November 27, 2021
The actor-director won a Bafta for his performance in Giri/Haji. Hailed as a star in the making by Olivia Colman​ and others, he discusses the true stories that inspired his new projects behind the camera
‘I have an outsider’s perspective’: why Will Sharpe is the A-List’s new favourite director
Will Sharpe has only been surfing a couple of times, but he really loved it. “So I’m not a surfer, I’m not very good at it, I’ve been twice,” clarifies the 35-year-old English-Japanese Actor, writer and director. “But there’s something about being in this huge, loud, ‘other’ force and I never feel calmer than when I’m underwater in the sea. I just really took to it.”
Sharpe sees parallels with his work, which has so far included the surreal, darkly funny sitcom Flowers starring Julian Barratt and Olivia Colman that he created for Channel 4, and a magnetic performance as sarcastic, self-destructive Rodney in the BBC drama Giri/Haji, which earned him a Bafta in 2020 for best supporting actor. “When I came back to writing, having been surfing, I found myself reflecting on how there are certain similarities: you have to get everything technically right, but you’re still at the mercy of this much greater power,” he says. “And how 95% of the time you are getting the shit kicked out of you, but the 5% of the time that it works, it’s so exhilarating you just want to do it again straight away.”
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