INQUIRER.NET – LOS ANGELES—“Me Before You” should finally launch Sam Claflin as a full-fledged star. The British actor, achieving sweet chemistry with Emilia Clarke, at last gets a film that showcases his charisma, good looks and acting chops.
If this adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ bestselling novel becomes a hit— and by all indications, it would—Sam gets a significant gift just before he notches a milestone. Known as Finnick Odair to “The Hunger Games” franchise fans, he turns 30 on June 27.
In “Me Before You,” the feature film directorial debut of Thea Sharrock (a noted theater director, whose credits include Daniel Radcliffe’s “Equus”), Sam plays William “Will” Traynor, a recently paralyzed wealthy man whose life becomes intertwined with Emilia’s Louisa “Lou” Clark when she becomes his caregiver.
Dressed in a striped tee, black denim jacket and pants, Sam, often breaking into a chuckle that sounds like a young boy’s, was a fun, gracious interviewee in this recent chat at the Ritz Carlton Central Park Hotel.
After an ankle injury dashed his ambition to join a football club, the wavy-haired Sam turned to acting. He graduated with honors from the famed London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After landing stage (including title roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company) and TV parts, Sam made quite an impression acting opposite Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” where he played missionary Philip Swift.
He is married to English actress Laura Haddock, with whom he has a son, who was born in December.
Excerpts from our interview:
Did you meet Emilia before this movie?
I did. We met about seven years ago. We have barely left drama school. She and I were asked to do a photo shoot for a magazine called Screen International. It was a rising stars issue. There were like 30 actors, directors and writers.
We crossed paths again a year later. We met for a chemistry read for “Jack the Giant Slayer,” which neither of us got, so obviously, our chemistry test failed.
By the time I saw her, for our first chemistry read test (for “Me Before You”), it was the first time that we met Thea properly, as well.
You are wonderful together.
Thank you. She brings out the best in me. She’s got such an infectious personality. I think I would go so far as to fall in love with her (laughs), but I care for her.
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