At just 25, Harry Richardson is already looking to sink his teeth into a new challenge.
But he also happens to be running late. Richardson has been engrossed in a script, he explains, and has lost all track of time.
This, it seems, is rather indicative of the approach Richardson takes to acting. It’s not so much a career as it is an obsession, and he will devote himself to the perfection of his craft to the exclusion of all else.
“The more I learn, the more I learn what I don’t know,” he says. “It’s the bottomless pit of knowledge.” Richardson first fell into the dramatic arts during his high-school years at Sydney Grammar School.
“I did Tartuffe in Year 8, and then took part in a whole bunch of musicals – I suppose it was the only way that lads in an all-boys’ school could meet girls,” he laughs. “And then I accidentally found out that I loved acting.”
It was this revelation that saw Richardson enrolled in an acting course at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2012. Not long after, he landed a role in Looking for Grace (2015), an Australian feature film starring Richard Roxburgh.
“It was a really awesome film, and a fantastic first experience to have out in the middle of nowhere, in the wee belt outside of Perth in Western Australia,” he says.
Richardson was born in Sydney, but his family relocated to the UK when he was two. Since then, his time has been fairly evenly split between both. So it was only fitting that his debut in Australian film be followed by his debut in British television. He successfully auditioned for the role of Frank Gresham in Doctor Thorne (2016), a three-part period drama starring Tom Hollander and scripted by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes.
“We studied Downton Abbey because it was kind of the pinnacle of British television at the time,” he says. “To be up to play a lead in Fellowes’ next production was daunting and terrifying. But it was really fun. Lots of top hats, staying in castles and riding horses – it was the best introduction to British TV you could ask for.”
The following year, Richardson cemented his place on the UK small screen by securing the role of Drake Carne, the young Cornish miner in BBC period drama, Poldark. The series averages five million viewers per episode in the UK and is also aired in the US, Europe and the Middle East as well as New Zealand and Australia.
“The long-running aspect of the show was really interesting – it provided the chance to dive into a character” he says.
Filming for the fifth and rumoured final season of Poldark is set to begin in September. Once finished, Richardson will be looking to sink his teeth into a new challenge.
For him, that means a journey of learning and self-improvement. He’s currently taking fighting classes to improve his skills (“I basically rock up to get beaten”), and after today’s interview, he’s off to a scene class to discuss technique with other young actors.
“What I find most interesting about acting is that you can’t beat it,” he says. “It’s still new territory every time you start something. It’s unlike anything else.”
Originally Published at GQ Australia