Interview: The Magnetism Of Billy Magnussen


Having now been immersed in the acting world for a decade, BILLY MAGNUSSEN shows no signs of slowing down.

AC: What were your initial impressions of the Star Trek-inspired episode of Black Mirror?

BILLY MAGNUSSEN: First, Black Mirror and Charlie Brooker – absolutely yes! This gentleman knows what’s going down. Second, are you asking me to play a space alien villain? Where do I sign?

Are you a Star Trek fan?

Live long and prosper! And Chris Pine was my prince brother man in Into The Woods.

If you could give Black Mirror: USS Callister an alternative title, what would it be?

“Play Nice”.

You’ve worked with Jesse Plemons twice recently, in both Black Mirror and Game Night. What’s he like to work with?

I have to say, I gained a friend with that guy. He has a hardworking Texan heart. If he tells you he beat me at a game of pool, he is lying and he still owes me twenty bucks.

Next year, you will be starring alongside Will Smith in the live-action adaptation of Aladdin. What can audiences expect?

To be surprised.

Across all of the roles you’ve played, which would you revisit and why?

I would have to say Ethan from Laura Eason’s play Sex with Strangers. I love theatre, and I find myself craving to live a character out on stage again. To just eat up and breath every human emotion within two acts and an intermission. Theatre is so challenging, but after a show, that bow, honor, gratitude and love is worth everything.

Which role has taught you the most?

Each project is a building block. A different lesson is learned through each project, and I would be cheating myself if I didn’t honor each part equally.

Do you have a dream role you’d like to play?

Every role I get is a dream role. Receiving the opportunity to play, dream and imagine again is spectacular gift. To be working as an actor is an honor.

Your film Game Night is about to open in cinemas. If you had to organise a Game Night, what game would you set up first?

Just rocked out a Game Weekend up in Wyoming. There are too many I love. Betrayal at House on the Hill – there is a lot of rules, but worth the stories. Cranium – never yelled so much! Running Charades – you can skip the gym that day! Credit Card Roulette – you don’t want to lose.

What would be your music and snacks of choice at a Game Night?

No music, one needs focus to kick ass. For snacks, victory and the crushing defeat of your closest friends.

You also have a role in The Oath – another comedy – what attracts you to comedic roles?

To work with Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish, who are hilariously badass gracious people, was such a pleasure. I laughed and enjoyed myself so much making that film with them. So, to answer your question; I just can’t get cast in any dramas, thanks for bringing it up!

Another project we’ll get to see you in next year will be Netflix’s Maniac with Jonah Hill and Emma Stone – are you allowed to tell us anything about the project?

Cary Fukunaga and Patrick Somerville made a crazy playground to play on. I truly cannot wait to see it myself.

Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?

Dreamers! Damien Chazelle, Steve McQueen, JJ Abrams..

Game Night hits cinemas on 23 February