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Flaunt Magazine | Paint It Black


Written by Tiffany on July 23 2022

When I arrange to meet Taron Egerton in London’s Soho at the legendary Café Boheme, it’s a good three years and one global pandemic on from our last interview for Flaunt, in which we unpacked the role in Rocketman that catapulted him to international fame. I’m sipping on a very strong coffee when he arrives, having spent the early hours watching the entirety of the gripping six-part mini-series Black Bird, which is kind of like saying I’ve just recovered from an excoriating emotional experience. Egerton’s debut outing as executive producer, now streaming via Apple TV+, and his first piece of work since portraying Elton John, is a genuinely pitch-black dramatization of the true story of James “Jimmy” Keene—an imprisoned drug dealer offered his freedom by the FBI if he agrees to transfer to a maximum security penitentiary for the criminally insane and befriend a man convicted of killing a 15-year-old girl, who they firmly believe has raped and murdered countless others across the Midwest. Egerton plays the athletic and charismatic ladies’ man Keene, whose life pre-incarceration revolves around fast cars, hollow sexual encounters and moving hefty quantities of heroin—a lifestyle brutally interrupted when he gets busted and sentenced to ten years in the can, which seems a bad enough fate, until his freedom-pact to get up-close-and-personal with serial killer Larry Hall plunges him into the seventh circle of hell. Adapted for the screen from Keene’s biographical novel by the acclaimed Dennis Lehane, it’s a gritty and uncompromising offering that could not be further from the work Egerton has been known for thus far. Black Bird’s plot to inveigle incriminating details of multiple murders from a monster, in order to make sure he remains behind bars, excavates the darkest psychological corners of humanity. 

“This felt like a really grown up performance—well, me trying to give a grown up performance,” says the actor with characteristic modesty as we order two beers on one of the hottest days of the year so far, in a country that, like most others, is feeling the searing encroachment of climate change. “From the moment you land at Springfield Prison, it’s supposed to feel like you’re in the belly of the beast, and something really appealed to me about that darkness. I’ve loved what I’ve done so far, but I wanted to do something that felt heavier.” he continues, “And they are both such compelling characters. It felt almost like touching the void with the subject matter being what it is, and with what Larry Hall actually is—the absolute darkest of the dark.” [Read More At Source]

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