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COSMO JARVIS INTERVIEW

“It’s a fine line between superstition and faith and I have a faith.

photography Nicolas Wagner, styling Emily Tighe, grooming Sven Bayerbach

styling assistants Olvia Rodney and Cecilia Walker

Thanks to Epilogue Agency

above, Cosmo wears shirt GOLDSMITHS VINTAG, necklace and bracelet CERNUCCI

When did you realize you wanted to be an actor?
I guess it was after I saw a play of ‘lord of the flies’ when I was a kid. Also I remember being mesmerized by an actor in this museum in my local town who suddenly came to life and made me shit my pants. I appreciated the way he blended into the set and seemed like a relic. Was sort of magical I guess. Obviously movies were a great source of inspiration as many children of my generation from traumatized homes were primarily raised by them. I remember once organizing and acting in a primary school play adaptation of ‘the phantom menace’ when I was nine.


Do you know anybody else named Cosmo?
I was once working at a music festival and there was this dad there who had a kid who was four years old called Cosmo. It was a surprise. We discussed the positive and negative aspects of having that name.


To me, Charles Aznavour is the most famous Armenian cultural ambassador … Do you like any of his songs? Are you attached to Armenian culture at all?
I don’t know any of his music, I’ll have to research him. I was always more of a System Of A Down fan. To me the most prominent Armenian ambassador is Andy Serkis. I’m not really attached to any culture. I grew up hearing Armenian spoken a lot. I was cussed a lot in Armenian when I misbehaved as a kid. My Grandparents were Armenian immigrants. While I detest victim culture and do not believe people have anything in common with others merely because on paper they share some superficial cultural traits or commonalities of origin and history, I do find it fascinating that the Armenian genocide of 1915-1923 is still not acknowledged by some nations. To me it’s a great insight Into the true priorities of the administrators of human civilization that certain genocides and tragedies can be openly minimized or discounted all together while others happen to become essential architecture of a pop culture and society. But no, while I’m interested in the Armenian Orthodox traditions and the history and achievements of its people, I am attached to no particular culture at all. Just as the individuals who comprise them, each culture has admirable aspects.


The term / definition“ leading man “  seems to have shifted a bit lately …the stereotypical traits are less celebrated, do you feel like there is more room for vulnerability, also exploring different types of masculinity?
While I think I am aware of some of the stereotypical masculine traits your question is referring to, I don’t agree that anything in particular has shifted notably in recent times. There has always been room, for example, for vulnerability as it is an essential part of human experience and an actor’s job is to attempt to portray just that. I don’t believe there are different types of masculinity, there are only men and their individual characters. Take Vincent D’onofrio’s portrayal of Gomer Pyle in 1987’s Full Metal Jacket – A leading man, a character with immense vulnerability who embodies none of what the average millennial would understand as a ‘masculine stereotype’. 1979, Being There with Peter Sellers playing Chauncey Gardiner – a leading man, a unique character free from any stereotypes whatsoever. Al Pacino as LtCol Frank Slade – Scent of A Woman (1992) – a retired, blind and vulnerable lieutenant colonel plans his suicide. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Peter O’toole plays an incredibly complex and multifaceted individual who harbours great empathy and unique and intricate intelligence. I could go on but you get my drift.


Can you tell us more about the character you play in the new Netflix film,
Persuasion?
He is a seaman. A competent worker and a gentleman. He has sincere regrets and equally sincere hopes and wishes. He is at the mercy of his own heart though with undeniable futility he tries to deny it.


You have starred in a number of indie films recently, including Calm with Horses (Shadow of Violence) and The Evening Hour, what draws you to projects like these?
The reality of unemployment along with the detailed and specific construction of the world and characters which the writers created within those scripts. The depictions of specific people and their specific dialogues and the potential for a more universal revelation that that kind of writing and story brings about.

With both of these projects you had to immerse yourself within the local community, how important was this in embodying the character?

I guess if an actor is charged with representing a person from a specific place then the least I can do is attempt to learn about the place and experience it’s people. Otherwise it would be like attempting to make a garment without any knowledge of textiles or needlework. I find that it is certainly useful.


Are you superstitious?
I knock on wood. I have my routines. But I think I’m just obsessive more than subscribing to any superstition in particular. It’s a fine line between superstition and faith and I have a faith. Maybe that makes me superstitious. Perhaps superstitious people have immense faith. I don’t walk under ladders or break mirrors if I can help it. If a bird shits on me though, I do not consider it good luck.
Is it difficult for you to receive compliments?
To me a compliment is an acknowledgement of competence and competence is what a person employed to do a task should possess, otherwise someone else who is more competent should have the position. A compliment then is harder to receive than a criticism because a criticism serves a clear purpose to educate and catalyse evolution but a compliment serves only to stagnate the ongoing development that got you to the point of receiving a compliment in the first place. In other words, yes.


The Evening Hour is available on streaming platforms in the US including iTunes and Amazon