Thinking Outside the Box: Actor Joseph Pharoah Talks Success and Motivation
With its fierce competition and a bevy of larger-than-life personalities, the entertainment industry can be a tough place to cast a large shadow. Joseph Pharoah, however, is a towering figure in the world of acting, both literally and figuratively. With a career spanning over a decade, he has worked on some of the biggest stages and sets in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, Pharoah is a self-taught street dancer who earned a Master’s degree at one of the UK’s top drama schools, worked on a Netflix series, and performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. With such an intriguing resume and a wide assortment of skills, the talented actor is primed for a long and noteworthy career.
Pharoah’s physicality has been an advantage in his career. “Being my size means I’m hitting more of a niche physically within the market, but being more diverse with my acting capabilities from what I learned at drama school generates even more interest from potential casting directors regarding the roles I could play.” He adds that his ability to take on diverse roles has made him stand out in a competitive industry.
A case in point was his recent work on the upcoming Netflix series One Day. Pharoah played the role of Andy and worked his scenes alongside the lead Leo Woodall. Filmed on location in London, Pharoah notes that the atmosphere on set was electric. “Everybody, including all cast and crew, was professional, and the mood was fun, vibrant, and energetic.” He describes Woodall as “obviously a great talent and very hardworking, and his career is going from strength to strength.” Pharoah is excited to see One Day when it’s released in 2024.
Most recently, Pharoah portrayed the role of the main antagonist Mr. Big in the stage performance Funny Money, directed by British sitcom star Ron Aldridge of Only Fools and Horses fame, at the Mill at Sonning Theatre. It ran from September 8th, 2022, to November 5th, 2022, in the village of Sonning, England. He even landed this role without having to audition. Aldridge had done some research on Pharoah to see if he would suit the part, and that he did, as Mr. Big required an actor who could physically portray exactly what the character’s name states, someone “BIG.”
Another part Pharoah is proud of was playing the lead role of “Switch” in the 2021 film The Little Weasel by award-winning director Marco Augelli. The film is only 16 minutes long, but it manages to create an atmospheric, fast-paced, and dynamic piece of storytelling. Beating out 20 other actors for the role of “Switch,” one of two brothers testing their sanity whilst trapped in an underground bunker during the apocalypse, Pharoah says of the film, “I love post-apocalyptic movies, so it was a role I was excited to play. The brothers were from the southern states, which is one of my favorite accents to portray, and the gritty vibe of the film is something that really intrigued me, so I was delighted when I was offered the part.” The Little Weasel was shown at film festivals across the UK, including the renowned Brighton Film Festival.
As with any career, there have been challenges for Pharoah to overcome. “Portraying characters in various situations within different environments can be tough, and connecting with a character and getting under their skin to depict them realistically is difficult,” Pharoah says. He has also had to develop a thick skin regarding the audition process: “Every audition I go to, I gain experience from it. So it’s always a win—whether I’m cast or not.”
Pharoah advises others looking to pursue acting careers to make sure they market themselves accordingly. “You want casting directors to look at you and say, ‘Wow, this person is offering a lot as an actor, so let’s get them in for an audition and see what they can do.'” He stresses the importance of demonstrating diversity by acquiring new skills and perfecting accents. “Learning new practical skills can open more doors to opportunities that otherwise may not exist,” he notes.
Joseph Pharoah’s natural talent and skills have made him a hot commodity within the entertainment industry. He has a wealth of experience and has worked on some of the industry’s biggest stages. Pharoah implores upcoming actors to do everything they can to make—and market—themselves as eclectic, well-rounded professionals capable of wearing multiple hats. His career thus far proves that doing those things can help actors indeed loom large in the entertainment industry.