Modeling slick suits in the January issue of GQ, O’Connell reveals his childhood nickname was “Jack the lad,” with an impish reputation to match.
But now, with his full slate of films and award-season campaigning, he’s more content in his garden.
“I’m not trying to have the most fun I’ve ever had ever, anymore, you know? That used to be the mentality every time I left the house,” he said.
“But things are going the way I want now. I’ve got my plants on my roof terrace, and I like watering them. I’m quite boring,” he said.
Don’t plan the British actor’s early retirement just yet. The day O’Connell shot the fashion spread, the mag’s journalist noted his “groggy speech” and asked if Jack had done anything else but water his plants the night before.
“Well, I’m not going to pretend I had an early night last night, either!” he said.
Wild nights likely have a new meaning for O’Connell, given the physical extremes he underwent to play Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini. His director, Jolie, even felt remorse for the conditions they endured on set.
“All the boys had to starve — even the extras –and we’d have days when there were 200 young men just standing in the heat,” she said. “The mother in me wanted to stop and put everyone under a tent and give them water and just call it a day. The other side of me had to do my job and push it forward.”
O’Connell, however, has been rewarded handsomely for his sacrifice. His portrayal of Zamperini landed him a breakthrough performance award from the National Board of Review.
“Unbroken” hits theaters on Christmas Day.