Luke Baines @lukebaines
Photography by Maxwell Poth @maxwellpoth
Grooming by Keon Cruz @keeocruz
Styled by Alexander Shea @alexandersherastyle
Interview by Ashira Provost @_ashiraprovost
What originally inspired you to take on an acting career?
To be honest, it’s not something I ever felt like I had choice with. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to perform and tell stories. My first grade report card said something like, “Luke is the class clown. He’ll do anything for a reaction.” I guess I never grew out of that.
What are you proud of?
I think I’m most proud of my friendships. My friends are the most important thing in my life, and it takes a lot of effort and time to keep those relationships strong, especially when a lot of my friends live in different cities or countries. I think a lot of people, specifically in my generation, think that people are disposable. That if something’s not working, or it’s not easy, you move on. But some of my best and strongest relationships are with people I’ve had ups and downs with over the years. There’s a deeper level of trust and connection that happens when you work through conflict, and from that comes a deeper understanding for each other’s needs.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
In my work, I’d say I’m most influenced by the people around me. By the every day connections I have. In terms of other artists, I’m inspired by people like Giovanni Ribisi and Sam Rockwell, Anthony Hopkins and Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchet and Sarah Paulson, Ellen Pompeo and Claire Danes.
Do you have anyone you admire and would love to work with in the future?
How long do you have? Xavier Dolan, Lynne Ramsay, Ari Aster, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrea Arnold…
What were the biggest struggles you had to face to get to where you are?
Rejection. So. Much. Rejection… and not just from jobs I didn’t get, but from casting directors who refused to see me. Agents who refused to sign me. Producers who didn’t want to book me. It can be such a brutal industry and for someone like me, who doesn’t have the thickest skin, it can be incredibly tough.
You’ve modelled, worked in theatre and in film. Are there any transferable skills that you have gained throughout your career that can be applied to all three?"
It’s rarely ever about you. Even when it feels so deeply personal, it’s rarely ever actually about you. Just because you didn’t get the job doesn’t mean you’re a terrible actor. It’s most likely something completely ridiculous like a producer “couldn’t concentrate on what (you) were saying because (your) top lip is too thin.” - something I heard a producer say in a casting meeting once about an actress.
How do you stay in shape?
It depends on what I have going on. Some projects require me to bulk up like I had to for The Girl In The Photographs which means heavy weight training, others require me to be more athletic, like Shadowhunters which means boxing and cardio. Personally, if I had my way I wouldn’t do anything and be the size of a house.
What do you do with your free time?
Um. Try not to go insane?
Do you wanna do any directing or producing in the future?
Absolutely. But I figure I should nail one career before I start searching out others.
Tell us about your character on the freeform series Shadowhunters?
Jonathan is an extremely complicated individual. And yes, that’s a euphemism. Even if you just look at him from a purely physical perspective, he’s part angel, part demon, part human - that’s a lot of parts, and they all very much inform who he is. I’d say Jonathan’s biggest battle is trying to control which side of him he lets win.
Are you and your character alike in anyway?
Discounting the murder, mayhem and manipulation, yes. I understand what it’s like to have different impulses you’d rather suppress, or parts of yourself that you wish didn’t exist. I think that’s part of the human condition, and with Jonathan, that feeling is completely on overdrive.
What was it like auditioning?
It was rather quick. I did one audition and the producers booked me from the tape. I remember reading the character description, which said something like “beneath his charm and undeniable sex appeal lies a profound darkness and enigmatic past,” and thought there was absolutely no way I was booking it, so didn’t really think much of it. Two days later I got a call saying I’d booked it... I assume the producers decided to go in a different direction.
How was it meeting and working with the cast?
It was strange. When I started, they were well into their third season so in a lot of ways I felt like the new kid at school, which for someone who’s not the most extroverted, was overwhelming. Plus the fact that I was literally the new kid, essentially replacing another actor who the rest of the cast loved, added another layer of anxiety, but the work itself was a dream come true. To play a character that is so layered and complex, is all I’ve ever wanted to do.
What are your goals for 2019
To be happy. More days than I’m not.