A lot of people say I seem masculine, but I don’t feel it. I feel intrinsically feminine. I’d love to be one of the boys but I always felt a bit on the outside. Maybe my masculine qualities come from overcompensating because I’m not one of the boys.
And I like people. I like to know what you’re really up to. I’m a bit of a nosy busy body. Why do they do the things they do? Why are they prepared to do the things they do to get what they want? When? Where? Who? – on his nosiness.
Fame and stuff like that is all very cool, but at the end of the day, we’re all human beings. Although what I do is incredibly surreal and fun and amazing and I’m really grateful for it, I don’t believe my own press release, do you know what I mean?
I’m from a nice, suburban, middle-class family, but my tattoos remind me where I’ve been.
I’m from East Sheen, I went to public school where I learned Latin at the age of nine, and certain expectations were made of me to go to St Paul’s, Oxbridge maybe, and all that kind of thing. And I failed systematically to meet the mark – who I am and what I should have been are two very different things.
I’m into parlor dramas. I’m into theatre. I’m trained for the stage. I trained to do Chekhov and Shakespeare, I was trained for the stage.
I’m very sensitive. Because my mum was my primary emotional caregiver growing up, I found myself being pinned into dresses, darting her dresses, choosing her high heels for the evening or what to wear. I’m very much a mommy’s boy.
I hate publicists and publicity. But I love the people.
I love people. People are lovely creatures. I’m one myself [so] I love to see people happy.
I play Xbox. I have a little boy to look after. I have dogs. You know, I have things to do. I would love to be able to sit down and watch something like a movie. I watch my own movies because I have to.
I mean there I was. One moment in Wandsworth Police Station on the way to Wormwood Scrubs, looking at 14 years, to this! – on his career.
I wanted my dad to be proud of me, and I fell into acting because there wasn’t anything else I could do, and in it I found a discipline that I wanted to keep coming back to, that I love and I learn about every day.
If I am duly compared to Marlon Brando at all, well, I can only think of The Teahouse of the ‘Shanghai Noon,’ that they’re comparing me to that!
Maybe it’s a little ambitious of me to presume that no matter how big the film is, that I can always go down to the shop to buy a pint of milk.
My action figure is great! It’s big and bald. It’s very disturbing to look at a toy and see yourself. At the same time, it’s very cool. – on his Shinzon action figure.
My father came from an intellectual and studious avenue as opposed to a brawler’s avenue. So I had to go further afield and I brought all kinds of unscrupulous oiks back home – earless, toothless vagabonds – to teach me the arts of the old bagarre.
Nobody paid any attention career-wise to me in America until ‘Bronson.’ It gave me a calling card and passage into America, where I’ve always wanted to work.
[on working with Gary Oldman] Gary Oldman is my hero, that’s it. When I went to drama school everybody used to quote him in all his films, you know State of Grace (1990) right through to Leon (1994) or whatever. And I’d sit there really quietly and think ‘No, no, you don’t know. I’m more of a Gary Oldman fan than you are.’ [laughs] When you do an impression of him, that’s sacrilege! So to work with him, for him to look me in the eye, talk to me…. acknowledge I exist! Cos I’m not star struck by people, but Gary just took the wind right out of me. I’m very lucky we had to re-shoot those scenes on the couch [in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)] because the first task that I did was just me watching him, because I was shocked to actually be working with him. Then for him to actually like me, and to work three times with him, cos we did Lawless (2012) afterwards. I remember saying “Would you look at the script, it’s really cool”, and he’s like “Yeah, sure. This is crazy, you know? This is a man that I’ve stolen everything that I’ve done from, like Bronson (2008) and Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007) (TV). That’s me trying to emulate what Gary’s done, and to work with him makes me feel like I don’t have any characters of my own. [laughs]
Thanks for all the wonderful paintings and drawings and writings. I am very honoured to have your support, and love you for the energy and the inspiring work and comments that you bring to the table. – to fans.
The character was like the Prince and the Pauper or more like Greystoke to me. He essentially has not had the same circumstances and experiences. Picard doesn’t have the same baggage that Shinzon carries. So, that was more freeing. He is essentially an orphan and an abused child, who becomes an emperor. There were moves that I had to play with, that did not have anything to do with Picard. The whole film is about why they are not similar. So, the relationship had a ground basis to work from. – on Shinzon, his character from “Nemesis.
The characters I’ve played have been mostly violent, and I’m so far from being violent or aggressive. I spend a lot of time watching ‘Fireman Sam’ with my three-year-old son Louis.
Whatever character you play, remember they are always doing something. They are not just talking. They are alive; going through a drama in which they will go through some sort of dramatic human experience. Keywords: Alive and Experience. It is your job to make them become so. Anything you do on stage or film has a direct relation to something you have experienced in one form or another in real life. Use your imagination to exaggerate or lessen that sensation. Then, disguise it in characterization and don’t forget to make lots and lots of mistakes, and look like a complete asshole. You’ll do fine. – acting tip on a movie or play.
[When asked by Simon Gage of “Attitude” magazine in a 2008 interview, “Have you ever had sexual relations with men?”] I’m an actor, for fuck’s sake. I’m an artist. I’ve played with anything and anyone. But I’m not into men sexually. I love the form and the physicality but the gay sex bit does nothing for me… To me it just doesn’t compute to me now that I’m in my 30s and it doesn’t do it for me and I’m done experimenting.
You don’t step on stage to eat, you go there to be eaten.