On Thursday 29th November BAFTA Cymru and Wales Screen hosted a special Q&A event, an audience with with Welsh actor Luke Evans.
I managed to wangle tickets to the event simply by coming across a promoted post on Facebook. The tickets were only £10 which I couldn’t actually believe, and I jumped at the chance to go. I’m a big movie lover, and I’m so interested in every process of the film industry. I’ve seen Luke in many films too, and it was an event I was really looking forward to.
It was held at a very well known place to us Cardiffians. It was inside a hidden theatre at the National Museum of Wales, which I have visited countless times, on school trips, to wander and study the galleries, or just for fun. It was a great experience to be in an intimate but also such a well known Cardiff venue, and to be able to be feet away from a Hollywood star.
We weren’t allowed to record the event but we were permitted to take photographs. I was really lucky in that I got a great seat in the second row and was so close to the stage. Luke was interviewed on stage by Welshman Celyn Jones who did an excellent job of asking the right questions and bringing humour to the evening too. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and I hope I get the opportunity to see more events like this in the future.
He confessed to being ‘undeniably Welsh’ even though he left his hometown of Aberbargoed at 16 and explained his journey of fascinating stories from working in River Island on Queen Street (I did too!) … to musical theatre success to Hollywood stardom. He told his stories with joy and in a humble manor, namedropping in the most polite way, Jennifer Anniston here … Tom hardy there .. etc etc.
Luke came across as a genuinely down to earth, normal guy. Celyn Jones touched on his Welsh roots and how proud Wales become of someone ‘making it big’ from our little country. It’s true. I think as a country Wales become very proud but also very protective of their native stars who do make a name for themselves across the pond, and Luke of course is the pinnacle of that.
He mentioned that when he first started to see articles written about himself they would refer to him as British or English:
“Let’s clear this up right now, because we ain’t a big country, there isn’t a lot of us and the ones that get a chance to put us on the map.. they need to make sure that they know we are Welsh!”
I loved this answer because the venue roared with a thunder of clapping!
One of the things that really stood out in my mind was that Luke said he feels like his current job could always be his last. He doesn’t get complacent, and it really comes across that he’s an individual who has worked hard and appreciates the work that lands on his doorstep or that he works hard to get.
We did have opportunities to ask our own questions throughout the evening and at first I was a little scared to put my hand up. I don’t know why I just felt too nervous. Towards the end though I did, but unfortunately I didn’t get picked. Someone asked what advice would Luke give to young kids from a disadvantaged area:
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from everyone is entitled to a dream”
This really resonated with me. I’m not from a disadvantaged area, and I’m not a kid … But I’ve been trying to land my dream job and it hasn’t been easy at all. Although I’m looking for a different kind of job than Luke I really valued these words because he’s right. I have a dream, we all do, and we need to work hard to chase it.
Someone from the audience asked a question about any interest in directing or producing etc and Luke responded by telling us that he and Beauty and the Beast co-star Josh Gad have been working on a project for Netflix, called Super-normal. It sounded really cool so I can’t wait to see what it’s like.
Luke was announced as the new BAFTA Cymru ambassador at the event, so it will be exciting where this takes him and how he’ll be working with them in the future.
Following the Q&A, some days later I started watching The Alienist on Netflix which stars Luke as one of 3 protagonists. It’s one of his most recent projects and I hope there are more seasons to follow. The Alienist is a show about murder, poverty, dark times in New York and the relationships between an artist, a criminal psychologist and the first woman to work in the New York police department. The first episode is a bit of a shocker, and it follows sensitive themes with the occasional gore and guts, but it’s a very good show and I’d recommend you give it a watch.
Visit Wales : A while ago my mum wanted to show me an advert for Visit Wales that she came across on Facebook. The ad was brilliantly descriptive and beautifully crafted, introducing Wales and all its wonder. There have now been two ads released starring Luke, one last year and one this year. I really hope they continue to work in conjunction with each other because these ads have a great cinematic feel, they’re poetic and truly epic.
You can view them here:
A final word
I went into the Q&A event thinking that it would be a fun night out with my Aunty Sue, seeing a Welsh star on stage taking about cool movie things and maybe giving us a little sing song. Unfortunately he didn’t break into song that night, but I’m sure he would have been tempted if he was asked!
I came away feeling that it was a truly enjoyable night spent in the company of others who for many different reasons were true admirers of Luke Evans. This Welsh actor is only going to continue to make a great name for himself. He’s already been in such a diverse compilation of projects these past few years and he seems like a genuinely sweet man, full of gratitude even for that one evening alone. I can’t wait to see more of his work and what’s on the horizon next.
Thanks for a great evening Luke Evans, BAFTA Cymru, Wales Screen and Celyn Jones.