Neil Jackson is an English actor and writer out of Luton, Bedfordshire, who has appeared in several television series and films.
Jackson began acting when studying drama at GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) level in Harlington Upper School. Here he partook in several school plays including Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, Hard Times, and West Side Story. He also acted in National Youth Theatre before his move to Cardiff with intentions set on studying sport (boxing) at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff.
Speaking on this matter, he’s quoted “I was studying sports science in University and boxing competitively and working as a bouncer in clubs and, ultimately, not happy. I had acted in school plays when I was younger and remember enjoying that so much, but I had no idea how to course correct to get back into acting and so was advised to write something that could be performed. I started writing a play, that became a musical.” This cemented Neil’s desire to pursue acting once more, which paid off as it landed him his first role as an understudy to Strindberg’s Miss Julie, from where his career took off.
Throughout his career Jackson has transitioned from Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen with Steve Carrel, into The King’s Man prequel. He also stars in Amazon’s Absentia and DC Universe’s upcoming Stargirl. Additional film credits include Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, the bond blockbuster Quantum of Solace, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, and Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.
Chilled sat down with Jackson to see what his life is like when the camera isn’t rolling, along with what projects are on the horizon.
Tell us about the projects you are working on.
I have a few projects coming out over the next couple of months that I’m really excited about. First the CW Network/DC’s Stargirl. Then, a couple of months later, season three of Absentia will be released on Amazon Prime. I’m reprising my role of Jack Byrne. Next, at the beginning of Fall (depending on the Covid situation) I have The King’s Man coming out. This is the prequel to The Kingsman movies and it’s set during World War One. I play Captain Forrest, a man charged with a dangerous mission that could alter the tide of the war.
With your busy schedule, what do you like to do with your downtime?
I like to cook. I have a couple of great recipe books that I love sifting through and then putting some music on, pouring a glass of wine, and just start chopping.
What dishes are you making at home during “stay-at-home?”
We have been experimenting a lot with our food during quarantine. My new favorite is banana pancakes for breakfast. They’re made with mashed up banana, an egg, almond flour, and a dash of baking soda. They are so tasty that it almost seems impossible that they are also healthy.
How are you coping with COVID closures?
I gotta say, I feel like actors have been preparing for this their entire careers. So far, for me at least, Covid-19 is not too dissimilar to life as an unemployed actor. No meetings, no obligations, just a long day to fill in a manner that makes me feel productive by the end of it. I have my routine down by now and that is keeping me sane. The big one for me is setting an early (but not too early) alarm. This not only forces me out of bed in the morning, but it also forces me not to stay up late too.
When you do go out to eat, where do you like to dine?
I live in Vancouver and there is an amazing Indian restaurant here called Vij’s. The owner, Vij, has not only created some incredible and very original Indian dishes, but the whole experience is amazing. You cannot reserve a table. Instead, Vij invites you to sit in their bar area and drink whilst he provides you with fresh snacks until a table becomes available.
What types of dishes do you typically order?
My absolute favorite is garam masala portobello mushrooms in porcini cream curry. That with some fresh chapati covered in gi is heaven!
Any favorite bars?
I am a fan of small, intimate places where I can have a decent conversation. For that, my favorite in Vancouver is Caffe Barneys on Granville. There is a high table at the front in a bay window that is a perfect little perch to work through a bottle of pinot with a friend.
What drinks do you order when out?
My three favorites are red wine: preferably a pinot noir, the old British classic Gin and Tonic, or a pint of Guinness. All my moods can be covered by one of those three drinks.
Do you prepare drinks at home?
I once made limoncello from the fresh lemons in my garden, but I left it in the cellar for too long and it was better-suited to stripping paint. Now I just stick to a simple and refreshing G&T.
Tell us about your home bar. What is it stocked with?
I have Hendrix and Tanqueray gin, as well as a couple of single malts and lots of red wine.
Have you ever been a bartender?
I worked in pubs in the UK. It is not really the same thing. In Britain, at that time, the closest thing I ever came to a cocktail was a Bacardi and Coke. They were the kind of pubs where they had two types of wine—red or white.
If you could share a drink with anyone, who would it be?
My dad. We barely see each other these days as he lives in France and I live in Canada. It would be lovely to sit in a pub one afternoon over a couple of pints and just talk the hours away.