Is Chestnut kid and Jersey Boys star Karl James Wilson the next James Bond?

Actor Karl James-Wilson

Karl James Wilson - the next Bond? - Credit: Karl James Wilson

You're one of the leads in Jersey Boys, the Four Seasons hit musical, tell us about the show
It's won award after award and been seen all over the world. It's got an incredible script and some of the best music on the planet. Most people have seen the show, but not many have seen this version. It's been revamped; it feels fresh and is possibly the coolest ticket around. We go from intense scenes straight into full on Rock and Roll concerts.

Nick is great fun to play, the audiences love him. He's got such a great story line throughout the piece and has some of the best script too. To top it off Nick's all about style and class which, leads to me getting some of the coolest costumes. 

Cast of Jersey Boys - Karl James Wilson, Ben Joyce,  Adam Bailey, Benjamin Yates

Karl James Wilson, left, with Ben Joyce, Adam Bailey and Benjamin Yates in Jersey Boys - Credit: Mark Senior


Acting is a notoriously tough industry, you're 31 now, what are the keys to success? 
It is possibly one of the hardest industries, however it’s also one of the best. My break didn't happen overnight that's for sure. I think I was about 13 or 14 when I decided I wanted to be an actor and from that moment on the grind began.

I channelled all my time into achieving this, be it at my local drama school or at home watching the greatest actors in movies. At 18 I was offered a scholarship to attend The Arts Educational School London, where I trained for three years.

Since graduating I've worked in all areas of the industry.  My break came from love, belief and hard work. I love what I do, but you do have to keep that fire and fight in order to survive - add to that a lot of patience.  

How did the pandemic impact you?
It was a tricky time, not being able to do what we do as well as not seeing loved ones. Pre-Covid, I was on a UK/European tour for 18 months playing Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing and then toured with Jersey Boys straight after so I was away from home for three and a bit years. 

There came a point where I had a chat with myself and decided to just try to treat it as a holiday and make the most out of a bad situation - when life gives you lemons...' 

What would be your dream role? 
James Bond, if you're going to dream, dream big right? If I'm honest some of the things I have done in my career have had that dreamy touch. The aim is to experience more of the screen side of things now, but my main aim is to keep doing what I do. I filmed for Amazon last summer, unfortunately I can't say more. Until certain things are released you have to be very quiet to protect the impact of the series. 

Are you still a Hertfordshire boy at heart?
I spent the majority of my life in Cheshunt and I am always back visiting family and friends. I was part of the era where mobile phones hadn't quiet dominated yet and 'playing out' was literally that, out on the bikes with the boys or over the park playing football. Cheshunt was the best place to grow up.  

See Jersey Boys at London's Trafalgar Theatre, trafalgartheatre.com