Certain men throughout history have possessed an inimitable rebellious spirit. James Dean, James Brown, Elvis: men with swagger and style in spades. British actor and director Ed Skrein, known for his roles in such films Deadpool and Alita: Battle Angel, is the contemporary ideal of a rebel — or a bad boy. Later this year, he’ll bring his leading-man looks and undeniable gravitas to his new film, Prisoners of the Ghostland, starring alongside fellow rule-breaker Nicolas Cage. Here, Skrein talks to Sharp about his approach to style, fatherhood, and what it means to be a bad boy.
How did the partnership with Carolina Herrera come about?
It happened in a very natural way. I’m an actor and I love to interpret new roles, but this campaign was really special because I am interested in the message it conveys. It talks about men’s contradictions and duality. And I love the fragrance!
As a brand ambassador, what do you connect with at Carolina Herrera? The brand ethos, attitude, spirit?
Carolina Herrera and I share many important values. The brand is built on the idea of alegría de vivir (“joy of living”), and I always try to look at life in a positive way and to share joy and hope with my beloved ones. I firmly believe that every person has to follow their own path, just like Mrs. Herrera did 40 years ago when she founded her brand in New York. When I started working to be an actor, it was also an intuitive decision. I love the idea of beginning a journey with nothing but knowing what you want and chasing after it.
How would you describe your style?
I would say simple and sophisticated. I love to combine functional and comfortable clothes with more special pieces, like a nice suit. And I love leather jackets and sneakers. You should see my wardrobe! I have too many of those.
What does it mean to be a bad boy? How do you embody Bad Boy?
For me, being a bad boy means embracing our duality: our strength and our emotions. Power and tenderness. One good example is Muay Thai, which I really enjoy practising. It is one of the most brutal martial arts, but it is all about respect. Being a bad boy also means that you have to stay true to your identity and your beliefs, and those are values which I definitely assume as mine.
You have acted across genres and really are a chameleon. What drew you to Prisoners of the Ghostland? How does it differ from your previous roles?
Each role is different and unique. In Prisoners of the Ghostland, the western, post-apocalyptic samurai atmosphere really attracted me. I had such a wonderful time on set! Besides, I had always dreamed of working with Nicolas Cage.
What inspires you creatively?
Lots of different things. I love London. I am very proud of the multicultural heritage of my beautiful city and of the multiracial area I grew up in. As an actor, I think I have a responsibility to narrate stories with empathy and from the heart. I am committed to giving a voice to the voiceless, which I did when I was an underground hip hop artist and that I do nowadays contributing to local projects that fight for a more inclusive, diverse, and equal society.
How have you been keeping busy in quarantine?
Well, being a father keeps my quite busy. I have been working on the promotion and launch of Little River Run, my directorial and writing debut. It travelled to festivals around the world, but last summer, I thought it was time to release it. The feedback from the public has been overwhelming and very rewarding.
BREAK THE RULES
A scent for the rebel in you
They say nice guys finish last. So why not take a walk on the wild side? After all, that’s who Bad Boy, the new men’s fragrance from Carolina Herrera, is for: the rebels and the rule-breakers. The scent captures the spirit of a new masculinity that’s daring, irreverent, and bold. Sweet notes of tonka bean and cocoa balance the warmth and muskiness of amber wood, while sage, red and white pepper, and bergamot add freshness, vibrancy, and complexity to the scent. The sleek lighting bolt bottle embodies the spirit of the bad boy: striking, unexpected, and seductive. Sometimes, it’s good to be bad. $92 at Hudson’s Bay