Himes Patel has said he’s “excited” to start filming for his new HBO series, The Franchise, alongside Aya Cash, Richard E. Grant and Daniel Brühl.
The satirical series, directed by Sam Mendes and from Avenue 5 and Succession writer Jon Brown, promises to “shine a light on the secret chaos inside the world of superhero moviemaking”.
The pilot for the comedy, which is executive produced by Armando Iannucci, was filmed prior to the Sag-Aftra and WGA strikes – and now, following the unions’ successful negotiations, is set to go into production in the UK.
Ahead of production starting up, Emmy-nominated actor Patel told The Standard that he’s eager to get working on the hotly-anticipated project again, describing his time filming the pilot as “the best”.
“I'm excited to get back to shooting the series,” he told us. “We shot the pilot earlier this year before the strike, and I had the best time.
“So, I'm really, really glad that it's been picked up and that soon enough we get to get going on that again.”
Between The Franchise, his starring roles in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and sci-fi comedy, Don’t Look Up, it seems as though the 33-year-old is drawn to projects heavy in satire. So, what is it about the genre that calls to him?
“I’ve always loved comedy,” he said. “And I've always loved comedy as a way to examine the absurdities of our existence in various ways. It's something that I've always enjoyed.
“So of course, when I'm lucky enough to have those scripts, across my table, they sort of naturally sing to me. I've been very lucky that I've had some nice projects of that ilk, sort of come my way.
“And I think the genre in general is a really good way to tackle specific topics, be it through horror, or be it through comedy, satire, that sort of thing. I think it can wrong foot people, they think they're going in with one thing, and they come out with something else. It's something that I love being a part of.”
Since his cinematic debut in Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, Patel has enjoyed much success on the big screen starring alongside Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence in Don’t Look Up, and opposite John David Washington in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.
So, what has he learned, if anything, from those Hollywood stars and their process? The British star said their “generosity” on set.
He reflected: “When you have someone like Jennifer [Lawrence], and John David [Washington], who are leading a huge project, to see how they lead it, in those examples, they lead through hard work.
“You could tell, especially John David [Washington], I knew kind of the hard work that he was putting into that role, physically, not to mention everything else.
“And with Jennifer [Lawrence], I was just kind of terrified during the pandemic, making this movie, working with actors I'd admired for a long time - and she was really lovely, and kind of generous, you know, and I think that's a really great marker of a star.”
Patel spoke with us as he joined fellow actors Daisy Edgar-Jones and á¹¢opé Dìrísù as well as industry leaders to select the EE Rising Star Award shortlist for the 2024 EE Bafta Film Awards.
“It's an honour really to be asked, you know. The BAFTA Awards are sort of have a huge part of the cultural year and something that I've always loved watching from when I was a kid,” he said of being asked to select this year’s shortlist.
“And especially this award, obviously, is a really special one. So, it's nice to be involved.”
And what is Patel looking out for among the longlist of candidates? “We're looking out for exceptional talent, obviously, needless to say, and exciting talent that you can imagine breaking further boundaries."
Himesh Patel joined a jury of industry experts to decide the five nominees for the EE Rising Star Award 2024. The shortlist will be announced on January 10, 2024 – at which point the public vote will open at ee.co.uk/BAFTA.