southwest london

Meet Fionn Whitehead, the Lead of Christopher Nolan’s Highly Anticipated Battle Epic ‘Dunkirk’

Bale. DiCaprio. McConaughey. And now, Fionn Whitehead.

The 19-year-old Brit (whose Irish first name is pronounced “Finn”) joins elite ranks as the lead actor in a Christopher Nolan joint, headlining the acclaimed filmmaker’s upcoming ensemble war, Dunkirk.

At this point Whitehead doesn’t have clearance to say anything about his character, Tommy. But if you happened to catch the intense seven-minute tease Warner Bros. unspooled on Imax screens in front of Rogue One, you’ll recognize him as one of the two poor chaps charged with hauling a stretcher over a decimated dock as enemy warplanes whiz by overhead. (While plot details on the film are also scant, we have WWII history to tell us the film is about the 1940 rescue of Allied soldiers cornered by the German army on a French beach.)

“It’s a suspense thriller,” Whitehead told Yahoo Movies. “It takes you there and you see this world through my character’s eyes and ears. And it kind of explores what it would’ve been like to be there at that time, on sea, land, and air. It’s all about survival, and the human urge to survive.” Whitehead was in Los Angeles this week where we got to know the fresh-faced star of Nolan’s fiercely intense-looking battle film. Here’s what we learned:

Dunkirk will mark Whitehead’s movie debut. The actor, who grew up in an artistic household (his dad is jazz musician Tim Whitehead) on the southwest edge of London in Richmond, performed on stage at the National Youth Theatre and Orange Tree Theatre, and was in the process of applying to drama school when he booked the lead role in Him, a three-part U.K. miniseries about a teen with supernatural powers. The casting director for Him referred Whitehead to agent Sophie Holden, who put him in contention for Dunkirk.

His hair almost got in the way of his dream role. Whitehead auditioned for Dunkirk over an extensive three-month period, with Nolan present at every tryout after the first. “For Him, they made me grow my hair out, and then they’d straighten it out every day because I’ve got quite curly hair when it grows out,” Whitehead explained. “And I remember turning up to do one of these auditions and I had this straight long hair, it just looked so ridiculous. And they’re like, ‘Um, Chris has asked if you could push your hair out of your face this audition.’ So they gave me a tub of wax and I’m slicking my hair out of my face in this ridiculous fashion.”

He was put through the ringer before production even started. “I was quite scrawny when I started out, so they saw that and realized that they might injure me in the whole process of shooting,” Whitehead laughed. So the upstart was dispatched to Dunkirk (where the majority of filming would be completed on location) two weeks early to work with the stunt team. Along with costars Harry Styles and Aneurin Barnard, Whitehead was put through a boot camp of sorts. “I did a lot of circuit training, did a little bit of boxing, did some weapons training. Then I went to the beaches and I was swimming in full war gear, which once it got waterlogged was about 60, 80 pounds. Running up the beach with stretchers with weighted dummies on them. It was quite a lot.”

Speaking of Mr. Styles… The One Direction singer also makes his film debut in Dunkirk, and Whitehead had nothing but props for the pop star-turned-actor. “He’s a lovely guy. Really hard working. There was no preferential treatment, and he didn’t ask for any. He was just a great asset to the team, one of the crew, no differentiation.”

The grueling shoot put things in perspective for the young actors. “Physically it was quite demanding,” Whitehead said of the five-month production. “So the toughest part was just keeping the energy up. Every night, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out… But that made it easier to step into the shoes of these people, knowing what they had to deal with and how they kept going.” Despite somber subject material, the cast tried to keep things light by riding bikes around set and playing the occasional game of rugby. They also learned quickly, though, not to pull any woe-is-me moves. “Any time any of us complained, somebody would say, ‘Well, at least you’re not actually there.’ And then everyone would feel so guilty and be like, ‘Oh yeah, sorry. I’m just going to crawl into a hole.'”

Whitehead abstained from fanning out over Nolan. Make no mistake, the actor was over the moon to work with the director of Memento, the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar. “He’s so present as a director,” Whitehead said. “He’s behind every shot and he creates this family-like vibe on set which really puts you at ease. It’s a very collaborative environment. I was quite apprehensive going in but that was gone straightaway because you’re in this safe space where you feel comfortable to try different things, and encouraged.” But he made it a point not to geek out over the filmmaker. “Nah, I kept it in,” he said. “I tried to play it cool.”

Stunts & Tumbles: Tom Holland x WOC Reader

Requested: I was wondering if you could write something about reader and Tom doing flips, (reader used to be a cheerleader) she wants Tom to try a stunt with her but he’s worried he’ll drop her and she says “You’re Spider-Man, you won’t drop me” so they try a stunt, with Tom’s mom taking a picture and Harrison saying he would make a great cheerleader. They post the picture on Instagram along with one of the reader’s old high school cheerleading pictures, then continue doing flips again until they’re tired.

It was a nice sunny day in Southwest, London were you watched your boyfriend do flips on his blue bounce mat outside in his backyard. “Why don’t you go out there, Y/N?”

“I don’t feel like it. My stunt days are over.” You said. You used to be a cheerleader for your high school and college team. Honestly you were known a one of best and also the “cutest” cheerleaders. 

You also used to be a flyer which used to terrify you but you loved it nonetheless. You smiled as Tom landed on his ass a couple of times trying to impress you. “Hey babe, watch this.” He shouted. He ran at full speed and did a doble front flip and landed on his feet. You clapped and wrote on the dry erase board. 

“A 6?” He questioned. “Yes, a 6.” You said. “Why?”, “You didn’t put much effort into the landing and your run was a bit off.” You said. 

“Well I don’t see you out here doing it.”, “Is that a challenge Holland?”

“No, it wasn’t. Stay in there.” He said. You shook your head and got up. You were already wearing a pair of your old cheer shorts. You walked outside and stretched. “This isn’t a competition.” He said sitting beside you. “But it can be.” You smiled. 

You called his family out there and told them what was going on. They were all a bit excited to see you shut Tom up. 

“Okay ladies first.” Tom said.  “Okay.” You taunted him and did a simple cartwheel. He tried not to laugh and did a standing front flip. You did another simple flip again until Haz called you out, “Come on Y/N, I know you can do better than that. I’m trying to record so he fans can see.”

“Okay.” You responded. You walked over to Tom and playfully pushed him back a little. “I need some space.” His family laughed and you prepped. 

You began to do a series of non stop flips until you felt yourself getting out of breath and then you landed on your feet, “Go Y/S/M/N!” You said your cheerleader voice. Everyone looked at you in amazement and started clapping. “We have a winner!” Mr. Holland said. 

Tom smiled and gave you a hug, “That was awesome.”, “Oh can we do a stunt?” You asked. 

“Um-”, “Like a cheer stunt. You’re strong enough. You showed him a video and he gulped. “I don’t want you getting hurt. I would feel terrible if I dropped you, I’d never forgive myself.”

“You’ll be fine.” You smiled and walked him threw it. “Okay now let’s do this.”

He dropped you a few times, “Nope, I won’t do it.” He shook his head. “Come on! You almost had it. You’re Spider-man for crying out loud! You can do anything.” You said feeding his ego. He blushed, “I guess.”

“Okay. Ready?” He lifted you up in the air and HAz snapped a few quick pics. “Okay, how do I get you down!” He panicked. “Just ligthly throw me up and catch me.”

“What?”, “Just do it.” His arms began to shake and he let go but he ended up catching you. “Awe good job babe!” You clapped and kissed him on the cheek. 

You two took a look at the video, “You could actually make a good cheerleader.” Haz teased. 

You posted it on Instagram, “People agree with you Haz. He would make a good cheerleader.”

He smiled,”I would only consider it if you were on the team.” He kissed you on the cheek. 

For the next few hours you and Tom spent time flipping with each other and enjoying the day. 


 Homeward Bound, 1851, oil on canvas by Sidney Richard Percy, English, 1821-1886, artist and amateur photographer.  Private Collection.

  Percy was part of the Williams family of painters in the 19th-century. He and other family members formed the core of the Barnes School in southwest London and Percy was recognized as a gifted landscape artist distinguished for color and a sense of space. 

Controlled Explosion Carried Out After Suspicious Vehicles Reported Near US Embassy in London

London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that an incident involving two unattended vehicles near the under-construction US Embassy in southwest London on June 7 was “not terrorism-related.”

The Guardian and other British media outlets reported that a controlled explosion was carried out after police were alerted to the two vehicles.

These pictures show police responding to the alert on Ponton Road in Wandsworth, where the Embassy is being built.

London Cafe With Southern Californian Vibe

Inspired by California beach cafes, London design firm Alexander Waterworth Interiors bring bright colors mixed with pastels exude a Southern Californian vibe in a new deli in Parsons Green, in the heart of southwest London.

Yellow Tolix stools set the beach tone in the main room, where they’re paired with whitewashed bricks and a bar built from limed scaffolding boards. The Carrara marble countertop is framed with wood while raw bentwood chairs have been carefully dip-dyed in pastels to add color throughout the space.

Above: Raw bentwood chairs have been carefully dip-dyed in pastels to add color throughout the space.

Photos by Helen Cathcart

Barnes Farmers' Market

Last Saturday morning we strolled down to our local farmers’ market in Barnes. The main aim was to get probably one of the best breakfast butties I’ve ever had, but there are lots of other stalls there with equally tasty treats. There is a sushi stall where you can see maki rolls being made; I was quite surprised to see a little girl about 11 years old chomping away on sushi. I know when I was that age I’d never even heard of sushi and there wasn’t a hope in hell that you could convince me raw fish tastes good!

Four cookies for £5.00. White chocolate and cranberry, triple chocolate, toffee and walnut and a classic chocolate chip was the order of the day. Washed down perfectly with a mocha from Weanie Beans.

I am telling you now, if you are going to order a cappuccino or a latte or a mocha, don’t bother with semi-skimmed, skimmed or 1% milk (what is this anyway?!). BORING! Full fat (which by the way only has 4% fat) milk makes the coffee so so much better and for a fact you will not get the same frothiness or sheen on the milk. So the next time you are ordering a skinny minnie latte, think about the pint you had last night or that bottle of wine. Now tell me which you think is worse. Rant over. Getting back to Weenie Beans mocha, it was creamy, coffee, chocolatey goodness. Perfect on a winters’ mornin’ and at £1.50 a cup, much better value than any other high street coffee shop.

Now for the headliner of the morning: The Breakfast Buttie.

This is the most popular stall at the market, there was at least 12 people ahead of us in the queue. But I am telling you now it is worth the wait.

See what I mean!? £3.50 for a bacon or sausage buttie and you can add a fried egg for £0.50. Cooked right in front of us, I practically needed a bib to control my salivating. One of the girls I was with took a shine to the guy cooking all the meat. She named him “Sausage Man”. Apt.

We chatted to “Sausage Man” while he cooked our breakfast, turns out he had a stinking hangover! I asked him how many butties he normally makes on a Saturday morning at the market, he casually answered “about 320”! A man who knows how to handle his meat, even on a hangover. Sorry I couldn’t resist.

I have to say that the best part of the market is talking to the suppliers. There is a man that drives every Saturday from the Isle of White! His stall is full of amazing relishes, mustard and flour. He is always more than happy for you to try a new relish or mustard he has and you never feel obliged to buy from him This Saturday he had a selection of fresh honeycombs. I could not resist.

They put the empty circular pots into the bee hive and the bees get to work and the above pictures are the beautiful end result. Golden, gooey and delicious. You cant beat a bit of Mother Nature’s work.

So I encourage you all to find your local farmer’s market. For the delicious food and also for a bit of education on where your food comes from. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find your own “Sausage Man or Woman” while you’re at it.

UNITED KINGDOM, Wimbledon : A British police officer reacts as he watches a giant screen showing the second set tie-break in the men’s singles final match between Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Switzerland’s Roger Federer, on day thirteen of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 12, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL


Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer: I’ve been blessed to play sexy women.

She had to be willing to shave her head. That was a deal-breaker.

Natalie Dormer had just received the call every actor wants — she was a contender for the final “Hunger Games” films, “Mockingjay” Parts 1 and 2, for a key role: Cressida, a documentary filmmaker who turns Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) into an icon of the revolution.

In the novel, Cressida’s head is not only shaved, it’s also tattooed with an elaborate vine. Would Dormer, who’s known for playing bewitching characters — Margaery Tyrell on “Game of Thrones,” Moriarty on “Elementary” — sacrifice her lovely mane?

Dormer, 32, did what she always does: She convened her friends. “We went round the dinner table, and the opinion was unanimous,” she says by phone from Los Angeles. “You’d have to be an idiot to say no to ‘Hunger Games.’ And hair grows back.”

Ultimately, director Francis Lawrence decided Cressida would look edgier if she shaved only one side of her head.

For the next nine months, as the two films shot back to back, Dormer buzzed half her skull every day, and rocked some funky red carpet experiments by night. (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” opens Nov. 21.)

“It was liberating, actually,” Dormer says now. “It’s interesting how much we women perceive that our sense of attractiveness or physical allure is to do with our hair.” She laughs.

Keep reading

A little bit about the guy Chris will be playing:

Sir Noël Peirce Coward 

(16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973)

Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called “a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise”.

Born in Teddington, southwest London, Coward attended a dance academy in London as a child, making his professional stage début at the age of eleven. As a teenager he was introduced into the high society in which most of his plays would be set. Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays from his teens onwards. Many of his works, such as Hay FeverPrivate LivesDesign for LivingPresent Laughter and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, in addition to well over a dozen musical theatre works (including the operetta Bitter Sweet and comic revues), poetry, several volumes of short stories, the novel Pomp and Circumstance, and a three-volume autobiography. Coward’s stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, during which he starred in many of his own works.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Coward volunteered for war work, running the British propaganda office in Paris. He also worked with the Secret Service, seeking to use his influence to persuade the American public and government to help Britain. Coward won anAcademy Honorary Award in 1943 for his naval film drama, In Which We Serve, and was knighted in 1969. In the 1950s he achieved fresh success as a cabaret performer, performing his own songs, such as “Mad Dogs and Englishmen”, “London Pride” and “I Went to a Marvellous Party”.

His plays and songs achieved new popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, and his work and style continue to influence popular culture. Coward did not publicly acknowledge his homosexuality, but it was discussed candidly after his death by biographers including Graham Payn, his long-time partner, and in Coward’s diaries and letters, published posthumously. The former Albery Theatre (originally the New Theatre) in London was renamed the Noël Coward Theatre in his honour in 2006.


On 22 & 23 January, I travelled from Southwest London to East London to the London Centre of Book Arts at Hackney Wick for lessons in Onion Skin binding by Benjamin Elbel. When I chose my colours for my onion pamphlet bind, I did not realise that I was going to end up with an onion that looks like orange peel. But I am overall happy with the colours I chose. The second day, we made the Onion Skin Album which was a little more fiddly. My mind was already dashing in all directions, thinking about variations to this binding.