Johnny Flynn Q&A: ‘Genius’
“I thought that was ridiculous they would send that to me because I don’t look like Einstein. I just immediately passed on it,” reveals actor Johnny Flynn about his role as the younger Albert Einstein in “Genius.” During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), he adds that a friend told him he was “an idiot” for not auditioning for the National Geographic limited series: “She held me almost at gunpoint to make these tapes. The next thing I knew, I was skyping with Ron Howard. It was really then I got excited about it because he was telling me his approach to the series and the story.”
Based on the book “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson, the 10-part program stars Geoffrey Rush as the older Einstein and Flynn as the college version. Oscar winner Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) executive produced the project with Brian Grazer and directed the first installment. Other stars include Emily Watson, Samantha Colley, Nicholas Rowe, T.R. Knight, and Vincent Kartheiser.
The young South African native has had some acting roles in “Song One” with Anne Hathaway and on the television programs “Lovesick” and “Brotherhood,” this new 10-part program offer him his breakthrough as an actor. He will be on this this year’s Emmy ballot as Best Movie/Limited Series Supporting Actor, while Rush competes as the lead.
In addition to this performing field, he has been better known for most of his career as a singer and songwriter for the band Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit. On using that talent in his acting work, he says, “I approach language in a musical perspective. Whenever I am rehearsing a scene, I think of it in terms of beats, pace, and rhythm. In all good music there is a dialogue; there’s questions and there’s answers. There’s ideas posed in the structure of the melody or the rhythm, so I have an abstract understanding of the drama intention of a scene through that kind of perspective as well.”