You might already know English actor Jay Lycurgo from the HBO Max hit Titans, but this up-and-coming actor really came onto our radar with Netflix’s The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself which left many of us hanging even with only one season. There is something raw and authentic about Jay, multidimensional, that comes across on and off the screen. We got the chance to meet up with Jay as he was captured by Joshua Hammaren and styled by Chalisa Guerrero in this Fuck Young! Exclusive.

What were you like as a child and when did acting enter your life?

As a child, I think I was very impulsive and I was a class clown, academics wasn’t really for me. Maybe if I’d put my head down and enjoyed it would’ve been a bit different. As a kid, I feel like a lot of my teachers didn’t have a lot of hope for me. I think I’m a person if it’s something that I’m really into and passionate about then the work ethic comes out. I think acting was always a fun activity in school, I would be in class, it was something to do, you have to get up and get on your feet and mess about if there was ever an improv, you’re trying to make the person next to you laugh, it was a time to be silly. I was quite a natural at that.

There were always the class activities when you had to devise a more emotional piece, there was probably something natural that would come out there that I would express myself. I don’t think I had the mind yet to realize that I was good at it. It wasn’t really until 17 that there was a teacher, Mr. Walsh, that told me I should go for acting, and then that journey began. Going to drama school and then soon after became a professional. But before that, it was just a lot of messing around but I guess it enter my life when I was 11 years old, when we did a production of ‘Wizard of Oz’. I just knew I had to go for the scarecrow, I loved it, I loved being on stage. I was always acting as a child by making videos in my garden or role-playing with action figures I think I was always enjoying getting lost in an imaginary world.

Do you have a preference for projects or is it all about the script and production team?

I think as you educate yourself more, in the industry it does become a lot more specific, I know a lot more now than I did 3 years ago when I got my first professional job, at the beginning, it very much is getting your first gig which was ‘Doctors’ with Carolina Giammetta and she directed it. If I’m honest I was very naïve, I just wanted to be on set and act and not care who was behind the camera. I had this new hunger I was just ready to be out in the world and show people what I can do. It was an incredible accomplishment doing ‘Doctors, getting your first job when you’ve been stuck in that drama school bubble for 3 years it was just really incredible getting that job, I was so proud. Now it becomes more specific I’ve done a lot of TV now, so I do want to talk to a creative who has the writing ability or the directing ability that we could collaborate on a project that we both benefit from.

When you meet people like Colm McCarthy and Debs Paterson, Rachna Suri All of those directors of ‘Half Bad’, you start to work out who you get along with. All of them have their special thing, and then you think ok I’ll work with Colm again because he was awesome in the way he articulated scenes, or we just got on well for example. Joe Barton has incredible writing where it feels very human and raw. So I guess that’s what I like more now.

What’s the biggest difference for you going between big and small screens?

Both big and small screens have their challenges I haven’t hugely noticed it yet. When I think back to doing ‘Doctors’ but then also being on a massive set with ‘Titans’ they both have their pressures. I don’t think there’s any hierarchy, it’s your job to be there, be in the moment, and be grounded. Every set is going to be nerve-racking and every character is different so it’s always going to have its challenges so be in the moment and just perform.

I have to admit, I have problems interviewing actors because I like to keep their personalities separate from the characters that we believe in on screen. With that note, is it important that you identify with your character?

One hundred percent identifying with your characters is very important. How are you supposed you supposed to play and make it a real human performance if you don’t identify with them? I think with Nathan, I know he’s a really sweet boy who’s very cheeky and humorous so I kind of got that from my personality. I feel like I’m still at that point in my career where I play a lot of characters that have a lot of similarities to me. In the moments where you can’t find what’s similar you have to dig deeper and then it gets to a point where you’re being very vulnerable with yourself. You may be opening things about yourself you didn’t want to, but you have to kind of put everything into that scene for that day. You need to shove yourself into these characters, especially with Nathan he’s such an isolated and lonely boy who doesn’t have any parents it’s devastating what he’s been through and what he’s going through. So there’s a similarity in that you’ve got to think about the times you were alone and isolated and hopefully, you can make it as raw as possible when you go to those darker areas of yourself.

What drew me to the character of Nathan?

I think originally it was the script as a whole, I was just drawn to the script and the concept. I just hadn’t seen a fantasy show that was human and raw like we did on ‘Half Bad’ and that was exciting. It was reading the script for the first time, you just get lost in that imaginary world and you’re so locked into the cliffhangers or the huge shifts with characters, I think that’s always a good sign. I guess I like vulnerable characters, I think it’s finding the vulnerability in every character is exciting to me. Then you can make it real and there’s huge insecurity with every character you play. I felt like Nathan had this lost vulnerable feel to him. I just really wanted to find out why that is and why he has so many walls up. Nathan is a very layered character, we get fortunate as actors when we get these characters that feel human and that was going to be exciting to get lost in all that.

Which of your characters has had the strongest influence on you?

Nathan Byrne was a huge influence on me just because of how challenging it was to play him. There were just loads of moments on set, we shot for 6 months, and there were just loads of days where I just really was exhausted it was just an incredible challenge to get thrown into. I think I pushed myself, Nathan made me push myself to my limit and I didn’t even know it was going to happen. I knew all the things that were happening in Scotland where I’d get locked in the cage and I had to do all the running all the press-ups. I remember doing that episode and how emotional I felt during that week. It was just lonely at times and you had to keep yourself in this emotional place, especially at the beginning of the season. I think influenced me a lot because he is just an incredible character, I think he’s been through so much but at the same time he’s able to keep a smile on his face and he’s still curious about the people around him and he wants to learn more. I just think he is a bass ass.

On a different note, do you ever create soundtracks or keep diaries for your character? What would we find on Nathan’s mixtape?

I have in the past, I like erratic sounds tracks for Nathan. We had a great soundtrack for ‘Half Bad’. But we had the original soundtrack but I remember during the audition process Colm McCarthy one of the directors of the show, created a ‘Half Bad’ soundtrack and It was amazing. I loved it so much, I used that a lot of the time and listened to it a lot on set.

I’ve also got ones I listen to for Nathan, a really good song by The Rapture called Echos. It was the ‘misfits’ theme song but I love it so much because it has a lot of adrenaline in it, I feel like Nathan has a lot of adrenaline and needs to control it. So I use that soundtrack to imagine what’s going on in his head and he has to control all that emotion and all the intensity and it was really fun to do before scenes sometimes. So that would defiantly be on Nathan’s soundtrack. There are also really sad songs that you listen to, to get you into it, surprisingly Harry Styles ‘Sweet Creature’ is cute.

Now you are doing lots of press for the series, when doing these press tours, has your style evolved over the years?

Fashion and style are really important to me. I was talking to a friend about it today, it shows someone’s authenticity and shows their personality. I think it’s really important to me anyway. Of course, it’s evolved, when I look back at photos of when I was a teenager everyone was wearing brown chinos and vans. I still think, in my opinion, the mid-2000s to early 2010s was the worst time for fashion ever. It was going crazy. It’s always evolving I feel like the way I dress now is great but in two years, I might look back and be like what trends were going on. Trends are forever evolving, and I have incredible people in my life that taught me about fashion, I recently worked with a stylist, Emily Tighe and she is so incredible and fully understands how I dress. I like to look at a lot of people in the streets, people watching to see how people dress. So there’s a lot of inspiration around you. I feel like there’s a lot of inspiration around me that always keeps me curious about fashion and I’m super excited to learn more because it’s something I’m quite passionate about.

You have been busy these days! What’s something wish you had more time to do?

The funny thing is with acting, for the last 2 years, I’ve just been doing ‘Titans’, ‘Half Bad’ and then ‘Titans’ again. This is the first time I’ve been relaxing I’ve just picked up the guitar for the first time. I’m a huge fan of the Beatles. I’ve got my guitar now, I’m learning it and getting better at it. I’m trying to cram it in, the guitar is one of the things I’m working on I’ll keep you updated, I’ve got an awful version of happy birthday. We’re getting there but it is nice, the lifestyle of acting is you work a lot, and then all of a sudden you have nothing to do for the next 2 months. So I’m doing everything I can now with seeing friends, watching some tv shows and catching up on films. Now I’ve finally got my rest it’s all good.

What are you looking forward to now?

Titans part 2 is coming out next year and I’m excited for people to see that, I play Tim Drake in the show, he’s a really funny kid but he needs a lot of growing up to do. I think this season people get to see everything that he’s worked for, hopefully, come into place with his trusting Bo Staff. I’m looking forward to everyone watching the show. It’s all about more people seeing it and what comes of the show because it’s so amazing. I have a soft spot for it. It feels like a baby, giving it to the world now just seeing what happens and letting it blossom. It’s a really exciting time and thing to be a part of.

Photographer Joshua Hammaren @joshworldpeace
Stylist Chalisa Guerrero @chalisaguerrerostylist
HMUA Luca Chirico @lucachirico_hmua
Assistant Louis @louvineee
Brands: Gant, Scotch & Soda, Palladium, Rat Betty, Ben Sherman, R.M Williams, Thomas Sabo, Miphologia, Hugo Boss, Letoit, Crocs, Mi Manera