Does the name Jared Harris ring any bells? How about Richard Harris his iconic father of Camelot fame? Jared is a guy whose face you're almost certain to recognize from movies and TV even if you didn't know his name before now.
Harris recently stars opposite Brad Pitt for the second time in the Paramount Pictures WWII spy thriller Allied (out now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand). They first shared the screen in David Fincher’s epic film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which Harris stole scenes as the boozy tattooed Captain Mike.
The younger Harris’s role as the tragic figure Lane Pryce on Mad Men landed him an Emmy nomination, which he lost to Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad. And while he may be destined to be “that guy,” you know, that guy you saw in that thing (Fringe, The Crown) we think that time will be kind to Harris and he’ll have a long career as one of Hollywood’s best character actors like Cameron Mitchell, David McCallum or Michael Strong.
“I had a great time working with Brad Pitt, both times,” said Harris. “We weren’t best buddies or anything. We bonded over our enjoyment of the work. He has a very strong work ethic and that is something I learned from him on the first movie, how he doesn’t waste any time.”
In both films, Pitt and Harris share every single scene and this is where Harris’s talent is made obvious. He’s the glue holding it all together.
“In Allied I didn’t have the same glorious moment of dying in his arms the way I did in Benjamin Button, but I again enjoyed working with Brad thoroughly,” he said.
As Frank Heslop in Allied, his performance is measured, consistent and vital to the story’s ultimate arc. He took the role quite seriously and researched statistics and has visited various war sites throughout the years.
“Like my character and Brad’s character, you have to do some pretty terrible things and send people off to their deaths,” he said. “In researching this role for example, if you were an SOE (Special Operations Executive) you had about a 25% chance of surviving. They’d send these people over into occupied territories to collect information. In fact, the people who had the worst job were the women and they didn’t have a military background. They had the facility of language; often they were teachers and stuff like that. It was a very high turnover rate.”
And although he’s a fan of the genre and getting to play sneaky characters, Harris doesn’t think that spy life would agree with him.
“To be a successful spy you have to be invisible and you mustn’t draw attention to yourself. You kind of have to be part of the wallpaper really,” said Harris. “I think it would cause you to have many sleepless nights and to be completely paranoid. It would be a pretty horrific existence. Also, as a product of your job you’d be completely suspicious of every human interaction you ever had.”
Harris can also be seen in AMC's icy thriller series The Terror and the aforementioned The Crown as King George VI, where he again steals every scene.