For Jack Roth, getting into the family business was inevitable. “I was never going to be an office worker. There was just no way. Otherwise I really would have been the black sheep of the family,” says Roth, whose mother is an editor, grandmother an artist, and his father, of course most notably, actor Tim Roth. “I think the greatest thing my father ever did was leave me alone. I could have sunk and he would have let it happen because you have to earn it, you gotta prove that you want it, especially if you’re the son of an actor. You almost have to do it twice as hard.”
As luck would have it, both father and son have projects at SXSW. The elder appears in the “Twin Peaks” reboot, while the younger Roth premiered his morally ambiguous thriller, “Us and Them” in the event’s Narrative Spotlight section. “I thought this was going to be a very niche project, very British, and the audience here loves it, and that was really exciting,” enthuses Roth.
SET LIFE: “I was raised on sets. Sometimes that’s the only way you can see an actor father, while they’re working,” says Roth, who counts his experience on the set of “Reservoir Dogs” as one of his favorites. “I was even in the background of a shot,” he brags. “My dad used to just like having me around. It was really sweet.”
BIG BREAK: After paying his dues with five years of “unpaid theater” in England, including playing the lead in “Clockwork Orange,” which landed him an agent, he scored roles on two television miniseries: “Great Expectations” and “The Great Train Robbery.” “I did anything with ‘great’ in it. It seemed to be a theme.”
METHOD MAN: To get into his “Us and Them” character, a working-class Brit who invades the home of a wealthy one-percenter, Roth went full-on method. “I lived at the house on set because I didn’t want to go home,” reveals Roth. “I kind of isolated myself on purpose. I created that feeling like it was ‘Us and Them’ and I’m battling everyone.”
MODEL PERKS: “Since I’ve been around my girlfriend, I’ve started to look a little better. I can’t stand next to her looking like Gollum,” Roth says of dating “stunning” model Emma Appleton. The two appeared in ads for The Kooples. “My whole career is not looking at the camera and then someone asks me to and I don’t know what to do,” says Roth.
SIDE GIG: Roth sings and plays guitar in his “Jack White-y” band, currently playing under the name Subject to Change. “It’s like the Blues Brothers where one’s in a funk band over here, one’s a waiter, and I’m like, ‘We’ve got to get the band back together,’ and we do, and then I get a job.”
UP NEXT: Roth completely transforms himself to play a Druid in the upcoming Amazon television series, “Britannia.” “It’s kind of a ‘Game of Thrones’ thing,” says Roth. “Rather than us looking like a bunch of Gandalfs, they made [us] look really weird and tribal,” adds the Londoner.