Harrison Osterfield is taking on the world with a smile

PHOTOS : Rosie Matheson
TALENT: Harrison Osterfield
STYLING: Stevie Westgarth at ONE Represents
GROOMING: Petra Sellge at The Wall Group
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT: Flossie Hughes
STYLIST ASSISTANT: Paula Salinas
LOCATION: Georgian House Hotel
PRODUCTION: Studio J•T•P
WORDS: Jasmine Perrier

This feature is taken from Grumpy Magazine’s ISSUE NO.17, available soon in digital and print worldwide
Click here to order your exclusive solo print booklet featuring one talent and 20+ pages of INTERVIEW and PHOTOS, and subscribe to our mailing list for more culture and fashion content from the next issue and behind the scenes

Harrison Osterfield may be new to this industry as an actor. However, his background includes working behind the scenes alongside “one of [his] best mates,” which has certainly prepared him for the leap of faith he decided to take. Although it was a “tough decision,” the British talent from East Grinstead is now hitting the spotlight with his first big lead role. We catch up with Harrison a week after our photoshoot in the charming Victorian home of the Georgian House Hotel — perfectly matching with the universe of The Irregulars. From his South London apartment, the actor reflects on his humble beginnings, George Clooney’s encouraging words to him, and being part of Netflix’s new Sherlock Holmes spinoff which premiered globally March 26.

“It’s been an interesting year, different to many years that I’ve ever had before,” Harrison says, with a smile and warmth that he will keep throughout our conversation. Whereas he has spent the last few months at home, “[going] through every Zoom activity there is and relaxing,” the up-and-coming actor feels lucky to have been able to finish filming The Irregulars last year despite a hiatus. “We were filming up in Liverpool. I’d never really been there before, and it was also with castmates we’ve never met before. But we all got to know each other very quickly and became really good friends. We had two weeks left of filming back in March [last year]. Then the pandemic hit and we went back to work five months later in October. It was really nice to have that renewed energy, with this big epic finale of these last two episodes.” 

Originally coming from “a very academic boarding school,” Harrison quickly ended up gravitating toward the arts. “I started doing musicals at school and really enjoyed them, and then I made a conscious decision: [I went] away from the academic boarding school to a performing arts college I’d describe as Fame: The Musical. It was an amazing eye-opening experience for what this world could really hold. It took me out of my shell because I was quite a shy kid growing up.” As he found his way to acting, Harrison recalls that his family has always been supportive. “My grandad said to me, ‘Harrison, you’re on the road to disaster… but I will support you all the way.’ And I remember I did one show in a black box theatre in London. I came out after the show, [feeling] pretty good, and I could see my family, smiling. Then, I knew that it had gone well, and I was like, ‘Maybe I can make a go of this and see where it takes me.’”

Talking about his rich learning experiences, Harrison recounts his years working in the industry after studying at BRIT School. “A very good mate of mine, Tom Holland, was going to work on a big film in the US and he was like, ‘You wanna come along and you could be my assistant?’ I was very lucky to be working alongside him and see how he works — he is such a good example of a hard worker. Once I made the decision that I had gathered up enough contacts, I had seen the experiences that I had been on, I just wanted to give it a go and make my own journey into this world.” After a few brief appearances in blockbusters, Harrison earned his first credited role in Catch-22, a series produced and directed by George Clooney who ensured a memorable experience for the young actor. “I felt very privileged to be working with someone so esteemed and I’ve admired from a young age, [who] is giving tips to you, saying, ‘You’re doing great, keep going, you’re a true artist.’”

“One thing I’ve learned from [George Clooney] is to always give your maximum amount of energy. Especially with a job like The Irregulars, where you’re filming for almost a year, you really need to keep up your stamina. That’s when you get the best work out of you.” As opposed to the four other Irregulars who are street kids, Harrison’s character hails from royalty as he is Prince Leopold — Leo — the youngest son of Queen Victoria. “Leo’s vocabulary is a lot higher than mine — I had to get a dictionary out and understand what he was talking about,” Harrison says, recalling his first impression of the character. As the episodes go on, Leo gets more involved with the group and eventually finds his feet. After spending most of his time stuck in Buckingham Palace due to his hemophilia inherited from his mother’s side, he discovers himself with things he might have seen as weaknesses, flaws, or insecurities. “He may be out showing that he’s fine but he struggles with a lot of internal battles. I hope people can see Leo’s journey as something they might take on with themselves,” Harrison says. “When I first got the script and I could see the arc that he goes on, it really reminded me of myself. I’ve been working hard for a role like this for a while and when it came through, it was a real dream part to play for me.”

Throwing himself into every role he is given, Harrison explains that he puts a lot of work into rehearsal and preparation, and “takes everything with a smile,” in spite of the tough times an actor often goes through. “A good friend told me to turn those nerves into excitement, and turn it into a positive outlook. We all take things very seriously in this life, and it’s quite nice to have a laugh every now and again, whatever the weather is. If you can have that little enjoyment in your life, that’s one of the things you need to cherish.” On what he hopes to achieve next, the actor replies, “For me, it’s just about continuing to learn and grow as an actor. At the end, I want to look back at a body of work, see the versatility and hard work that I’d put into these roles, and think that I’d done a good job.” Immediately, he would love to continue developing Leopold. “That’s obviously very dependent on how the series does, and how people receive it. But I can only hope that they can connect and empathize with the character. No matter what happens and however the show turns out, I know that I’ve made friends for life and that’s what I can take away from it,” he concludes, still with an infectious smile. 

 
THE IRREGULARS IS NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX

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