entertainment

Noughts + Crosses star Jack Rowan: 'I'd never been in a situation where I was 'other' before'

Jack Rowan has had to examine his own privilege in the BBC's dystopian race drama.

2020-04-01

At just 23 years old, Jack Rowan’s acting CV is already impressive, but after appearances in Peaky Blinders and Simon Amstell's semi-autobiographical film Benjamin, his starring turn in BBC One's Noughts + Crosses looks set to take him to the next level.

The show – based on Malorie Blackman’s award-winning book of the same name – imagines an alternative London where black people (Crosses) hold positions of privilege and power, while white people (Noughts) are segregated and treated as second-class citizens, facing mistreatment at the hands of the authorities.

Jack Rowan, shot by James Asastasi exclusively for Attitude's May issue, out now

Jack plays Callum, a young Nought who falls in love with Cross female Sephy, and in Attitude's May issue - out now to download and to order globally - the rising screen star reveals how the role forced his to examine his own place in society.

Asked about whether he learnt a lot about his own privilege and relationship with race during the show, Jack replies: “A hundred per cent. I was born in London, which is a very multicultural city, and I live in the heart of the city.

“So I’ve always been used to seeing people from all walks of life. But I’d never been in a situation where I am the “other”, or the one who is different.

“But the fact that some people have to go through that every day, and it’s something you can’t change… You can’t change the way you wallk, you can’t change your skin tone, you can’t change your voice, you can’t change your sexuality – you know what I mean?”

Photography: James Anastasi

He adds: “It was a really powerful experience to have a taste of what some people have to go through. And it tends not to be white people.”

Read the full interview with Jack Rowan in Attitude's May issue, out now to download and to order globally

Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: save 45% on the cover price in print, 13 issues for £19.99 to download to any device.