Interview: Jeremy Irons
The Brit actor debriefs us on his career hitherto.
British multidisciplinary actor Jeremy Irons has accomplished a lot in his 33 year-long career. Across film, theatre, television and directing, detailing his conquests would not be dissimilar to trying to scale the moon with a pole vault apparatus (although in the interest of bias, giving voice to the villainous Scar in 1994's The Lion King is among his best work). Our LA-based friend Debra Darby does a little Q&A for us.
Debra Darby: What are your three favourite performances of your career?
Jeremy Irons: Well I don't know? it's not really up to me. It's up to an audience, but I suppose I always remember the time I had. I think The Mission probably has to be there. I think Dead Ringers has to be there and I think probably Lolita (pictured above) has to be there. They were challenging roles and interesting times, but as a critic I couldn't possibly tell you. I'm too close to them.
Do you prefer theatre or cinema?
Well it's really depends, the medium for me isn't that important. It's the story and the character that attract me. On the other hand, I do love the theatre. I love theatre life, it's more communal than filming which tends to take you away from those you love and you have to travel, but also it's a different process. It's very difficult for me to say. I enjoy both, but I wouldn't be without either.
How do you feel about being one of the most popular actors in the world, can it be hard to manage?
There's nothing hard about being liked. As an actor it gives you the ability to do more of the work that you enjoy. Of course these days it gets harder and harder to find the sort of film work that I'm used to doing.
Do you approach real life characters any differently than fictional characters?
No. I look at the evidence of the character whether it be reported historically or whether it be, so to speak, from a writer's imagination and I try to find the truth of that. It's very hard often actually with historical characters because history is not very reliable sometimes. I think when you read history you have to also bear in mind who was writing that history in order to try to find the truth of the character. So you have different sources if it's a real-life figure. If the character's still alive of course you can talk to people who know them. But it's a process of just trying to get into the heart and soul of that character.
Your youngest son, Max, had his first role in Being Julia and is now filming The Host. What advice did you give him about being successful in the business?
Well I didn't really ? I said don't do it, because it's an even tougher business from when I started. But that was his dream and so you can but encourage your children when they have a dream, when they have a passion. I can't really judge him because he's my son, but other people tell me he's quite good. He seems to be happy doing it. Really all you can wish for your children is happiness, so I'm pleased for him. I keep telling him to go to work whenever he can in the theatre, but at the moment he seems to be working quite a lot in film. I hope that he will, as I have, spend quite a bit of time in his career working in theatre where you can practice and fail but not in such a public way as you do in film.
What is your biggest desire and what can you never have enough of?
I've never had enough good company; never had enough, oh I've had enough of everything else really. I'm pretty contented. You know, I don't long for more of anything really. I think I'm I have a very fortunate life. I have great friends and I have interesting work. I have my health. I suppose I'd probably like more time. Everything seems to go so quickly. That's if? Yes, if I wanted more [of something] it would be time.
Interview: Debra Darby
Introduction: Melissa Kenny