To celebrate World Whisky Day (and who doesn’t want to do that!) we checked in with one very stylish scotch connoisseur—Jude Law. (For those not keeping track WWD is officially May 21–unofficially. it’s most any day of he year.) The Oscar-nominated actor, well known for such iconic movies as The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain (watch for him in the June release Genius, where he plays the writer Thomas Wolfe), is a Johnnie Walker Blue Label ambassador, who gained a lot of buzz recently for the two short films he made on behalf of the brand with the inimitable Giancarlo Giannini (Swept Away). In these stylishly crafted film ads, called The Gentleman’s Wager and directed by Jake Scott of Ridley Scott productions, Law and Giannini bet their boats, yachts, and houses in search of new, one-of-a-kind experiences. Here Law tells us about his own rare experiences, a most memorable whisky drinking moment, and a recent passionate cause.
Why did you decide on this particular brand ambassadorship?
When partnering with Johnnie Walker I wanted to have a relationship that would involve more than just being the ‘face of,’ or the waving celeb. Working with the director Jake Scott and Giancarlo Giannini was a really collaborative and creative experience and we were allowed to do what we do well, that is to tell stories, all inspired by the legacy of the brand. We created this fantasy world of two gents who bet their boats and mansions in search of rare experiences.
The Gentleman Wager films, in comparison to full-length feature movies, are like short stories. Did you find yourself having to act in a different way?
My approach to doing a short film is the same as for a feature-length film–that is to find the heart of the story, what we are trying to say, the truth. Of course, with a short film you need to distill all that to its essence becauseI you have less time.
Both films deal with the quest for rare experiences, the type that money can’t buy, which seems to be a passion today across age groups. What are some rare experiences you’ve had, and what’s on your bucket list of things you’d like to do?
It’s a very rare experience to be able to get away from everyone and everything. Sometimes I’ll go climbing or camping over a long weekend with an old friend. We’ve been out to Joshua Tree and have gone camping in upstate New York. Watching my kids grow and seeing things through their eyes is a wonderful, rare experience. I just finished a job that had me away from home for a long period, so I took some time off. Lying on a sofa and reading a book without having to do anything was a really rare experience
As with the character you play in The Gentleman’s Wager, did you ever make a bet on something you didn’t want to lose?
I haven’t really, no. I don’t make wagers. I’m too cautious.
How much driving did you do in the second Gentleman’s Wager? Those were some pretty narrow roads in Italy and France!
I did as much as I was allowed, at the beginning and end of the film. We were shooting just before the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo last year and the bleachers were set up at the finish line, so driving in there was quite a thrill.
When did you first drink Scotch?
In my early 30s. I drink it neat with no ice and really enjoy the flavors. It’s not a drink to hurry. What I like about it is the experience, where everyone talks about what they’re tasting, smelling and feeling. It’s a drink that allows you to take a sidestep and relish.
What was your most memorable Scotch drinking moment?
When I was in an Agatha Christie play in London in 2014. My character talked about drinking whisky throughout the play, so every night when we finished the other actors and I would go to a little bar and I’d have a Johnnie Walker Blue Label. It was most enjoyable after spending hours talking about whisky to finally sit and have some. We started a sea shanty group at the bar and performed a couple of times, which was probably informed by the whisky drinking!
Since this interview is for Haute Living New York—how often do you get to to the city?
I come to as often as I can, two to four times a year, even if it’s just for a long weekend.
The Gentleman’s Wager films have great style. Where do you like to shop when in New York?
I go to Atelier on the West Side a lot, for labels like Guidi, Dsquared, and Ann Demulemeester.
Tell us about your recent charity work—we read you were working to call attention to the plight of migrant workers in Calais.
There was a lot of coverage in the UK about the building numbers of migrants in Calais and Dunkirk. The media were having a field day, either complaining about, or deploring, the situation. I was curious to go and see for myself. I had a friend who runs Help Refugees, and another who is a lawyer for Citizens UK. I went over a couple of times and thought the best thing I could do to raise awareness was by doing an event–there was a stage at the camp– to help bring people together for a sense of community, and draw media attention. Some 400 to 500 kids were running around camp without adult supervision, being denied access to the UK, even though many had family there. Maybe it had some effect. I just heard that David Cameron announced in the House of Commons there will be more access. But all that came about because of the really hard work of Help Refugees and Citizens UK.