'Stonewall's Jeremy Irvine Is A Familiar Face

by Katherine Cusumano

"When War Horse came out," actor Jeremy Irvine told the Irish Independent in 2012, "I had maybe a month of people stopping me in the street, then it died down. I try to ignore all that and pretend none of it exists." Three years later, people are still asking, who is Jeremy Irvine? The actor has yet to become a household name, but he's certainly a recognizable face — and poised to become yet more recognizable. He stars in Stonewall, the Roland Emmerich narrative feature about the Stonewall Riots of 1969 that are frequently designated the beginning of the contemporary gay-rights movement. Irvine plays Danny, a young man from the Midwest who's tossed out because of his father's homophobia. He winds up in New York on the eve of the riots, and ends up playing a pivotal (invented) role in their onset.

Stonewall is far from Irvine's first major role, yet he's managed to remain in relative obscurity. The actor got off to a relatively slow start, studying drama and focusing on theater, before he hit a film jackpot starring in Steven Spielberg's War Horse in 2011. But he has actively avoided being typecast, according to the Independent, so the films that followed weren't necessarily of the big-budget, big-name variety. (He turned down an offer to play Peeta in The Hunger Games, a role that eventually went to Josh Hutcherson.) Still, he's worked with the likes of Colin Firth and Dakota Fanning, so he's not a total unknown quantity. His filmography only contains nine features so far, but he's got a fair few more projects coming up.

1. War Horse

The British actor plays Albert Narracott, a young English man with an unbreakable bond with a horse whose birth he witnessed. He enlists in the army after the horse is sold to the cavalry, and their stories develop in tandem. The film is based on the acclaimed play as well as the bestselling children's novel from the ’80s by Michael Morpugo.

2. Now Is Good

Irvine plays Adam, a love interest to Dakota Fanning's Tessa, a young woman dying of leukemia who constructs a bucket list that includes losing her virginity.

3. Great Expectations

In this adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, Irvine appears as Pip alongside his younger brother Toby (who plays Young Pip). Pip is an orphan who's suddenly catapulted into high society when a mysterious benefactor bestows a large fortune upon him. It's equal parts period drama and noir-ish mystery.

4. The Railway Man

The Railway Man stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, who plays a former British soldier traumatize by the aftershock of World War II. Irvine appears as a younger Firth, most notably in a few torture scenes (Firth's character, based on a real POW named Eric Lomax, was interned at a Japanese prison camp during the war), where he performed his own stunts — which, he told the Telegraph, included consenting to waterboarding on set in Thailand.

5. A Night In Old Mexico

Irvine accompanies Robert Duvall on a road trip in this film, which moves from road movie to bildungsroman to drug heist and back again. A Night In Old Mexico (in which Irvine and Duvall play grandson and granfather) screened at South by Southwest last year.

6. Beyond The Reach

Continuing his trend of working with some of the most acclaimed actors of the previous generation, Irvine co-stars with Michael Douglas in Beyond the Reach. The two set out on a hunting trip deep in the Mojave Desert, but things get hairy when Douglas's character accidentally shoots a man instead of big game. It's been a big year for Irvine — Beyond the Reach was released earlier this year, and he's had three other titles this year prior to Stonewall.

7. The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death

True to his word, Irvine has not played the same role twice — or even appeared in similar films twice. Supernatural horror film Angel of Death is the sequel to the 2012 The Woman in Black, which starred Daniel Radcliffe and, Variety reported, was something of a sleeper hit.

8. The World Made Straight

The one discernible thread uniting Irvine's career choices might be a predilection for historically minded dramas and period pieces. The World Made Straight takes place in a contemporary Appalachian community still reeling from the Civil War. It's based on a novel of the same name by Ron Rash, who wrote Serena (probably better known to film fans as the one thing Jennifer Lawrence touched that didn't turn to gold).

9. The Bad Education Movie

An adaptation of Jack Whitehall's beloved BBC comedy Bad Education, The Bad Education Movie finds Whitehall reprising his role as Alfie Wickers, a slightly offbeat but energetic and entertaining high school teacher. He promises his students the "best school trip ever" after the completion of their GCSEs. Whitehall told Hot Press that Irvine's character Atticus Hoye is often alluded to in the television series, and is the man who tormented Wickers during his own high school days.

Irvine's busy IMDb page has him slated to appear in the upcoming film Fallen, Mary Shelley's Monster, and This Beautiful Fantasy. He also had a long-running role on the British teen series Life Bites before he struck big with War Horse. But with his lead role in Stonewall, and considering the amount of press that film has been getting, Irvine's name is probably going to get a whole lot more familiar before the year is out.