJ: That’s an interesting question. I guess every role is so incredibly different. I couldn’t compare them to one another because each character has the ups and downs and each character is exciting in its own way. So I couldn’t give you a solid answer as to which role was my favorite, but I definitely loved this one. This one in No Sudden Move was a fantastic character to play. The experience, you know, as you said, I’ve never done a heist thing before.
VM: What would you say is your dream role, if you could concoct it for yourself?
NJ: There’s not a specific dream role that I’ve always wanted to play. I guess it’s more a sense of, I’ve played a lot of morally good characters. I played a lot of quite innocent characters that have these incredible learning curves about the world. I would quite like to play, I guess, maybe a character with a bad side. That’s not a hundred percent kind of innocent and lovely.
VM: Similarly to that, you’ve already scored so many major roles alongside industry veterans, like Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon. Is there anyone, it could be an actor, director, screenwriter, that you’re particularly dying to work within the industry?
NJ: Ooh. I mean, yeah. As you said, I’ve been so lucky to work with these incredible people. I recently have been old enough to watch a lot of directors’ movies that I haven’t seen before. When I was a kid, it was always actors that I was obsessed with. Whereas now I’m getting into watching directors’ movies and understanding directors. So I guess, off the top of my head, someone like David Fincher or someone like that who has incredible experience in the movie industry and just learning from them as a director, I guess.
VM: Very solid answer, you can’t go wrong with David Fincher. Seguing to No Sudden Move, walk me through the audition process for that a little bit. How did you land the role and do you remember the moment that you got the news?
NJ: I think Stephen got in touch with me and sent me the script to read through. Obviously, it is a very complicated script, I had to read it twice. But after that I was really into it and loved my character. And then I went out for breakfast with him, I think, somewhere in LA. And we talked for a couple of hours about the script, about how he works, about all of that stuff.
VM: How did you get into character to play Matthew? What was your process of character development like?
NJ: I feel like the scenes that I’m in are such ensemble scenes, with a lot of different cast members. So I guess it was just talking to them and reacting off them was a huge part of it because that was the entire scene was, was reacting off the other actors in the room. So to prepare, it was getting to know them and getting to know them enough to feel safe with exploring these different emotions around them.
VM: This process of kind of acting by reacting, is that something you were already used to from your previous roles or was that kind of new to you?
NJ: I think acting by reacting is acting. I think reacting is,when you’re in a scene with someone, you need to react off them and that’s how people live. That’s how we function as humans is we react.
VM: Would you say that there are any parallels between yourself and Matthew that you were able to draw on to make your portrayal feel more realistic?
NJ: I think me and Matthew are quite similar in a sense, I mean, I’d hope in a situation like that, which I hope I’m never in, but I think in a situation like that, I would make the same choices as Matthew. I think me and him are very thoughtful and very quizzical about the world and about morals and what’s good. What’s right and what’s wrong. And all the truth and lies and trying to uncover the truth of the situation. I think me and him share that trait.
VM: What a great trait to have, if you’re going to be in that situation at all, best to unpack it.
NJ: Well, I hope that if I was in that situation, I would fight rather than play, but who knows? I might be a bit too scared for that.
VM: What was it like working with Soderbergh on the film? Did he give you the opportunity to really take the character and make him your own?
NJ: Yeah, I mean Soderbergh gives you so such incredible freedom. He really makes you feel like you have a hold on your character and he’s there if you have any questions, if you have any queries about anything. But I guess in terms of your character, he gives you a lot of responsibility in terms of creating that character, which I love. It was great to have the support from him in getting to know my character and my view. And as I said before, it was great because he got us all together with the other cast and got us talking as well about each of our characters so that we could all kind of create these identities together.
VM: That’s great. Was there any special advice that the legendary director offered you?
NJ: There was one thing that he said to me, and it wasn’t about acting, it was about directing. But he said something about like arriving on set—if you’re on time, you’re late. And I think that was quite interesting, and just shows how passionate he is about getting on set and being prepared.
VM: Moving from film to television a little bit, the question on everyone’s mind right now: is there going to be season two of The Undoing?
NJ: Oh, well, I mean, I haven’t had anything yet. Although if I had, I wouldn’t be able to tell you! But I’m always open to revisiting a character. I had the experience to do that on A Quiet Place 2, and I loved it. So, you know, if Henry wants to make another appearance, I’d love to revisit.
VM: What was it like working with Nicole Kidman on season one? I imagine it was more or less a free masterclass for acting. What did you learn from her during your time on set?
NJ: I think watching Nicole—who’s fantastic by the way, and such a lovely person—I think watching her was just to see how professional she was on set and how prepared she was for the day and for her work. And it really inspired me in terms of going to work and being prepared for all that. Just watching her gave me that insight to being prepared.
VM: That’s great. Even at 16, you’ve starred in so many blockbuster films and already truly carved out a name for yourself in Hollywood. So what can we expect from you going forward?
NJ: Honestly, I just feel so lucky that I can even do this. I’m so passionate about it and passionate about movies in general. I honestly just hope that I can continue to do stuff that I love. And if I ever start doing stuff that I don’t love, I think that’s when I will stop doing this.
VM: One last question for you beyond film. Are there any realms of the industry you hope to explore next?
NJ: I honestly love this industry and even when I’m on set, I love talking to people and learning about different roles on set, ‘cause every role matters in the creation of a film. I’d be interested in going behind the camera. I’d be interested in writing stuff. I love movie-making as a whole, so kind of every part of that interests me.