Great Britain

James Arthur lands his first acting role in upcoming film after taking secret lessons during lockdown

JAMES ARTHUR has spent the last eight years dominating the charts – but in 2021 he’s planning to take over the box office too.

The British singer-songwriter has revealed he has landed his first acting role in an upcoming film after taking secret acting lessons and auditioning in lockdown.

In an exclusive interview, he said: “There’s actually a couple of really exciting projects that I’m involved in and we’re trying to get up and running in terms of my acting. There’s going to be some acting stuff coming up.

“I’ve done a few lessons and shot a few casting videos and I’m choosing between a couple of agents at the moment.”

James stayed tight-lipped on details of the production, but when asked if shooting would begin this year, he teased: “I think there’s a really good chance that it will, yeah. It’s a film. Actually, film and TV, because there are two things going on.

“There’s a really interesting idea we’ve got for a TV show. I’m sure you’re going to hear some stuff in the coming months.”

But before James gets in front of the cameras he has been busy in the studio and today returns with his new single, Medicine — the first track to be taken from his upcoming fourth album.

I JUST KEPT HITTING ROAD BLOCKS

The guitar-driven anthem is a love letter with deeply personal lyrics, as he sings: “When I’m suicidal, you don’t let me spiral.”

It was written last year after a bumpy beginning to 2020 which saw him hospitalised following a series of panic attacks.

But James said his long-term girlfriend, dancer Jessica Grist, and his music helped him through.

He added: “She knows she’s the muse in a lot of these songs. She’s so supportive and she’s probably sick of hearing my music, to be fair, because all she’s heard all year is me blasting songs out.

“But the meaning of the song is about having that someone or something in a dark time that helps you get over the adversity and she was definitely part of that mix of things that helps me through.”

Since then James has been on the road to recovery and has made a series of changes to turn things around.

He said: “There were a lot of things I needed to address. I just kept hitting roadblocks in my life — that’s clear to see, that’s the narrative in my life.

“I’m all right for a while and then I get to these points and I guess it forced me to do a lot of work on myself, be it cognitive behavioural therapy to help with the anxiety and therapy in general to address childhood traumas that I went through which I wasn’t processing properly.”

Exercise has also proved key for James after he realised that a lot of his issues were a result of his body image, and it is something he is working on both mentally and physically.

James, whose hits include Say You Won’t Let Go, ran 40 miles last weekend alone, and said: “For a while now I’ve been on a mission to get in the sort of shape that I’m happy with.

“I think I’m on the way to being in the best shape I’ve been in. It’s associated with those sorts of roadblocks I would hit in my life. Image is part of all of that.

“If you can at least look at yourself in the mirror and like what you see in terms of your body, I think that can go a long way with your mental health.”

James has even got his mates involved by buying them all pricey Apple Watches to track the distances they’re running — so he can ensure he beats them. He continued: “It’s been really good for my mental health and has helped me shift the lockdown weight that I put on in the beginning.”

Asked if he would want to try an Iron Man challenge or an ultramarathon next, he added: “Absolutely, I love it. I enjoy the mental battle with myself.

“I would be into that sort of stuff, especially if there’s a charity element to it.”

James spent last summer working on his as-yet-untitled new album, which he said is “done and dusted” and is ready for release in the autumn.

COLUMBIA AND RCA WERE VYING FOR MY SIGNATURE

He had moved from London to Surrey at the beginning of last year, and his new place has a home studio, where he made his new record.

He said of the album: “It feels coherent, unlike some of my other albums. This one was written and recorded in two and a half months, so you really get a sense of someone who’s in a moment in time.

“It sounds like someone who’s being really honest and talking about things that people don’t know about me.”

However, it has still been a turbulent time after Simon Cowell’s record label Syco, which released his first three albums, closed down last year.

James said: “It was sad at the time. I felt for a lot of the people that worked there and I felt for Simon because I know he really didn’t want to have to make that call but I think in the end these things are out of your hands.

“I think he would have liked to have carried Syco on but I don’t know the ins and outs of things.

“I was up for grabs for one of the Sony labels and Columbia and RCA both came in and were vying for my signature and in the end I chose Columbia.

“I’m now at a very prestigious label, with my name alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Foo Fighters. It’s a dream come true really.”

A RITA SEX ADDICT

JAMES has admitted he regrets his 2017 autobiography Back To The Boy, in which he said a fling with Rita Ora turned him into a sex addict.

She looked stunning here as she modelled her new footwear range for ShoeDazzle and the story certainly doesn’t seem to have harmed her.

But James said of the memoir: “It was done at a time when there was just a lot of stuff going on. I’d just made my comeback and we tried to do too much at once.

“When I look back at that there’s certain things I wouldn’t have shared or have explained in the way that I did.

“If I could stop the production of the book now I probably would because there’s stuff that has affected family relationships, not long term, but at the time it hurt people.

“There’s things I shared about relationships where I should have considered the people involved a bit more, I think.”

BOYLEING POINT: REBEL MEGHAN HAS BECOME HOT AGAIN

IT’S the biggest story on the planet right now, and everyone is having their say over gobby Meghan and Harry’s latest TV outbursts.

But though I couldn’t give a toss what these two end up doing long term as long as it doesn’t cost me a penny, I have spotted one positive to come out of this cataclysmic mess.

While there’s no doubt in my mind they’ve shown total disrespect to the monarchy, at the worst possible time for The Queen, the latest promotional clips of their upcoming chat with Oprah Winfrey weren’t all bad - Meg’s got hot again.

When Harry first began dating her, as the sexy love interest on a mid ranking US cable drama, I couldn’t help admire the bloke for punching WELL above his weight.

But a quick grind through the royal style mangle, along with a weird new pseudo-posh accent and a level of snootiness that only hanging out in palaces can spark, quickly made her as unappealing as the rest of the bunch.

Now, praise be, she’s fit again - thanks to a lick of black eyeliner and a ruthless streak that makes me feel a bit weak at the knees with terror . . . and sod the consequences.

So when she’s inevitably throws in the towel with Harry and hits the reality TV circuit, at least there’s something to look forward too, lads.

Bring on Love Island 2022. She’s got my vote.

MAYA WANTS A BREAK

SHE looks in fine form in these snaps but Maya Jama wants a break.

The BBC presenter posted the photos on Instagram, with one of her giving work the middle finger, as she said she wants to take herself away on an adventure to South America.

She explained: “I haven’t had time off since I was 16. I’m trying to do that travel, back-packing thing for like half the year. I love Brazil.”

She told the Hip Hop Saved My Life With Romesh Ranganathan podcast: “I want to go back to Brazil then just go wherever the wind takes me with a rucksack.”

Don’t be gone too long, Maya.

James Arthur shares video of his cat as he self-isolates in absolute luxury

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