Welcome to Simply Otto Farrant is your first source for everything about Otto Farrant. You may know him for his role as 'Alex Rider' in Alex Rider or War and Peace, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Here you'll find all the latest news, videos, interviews, high quality photos, and more
Otto Farrant
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November 13 was Otto’s Birthday. I forgot to add this here. My Bad.

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Gloucester is set to appear on the small screen as series three of popular spy series Alex Rider was reportedly filmed in the city last week. It is understood that the one-way section of Southgate Street was closed to the public for five hours last Friday (December 9) so that crews could film two scenes for the show involving vehicles losing signal from a tracking device they are following.

The Amazon Original series, which is produced by Eleventh Hour Films and distributed by Sony Pictures Television, stars Otto Farrant, Stephen Dillane and Vicky McClure. It is based on the best-selling books by Anthony Horowitz, following the eponymous character as he’s enlisted by MI6 to become a teenage spy.

Camera crews were also seen at Gloucester Cathedral the previous evening, although it is unclear if the Alex Rider show was also being filmed there. The Cathedral has previously featured in the first two Harry Potter movies, as well as the sixth, and has been seen in episodes of Doctor Who.

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Now on Hulu

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Coming in December

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New layout for the site and gallery layout. I have a few photos to add so I’ll be adding those very soon. Many thanks to Cherry Gem for the theme.

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Anthony, what got the ball rolling to make this Alex Rider series into a reality?

Anthony Horowitz: I will tell you what happened. Eleventh Hour Films, which is a production company I’ve worked with before on Foyle’s War, approached me for the rights. I went ahead with them because I knew them personally, but what really happened to make the big difference was Sony came forward and decided to make the entire series without having anyone to sell it to. It was the most extraordinary show of good faith in the material, in the scripts, and in the property of Alex Rider. How can I not be wowed by that? They could lose everything – because you don’t make television normally, unless you actually have a platform on which to show it – but they went ahead.

Then we went to Los Angeles and showed it to everybody, and of course, there was a fantastic response there. We knew very quickly there was a lot of interest in the show. In the end IMDb took it for America, which couldn’t make me happier because it’s a brand new subscription channel and a new start – and we’re right there at the beginning of it. So, it’s worked out really well. But that’s how it came to be. It was a big punt by Sony, and I will forever be grateful to them.

Otto, how did you become Alex, and what was your first reaction to the script?

Otto Farrant: I auditioned over the space of about three months. I had four or five different rounds, which started with a self-tape that I just sent in and ended with a full day of auditions where I was paired up with Jacks and Toms. It was a really intense day that was like The X Factor: you’d go in, and they’d kick five boys away. You come out and say, “Where did everyone go?” And they’re like, “There’s only three of you.” Now there’s only two of you. The closer I got, the less I wanted to admit that actually it might happen.

I read these books as a kid, and I loved them. So, the idea that I would actually get the chance to play the role would have been amazing. And then when I found out I got it, and I looked at the script for the first time, I was just so excited by how Guy Burt had adapted the books, which already had so much fancy and mystery and suspense and thrill in them. I was amazed at how he brought that to life and actually breathed a whole new life into it as well.

I feel like this show really takes a whole different spin on [the material]; it’s a darker version of Alex. It’s a grittier version, and it’s aged up a bit, so that’s quite nice as well. It was great fun.

Speaking of the adaptation, I thought it was really interesting that the season combined the first two books instead of starting with Stormbreaker. Not only that, but Tom was pulled in from a later book as well. Why was that the right decision to make?

Anthony Horowitz: First of all, let’s go with Tom. Tom Harris is a very minor character in the Alex Rider books, who turns up in about book four or five. But it was Guy Burt’s idea to actually have somebody of his own age to talk to and, actually, that the secret that he is a spy should be shared – which is not the case in the books. I think it’s a brilliant idea. It brought Brenock O’Connor in, who is a wonderfully talented young actor. It’s great to see him and Otto on the screen together, because there is such warmth and such friendship, which instantly existed on set as well as off. That was the first thing, and a good decision.

The other thing, which is where to start: Stormbreaker had been done as a movie in 2003. I think it was an enjoyable movie; it did the job at the time. But the feeling in the production team was that we should move on. That material had already been covered, so why make it again for television. Therefore, Point Blanc was the book that was chosen, number two in the series, and they did weave in a little bit of origin material to make sense of how Alex became a spy. I’m totally happy with that decision. I think it was a very good one to make.

Otto, you do have great chemistry with Brenock as Tom and Ronkẹ as Jack. What is it that makes those characters so special to Alex, and how easily did you click with those actors?

Otto Farrant: That’s a really good question. For me, what makes these characters so special is that they have unconditional love for Alex. They really care about him, and he doesn’t have many people in his life that he can say that about. He doesn’t know who to trust, but he knows that he can trust those guys and that they are family to him. They help him so much, and they are the heart of the show in lots of ways.

What caused us to click together? Sometimes, it just happens. I feel very safe when I’m around Brenock and Ronkẹ, because they are friends first and colleagues second. I think that’s the way you should work; that’s how you get the truth out of things, if you can make real connections with people. And I definitely did that with Brenock and Ronkẹ.

Anthony, how involved were you in the writing and production of the series? Can you talk a little bit about the collaboration process?

Anthony Horowitz: Absolutely, I was involved in almost every decision that was made. I can’t say that I was the one who made the decisions, but the production team talked to me at every single stage from the very beginning through to the end of filming and beyond. I worked very closely with Guy on the eight scripts, and there are lines in there which I recognize as coming from my pen here, and a general agreement between the two of us. It was a very close collaboration and a very good one.

I’m not good at casting; it’s one of my weak spots. But I will say that when I saw Otto, both in real life and on tape, he was from the very start my favorite Alex. I would say that, wouldn’t I? But actually, there was a moment when we had Otto, Brenock and  Ronkẹ in the same room for the first time. Those three sat down on the sofa – Jack, Alex and Tom – and there were 11 suits, as we call executives, in the room. There wasn’t a single person in the room who didn’t agree; we didn’t have to have any discussion. We knew we had found the perfect pairing.

And if you look at them on the screen, that chemistry comes right across into the show, and it’s very special. Otto was talking about Ronkẹ and what makes her so special as Jack, and all I can say is that I wish she’d looked after me when I was a kid. The actress here as well as the character, she just emotes that warmth. Otto put it so well when he said it’s unconditional love for Alex, and that’s exactly what she brings to the part.

Otto Farrant: I think Tom’s his heart and Jack’s his strength in lots of ways. She’s fiery, and she’s strong. She’s a really strong person, and I love that. With Ronkẹ, that definitely comes through on screen.

Alex is separated from his heart and inner strength very early in the series, and yet he manages to step up in an impressive way. What do you think makes him so uniquely prepared for that life?

Otto Farrant: I think Alex’s superpower is his instincts. I’m not even sure he knows what causes him to do what he does, but it’s an instinct, and he follows it. It’s almost as if, by the time he started thinking about it, it’s too late. He’s already done it. He thinks and is calculating constantly; he’s processing the information around him and the situation around him. But he reacts very instinctively, and he’s not a typical superhero. He’s an everyday hero in that way. He’s got that moral compass.

Did you also have to do any extra training for the physical strength side?

Otto Farrant: Yeah, I did. I did some Krav Maga training, which is an Israeli self defense. I worked with a personal trainer a little bit and did some climbing and running and swimming, and just generally kept very active on the big cycler as well. So, there’s a bit of a bike chase in Alex Rider, and you get to see a lot of that as well.

I’m quite an active person as it is. I’m into my snowboarding as well; I’m quite a big snowboarder, but they wouldn’t let me do that bit. They wouldn’t let me get on an ironing board and go down the mountain for some reason. Who knows why?

Anthony, I think Ronkẹ is perfect for Jack, but I know she’s a big change from the books, physically speaking. Did you deliberately seek to add diversity, or did you have open casting in general?

Anthony Horowitz: When we approached Alex Rider, I think race and ethnicity were not in our minds, except that the show should reflect modern life and should be as multi-ethnic as modern life is. And I’m very proud of the fact that this is such a diverse cast in every way. I absolutely adore Nyasha Hatendi, who plays Smithers, one of my favorite characters. Ace Bhatti is absolutely wonderful as Crawle, and these actors from different ethnicities just make the show more realistic and more enjoyable and more real. But we were not ticking boxes; we went for the best talent with no eye on their on their background.

As for the tone, how do you strike that perfect balance of making the series a little darker than the original but still keeping that youthful optimism from the original?

Anthony Horowitz: I think it was trial and error, to a certain extent. There were things that were filmed that were not in the end in the final cut, because they were considered too violent or too dark. I had two hats on, I was the executive producer, but I was also the author of the books. And there are eight-year-olds and nine-year-olds who will watch this show. There might be some scenes and some moments that put them on the edge of the sofa, and they might even have to hold somebody’s hand, but they will not have nightmares as a result. They’re not going to be traumatized.

At the same time, there are people who used to read these book 20 years ago. They were 12 then  and they’re 32 now, so they don’t want to be spoon-fed. They want stuff that is serious and adult and edgy, and which keeps us in suspense. So, largely trial and error, but as we went on and created the show, I think we realized we had the right tone. And I can’t tell you how confident I am, especially because I’ve seen the response in the UK, that we have managed to embrace both those audiences.

Otto Farrant: I think what I really enjoyed was that Alex is thrown into so many different worlds in this series. You’re in so many different locations and with different people, and he’s constantly bouncing off all these characters big, larger-than-life characters. He’s not really got time to think about that. Luckily, we had an incredible cast, so as an actor, it’s just about responding to the energy that is in front of me. And when you’ve got great actors like we had, it becomes very easy to do that.

It wasn’t difficult in that way. Tracking the grief of losing your uncle, that was difficult for me. That was a hard thing to experience. But I had great people around me, and that optimism comes from Jack and Tom and Kyra – all those characters.

Source: Screenrant

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Alex Rider Season 2 is officially in the works at Sony Pictures Television.

The second season renewal of Alex Rider arrives, via Deadline, shortly after the TV series made its June 4 debut, specifically in the franchise’s homefront, on Amazon U.K. However, while it has yet to arrive in most countries, including the U.S., Sony is reportedly close to landing a deal for platforms in the U.S., Australia and China. The show, conceived by U.K. indie company Eleventh Hour Films, saw Sony Pictures TV’s international arm become a financial boon in a 2018 deal that yielded the rights, although the process to find a platform proved lengthy. Incidentally, the show’s June debut represented a quick turnaround after the distribution deal with Amazon was finalized a mere month earlier. The show also has platforms set in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

Alex Rider Season 2 may not have a release date to cite as of yet, but production company Eleventh Hour is reportedly planning to resume production sometime later this year. Consequently, it will be at least a full year from the June 2020 premiere before Season 2 would conceivably arrive, making summer 2021 the earliest possible premiere window.

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An Interview with Otto talking about the new show Alex Rider.

The Alex Rider books were loved by so many British millennials – were you as obsessed with them as everybody else?

“I wasn’t a big reader when I was a kid, but Alex Rider was one of the only series’ that I did read. That and Noughts And Crosses. I can remember being about 12. Point Blanc was the book that I always loved most, so when I found out that they were making that book into the series, it was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments.”

The show is about teenagers, but will people in their late ‘20s who read the books two decades ago still be able to connect?

“We wanted to breathe new life into [the story] so that it could appeal to all audiences, no matter what age you are. It’s got a dark edge, it’s action-packed, it’s gritty and thrilling. For younger people who are about 11 or 12, it’s on that cusp of being a little bit grown up that they’ll want to watch it even more, but not so grown up that they’re not allowed to.”

Did Anthony Horowitz give you any advice on the role ahead of filming?

“He took me and Brenock O’Connor, who plays Tom, out for lunch at the beginning, and just said, ‘Look, go ahead and make something great.’ He didn’t want to be too heavily involved in the creative process, and he definitely gave us the support to go out and breathe new life into it.”

Media portrayals of masculinity have changed a lot since the books came out – does the show tap into that?

“I’m really glad you asked about that. In the modern age, there’s so much more support for men and talking about their feelings, sensitivities and vulnerabilities. I think what’s great about Alex Rider is that he wears his heart on his sleeve a little bit. Andreas Prochaska, the director of the first four episodes, asked me to be as ‘me’ as possible. I’m someone who struggles quite a lot to hide my feelings, so that was definitely part of the process.”

There’s a great scene in episode two where you scream lyrics to a Jake Bugg song over heavy metal while being interrogated – did you choose the song?

“It was originally going to be Nirvana‘s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Andreas asked me to go into a quiet place, and I used my car, and gave me a list of about six songs, and told me to play the music really loud and do a little self-tape. I was in my car, screaming along to these different songs with heavy metal music in the background for about two hours. I showed some people the videos, and they said, ‘Wow, you look like you’re really on the edge there!’ And Jake Bugg was the one that fit.”

Lockdown means everyone’s stuck indoors – is Alex Rider just what they need right now?

“I think the world needs a bit of escapism at the moment, and the show is the perfect balance between reality and fantasy. It’s the kind of show that, whatever age you are, you can enjoy it, because it’s a hero… it’s a normal kid who becomes a hero. I think we need a bit of that at the moment.”

Source: NME

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Been working on the site we had a bit of technical difficulties, but everything seems to be going better. I’ve worked on the gallery and I still have more photos to add. New scans from TV and Satellite Week and pictures from the play Once in a Lifetime and A Streetcar Named Desire.