Interview with Abraham Lewis
It is easy to see why Abraham Lewis has attracted the label of ‘rising star’. Just a year after putting on A Level Playing Field in a small London theatre, he found himself acting alongside Nicole Kidman in the Hollywood film How to Talk to Girls at Parties and cast in the Sky Atlantic series Guerrilla alongside Idris Elba, Freida Pinto and Rory Kinnear, to name a few.
At just 21, his acting career is already way off the ground, but, with a contagious enthusiasm for what he does, and a conscious rejection of egotism, it is safe to say that he has not been swept up in a Hollywood bubble; “film making is such a collaborative process and when you’re surrounded by people who are amazing at what they do, their passion rubs off on you. Right from make-up, to costume, to the unit car drivers, everyone’s a cog in this big machine, and it reminded me never to have an ego about anything […] and to just enjoy the experience of 100 people coming together to make something.”
His striking self-awareness is compounded by thoughtfulness about his own development as an actor. His – somewhat varied – experience on the stage, in film and on TV has allowed him to throw himself out of his comfort zone, and into situations where he can constantly develop; “I think, in a way, it’s quite healthy not to be satisfied. The actors that I admire the most are always the ones that want to keep learning, developing and working hard”. It’s obvious that the people he looks up to, including those in his family, are a huge foundation for which to shape his attitudes to his job; “I’m lucky because my Grandfather was an actor and my parents are actors and they’ve given me a perspective that has really been invaluable.”
A fascination with human experiences and stories is at least a part of the reason why he is always seeking new challenges and opportunities to develop; “you can take lessons from so many different parts of life and apply them to acting, and you can take so many different lessons from acting and apply them to life.” His latest film job has clearly given him the opportunity to dive into social and political contexts. Pond Life is set in a South Yorkshire mining town, just as the coal industry is privatised and Tony Blair becomes leader of the Labour Party. Although primarily character driven, focusing on a group of young friends, Abraham felt it important to do his research; “I met a poet who was from one of the towns that we were filming in, and he told me some of the stories of the community that haven’t been told or reported by the press, and how divisions that were made still exist today. I really wanted to try and do that justice […] you get this sense that people feel really abandoned”.
When defining the success of the productions he is a part of, he doesn’t seem to feel the pressure of media and public perception; “With everything you never know and it could go one way or the other – it’s most important to do it for yourself and not to worry about what everyone else thinks of it. As long as a film finds its audience, that’s all it needs.”
So, what’s next for Abraham Lewis? It is clear that a desire to gain new experiences, get better at what he does and meet new people is at the centre of everything for him. On asking him what he hopes to do in the future, he simply says, “as long as the script is good and the people around it are great, I’m in 100%.”
Interview and words by Charlie Shepherd for SID Magazine Issue 13 (Fall/Winter 2017), all information correct at the time of print.
Abraham Lewis photographed by Markus Lambert, styled by Sylvester Yiu.