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Pushing boundaries: Rising actor’s film ‘The Great Artist’ shines a spotlight on mental health

A scene from “Peaky Blinders” during the early seasons, which featured Matthew Postlethwaite. (Courtesy of BBC)

Matthew Postlethwaite doesn’t give up.

It’s never been his style.

The rising actor continues to make his mark with work in film and TV.

He’s in production for the project “The Great Artist,” which he wrote and is directing, producing and starring in.

“I think it’s going to be one of the most creative films I’ve been involved in,” Postlethwaite says.

Of course, every film production has its challenges. Postlethwaite and crew will have to follow COVID-safe practices.

“We all have to be tested, and the policies are pretty strict,” he says. “It’s a lot to handle and navigate, but we’ll make it through.”

Matthew Postlethwaite

Postlethwaite began writing “The Great Artist” in January.

Since then, it’s been through 70 drafts.

“At the core of the film is mental health,” he says. “We talked to people working in mental health to make sure that everything is accurate. The film is touching on mental health; then you have aspects of sexuality. We’re trying to push the boundaries of what Hollywood has known.”

Postlethwaite says he knows mental health is important because he was in a dark place when he was in his early 20s.

Matthew Postlethwaite had learned to deal with his mental health by taking days away from the set for self-care. (Courtesy of Matthew Postlethwaite)

“I was admitted to the hospital because I was suicidal,” he explains. ‘As I talk about it, it becomes easier. A lot of people are more open to talk about their struggles with mental health. We need to know that we’re not alone. That’s what we’re trying to do with the film. We’re trying to open the conversation.”

Postlethwaite wants to do meaningful work with his career by pushing boundaries and conversation.

“We all deal with mental health in different ways,” he says. “I was depressed and sought out help. Now I have steps, and I work out a lot. I surround myself with a strong circle, and we help each other. It’s lifted the veil for me.”

Postlethwaite is no stranger to projects with a dark feel to them.

His breakout role was as Nipper on the BBC’s “Peaky Blinders” during the first two seasons.

He’s also appeared “The White Kings” and “Shooting Clerks.”

In “The Great Artists,” Postlethwaite plays the main character.

“This character has five different identities within the film,” he says. “I’m working with a bunch of coaches, because each identity is very contrasting. I’ve been spending the time quarantine working on my craft and on myself so I can give my all to this role.”

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