Josh told us about his experience on the film and also about his fight training for the role with Douglas Booth. He also shares with us what makes Loving Vincent such a special film and one to look out for at the BAFTAs and, hopefully, at the Oscars!

Golden Globes Awards

Sabina: You appeared as Zouave in Loving Vincent, which has now been nominated for a Golden Globe award. Did you expect the nomination?

Josh: It was so exciting to find out Loving Vincent has been nominated for a Golden Globe.

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I really enjoyed playing the role of Zouave in the film, and even at the time we certainly felt we were involved in something special and potentially groundbreaking. All films are the result of an incredible team effort, however, Loving Vincent I think has an extra dimension in this regard due to the painstaking production and post-production process.

The story centres on the life and death of Vincent van Gogh, so the finished film is in the style of a moving van Gogh painting. To achieve this effect, a team of 120 artists spent over two years painting over every frame of the film - that's 65,000 paintings! The Golden Globe nomination is a testament to the hard work and passion of everyone involved, especially the directors Hugh Welchman and Dorota Kobiela who worked tirelessly to bring this story to life. Zouave, who I play in the film, is the type of character who would celebrate with several drinks in the taverns of Arles, where the story begins.

'Loving Vincent'

Sabina: How would you describe your experience filming Loving Vincent?

Josh: It was a great experience for me to be a part of this film, and to have the chance to play a character like Zouave.

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The filming schedule was quite intense as the most time-consuming factor would always be the painting in post-production. We shot mostly on green screen to allow a blank canvas over which the artists could work their magic. Zouave was quite a different role for me, which made it all the more enjoyable. Hugh Welchman (who co-directs with Dorota Kobiela) wanted a gruff voice for the role and we rehearsed with several options until we landed on a Scottish accent. I worked on a background for the character as a hard-drinking, hot-tempered soldier to be found in the taverns of Arles. All the characters in the film are based on people that van Gogh actually painted, and I love his portrait from June 1888 of the Zouave sort of slumped in a doorway, a moment we captured in the film also.

It was fun to appear alongside actors I admire such as Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, Aidan Turner and Chris O’Dowd. In my scene with Douglas, who is superb in the lead role of Armand, we had to do some fight training together as we have a sort of drunken brawl that bursts out of the tavern.

Each take we would have this full-on fight then after we heard “cut” we would be very English about it, asking if each other was OK before going again!

Challenging characters

Sabina: Are you ready to play other challenging characters such as Zouave in the future?

Josh: Absolutely. I think all actors relish the opportunity to play a good character, sometimes any character! Zouave gave me the chance to play a role very different from what I might be 'typecast' as, so I am really thankful to Hugh and Dorota for that. I think any role has its challenges, and I am now working on my character for a film shooting next month. I can't say much more now, except that my role will be very different from Zouave in Loving Vincent! The style will be quite 1970s so I am growing my hair out for it and looking forward to the challenge and excitement of a new role.