By any measure, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd has enjoyed a career whirlwind since appearing as chess-playing journalist DL Townes in 2020 Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit.
In the last year alone, he has shot Pathé’s big‑budget, two-film, French-language The Three Musketeers; Searchlight Pictures comedy feature See How They Run, directed by Tom George (This Country); amazon-series The Power, adapted from the book of the same name by Naomi Alderman; and whodunnit series bodysuits, produced by Moonage Pictures for Netflix UK. He also began in the starring role of The Beatles manager Brian Epstein in feature-length biographical drama midas-manwhich began shooting last October and is currently on hold.
“I was proud of the things I had done [before] on TV and on stage, and I always felt like I was building a career,” says Fortune-Lloyd, who graduated from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2014. “But The Queen’s Gambit was this huge injection of adrenaline into my life.”
Born in London in 1988 to a journalist father and lawyer mother, he learned some early lessons in “adaptability and flexibility” when his family moved to Moscow for five years in the early 1990s, returning to London aged eight when his parents split.
“Being aware of a breadth of experience of other people and other cultures has definitely helped me,” says the actor, who adds that the stage was “also where I felt confident as a kid, and where my different interests merged. I was always physical, so I was like a jock, but also liked words and wordplay.”
The flexibility will be on show in several of his current roles: “I’m a Neapolitan taxidermist and speak entirely in Neapolitan dialect” in See How They Run; in the epic “sword-waving, horse-riding” The Three Musketeers films, he is a bilingual aristocrat the Duke of Buckingham; and The Power “is this modern north London Jewish criminal family”.
Admiring actors such as Olivia Williams and Andrew Garfield, who stay in touch with the stage alongside flourishing screen careers, and John Krasinski and Riz Ahmed, who write, produce and direct, Fortune-Lloyd is happy to reveal his own ambitions in these directions and is currently collaborating on both a TV idea and a feature. However, he sees the stage as a more likely launch for any directing ambitions: “I can see it, because I’m more familiar with it. Film and TV, I still have a huge amount to learn.”
Contact: Isabella Riggs, Markham Froggatt & Irwin