Daniel Mays is the man



How long have you been supporting Haven House Children’s Hospice and why did you get involved with this particular charity?

This is the first time that Haven House has asked me to support the charity and I jumped at the chance. It’s my local children’s hospice, and as a dad myself, I really wanted to get involved to support the work they do. Secondly I’m a massive Leyton Orient supporter, so I couldn’t really say no.

You are participating in its annual charity football match this month; tell us more about your managerial role and playing on your teams home turf?

Unfortunately the charity match takes place two weeks before I open in a new play at the National Theatre, so I’m taking over the manager’s role in case I get injured out on the pitch. Believe me I would have love to don my football boots and shin-pads once again, especially playing at the mighty O’s, but the powers above have deemed it too risky! It’s going to be such a great day out for everyone and it means a great deal to me to be involved in such a great charity. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m going to be the Jose Mourinho of Haven House.

How would you encourage people to come down and support?

Buy a ticket and come down and support us on the day – it’s as simple as that. It really will be a great family day out.

What was it like growing up in Buckhurst Hill?

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I loved growing up in Buckhurst Hill with my family and friends. I’m one of four boys so my childhood was all about playing outside in the woods, playing as much sport as we could, bike rides etc. You name we did we did it. I had an amazing childhood and it’s all down to the love and guidance of my parents. They’ve been incredibly supportive for my brothers and I, we own them everything.

When you have spare time, what do you like to do?

Spare time now is mostly taken up by my two amazing, but exhausting kids and my partner Lou. Down time now consists of going to the cinema, watching as much theatre as we can or going out for a nice meal. I love watching Orient play when I can and I love playing a good round of golf. I’m a keen runner also because I like the solitude it gives me and the fitness levels.

You are currently rehearsing for Red Lion at the National Theatre, how is it going?

At the moment I’m doing about three jobs at once! I’m currently shooting Line of Duty series 3 for BBC Two. It’s a police corruption drama written by Jed Mercurio and has just been nominated for a host of BAFTAs. It has a brilliant cast and I’m having a great time on it. At the same time, I’m shooting an American movie called The Infiltrator alongside Bryan Cranston from the hit show Breaking Bad. Once both of these projects are wrapped up, I start rehearsals for The Red Lion written by Patrick Marber at the National Theatre. It’s all about non-league football and is one of the best new plays I’ve read in a long time.

What else do you have up your sleeve at the moment?

I have two films up my sleeve awaiting release. The first is the new version of Frankenstein starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. The second is the remake of Dads Army in which I play the cockney Spiv (believe it or not!) Walker. A role made iconic by the late great actor James Beck. I was acting with the likes of Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Toby Jones, Bill Nighy to name but a few. Hopefully we do the original TV show justice. It was a hugely enjoyable film to make.

If you didn’t have a successful acting career what would your alternative job be?If I didn’t act I would have wanted to be an artist of some sort. I used to draw and paint all the time when I was younger and I have a lot of my paintings up at home. I was always sketching things. It’s difficult to find the time now. I might give it a go again just to remind myself what it feels like!

What career ambitions do you still have to achieve?I’ve never had a game plan really in my career. In this industry you go where the work is if you are lucky enough to get it. I feel incredibly blessed I’m able to do a job I’m incredibly passionate about. I’m doing a job I love. I guess a big ambition, like many actors would be to make more of name for myself in the U.S. perhaps? That feels like the next natural step.

Finally, how does it feel to be a heart throb? Well I would question the heart throb status 100%. Less said about that the better!

Quick fire questions

What is top of your bucket list?

I’ve always wanted to drive Route 66 in the States

When were you your happiest?

On summer holidays with my family

What is your most treasured possession?

My oil paintings

Dining out or cooking in?

Dining out

Favourite drink?

Baileys and Ice

What is your most unappealing habit?

Biting my nails among many more