Jeremy Irons Interviewed by Scott Feinberg with Audio

From The Hollywood Reporter and Scott Feinberg’s Blog “The Race”

[Follow Scott Feinberg on Twitter @ScottFeinberg and @THR_TheRace]

  • jeremy_irons_interview_podcast.mp3
jeremy_irons_2011_H.jpg
 photo from Roadside Attractions

On Thursday morning, I had the privilege of speaking for about 30 minutes with the great London-based stage and screen actor Jeremy Irons, just minutes after his name was announced as a best actor (in a TV drama) Golden Globe nominee for his work on the critically-acclaimed Showtime series The Borgias.

Irons, 63, has already won just about every acting award that exists: an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, an Emmy, a Tony, an Annie, and prizes from all of the major critics groups, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, and National Society of Film Critics. He mentions during our chat that he recently loaned his inimitable voice to a recorded reading of T.S. Eliot‘s The Waste Land, which could, hypothetically, earn him a Grammy, as well, which would make him just the 11th member of the elite EGOT club!

But, as Irons notes during our conversation, it is neither a desire for awards, nor a fondness for fame, nor even a particular passion for acting (he’s appeared in only 40 movies since his big screen debut 30 years ago) that keeps him in the game at this point in his life. Instead, it is a deep connection that he feels to certain characters that he reads, as well as a need for the creative companionship of other actors, that periodically draws him away from his various homes and hobbies and back into the fray.

The most memorable of his film roles include a lovestruck victorian in Karel Reisz‘s The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981); a Jesuit missionary in Roland Joffe‘s The Mission (1986); a pair of twisted twins in David Cronenberg‘s Dead Ringers (1988); a murder suspect in Steven Soderbergh‘s Kafka (1991); a shady spouse in Barbet Schroeder‘s Reversal of Fortune (1991); a Machiavellian lion in Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff‘s The Lion King (1994); a child predator in Adrian Lyne‘s Lolita (1997); a cheating/cheated-upon husband in Istvan Szabo‘s Being Julia (2004); and a debtor in Michael Radford‘s The Merchant of Venice (2004).

And now comes another: the slithery corporate titan John Tuld — which sounds to me a lot like Dick Fuld, the disgraced former chair of Lehman Brothers — in first-time filmmaker J.C. Chandor‘s timely Wall Street drama Margin Call. The star-studded indie that debuted at Sundance in Jan. was released on Oct. 21 and has been very warmly received by critics and VOD consumers. Irons only enters the film in its third act, but he absolutely dominates it during every subsequent moment in which he appears onscreen. Consequently, he is receiving his loudest awards buzz in years and could — despite being passed over by the BFCA, SAG, and HFPA last week (probably because he’s part of such a large and impressive ensemble from which it is hard to single out only one or two individuals) — earn his first invitation to the Academy Awards since he won the best actor Oscar 21 years ago.

Irons and I discussed all of the above — and more — during our time together, and I hope that you’ll tune in to our conversation at the top of this post.

Art Film Fest to Welcome Romantic Lover and Sad Intellectual Jeremy Irons!

10 June 2009
Press Release

from artfilmfest.sk

He considered a career as a veterinarian, but failed the entrance exams. He cleaned houses and maintained streetside plants. And finally, he became one of the world’s best-known actors, awarded with the most prestigious prizes.

The illustrious Jeremy Irons has accepted our invitation to Art Film Fest, and on Saturday, 20 June, he will personally accept the Actor’s Mission Award and fix a brass plaque bearing his name to the Bridge of Fame in Trenčianske Teplice.

Through the years of his prolific acting career, this star of films such as Lolita, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Damage has performed alongside such renowned performers as Meryl Streep, Ben Kingsley, Liv Tyler, Juliette Binoche, Glenn Close, Melanie Griffith and Rachel Weisz. Irons has portrayed romantic lovers, torn intellectuals and even psychopaths.

In the film Lolita (1997) he flawlessly portrays Professor Humbert, who smoulders with devastating desire for his very young stepdaughter. This film adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name was directed by romantic drama specialist Adrian Lyne, who has films such as Fatal Attraction and 9 1/2 Weeks under his belt. Today, many readers of Lolita cannot imagine the mad, miserably enamoured professor as anyone other than Irons.

Jeremy Irons was born on 19 September, 1948 in the small town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, Great Britain. He received his acting education at Bristol’s Old Vic School, and after graduating he accepted an engagement with their travelling theatre troupe. His first step towards a stable acting career was performing in serials such as The Pallisers (1975) and Love for Lydia (1977). His breakthrough role could be considered the biographical film of the renowned dancer Nijinsky (1981), where Irons played famed choreographer Mikhail Fokine.

He drew considerable attention with his second film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), where he acted alongside Meryl Streep. Here he portrays two spiritually connected people – an intellectual and a lover, who fall in love with a mysterious woman. These roles were perfectly suited to Irons’ temperament, and he was their ideal performer, thanks in part to his elegant, even patrician features and striking eyes.

Irons also lent his mournful face to other roles of fated lovers. On the silver screen he has succumbed to the love of numerous ladies: Patricia Hodge in Betrayal (1982), Ornella Muti in Swann in Love (1984) and Juliette Binoche in Damage (1992).

The first significant acknowledgement of Irons’ work came in 1984. For his role in the Broadway production The Real Thing, where he performed with Glenn Close, he was granted the prestigious theatrical prize the Tony Award. Four years later, he received a Best Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle Award for his double role as twin-brother gynaecologists in the picture Dead Ringers.
In 1990, he earned the most prestigious film award, an Oscar, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role in the film Reversal of Fortune, based on true events, where he played an aristocrat accused of twice attempting to murder his wife.

Irons excelled in the picture The Mission (1986) with Robert De Niro, where he took the role of a Jesuit missionary who attempts to spread Christianity among Amazonian natives and puts stake in their defence.

Irons has also visited Prague, thanks to the filming of Kafka (1991), the fictitious picture inspired by the writer Franz Kafka, a Prague native. The film was directed by the famed Steven Soderbergh, who entrusted Irons with the lead role as Jewish bureaucrat Kafka. During his stay in Prague, Irons also acted in the film version of Václav Havel’s The Beggar’s Opera, shot by Jiří Menzel.
Irons remembers meeting Jiří Menzel for dinner and asking him if he could act in Menzel’s film. Menzel invited Irons to do so, so he came, and they dressed him and made him up. They filmed the scene in two hours and Irons was paid twenty-five dollars. It was a fantastic collaboration according to Irons, who recounted it during his 2005 stay in Bratislava, when he was a guest of the TOM 2004 awards ceremony. He also visited Bratislava in 1991, on his way from the Prague filming to Berlin. He spent one day in Slovakia, buying an accordion and pictures.

Irons’ wife is actress Sinéad Cusack. They acted together in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty (1995), which was also the final film of popular French actor Jean Marais.
Irons’ name is also connected with Hollywood. He played the main villain, craving money and revenge, in Die Hard: With a Vengeance, alongside Bruce Willis. In The Man in the Iron Mask he portrayed Aramis, whose undergoes a religious conversion. His co-actors in that film included John Malkovich and Gérard Depardieu. In Ridley Scott’s epic Kingdom Heaven, he is reincarnated as Commander Tiberias. And he took the role of an evil wizard in the film adaptation of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

Irons’ hobbies include riding horses and motorcycles, skiing and gardening.

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Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA Production House Co-Organizers: the Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the Town of Trenčín, Health Spa Trenčianske Teplice
The Festival is made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.

General Sponsors: AquaCity Poprad, zdravotná poisťovňa Dôvera
Main Sponsors: Omnia Holding, Tatra banka, Tauris, the Central European Foundation, Slovnaft Official Transport Provider: Lancia Logistics Sponsor: DHL Sponsors: Provimi Pet Food, Dr. Max, Enagro, Hotel Baske, AVI Studio Official Suppliers: Hubert, Parkhotel na Baračke, GS design, Segafredo Zanetti SR, Philips, Via France Slovak cinema is brought to you by Zlatý Bažant

Main Media Sponsors: Slovenská televízia, Pravda, Zoznam.sk, Boomerang, Žurnál Media Sponsors: televízia Markíza, FilmBox, Televízia Central, Rádio Okey, Rádio Hit FM, Markíza, Pardon, Cinemax, Kam do mesta, port.sk, kedykam.sk, superobed.sk, ISPA, SITA, Q-EX, Trenčianske Echo Partners: Hotel Praha, Hotel Flóra, Hotel Tatra, Slovak Film Institute, Italian Cultural Institute Bratislava, CzechTourism, Intersonic, Tatrafilm, Slovak Film and Television Academy, Esterle & Esterle, lampART, Celtima

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