Forget the room where it happens. The real action goes down in the room before it happens.
British photographer Simon Annand has been taking pictures of actors onstage in London for more than 30 years, but his latest book, “Time To Act,” focuses on those mysterious moments before the curtain goes up. A-listers such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett let Annand into their private backstage domains to witness their pre-show rituals.
“They do trust me,” Annand told The Post. “The very famous ones have been photographed many times and they can second guess the motives of the photographer.
He even photographed an early-career Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who’s on the book’s cover, in 2009. “It was probably three or four years before she had even conceived of, let alone written ‘Fleabag,’” he said. “It was evident to me that she was far too bright to hang around waiting to be hired like a normal actor.”
It’s that kind of drive that inspires him.
“For me, it is literally to show the discipline, skill and focus required of performing live repeatedly eight times a week. And to show that the actors who choose to take on that challenge are not just vacant celebrities,” Anand added. “They really do want the challenge.”
When Harington starred in “True West” in 2018, he was one of the most famous actors in the world thanks to “Game of Thrones.” Returning to the West End, where he had appeared in “War Horse” a decade earlier, let him briefly escape the media spotlight for less-blinding stage lights.
“He told me he just got married to [”GoT” co-star] Rose Leslie,” Annand said. “So there was a lot going on in his life at that point.”
But Harington, now 33, had a serenity Annand didn’t remember from when the actor was 20. “He was concentrating more than I have seen him do in the past because of the weight of the responsibility,” the photographer said of Harington’s commitment to the Sam Shepard play. [Source]