British actor Kenny Doughty is rapidly gaining a reputation as an extraordinary and charismatic young talent. He is currently starring in Simon Beaufoy's The Full Monty (based upon the 1990s film), a David Pugh presentation of a Sheffield Theatre production, which is making its West End transfer in February 2014, after receiving rave reviews. The play has recently been crowned "Best Touring Production" at the UK Theatre Awards. The Full Monty will play a limited 16-week engagement at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End (St. Martin's Lane) from February 20, 2014 (officially opening February 25) through June 14, 2014. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? A few things really. At school we were shown Kes, directed by Ken Loach. The film is set in my home town of Barnsley – no one ever puts Barnsley on film – and that really ignited my love for storytelling.
I became a huge fan of Gary Oldman after seeing his performances in Meantime and Prick Up Your Ears. His ability to change himself from role to role with such integrity and imagination was astounding and inspirational to me. I started to dream of being an actor and quickly soaked up as much theatre and film as I could, before finally taking the plunge and applying for drama school.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? You know, I’ve been very lucky and worked with truly great actors such as Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Martin Landau and I continue to learn from great actors with every job. But I would love to work alongside Daniel Day-‐Lewis – a true genius in my opinion.
3. What made you want to audition for The Full Monty? The crazy thing is – and this rarely happens – I didn’t audition for this play. I was in LA doing the rounds when I got a call from my UK agent saying that these two great UK theatre producers David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers were flying over and wanted to take me out for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The conversation went something like this "So Kenny, we would like to bring you back to the UK to lead a new show that we are putting on. We’ve got Simon Beaufoy to adapt his own film The Full Monty into a new stage play and …" Before he’d finished I was, of course saying yes! The rest of the evening turned into a celebration!
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? What I loved about the film and what we have in the play is a wonderful story. Yes we have many laughs and guys stripping by the end – but for me this is a story about a guy who has lost everything. His wife, his job, his identity, his understanding of what it is to be a man – and he’s about to lose his kid. He has to save himself and his relationship with his son. I think it’s a wonderful journey he goes on. It’s full of pathos and humor. And of course an unbelievable finale!
5. What do you identify most with about "Gaz"? The Full Monty is set in the area I grew up. It’s about the men who surrounded me throughout my childhood, my Dad, Grandfather, Uncles, neighbors. I grew up during the Thatcher years and remember the strikes and the hardships they brought. But what gets me the most, what I love about "Gaz" is that despite being a rogue and a cheeky chancer, his heart is huge. He has so much love for his son, his ex-‐wife and his friends. He’s loyal. He just needs to grow up a little!
6. What has been the best part about getting to work with Simon Beaufoy? Simon was with us for nearly the entire rehearsal time. It was a new experience for him working so closely with the actors and we all loved the process. Everybody cared so much about their characters and Simon was so open to all of our thoughts and suggestions. Together we worked and reworked a lot of the play and Simon’s enthusiasm and talent and inexhaustible energy were infectious and inspiring. It was a very open and collaborative rehearsal room. I really respect that about Simon – we were all their to serve the play. He has my utmost respect as a writer and as a man.
7. What excites you about the show transferring to the West End? We had such a ridiculously great time on the UK tour with this -‐ taking it to these wonderful theatres and audiences. The play was loved everywhere and it was so nice to see an audience leaving the theatres so happy. It will be so special for all of us involved to repeat that experience in London’s West End with all its history & prestige. It’s been a boyhood dream of mine to play in the West End and I can now very happily cross that off my bucket list.
8. You recently starred in the hit UK TV series, Stella. What did you enjoy about starring on this show? I was very excited to work with Ruth Jones who wrote, produced & stars as Stella. She’s incredible – I was a huge fan of Gavin & Stacey that she starred & co-‐wrote so to be part of her new show was really exciting. We had a lot fun shooting that.
9. What do you get from your theatrical endeavors that you do not get from film/television? Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. The opportunity to try new things, throw them away and try again. One of my favorite quotes is from Beckett "Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." The chance to continually play. The rehearsal time is wonderful. Filming is different. It’s about capturing a moment in the moment and once you’ve got it it’s there forever. Theatre only exists in that time and space. I love both.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? One of my first jobs out of drama school was on Julie Taymor’s Titus with Anthony Hopkins – one of my acting heroes. A lot of the film was night shoots and I have a very vivid memory of huddling around a fire pit with Anthony Hopkins while the crew were setting up. He said to me "Be Bold And Mighty Forces Will Come to Your Aid." It has always stuck with me.
11. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? I think that the only thing that holds you back from anything in life is your own fear. On this tour I played sold out theatres seating 2,500 people every night – that was terrifying. But the more you stand up to your fears, the more they shrink away and your whole life expands as a result.
12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? This is a tough one because there are so many I would love! But if I had to settle on one it would be the ability to pick up a book, flick through it and instantly absorb every single word. Imagine that. From all the great stories, languages, philosophies, debates. From science to the arts. Every word absorbed. You could read all the medical books and within days be a doctor. Learn to fly a jet within hours. Or just sit back and digest the entire library of Dickens, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy.
13. Favorite way to spend your day off? I’m a huge Manchester United fan. If I’m back in the UK I love to go to the game. If I’m not there I’ll always find a way of watching it live on TV. When there’s no game I love to see a live gig -- I recently saw Laura Marling here in LA and she was amazing.
14. Favorite way to stay in shape? Throughout my career I’ve had various trainers for different jobs and I find that tough. I’m not a huge fan of working out indoors. Where possible I’ll do some form of exercise outside. At the minute I do yoga every day at Runyon Canyon Park. It’s stunning. And I now use yoga as part of pre-‐show warm up. I was always cynical about yoga until I actually I tried it. Now I swear by it.
15. Boxers or Briefs? If you’re doing the Full Monty then nothing! Ha! Otherwise, Calvin Klein boxers for me!
He recently starred as "Sean" in the hit UK television series, Stella. Prior to that, he played "Paul" in the German drama, The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich, "Adam" in the eagely anticipated Snowpiercer, starred as Andie MacDowell’s young lover in the feature film Crush, played "Sir Thomas Elyot" in Elizabeth alongside Geoffry Rush, "Quintus" in Titus playing Anthony Hopkin’s son and played "Hans Vassman" in The Aryan Couple (for which he won the Best Actor award at the Palm Beach Film Festival) opposite his wife Caroline Carver and Martin Landau. Kenny also played "Nick" in My First Wedding, opposite Rachel Leigh Cook and played "Pitt" in Miramax’s The Great Raid opposite Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, Joseph Fiennes and Connie Nielsen.
John Daly, who directed The Aryan Couple said, "I saw Kenny Doughty in a film he had just completed called My First Wedding. The camera couldn’t leave him alone. When he appeared on the screen your eye went right to him and he has a remarkable freshness. To me he is like a young Dirk Bogarde and I had no doubts that if he was available, he was the actor I wanted."
Kenny’s film credits include: Peterman, Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich, Snowpiercer, The Crew, City Rats, Irreversi, The Aryan Couple, My First Wedding, The Great Raid, Crush, Titus, Elizabeth and I Want You.
Selected Television credits include the BAFTA winning Stella, BAFTA nominated drama/comedy Funland, the critically acclaimed Fantabuolso alongside Michael Sheen, the controversial drama Gifted, The Miller’s Tale, one of the BBC’s phenomenally successful modern adaptations of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Servants, The Second Coming, Sunday, Christmas Carol (Hallmark), Dinner Ladies, and Anorak of Fire (Screen 2).