Daniel Mays Discusses Musical Moments with Michael Douglas on ‘Franklin’ Set, Celebrates Olivier Nomination, and Advocates for ‘Romeo & Juliet’s’ Francesca Amewudah-Rivers

On the bustling set of the new Apple TV drama “Franklin,” Daniel Mays frequently found himself in the middle of spontaneous sing-alongs led by none other than Michael Douglas and director Timothy Van Patten. The jovial outbursts began when Mays was cast as Nathan Detroit in an immersive staging of “Guys & Dolls” at London’s iconic Bridge Theatre, a role that quickly became a beloved topic among the crew.

Douglas, who portrays Benjamin Franklin in the series, was particularly enthusiastic, often initiating renditions of “The Oldest Established” alongside young star Noah Jupe, with the French production team joining in the fun. The camaraderie and light-hearted moments helped foster a creative and supportive environment on set.

Mays’ performance in “Guys & Dolls,” where he starred opposite Marisha Wallace and Andrew Richardson, not only earned him an Olivier Award nomination but also brought new energy and a fresh perspective to the classic musical. His role as the charming, fast-talking gambler received acclaim, distinguishing him from notable predecessors like Frank Sinatra and Bob Hoskins.

Amidst his theatrical success, Mays continued his role in “Franklin,” portraying the duplicitous Edward Bancroft. The Apple TV+ series, which streams worldwide, explores the lesser-known narratives from Benjamin Franklin’s diplomatic missions in Paris.

Beyond the stage and screen, Mays shared his challenging experience balancing multiple projects, including filming the Stephen Graham-led Victorian boxing drama “A Thousand Blows” and the holiday sequel “Your Christmas or Mine?” His commitment to maintaining high performance standards was tested, but support from co-stars and production teams ensured he never missed a beat.

Despite the demanding schedule, Mays found time to reflect on the broader impacts of his work and the industry’s recognition patterns. He expressed concern over the overlooked talents in projects like “The Long Shadow,” where he played alongside Katherine Kelly, emphasizing the need for broader acknowledgment of exceptional performances across all mediums.

Mays’ hard-working ethos, inherited from his parents, drives his continued passion for acting. As he prepares for his next role in Mark Gatiss’ WWII murder mystery “Bookish,” Mays remains humble and focused, ready to tackle any challenge with the resilience that has characterized his career thus far.

As the Olivier Awards approach, with “Guys & Dolls” up for best musical revival, Mays’ journey from a musical theatre novice to a celebrated star highlights his versatility and dedication to his craft, ensuring his place as a beloved figure in both the theatrical and cinematic worlds.

Looking ahead, Mays eagerly anticipates the upcoming challenges and opportunities. In addition to his roles in high-profile projects like “Bookish,” Mays continues to explore diverse characters that push his limits as an actor. His collaborative spirit and love for immersive experiences drive his career choices, ensuring that each role is not just a job, but a passionate endeavor.

Mays also delves into the personal milestones that have marked his journey. Recalling his proposal to his partner during a family cruise, he shares light-hearted anecdotes that reveal his off-screen personality, blending the charm and wit of his on-stage personas with his genuine, down-to-earth nature.

This blend of professional rigor and personal warmth characterizes Mays’ approach to his career. He reflects on the lessons learned from balancing multiple demanding roles simultaneously and discusses how these experiences have shaped his views on sustainability and personal well-being in the industry.

Furthermore, Mays expresses a deep appreciation for the art of musical theatre, a genre he once viewed from afar but now champions vigorously. His experiences in “Guys & Dolls” have not only expanded his artistic repertoire but have also deepened his respect for performers in this demanding field.

As the conversation turns to the future, Mays is contemplative about the paths yet to explore. With an Olivier Award potentially on the horizon and several exciting projects in the pipeline, he remains grounded, always ready to give credit to his supportive family and colleagues who have been integral to his success.

Daniel Mays’ story is one of resilience, talent, and the continuous pursuit of growth, both on the stage and off. As he looks forward to the next chapter of his career, his dedication to his craft and his love for storytelling remain as vibrant as ever, promising more captivating performances and inspiring moments for audiences around the world.
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