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Alice Gee | 29/03/2024

Actors are committed to their work, even if it means falling on a horse during an intense battle sequence with props when you've never ridden a horse in your life in the middle of a desert. Crazy right? 


After landing his most significant role to date as historical figure Alexander in Alexander: The Making of a God for streaming giant Netflix and being under the eyes of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg in Apple In TV+'s high-budget TV series Masters of the Air,' Buck Braithwaite tells HATC about the reality of entering the world of acting. From working amongst Barry Keoghan to embracing the intensity of film shoots to tackling the anxieties of auditioning and waiting for the next big job, Buck opens up about his journey so far, which all started with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in his primary school musical.



ALICE: Let's talk about how you got into acting and where your passion began.


BUCK: As a kid I was in all the school musicals, all the choruses from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' to Fagin's gang in Oliver. My best mate Stuart got the part of Artful Dodger over me and still teases me about it today. At the time, I was curious if it was a real-life job you could do for a living. So, I went to do work experience in a broking office. I wanted a change, and I did it for a week. I remember thinking I could do this. This is a real job. I was still doing drama at the time and I hadn't fully decided until I watched Bronson with Tom Hardy, which had me hooked. I rewrote the whole film for my GCSE drama piece, this little scrawny 14-year-old boy pretending to be this absolute beast of a man shouting at all these prisoners. I thought that's it. I'm going to give this shenanigan a crack. And then here we are, ten years later.  



ALICE: There's not a lot about you on the internet. You have to dig and then what you find isn't always true (I tease Buck for the various ages I found online).


BUCK: Yeah, it's not all true. I'm not 36.


ALICE: This is your chance to set the record straight, I joke. Out of the roles you've done over the past few years, what's been

a standout? 


BUCK: I feel [Alexander] was my largest role over the last few years. It's my first lead. It's just the pure scale of Alexander's story. How huge it was, it's unfathomable. It's epic, it's passionate, there's horses, it's intricate and it's sensitive. I learned a lot on that job. I'm quite indecisive about my decisions sometimes as an actor. It was such an intense shoot, and we had to deliver a lot in a concise amount of time. So, I would second guess myself at times. I have learned to trust my decisions even more now. Not so much by choice but because I didn't have time to debate. I feel like that was helpful for me because I'll dabble in decisions for hours if you give me the opportunity so it was nice to make a decision and run with it because we had to shoot six episodes in six weeks, which you should usually have a month to shoot an episode. We were doing, like five, six scenes a day. Also choreographing for the battles and all that.


ALICE: Did you learn how to ride horses?


BUCK: This is one of those classic, mendacious actor things you say yes! Your agent calls you and asks, "Can you ride a horse?" and I say, "Yeah. Sure! I used to ride when I was younger. I'm a bit rusty, but I'll pick it up." not thinking you're going to get the callback.


ALICE: What happened when you got the role and realised you'd have to learn how to ride?


BUCK: As soon as I got the job, we were due to fly out within a week. So, I had one or two lessons before going out, so I at least looked like I knew how to get on a horse. I'm actually allergic to horses so I lived off antihistamines for two months.


ALICE: Some scenes looked tricky, and that's coming from someone who's ridden for years!


BUCK: I think we had five days before we started shooting to have horse-riding lessons, including hair and makeup rehearsals. So they put you on this horse and say, "Okay, here's the sword. Go over there and fight with your mates!" And there are about ten guys on horses over there with swords. And then you're kind of just like, "Well… I suppose. Now I'm here, it's now or never!" They give you tips throughout, and there are incredible stuntmen, too, but it was a very intense crash course.

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ALICE: Here's the real question... did you fall off?


BUCK: Once.


ALICE: That's pretty impressive, considering how complex some of the scenes were and that you'd not been riding for very long!


BUCK: I jumped, or more so, I took the initiative to jump off because the horse panicked, and it ran off into the desert. I cut my foot on the stone paving slabs, but apart from that, that was the only injury we had, which was surprising because we had to choreograph and do a lot very quickly on the day, which I loved. I love a bit of danger. I do better in high-pressure, fast-paced environments, I think, because you have to do it. It's convenient.


ALICE: Every actor has that big moment, that big role. Do you think that was what Alexander was for you? It was for Netflix, after all, a mega streaming platform.


BUCK: I think so, but that's also because it's part of history. Alexander is a huge historical figure. That was so far out of the jobs I've done that it feels like a personal achievement. I'm proud of how it came out in the end. When I auditioned, I had this thick Greek accent in the audition, and I thought, I've obliterated this; they're probably going to be offended, and [My agents] will come back to me and say can't even send that. So, I didn't think I was going to get it. A few months later, my agent called me and said, "Oh, Netflix wants to meet with you." That time, I didn't use the Greek accent.


ALICE: I imagine accents can be tricky, especially as I wouldn't want to offend anyone if it didn't do it justice.


BUCK: I needed to figure out where to start. My colleagues at work gave me the name of this Greek singer, and I went home and spent two days watching interviews. I don't know what noises were coming out of my mouth, but something worked. I won't put [getting the role] down to the accent (Buck Laughs).


ALICE: What about Masters of the Air? What a stellar cast! Did that make it intimidating to approach?


BUCK: Well, it was interesting. After eight years of trying, it was my first professional TV job. So, to have Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg hanging around felt like a ridiculous joke. It was a gigantic juggernaut of a production, which is misleading for someone at the beginning of their career because not all jobs are like that. It was wild. There were so many of us, a few hundred cast members. For a TV show, you might have 15, and it might even go up to 50. But this was on a much larger scale. There were a lot of young guys together, thriving at the beginning of their careers, and they were so grateful and excited just to be there. It felt fantastic to have a lot of people in the same position. To go off to lunch and sit there chatting with Barry Keoghan and Austin Butler, who are incredible, felt outrageous. It was a crazy, surreal experience. But as you said, it was the first job I signed up for and the last one that came out. That's how long ago it was. It was two and a half three years ago that I started filming that.


ALICE: How was the experience playing the role of historical people, some of whom are still alive? You feel you want to do it justice. Is there an added pressure, or is it more of an incentive?

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BUCK: I think a bit of both. Every character was based on a real person. Everyone obviously felt a huge responsibility to do them justice and honour their stories. It is easy for people not to comprehend the scale and the entirety of what happened. Being a part of that production, I felt submerged in its history for many months. It's a lot. You just hope that it resonates with the heroes' families and shines a light on this story for everyone else who's unaware. You hope it educates people on all of it, and yeah, it's a spectacle. It's quite something to watch.


ALICE: Is the character you play still alive?


BUCK: He went missing in action, so it was never clarified if he was in a prisoner of a war camp or if he died. They have the 100 Bomber Group websites where anyone can learn about the person they're playing.


ALICE: It must have been incredible, especially on the scale at which it was produced.


BUCK: Especially coming off the back of Band of Brothers as well. It's going to be the final trilogy. You're going to have all these expectations when you make them. When we went to the premiere, we saw the first episode. Me and George [Webster] sat next to each other in awe. The battle scenes also come to life because we film in a hydraulic tangent called The Volume. It was epic. 


ALICE: After such a long time filming, it must be nice to see it come full circle.


BUCK: It's nice to have a small part in that show. It's cool to work with guys and remember them all when you see them all in their scenes. It was an incredible experience.


ALICE: Do you enjoy travelling to different countries and being in different cultures when filming?


BUCK: We filmed [Alexander: The Making of a God] in Morocco for six weeks in the desert. I was in Belfast last year. I like to travel and experience different places.


ALICE: How long were the days on Alexander: The Making of a God?


BUCK: You get picked up at 4 am from the hotel. It'd be like an hour and a half journey some days. You'd get to set for six and make up, and then you'll be back in a hotel at 10 pm, after a long day of battles, before grabbing some food and learning your lines for the next day. So, some days, you'd get four hours of sleep.


ALICE: If you could pick anything, what's a role that you'd love to do? 


BUCK: Anything Quentin Tarantino. He's got one more film he's shooting later this year, so I don't know how I will get in…. I guess I'll have to send him this magazine!


Anything with him, I think he's one of the best writers of dialogue.


ALICE: As a working actor, what's it like coping with the down time?


BUCK: There's so much time where you're just in limbo, waiting to hear from auditions, or just waiting to get an audition and just

thinking when the next one will come and if I'm you're going to work again. You find yourself checking your emails every five minutes, even though your agent is on VIP so if anything important comes through it'll pop up on the Home Screen. You get into a state where it might go for a week, and all you've thought about is when the next thing will come up rather than being present. 


My dad teaches a lot about mindfulness. He does these stress-free seminars. He's always taught me to be present and try and stay in the moment, which is much easier said than done. It's great to have him there and talk reason into me when needed. I work better in high-pressure environments because I don't have time to sit there and think about everything. It's essential to take stock and be grateful for what you've got and the friends around you. I have to remind myself I've been doing it for ten years; I've come this far, so I need to relax.


Words Alice Gee

Photography Chloe Maylor

Styling Alice Gee




Jacket, Represent.

Vest, Vivienne Westwood.

Jacket, Represent.

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