As an actor, Jack Huston works wonders with just half a face, a gravelly, flat voice and cruel difficulty speaking.
Fortunately, those afflictions aren’t his but instead are borne by Richard Harrow, the tragically disfigured World War I veteran he plays on the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire.
Let the record show that, in a recent interview, the 28-year-old Huston is leading-man handsome, expansive and well-spoken in his native British accent.
But he says Harrow is a character “that is part of me, who affects me to my core. There is something so affecting about how brave and how lost he is.”
Even with limited screen time on the character-packed, actor-rich Boardwalk, Harrow last year had a similarly wrenching effect on viewers, haunting them as a combat-maimed conscience in his post-war America and as the ghoulish psychopath a war creates.
The series returned for its new season yesterday, with Huston upgraded from recurring player to a regular cast member, while his character promises to be even more galvanizing as a figure of both pathos and dread.
“The character took on a life of his own,” says Huston, and, however tormented such a life might be, “that’s nice.”