Young actors rarely get to film scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio or Jennifer Aniston. Will Poulter’s meteoric rise to fame is proof of this. Tim Will Poulter Lewis Regular Chicken speaks to him about his boomerang eyebrows and acting, as well as his sneaker obsession.
Will Poulter Tim Lewis
Will Poulter, an actor, arrives at our lunch date on his own, arriving 15 minutes early. He also carries a bag of his own food, which is perhaps counterintuitive. He tells me that he is on a strict diet to play a role in a movie, but he can’t give me the exact part. He purchases a juice from the cafe, which I don’t think he really wants. He suggests that we sit outside. It’s quite damp and cold, though, as he doesn’t feel like it would be too much to take the piss out of him to have a table at the cafe when he’s just bought a drink. Poulter is so thoughtful. The package looks like a Rice Krispie square but is actually much more fun. He apologizes for having to watch him chew his way through the chocolate Rice Krispie square. He continues to chew, “I’m speaking fluent cakes.” His pandemic experience is more than just Joe Wicks. He just came from a gym and it is clear that he has been working out. The guy is wearing a Nike compression shirt in black, and mercifully, less figure-hugging pants.
This strange scene becomes a lot more logical when Poulter reveals the reasons for his carb-loading, and gym-bunnying. He couldn’t speak about the fact that he was cast as Adam Warlock in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Even if you aren’t that interested in superheroes, this is an important deal in Hollywood power terms. According to rumours, almost every actor in America aged 20 or older wanted the role. Poulter is thrilled and Warlock, the genetically engineered character created by scientists to be an invincible, perfect human, is taking it seriously. Even if it means eating bland, protein-packed oatmeal snacks, that’s fine.
Will poulter says, “I’m naturally greedy so it could get worse.” “And it’s boring to hear actors talk about how hard they have to eat so much food that was sent to them for free.
Poulter’s blockbuster Marvel film is a significant step up in his already illustrious career. At 13 years old, Poulter made his film debut in Son of Rambow. This 2007 independent film by Garth Jennings, about two schoolboys who recreate Sylvester Stallone’s First Blood using a home-movie camera, is a charming and effervescent movie. Poulter, still a teenager was seen snogging Jennifer Aniston’s 2013 comedy We’re the Millers. Then he followed roles that were more dramatic: Poulter left Leonardo DiCaprio dead in The Revenant, became a racist cop under Kathryn Bigelow in Detroit and then gave us nightmares with Midsommar, a Swedish horror film.
Will Poulter is a natural accent expert. However, directors have discovered that he excels at portraying characters you don’t know the name of. He is handsome, no doubt. But he can also switch between being sweet and charming in one scene to becoming downright dangerous in the next. “I’m aware I’m kind of alternative-looking,” says Poulter, picking his words. “Just not traditional or, I don’t know, outside of the norm. “I’ve been told that I’m expressive.”
If you Google Poulter’s full name, one of the most popular searches is “Who’s the actor with the eyebrows?” It’s clear that he has mixed feelings about his boomerang brows. He says, “It’s funny that people comment on mine eyebrows. It’s almost as if it’s not something they’re used to.” They are on my forehead and directly above my eyes, so I can see them. People sometimes comment that they landed on my forehead. It’s a thing that I cannot escape. I would have less emotional range if I cut them off so I decided to keep them.
The third installment of Guardians of the Galaxy will not be released until May 2023. However, he has already performed a nebulous and difficult-to-read role in an eight-part drama called Dopesick on Disney. The series follows a town in America that falls apart during the opioid epidemic. This was brought about by OxyContin, an “non-addictive”, wonder drug created by Purdue Pharma in the mid-90s. Between 1999 and 2019, nearly 500,000 Americans died from overdoses. Millions more succumbed to opioids. Dopesick is a big-screen production with Michael Keaton playing a family doctor, and Poulter playing Billy, the smart Purdue sales rep who convinces Billy to prescribe the painkiller.
Poulter says, “Working alongside Michael Keaton was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life.” “He is one of those people that draws out things from you that you might not ordinarily have.” He is just astonishingly talented.”
Apart from an impressive cast, which includes Rosario Dawson, Kaitlyn Dawson, and Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays Richard Sackler, head of the dynasty responsible for Purdue, Poulter clearly believes the story is important. His mother was a nurse, and his father Neil is a professor of preventative cardiovascular medicine at Imperial College in London. One of his sisters runs a Covid vaccine centre and has spent most of the past 18 month working in intensive-care units. Poulter has a sister who is a special-needs teacher assistant. He laughs and says, “What I do in contrast” is “quite self-obsessed.
Although acting will never be able to compete with these “far nobler pursuits”, Poulter believes that he has a responsibility to choose projects that have a social conscience. Dopesick is another. Another was Detroit, Bigelow’s 2017 crime drama, which Bigelow based on 1967 riots that saw 43 people killed and over 7,200 arresteds. Poulter says, “When you think of social movements, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or MeToo. Given the fact that I’m just straight, white male. There’s a personal obligation to ensure I’m contributing positively to those conversations.” “And that I am not a passive observer.”
For him, Detroit was a turning point, particularly the conversations with Ziza Delgado (a Berkeley professor in ethnic studies). The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise that aims to transform the way black history is taught in schools in the UK. Poulter continues, “But at the exact same time I don’t want my limitations to be hidden.” “I am an actor, not an activist. I don’t make my living as an activist. Dopesick is a project that does shine a light on injustice or tries to. I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of these conversations. However, I am not a fool to believe that I am an actor. If I want to become an activist, then I will quit acting.
As he does often, Poulter created a complex backstory for Billy, his character from Dopesick. Because he believed that a manipulative, ambitious sales rep would be interested in Dale Carnegie’s classic self improvement text, How To Win Friends and Influence People (by Dale Carnegie), he read it. A few lines in the script mentioned how Billy grew up with creative parents who were highly successful. He was a bit enthralled by those. Poulter says that Billy’s motivations to become a successful sales representative probably stemmed out of his childhood insecurity. He was not a success in his parents’ eyes. He was the one at school who was not popular and was often overlooked.