Caleb Landry Jones
It’s hard not to fall in love with actor Caleb Landry Jones. His personality is a combination of southern gentleman and firecracker. Yet even deeper still lies the heart of a philosopher. The actor has been gradually rising up to star status through his roles in the critically acclaimed film Get Out, television series Twin Peaks, and indie hit Florida Project.
As we spoke, his newest film 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri had just been released.
Caleb’s nuanced portrayal quickly reveals the heart of the movie, which is already generating award season buzz. Here I speak to Caleb about acting, using fear as a motivator, and tapping into its reverse, love.
Kristina: What started your love affair with acting?
Caleb: In high school joining the theater allowed me to be on stage and I remember it was the first time I was able just to scream. It was the first time I was allowed to feel since I had been suppressing emotions for most of my life. And so it became a great way to express myself completely. It showed me how to have the feelings I was not able to show all the time and that was a positive experience for me.
So you draw on personal experiences in your performances?
I don’t see how you can’t. If you lose a loved one, no matter what that will change you. That pain, or whatever it is you’re feeling it has an effect on a person. I don't see how in any creative work how that wouldn’t enter into it. I believe everything happens for a reason. I think just keeping your heart open and the eyes open is key.
Staying receptive right?
Staying awake and not allowing fear to close you off from anything but rather fear can kind of catapult you through to something else you know? I’m usually drawn to the roles that scare the shit out of me (laughs). That I know I can do in my heart but don't know how I might pull it off. I just believe that I can.
Using that fear to push you through even further than you would have gone before. So it seems that all these things are necessary even though they can be seen as a negative. Negative things like fear and pain these are all things that I think, especially today, we’re having a harder time working through. You know? Just because the pace of life I guess is fast and very materialistic. It’s based on quick fixes. And the result is that a lot of us don't know how to process the emotions publicly or privately.
What’s your opinion on love? Do you think it can change the world?
I think with love there are a lot of misconceptions. You’ve got The Beatles “All you need is love”, that’s one kind of love. You’ve got free love. You’ve got the selfish love where we say love but we don't mean it. So I feel like love is thrown around a lot. I know I throw it around a lot and I feel that’s because I’ve got so much of it and I feel the need to say it to a lot of people.
Love’s a funny one. You can’t love anyone if you don’t love yourself first.
When you say love can change the world it makes me think of a plastic love.
Like marketing love?
Yeah like Coca Cola.
We have to first learn to love ourselves and heal ourselves. And then we can truly do great work but to do that you have to do great work within yourself. I don't think love is anything that comes from the sky. One has to keep looking inside for love.
We’ve created so many distractions and we don't want anyone to be upset. It’s like being trapped in the city forever and only going from one city to another and not seeing that a waterfall is ten miles outside the city.
Have you had any acting experiences that helped you tap into the emotion of love?
There’s a performance I did last year we all went into the woods for a week before filming. That week I really figured out what my whole role in the film was. For me it was this ability to love and acknowledge that I have love. That I’m not terrible or bad but that I have so much love to give.
I found with the character everything he was struggling with came down to the fact that he had this love to give and he doesn’t know how to give it. He doesn't know what it is and yet it is coming at him from all angles. It’s seeping out all orifices. It’s seeping up like sweat.
But this can only happen when you truly love and see something inside of you that you both want to bring out and show because you think it could help. Be something positive.
You play a very positive character in the film 3 Billboards.
Oh man I can’t even believe I’m in that one. It’s incredible!
There’s a particular scene involving orange juice and Sam Rockwell’s character and you are very much a symbol of love and forgiveness in that moment. How did that feel to you?
I remember when I got to that part in the script I thought no way! And for our character’s to be able to confront each other and then for him to show some kind of sign of love, even though it's so small, I can’t believe I got to do that and got to be that part of the puzzle. Every character has so many facets in that film you are forced to look at them several times over.
Do you remember your first love?
Oh yeah! At the same time I’m still having trouble defining love. Where it lies between infatuation and obsession. I’ll never forget my first kiss. I’ll never forget my first heartbreak. Those things take forever to forget.
After your first heartbreak do you think it’s harder to love again?
It feels like it’s impossible. It feels like nothing will ever feel that way again. But it is the end of something and the beginning of something else. It seems like time doesn't really do much but in time, slowly, you pick up your head and try and crawl back to walking until you come to a place where you can meet another person. I just know if you’re not in that place you won’t be awake to it.
Timing is everything in love.
At the same time if you’re open and you’re not thinking you might miss it too.
Yeah but once you get your heart broken loving again always feel impossible.
I have to say every time I’ve fallen in love I’ve fallen head over heels. And then it hurts so much because at the beginning I’m like full speed go and then I hit that wall of love.
Photographer: Dennis Golonka
Stylist: Romina Herrera Malatesta
Interview: Kristina Hamner
Grooming: Nate Rosenkranz -
Honey-Artists using YSL Beauté
Set Designer: Teri Cotruzzola
Digital Tech: Shane Lavancher
Photo Assistant: Niki Asti
Stylist Assistants: Kristina Hamner & Haley Wells
Special Thanks: Yasuyo Hibino @ N. Hoolywood
Mari Fujiuchi & Julian Spencer @ Sacai
This is a Special preview from our UPCOMING issue now available for pre-order.
Contributing artists: Alessandro Dal Buoni, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Kristina Hamner, Ben Sturgill, Enrique Badulescu, Romina Herrera Malatesta, Fabio Paparelli, Hao Zeng, Jared Buckhiester, Julius Poole, Laurel Nakadate, Alex Freund, Chris Kramer, Cornelius, Luis Venegas, Dennis Golonka, Daniel Jack Lyons, Jack Pierson, Roberta Hanley, Nino Munoz, Slater Bradley, Matt Lambert, Sheila Metzner, Wanda Orme, and David West.