VMEN Fall/Winter 2019: Nicholas Galitzine
Nicholas Galitzine and his versatility as an actor.
Well-trod archetypes like the “sensitive jock” may appear in the rearview mirror as cultural wish fulfillment rather than naturally occurring. But London native Nicholas Galitzine is a modern-day example of the real deal. Galitzine, a former professional-track rugby star who hadn’t seriously acted until the tail end of high school, is predisposed to embody “bro” onscreen, as seen on Netflix’s Chambers, in which he plays a privileged son uprooted by loss, or in HBO’s Share, as a possible perpetrator of sexual assault.
As far short of decency as his characters may fall, Galitzine sees real-life white-male pathology as the incentive to tackle difficult roles. “I think as a young man, it’s important to educate other young men about what is appropriate behavior,” he says. “[When you portray] stuff like sexual assault and abortion [in film], it makes [those issues] more clear to people, and hopefully breaks that horrible cycle.”
Galitzine cites empathy, the ability “live through a person,” as his greatest tool—and occasionally a job hazard. “I definitely felt a suffocating sense of guilt, just playing a character like that,” he says of Share’s AJ, whose unsavory posturing may or may not belie a misunderstood humanity—a delicate mix that’s central to the film’s whodunit plot. “Before getting the part, I had this long hair, and wasn’t very intimidating at all,” he says. “So I shaved my head, grew this pubey mustache, and wore a diamond earring. When I started pitching tattoo ideas, [director Pippa Bianco] was like, ‘You know, I think we’ve covered all the bases’ [laughs].”Galitzine’s try-anything enthusiasm may explain his belated high-dive into acting—a part in Spring Awakening at Festival Fringe. “I had severe stage fright, but I’d gone with a group of friends, including a girl I fancied,” he says of the experience, which was not the romance plot he might’ve envisioned. “After I got the part, [I realized] I would be playing the gay lover of my best friend in real life. [laughs] We had to have a conversation, like, ‘Hey, this is totally fine!’ Definitely a shock to what acting could be!”