JOEY PHILLIPS is currently starring in the seventh season of Outlander on STARZ.
We caught up with Joey Phillips in a wide-ranging conversation.
AC: What can audiences expect from the new season of Outlander?
JOEY PHILLIPS: The American Revolutionary War has begun and we see how the characters are caught up in it and how they navigate their way through.
We see a lot of physical and emotional conflict, defending what you love and what you believe in.
It’s an epic season of 16 episodes split into two parts, 8 episodes each and I think the fans will feel the scale of the story we’re telling.
You can expect new characters, new relationships, struggle, sacrifice and love.
What do you think is your character’s ultimate goal?
So Denny is a Quaker and very devout. It’s heartbreaking for him to be put out of meeting for joining the Continental army, but he truly believes that liberty is a gift from God and that he must use his skills as a surgeon to help win the war for independence.
I think his overall goal is just to do as much good as he can in the world, to help people without judgment and make the world better by showing kindness and compassion to others.
Can you recall any funny moments from on-set filming?
We were shooting on a beautiful loch, all jumping into little boats and rowing off. It was supposed to be this dramatic moment and Sam, who plays Jamie, is obviously known for being the big strong hero and so he’s the one to shove off from the jetty and row everyone to safety.
But for some reason, he just couldn’t shove off and ended up pathetically jabbing his oar at the pier and their boat just span around in sad little circles. That then set Caitriona off laughing which then set Sam off which then set everyone else off. The more he couldn’t do it the funnier it was. I’m not sure if we ever got a take with at least one person not laughing.
As an actor, what are you still trying to learn?
I think a lot of actors do, but I know I definitely feel imposter syndrome. And I’ve been trying to change my way of thinking when it comes to that. Instead of thinking, I shouldn’t be here, I don’t know what I’m doing, think – well I’m surrounded by all these insanely talented, wonderful people.
And I get to spend the next year working alongside them, watching and learning from them, and growing as an actor. And then the self-doubt aspect becomes a positive chance to learn and grow rather than shrink into despair.
How can you tell when you’re reading a great script?
I’m a big reader and I think it’s the same feeling when you read a great book, you can’t put it down. You are immediately engulfed in the world of what you’re reading and deeply connected to the characters. It’s when the images are painted so richly that you almost forget you’re reading.
And once you’re done it lives with you. It takes me a while for my inner monologue to not sound like the world of the piece I’ve just been reading. That’s when I’m like… woah this is special.
When did you begin to see acting as a potential career avenue?
I’ve always wanted to act for as long as I can remember. I started for fun at the age of 4 and then when I was 12 I attended my first ever professional audition. It was an open call in Manchester for Billy Elliot the musical.
My Dad took me and my mate just for the experience, fully expecting me to be cut in the first 10 minutes and still have time to visit the Coronation Street studio tour. 8hrs later he was still there reading the same paper for the 100th time.
After months of auditions and training at ‘Billy School’, I ended up getting the part of Michael and joining the original cast as my first professional job at the age of 13. That’s definitely when it shifted from something I just loved, to something I could potentially do as a career.
How important is social media to you right now?
I mean I fall in and out of love with it.
I love it for being a great way to connect with your family and friends. A lot of my friends are actors/performers so social media is a great way to promote and support each other’s work.
And I know how important it is in my industry. Especially with a show like Outlander. There is such a huge fanbase from all over the world, social media acts as a wonderful place to bring them all together and show their love for the show and we really feel and appreciate that. It’s great to be able to connect with them and thank them for all of their support. And also it can be great for raising awareness about things you’re passionate about and getting instant news updates.
But of course, there is a lot of hate and negativity on there too which can be very damaging and makes you despair about the state of the world. I find it’s too easy to be sucked into a scroll hole and suddenly you’ve lost 3hrs of your life.
That’s when I find reading to be a haven from social media because you can put the screen down, shut out the world and jump into a new one.
What’s the biggest realization you’ve had this past year?
I think it would be that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason and you can’t always have control over things.
I’ve always been very close to my family but we’ve been through a pretty rough couple of years and got each other through and are closer than ever. I think having a strong group around you, whether it’s family or friends or whoever is invaluable. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Everyone seems to have an app idea at the moment, what’s yours?
Ha! Well me and my mate Ben actually came up with this years ago and I still very much stand by it. Anyone who knows me will tell you I always need a wee. And there’s nothing worse than being out in public, really needing to go and there being no loo in sight.
So we came up with a play on City Mapper called Shitty Mapper. Which basically shows you where the nearest loo is and the quickest way to get there!
What makes you feel nostalgic?
Music and photos. One of my favourite things to do when I’m back at my parents is to get down all the old boxes of photos and look through them with my Mum, Dad and sister. We’re lucky that our parents captured so much of not only our lives but their lives before us.
I love looking through old photos of my friends, some of who are still in my life and others who aren’t. A photo or a song can instantly transport you back to that moment in time and kindle those almost-forgotten memories.
PHOTOGRAPHER: JOSEPH SINCLAIR
STYLIST: ANNABEL LUCEY
GROOMING: PAUL DONOVAN