Joe Locke, the 19-year-old sensation from Isle of Man, certainly captures the essence of coming-of-age, not just for his charismatic role as Charlie Spring in the global sensation “Heartstopper” but in his own life’s tapestry as well.
Seated comfortably in his recent living space, the genuine excitement and childlike amazement haven’t escaped Locke, even after his meteoric rise to stardom. With a jest, he recalls, “I feel like a real adult today,” possibly reminiscing about the myriad life adjustments he’s had to make in such a short span of time.
“Heartstopper,” Netflix‘s gem, stands tall as a beacon of hope and optimism in the LGBTQ+ narrative. Locke’s portrayal of Charlie, a young gay student navigating love, life, and high school, resonates with millions. Adapted from Alice Oseman’s Tumblr-originated graphic novel, the show quickly became a must-watch, racking up 53 million hours within its first month, and an astounding 10 billion views on its signature hashtag.
But fame, as they say, is a double-edged sword. Locke’s transition from an ordinary high school student to a face everyone recognized, almost overnight, was a paradigm shift. Reflecting on the frenzy post the show’s release, Locke mentions, “My whole life changed like that. It was a very strange but amazing experience.”
Locke’s attempt to normalize back into high school life after the show’s success is both humorous and humbling. With jet lag, fatigue, and exhilaration colliding, he acknowledges the initial inability to decline offers, attending events, and being enveloped by the charm of newfound fame. But wisdom quickly dawned on this young actor. Nowadays, he’s learned the precious art of staying grounded amidst the swirl of stardom.
Fan theories, speculations, and the pressure to live up to the colossal expectations have become a routine part of Locke’s life. Yet, with wisdom beyond his years, he shares, “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that you can’t ever do everything right.” A sentiment resonating with artists globally, Locke’s humility shines through, acknowledging the challenge of detaching personal investment from a role, especially one as close to the heart as Charlie.
Season two of “Heartstopper” promises a deeper delve into themes that are relevant and essential. The nuanced portrayal of disordered eating and mental health promises to add another layer to the show’s already rich tapestry. Locke, ever passionate about his craft, speaks warmly of his co-star Kit Connor, emphasizing their bond, both on and off-screen.
Taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane, Locke recollects his first tryst with acting. The stage of a theatre at age 10, playing Lord Farquaad’s father in Shrek the Musical, albeit with a single line. But dreams have a way of coming true, especially for those with grit and passion. Locke’s forthcoming role in the Marvel’s WandaVision spin-off, “Agatha: Coven of Chaos,” has him bubbling with barely concealed excitement. Filming alongside stalwarts like Patti LuPone, Kathryn Hahn, and the ever-entertaining Aubrey Plaza, Locke’s journey has been nothing short of a fairy tale.
Locke’s adventures filming “Heartstopper” season 2 in Paris sound straight out of a cinematic experience – frenzied shoots at iconic landmarks and unforgettable moments with an impeccable Olivia Colman, who graces the screen as Connor’s onscreen mother.
However, fame brings with it its set of challenges. Privacy invasion, incessant fan messages, and the unintended scrutiny on his close circle became overwhelming for Locke post the release of the show’s first season. With grace, he has navigated these challenges, drawing boundaries to protect his personal space while cherishing the overwhelming support.
As our journey with Joe Locke concludes, a whiff of potential future seasons of “Heartstopper” teases the horizon. Locke leaves us with a cryptic, playful hint, “Who knows—we might get four, five, six, seven seasons until Nick and Charlie have children,” setting the stage for endless possibilities.
To witness Joe Locke’s transformation, from a stage in Isle of Man to the global arena, is to see the embodiment of dreams, determination, and destiny intertwined. One can’t help but eagerly anticipate the further brilliance this young actor is destined to bring to our screens.
Click on this link to read this article in French version